Probiotics are pretty darn cool little buggers. They are still a bit of a mystery, but they have gained a ton of attention over the last few years, and rightfully so. These tiny marvels have a profound impact on a huge number of body systems, all while living in your gut!
They help take care of your gut and give it the support it needs to keep things running smoothly. For a crash course on what probiotics are and what they do, read this.
Probiotics offer a myriad of health benefits. Here, we’re going to take a look at just a few of the ways probiotics can — and will — improve our overall health. Starting with the most obvious…
- They’re good for your gut.
You already knew that one, didn’t you? According to the NIH, a large body of evidence has shown that probiotics are beneficial for managing gut issues like diarrhea caused by taking antibiotics, as well as constipation (we’re looking at you, quarantine constipation.).
They can also play a valuable role in providing nutritional support for chronic and acute gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel issues and Clostridium difficile infections.
- They’re good for weight management.
These good little bugs might play a positive role in weight maintenance too. Gut bacteria play an important role in metabolism, involved in everything from digestion to energy production, storage, and even appetite regulation. Studies show that the microbiomes of obese people are different from the microbiomes of lean people. What’s more is when an obese person receives a fecal transplant of lean bacteria, they lose weight and body fat. The reason, experts believe, might have to do with how microbes help us break down food.
- They’re good for your skin.
You know how what you put in your body can have a dramatic effect on the outside. “You are what you eat,” so to speak. Research shows that friendly bacteria produce antimicrobial substances that do battle with harmful skin pathogens. This could help manage problems like eczema, acne, allergic inflammation, and hypersensitivity and promote wound healing and help fight skin damage.
- They’re heart-healthy.
A review of more than 30 randomized clinical trials found that taking probiotic supplements can significantly and positively affect total cholesterol levels. They can also positively affect blood pressure. A recent analysis concluded that consuming probiotics can benefit both systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure about the same as eating a low-salt diet.
- They’re good for emotional health too.
Several studies have found probiotics seem to reduce the body’s stress response and affect cognitive function. Good bacteria in the gut can produce mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine. Because these bacteria directly link to the central nervous system, they regulate mood by way of a pathway called the vagus nerve. In one study, when women were shown pictures of angry faces, those who ate probiotic yogurt twice a day for four weeks before seeing the pictures felt calmer compared to those who didn’t eat the yogurt.
The takeaway — Probiotics are GOOD for you.
If you haven’t incorporated probiotics into your diet, it’s time to consider upping your game. You may just feel like a superhero after taking them for a while.