Benefits of Probiotics

Benefits of Probiotics

The Supplemental Key to Good Health

By Dr. Chad Walding, DPT
September 4th, 2019

What do you think of when you hear the word bacteria

Most people would probably associate that word with negative meaning and liken it to sickness or disease.

But what if I told you that bacteria can be extremely beneficial to our bodies? In fact, for any average person, there are approximately 100 trillion good bacteria living inside their body right now!1

This good bacteria, which can be found in both probiotics and certain foods, encourage a healthy gut and an overall enhanced immune system. 

Why Take Probiotics?

There is something in our lower intestinal tract called microbes. These microbes help us to: 

  • Fight harmful bacteria
  • Properly digest food
  • Regulate our immune systems

Unfortunately, sometimes an imbalance of these microbes can occur, leading us to face health issues like diarrhea. When our guts experience this unhealthy imbalance, probiotics can help to even things back out again.

Probiotics have been shown to secrete substances that can activate our immune systems and prevent pathogens from creating dangerous diseases in our bodies. Some studies even suggest that taking a probiotic while you’re on an antibiotic can decrease the likelihood of getting diarrhea as a side effect of the medication.2

What Are Some Benefits of Probiotics?

While the main purpose of using a probiotic supplement is to reintroduce good bacteria into your body, there are many other health benefits that are associated with the use of a probiotic as well. 

Probiotic supplements can help:3,4

  • Immune system
      • Directly linked to bolstering the good bacteria in your body – probiotics can make it easier for your body to produce the vitamins and enzymes it needs.
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
      • It’s been shown that probiotics can not only reduce the severity of UTI symptoms but also the frequency in which you may get them.
  • Vaginal infections
      • Studies have reported that certain probiotic strains can help in the prevention of vaginal yeast infections and in keeping the vaginal microbiome balanced.
  • Skin problems
      • According to the American Academy of Dermatology, both oral and topical probiotics can potentially help with skin issues such as eczema, rosacea, and acne.
  • Improved fertility
      • According to research, a good ratio of probiotic strains can help improve your fertility.
  • Digestion
      • Probiotic supplements can aid in digestion for those who suffer from gastrointestinal problems including chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas, and bloating.
  • Blood pressure
      • The National Institutes of Health conducted a study that concluded probiotics can cause a modest reduction to your blood pressure.

    Can You Take Probiotics for Weight Loss?

    The short answer? Yes!

    Some studies found that certain probiotics can increase the amount of fat excreted in your feces. In other words, they may be inhibiting the amount of fat and calories you actually absorb and retain. Probiotics containing the strain Lactobacillus have been shown to behave in this way.

    Some evidence even points us to believe that obesity is directly linked to inflammation in the brain, and by improving our gut health – by way of probiotics – we may be reducing the amount of inflammation as well.

    We have also seen that probiotics may be helping aid weight loss by:5

  • Releasing GLP-1
        • This is an appetite-reducing hormone. Increased levels can help you burn calories and fat.
  • Increasing ANGPTL4
      • This is a protein that can lead to decreased storage of fat.

    In contrast to probiotics that can actually aid in weight loss, there have been studies that show some probiotics simply help in the prevention of weight gain.

    In one study, a group of participants was overfed by 1000 calories over a 4-week study while taking the probiotic supplement called VSL#3. The results at the end of this month-long period showed that this supplement appeared to have provided some protection from body mass gain.6

    What Are the Different Types of Probiotics?

    There are many different types of probiotic supplements, and it’s important to know the difference between them. Since a probiotic will contain specific bacteria strains, not all of them will work in the same capacity or treat the same problems.

    Here is a short guide to help you find which probiotic will be most beneficial to you, listed with health issues they are shown to address:7

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
      • Diarrhea
      • Vaginal health
      • Acne

    One of the most widely-used probiotics, Lactobacillus acidophilus seems to treat the largest range of issues. It’s even been shown to help those who suffer from lactose intolerance and decrease the likelihood of colon cancer.

    • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
      • Eczema
      • Diarrhea

    This probiotic shows strong evidence to help curve diarrhea brought on by the use of antibiotics. Also, a promising study shows that women who used this probiotic strain while pregnant decreased the chances of their children developing atopic eczema, the most common form of eczema in children.

