When you think of bacteria living throughout your body, you might not think of it as such a good thing. The truth, however, is that the bacteria that call your body home are crucial to your well-being.
In fact, microorganisms in our bodies outnumber human cells 10-to-1. To make it even crazier, the bacteria that lives inside our gut and digestive tract is actually more than all the cells throughout the entire body. The bustling community of trillions of bacteria is called our gut microbiota. And it is an incredible place! For thousands of years these bacteria have evolved along with the human race and have created a necessary symbiotic relationship. We give them a perfect place to live, and they give us so much back in return.
These microorganisms are known as probiotics.
That’s why it’s important to know when the balance of the microflora in your gut is out of whack, it can lead to serious health complications. Factors such as bad diet, unhealthy living practices, stress, antibiotics (both in food and drugs) can have massive negative impacts on your microbiome.
Luckily, for quite some time researchers have been looking into how to replenish your microbiome. One way that people try to introduce probiotics back into your body so that you can regain a great balance in your gut. Perhaps the most efficient and easiest way to do so, however, is to take supplements.
Probiotic supplements are much like any other kind of supplement as in they come in a capsule and are easily swallowed. In this case, these supplements are jam packed with LIVING probiotics that then travel to your gut and begin colonizing.
One of my favorite brands of probiotic supplements includes Garden of Life probiotics. They have many different strains and options depending on who you are and what you want out of your probiotics. You can find a full review of its range of products by click here.
So what are the benefits of probiotics? There are so many it’s almost hard to count them all!
Probiotics help improve digestion and absorption of food and nutrients
This is the most frequently discussed benefit of probiotics. They are able to promote proper digestive health within your gut. They help further break down the food that we eat and make it easier for our body to get the healthy goodness inside.
Probiotics also improve overall digestive health. They are often used to treat gastrointestinal diseases such as IBS, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
Probiotics reduce the severity of lactose intolerance
If you are lactose intolerant, it is quite likely that you struggle with gas, bloating, discomfort, and more whenever you have anything containing a sizable amount of dairy.
While probiotic use is not considered to be a cure-all for those struggling with lactose intolerance, the microorganisms living in your body are known to produce lactase, something that aids in the digestion of lactose.
So, a well-balanced gut can lead to lessen symptoms of lactose intolerance even if you decide to eat a scoop of ice cream or eat some of that soft cheese that’s been sitting in your fridge.
Probiotics boost your immune system and decrease inflammation
Now these two things might not seem completely related to you at first, but it will all make a lot more sense after the next few sentences.
Inflammation is known to lead to many different diseases and health-related issues. Probiotics are known to reduce the risk of inflammation in the gut (where over 80% of your immune system lives). The reason why is because probiotics not only help fight off unhealthy pathogens, but also literally take up the space that those pathogens would need in order to colonize and grow.
Probiotics help decrease antibiotic resistance
One serious issue that medical professionals are coming across these days is that patients are becoming more resistant to crucial antibiotics that can fight off deadly bacteria.
Bacteria can become immune to antibiotics because of their overuse and a lack of diversity when it comes to antibiotics.
By adding probiotics to your diet, however, you can help rebuild a diverse gut bacterium that are often killed when using antibiotics. Probiotic supplements can also make antibiotics more effective and help stop the bacteria in your body that could make you sick.
Probiotics protect against food allergies
Food allergies have become incredibly over the last few decades, and some researchers believe that a primary reason for this is that the diversity of people’s microflora has been dramatically depleted.
That’s why it is also believed that modifying and changing the diversity of your gut can help alleviate food allergies and intolerances.
Babies born without diverse gut bacteria have a much greater change of developing allergies during their first two years of life. Thanks to the fact that probiotics can help alleviate inflammation in the gut, and regulate immune responses (which is all an allergy really is, a misplaced immune response), they can help alleviate your food allergies as well.
Probiotics may even improve mental health
The gut is commonly referred to as the “second brain” for more than one reason. In fact, the gut is our body’s second largest neurological center behind the brain. Beyond that, researchers have found that there is a close connection between the two, and they have deemed it as the gut-brain axis.
Interactions between the gut and the brain are believed to have an impact on several mental disorders such as ADHD, MS< obesity, and autism spectrum disorder. Based on preliminary animal studies, researchers now believe that it is possible that changing the quality of the bacteria living in a person’s gut could benefit not only the digestive system, but the mental health of that person as well. Early research in animal studies show that probiotics may also relieve anxiety and depression symptoms by reducing inflammation in the gut-brain connection. On top of that, human studies are currently being done to see if probiotic supplements could actually improve cognitive and language development in the brain, as well as improve brain function and connectivity.