Probiotic Benefits Benefits – Review the Latest Research

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Based on the National Institutes of Health, 60 to 70 million Americans suffer from a digestive disorder. Even if there isn't an illness diagnosed as digestive, you have likely heard that your digestive system's function in breaking down food could affect your mental and immune health. As maintaining a healthy digestive tract is essential for overall health and well-being, you might wonder whether adding probiotics to your daily wellness routine is a good idea.

The probiotics live in microorganisms and are commonly advertised for their benefits to digestion. They are commonly found in fermented drinks and food items and are advertised as nutritional supplements. But are they helping digestion health? Do they aid in other aspects of your health? Through this post, discover the evidence-based research on the positive health effects of probiotics and what you should seek in a supplement with probiotics.

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What Are Probiotics?

The lining of your intestinal tract is filled with bacteria that make up your gut's microbiome. Despite negative connotations, lots of good bacteria help fight illness and improve your overall health. A diverse microbiome can improve digestion and other aspects of your health.

Probiotics, also known as living microorganisms, are believed to enhance the diversity of your microbiome by introducing bacteria that help to promote digestive health, improve the immune system, and more.

Megan Hilbert, M.S., RDN, a registered dietitian specializing in digestive health nutrition in Top Nutrition Coaching, says, “Probiotics have been shown to boost the amount of healthy bacteria that enter our digestive system. This is beneficial to the health of many aspects of our lives such as our skin well-being, immunity and metabolism as well as mental health.”

What Happens When You Take Probiotics Every Day

Although probiotics can provide health benefits, further research is required to give recommendations regarding the strains, dosages, and the length of time they should be used to reap the advantages. In most current research, scientists have had difficulty drawing definite conclusions about the positive health effects of probiotics because of the many strains being studied, the inconsistent findings, and the lack of data on the required duration of treatment needed to experience the effects.

You May Have Better Gut Health

Gut health is likely the first thing you consider when considering probiotics. This is for a reason! Research has shown that probiotics are effective in treating or preventing different digestive issues or problems. As per the NIH, Probiotics can help prevent the following issues:

  • Antibiotic-associated diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Clostridium difficile infection

They can also aid in establishing or sustain an ulcerative colitis remission and reduce mild the symptoms associated with irritable bowel disorder, as per the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

In addition, a study in 2019 that was published in European Journal of Applied Physiology discovered that runners who were taking probiotics that contain Lactobacillus as well as Bifidobacterium during the four weeks prior to the marathon race experienced less stomach symptoms and less severe symptoms than those who consumed placebo.

However, more rigorous research is needed to verify the advantages. In reality it is the American Gastroenterology Association does not suggest probiotics to treat IBS due to lack of evidence. A lot of research reviews are not conclusive due to the numerous range of strains being studied and the diverse results of studies.

You May Have Lower Stress Levels

In the past you've probably thought of the gut-brain link. The research, like this article in 2019 released in Nature Microbiology, has discovered a connection between the microbiome of your gut and the quality of your life. Can probiotics be beneficial?

A study of 2021 that was published in The Journals of Gerontology found that a 12-week supply of healthy adults who are over 65 years old with probiotics that contain Bifidobacterium led to:

  • Significantly fewer gut bacteria that can cause inflammation.
  • Better performance on a mental test of flexibility than the control group
  • Better improvement in stress scores than the control group

Although more research is needed to verify these findings it is clear that probiotics could aid in improving mental well-being and preventing mental health issues especially for older adults.

You May Support Your Cardiovascular Health

A 2020 systematic research review published in Nutrients found that supplementation with vitamin D and probiotics–mainly Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Streptococcus–improved various heart-health metrics, including lipid levels, inflammation and insulin sensitivity. This combination of supplements improved the health of patients more so than D supplementation on its own or placebo.

A systematic review released in 2020's Advances in Nutrition found that consuming fermented dairy, a probiotic food source, resulted in lower cardiovascular risk. Researchers concluded that supplementing with probiotics along with the consumption of fermented dairy can reduce lipid levels, which is a sign that indicates cardiovascular wellness. They also noted there were a large selection of probiotic strains utilized in the study, so the findings must be viewed with cautiousness.

You May Experience Fewer and Shorter Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

A 2022-based update to the Cochrane analysis revealed that probiotic supplements help prevent Upper respiratory tract infections and decrease their duration. There was a range of low-to-moderate-certainty evidence supporting these findings. Researchers concluded that probiotics were superior to placebo or no supplementation for preventing the upper respiratory tract from getting infected.

