Probiotics are friendly gut bacteria found in some foods and supplements. The term probiotic is thrown around all the time, and you are probably wondering what probiotics really do for you, and whether they really are as beneficial as they are portrayed to be. This post discusses some well-known and lesser-known benefits of probiotics. You’ll be surprised by what’s to follow, so keep reading to find out more.
Can Probiotics Flatten Your Stomach?
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You don’t have to put on weight for your stomach to look bigger and your waist to expand. Bloating is quite common nowadays and it can be quite frustrating. everybody experiences bloating at some point, and you notice how the stomach flattens once this problem is gone. The Causes of bloating are numerous including dehydration, fluid retention, digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, food allergies, infections, bowel obstruction, and hormonal changes just to name a few.
Besides a swollen stomach, bloating can also be accompanied by pain with an intensity that varies from mild to sharp. Since the most common cause of bloating is the production of gas in the gut, the intensity of the pain depends on the location of that gas. This is where probiotics step in. They are active against harmful bacteria, fungi, and yeast. When you consume probiotics, harmful microorganisms start to die while your gut restores flora balance. Bear in mind that while probiotics help control this common problem, your bloating might be worsened when you first start taking these good bacteria.
In order to get bloating under control, you should choose the right type of probiotic. While some of them contain a single strain of bacteria, others have multiple strains. If you have a very sensitive stomach, then starting with one strain is ideal. Later, you can move on to multiple strains. The key is to see what works for you and your stomach.
While more research is necessary to elucidate the impact of probiotics on bloating, a growing body of evidence confirms its efficacy. For instance, one study found that the intake of probiotics relieves symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome, including bloating.
Why Are Probiotics Good for You?
Probiotics are incredibly beneficial for your health and wellbeing. For example, they are useful for people suffering from acne, rosacea, eczema, and other skin disorders because the condition of your gut also affects your skin. Here are some reasons that explain how probiotics benefit your overall health.
The greatest amount of research on probiotics has been done in the area of digestive health. For instance, the journal PLoS One published a study that found that probiotics are generally beneficial in the treatment and prevention of gastrointestinal diseases. Additionally, there are indications that probiotic consumption can be beneficial against inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
However, the strongest evidence concerns antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Antibiotics destroy the natural bacteria in your gut, thus shifting the balance and allowing the bad bacteria to overrule their good counterparts. As a result, people have diarrhea, which is the most common side effect of these medications. It is not uncommon for people to deal with diarrhea even after the infection that the antibiotic was supposed to treat is cured. A growing body of evidence confirms that probiotics are strongly associated with a reduction in antibiotic-associated diarrhea, but more research is necessary to understand which strain has the highest efficacy, according to a study from the JAMA.
Probiotics have the potential to reduce systemic inflammation. The inflammation is a driving force behind numerous diseases. One research discovered that by repairing or preventing leaky epithelial barriers, probiotics have the ability to indirectly affect the inflammatory response by negating the source of pro-inflammatory stimuli. That’s not all, the same research also found that probiotics support the production of short chain fatty acids with anti-inflammatory properties.
Beneficial Impact on Depression and Anxiety
Multiple studies have confirmed that probiotic strains Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. In fact, diet-induced changes in gut microbiota and signaling pathways influence one’s behavior, and probiotics prove to be highly beneficial when it comes to stress-related behaviors.
Lowers Blood Cholesterol
Believe it or not, probiotics prove to be effective for individuals with higher levels of LDL or bad cholesterol. A study from the Nature Reviews found that multiple strains can lower total cholesterol levels and LDL cholesterol levels. Several possible mechanisms could explain why probiotics lower cholesterol including the assimilation of cholesterol by growing cells, the binding of cholesterol to the cellular surface, as well as the incorporation of cholesterol to the cell membrane.
Regulates Blood Pressure
Moreover, the intake of probiotics is linked to a modest reduction in blood pressure in various studies. Since probiotics can help lower cholesterol levels and manage blood pressure, you’ll be able to avoid major risk factors that lead to heart disease.
Stronger Immune System
Do you know that 70% of your immune system resides in the gut? So, when there’s an imbalance in the gut, it takes its toll on the immunity as well. A growing body of evidence confirms that different probiotic strains can improve the immune function and reduce the risk of infections, including the flu or the common cold.
Are Probiotics Good for Weight Loss?
Effective weight loss requires healthy digestion so it comes as no surprise that probiotics can help you lose weight. Excess weight, particularly in the abdominal area, may be caused by bad bacteria that live in your gut or intestines. Probiotics are good for weight loss because they have the potential to decrease intestinal fat absorption.
Generally, all calories are absorbed from food, but probiotics interfere with that, thus helping you lose weight. However, you should bear in mind that taking probiotics isn’t a substitution for a healthy diet and regular exercise. You should only use probiotics as an additional tool to lose weight effectively and in a natural manner.
Probiotics deliver various health benefits of probiotics from improved digestive health to weight loss. Because these microorganisms strengthen your immune system, you will be less likely to get the flu and be able to fight off infection. Probiotics offer your health a boost in more than one area, weight loss included, so if you’re planning on making healthy lifestyle changes, make sure probiotics are a part of them.