Gut health is extremely important and probiotics provide many health benefits. Learn more about probiotics in this blog article from nutritionist & registered dietitian, Molly Kimball.
You’ve probably heard about probiotics & gut health benefits, but may be wondering: are probiotics just another fad, or is there really some science behind it?
Also referred to as “good bacteria,” probiotics are live microorganisms that exist naturally in the gut. Probiotics alter the permeability of the intestinal wall, and help to keep pro-inflammatory compounds from entering the bloodstream. As a result, they help prevent a wide range of chronic conditions and have been shown to help improve many ailments and conditions.
Trying to decide if you should start taking probiotics? To help you sort through the facts, check out these 7 proven benefits of probiotics.
1. Weight loss/weight control: Probiotics can improve blood sugar control and affect leptin sensitivity (a hormone that helps regulate appetite). The state of your gut can influence your level of chronic inflammation, gut permeability, and endotoxemia (the transfer of bacterial endotoxin into the circulation), which can all trigger weight gain.
2. Boost mood and fight depression: Taking probiotics is linked with lower levels of anxiety and depression and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Studies have shown probiotics to reduce the depression scale score in both healthy populations & patients with pre existing depression.
3. Rheumatoid arthritis: Probiotics appear to help reduce several markers of inflammation in the body. A report in the Nutrition scientific journal found that adding probiotic supplements to the diet improved the disease activity and inflammatory status of patients with Rheumatoid arthritis.
4. Boost immune system: The gut is the cornerstone of the immune system, 70 - 80% of immune tissue is located in your digestive tract! Studies have shown that taking a probiotic may result in fewer (about 40% less) colds.
5. Gastrointestinal and digestive health: including bloating, gas and diarrhea, as well as chronic conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics may also help maintain remission/prevent relapse of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
6. Urinary tract infections and yeast infections: Probiotic treatment can restore the balance of microflora that may be altered by a variety of factors, including birth control pills and antibiotics.
7. Skin conditions: Probiotics can have great potential in preventing and treating the skin diseases including eczema, atopic dermatitis, acne, & allergic inflammation or in skin hypersensitivity..
Many species of probiotics exist and it is generally accepted that all probiotics are not created equal. Health effects of probiotics are strain-specific, meaning that the unique types of bacteria are effective for specific conditions. For a summary of probiotics shown to be effective for specific conditions, visit www.usprobiotics.org.
Until next time!
- Molly Kimball