Health Benefits of Probiotics

Dr, Donna Restivo

Posted on May 12 2019

In our previous post, we discussed the basics of bacteria and the inner-workings of the gut. In this post, we are taking it a step further, and we are going to dissect a few of the many health perks of having a balanced gut with good bacteria. 

 

Bowel improvement. If you suffer from sporadic or regular diarrhea, then you are going to want to listen closely. Several studies determined that particular strains of probiotics can lessen the duration of diarrhea caused by infection by an average of 25 hours. Probiotics were also shown to lessen diarrhea associated with traveling, by 8%. When it came to other causes, the risk of diarrhea was lowered by 26% in adults and 57% in children.  

Reduce the risk of eczema and allergies. In one study, infants with eczema who were fed milk supplemented with probiotics, saw an improvement in the skin condition. Babies born to women who regularly took probiotics while pregnant, had an 83% lower risk of developing eczema in the first two years of life. For those who have milk or dairy allergies, probiotics may lessen inflammatory responses.  

Improvement of mental health conditions. Balanced bacteria doesn’t just benefit physical symptoms, and probiotics have been linked to mood and mental health. In several studies there was an improvement in depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), memory and autism after patients took probiotics for two months. The decreased depression was in line with reduced levels of the C-reactive protein, which is a marker of inflammation. Insulin levels of those who took the probiotic were lower, as well.  

Heart health. Probiotics have a tendency to lower the LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, as well as lowering blood pressure. Lactic acid-producing bacteria works by breaking down bile in the gut, which also lowers the cholesterol. Bile is mostly made of cholesterol, and when this bile is broken down, it is prevented from entering the blood as cholesterol after it is reabsorbed in the gut.  

Reduce digestive disorders. One million people in the United States, suffer from ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), which can lead to more issues, all the while causing some major discomfort. The good news is that there are certain strains of probiotics that have shown to improve symptoms.  Believe it or not, one study found that the addition of a probiotic containing E.coli Nissle proved to be just as effective as prescription drugs, when it came to ulcerative colitis staying in steady remission. There is also research that shows probiotics as lessening the severity of IBS. 


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