You May Have Better Dental Health

Periodontal disease is caused by inflammation or infection of the gums as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A systematic review of 2020 released in Probiotics and Antimicrobial Proteinsfound that probiotics can help prevent and treat infections within the mouth such as periodontitis and dental caries. They also decreased the amount of pathogens that cause disease.

Food Sources of Probiotics

One way to take in probiotics is to eat foods. Probiotics can be found in fermented food items, such as:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Tempeh

Hilbert states, “I prefer to recommend my clients take their probiotics from food sources such as yogurt, kefir, Kombucha, kimchi, etc. While probiotic supplements are extremely beneficial in certain situations but they must be used to specific symptoms.”

A balanced diet can to improve overall health, including digestive health. Therefore, when you are taking probiotic-rich meals, make sure to include whole grains protein, lean proteins and unsaturated fats, and fiber.

12 Foods with high levels of fiber to help with the Good Gut Bacteria

What to Look For in a Probiotic Supplement

Before adding any supplementation to your routine of wellness make sure you consult with a reputable medical professional to make sure that it's not harmful and doesn't interfere with the medications you're taking.

Check the Storage Instructions

Probiotics supplements are available in powders, capsules, and liquids. Make sure you adhere to the instructions of the manufacturer for storage. Certain products require refrigeration in order to preserve probiotics since they are living microorganisms.

Check the Strain

There are numerous varieties that are probiotics. The species like Bifidobacterium as well as Lactobacillus as the two most well-known. As per the NIH the two species are also believed to be very secure.

Hilbert states, “There are many different kinds of healthy bacteria and the different strains have distinct effects on the health of your gut. Certain strains have been shown to ease IBS symptoms, while others can aid in balancing vaginal microbiota and aid in urogenital health, while others aid in immunity. A consultation with a gastroenterologist or GI dietitian will assist you in determining which probiotic strains are beneficial for treating particular symptoms.”

Check the Dose

Probiotics are measured as colony-forming units (CFUs) that is the quantity of living bacteria present in the product. It is the World Gastroenterology Organisation Practice Guidelines confirm that the majority of probiotics that are sold on the market have between 1 to 10 billion CFUs per dosage. However, therapeutic benefits can be observed at doses that are that are outside of this range, based on the strain used and the health risk.

Certain tests have revealed differences in the CFUs of a probiotic-rich food or supplement as compared with what is stated on the label. Probiotics may also cease to exist with time, causing CFUs to change as you the aging.

It is recommended to talk with your doctor or registered dietitian regarding the dose and strain of probiotics that may best suit your health problems.

Verify It's Third-Party Tested

Dietary supplements aren't strictly controlled, meaning the stated amounts or ingredients could be wrong. This is why it is essential to select an item that has been third-party verified to make sure the information on the label is correct.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are supplements that contain probiotics good for?

Probiotic supplements can help improve the immune system, mental, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular health as well as dental. But, more studies are needed to verify some of these connections and to understand specific strains of probiotics and dosages that can help with every health issue.

2. Which supplement to probiotics is the most efficient?

In general, the kinds that belong to Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium tend to be the ones most frequently examined and are generally safe. Thus, the chance of adverse side effects from these species is quite minimal.

The World Gastroenterology Organisation has guidelines regarding probiotics that cover doses and strains to address various health issues. We suggest using a third-party test to confirm the label is true and contacting your doctor for specific suggestions.

3. What are the indicators that you require probiotics?

Hilbert claims, “If you deal with constipation, gas or acid reflux issues, then probiotics could aid. Certain strains have been found to be beneficial for non-GI ailments such as recurrent UTIs (UTIs) or respiratory tract infections.” But, she says that almost everyone can benefit from probiotic-rich food items.

4. Do you need to consume probiotics daily?

Probiotics taken regularly have generally been proven that they are safe as per the NIH and the NIH, particularly Lactobacillus as well as Bifidobacterium. The most frequent negative side result is gas.

A few cases of infections caused severe illness for the immunocompromised or seriously ill following the use of probiotics. Whatever the case, talk to an experienced health professional prior to taking any new supplement.

5. Who should not take the probiotic supplement?

People who are immunocompromised or suffer from a severe disease should avoid taking probiosupplementse. If you are unsure if it would be beneficial for you, talk to your trusted health professional.

The Bottom Line

Probiotics play a significant role in the development of a diverse microbiome. Although probiotic supplements have lots of promise for immune, gut and heart health further studies are needed to verify the benefits of these supplements, and the most appropriate dosages and strains to treat various health issues. Probiotics are generally considered to be safe however you should consult with your physician prior to adding any new supplements to your daily routine.

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