  • Lactobacillus plantarum
      • Inflammation

    Inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract seems to be greatly reduced by this strain of probiotic. It’s also been known to provide symptom relief for patients with irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Lactobacillus casei
      • Gastrointestinal support
      • Brain function

    In studies, this probiotic strain has shown to not only provide patients with digestive support but also decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression.

  • Bifidobacterium lactis
      • Immune health

    One of the most promising probiotics for your immune health is Bifidobacterium lactis. After a period of six weeks, this strain was shown to have raised the levels of antibodies in the patients that used it.

  • Bifidobacterium longum
      • Constipation
      • Brain function

    It’s been shown that adults who take this probiotic along with milk or yogurt for only two weeks reported an increase in their bowel movements. Also, a report from University College Cork found that this strain contributed to lower stress levels and better memory.

  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
      • Immune health
      • Gastrointestinal support

    Researchers have found that things like antibiotics, stress, and diet can all deplete our bodies of this good bacteria. However, this strain helps to regulate our body’s immune response, so replenishing our source of Bifidobacterium bifidum is highly beneficial. It’s further been shown to prevent pathogens from flourishing in our gut. Clinical research of this strain showed significant results in the reduction of irritable bowel symptoms, also.

  • Bifidobacterium breve
      • Anti-aging
      • Constipation

    An incredible study discovered that this strain of probiotic can potentially prevent aging brought on by UV exposure. It has also shown to increase bowel movements in children with constipation.

    • Streptococcus thermophilus
      • Skin problems

    Streptococcus thermophilus is shown to have a positive effect on the level of ceramides on our skin. Low levels of ceramides have been linked to damaged and dry skin.

    Are There Probiotic Foods and Drinks?

    Foods that have been fermented begin by going through a process referred to as lactofermentation, or natural fermentation. During this time, a natural bacteria will feed on the sugars and starches in the food, creating lactic acid. The results include beneficial things such as various species of good bacteria and promotion of enzymes, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins.8

    The most common fermented foods that contain probiotics are:

    • Sauerkraut
    • Sourdough bread
    • Yogurt
    • Kefir
    • Kimchi
    • Kombucha
    • Some cheeses

    It’s important to remember, however, that not all fermented foods contain probiotics. Some fermented foods, such as beer and wine, undergo a process that will remove probiotics. Other foods may be baked or canned and will have their probiotics stripped from them as well.

    A potential downside to fermented foods as a source of probiotics is their tendency to have a unique and sometimes unpleasant taste or smell. 

    Potential Probiotic Side Effects

    Although very uncommon, probiotics, like any supplement, can cause side effects for some people.

    Some users can react poorly to probiotic supplements or foods and experience:9

  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • The most common complaint is temporary gas and bloating. To reduce the likelihood of this occurring, you should begin by taking a low dose and slowly work your way up to a full dose over a period of a few weeks.

  • Headaches
  • Headaches have been seen as a side effect in people who are eating fermented foods as their source of probiotic. Many probiotic foods contain a substance called biogenic amines, which form when protein-rich foods ferment. These amines are known to excite your nervous system, potentially triggering a headache.

  • Increase in histamine levels
  • Some strains used in probiotic supplements can produce histamine inside your digestive tract. Histamine, which is made naturally by your body when it detects a threat, causes your blood vessels to dilate and become more permeable. This can sometimes cause redness or swelling and possibly trigger an allergic response.

  • Allergy
  • If you’re thinking about taking a probiotic supplement, I encourage you to read the ingredients carefully. Some probiotics will contain dairy, soy, eggs, or yeast.

  • Infection
  • Although rare, an infection can occur in some users. Those at the greatest risk are people who already have suppressed immune systems or have undergone recent surgery.

  • Optimize Your Health

    Do you want to:

    • Boost your digestion?
    • Improve your metabolism?
    • Heighten your immune system?
    • Enhance your body’s antioxidant activity?
    • Accelerate the breakdown of your cholesterol?

    Our NativePath Probiotic contains a powerful digestive health formula that contains 11 unique super-strains! In one easy-to-swallow capsule, you can effectively:

    • Restore your gut health
    • Reduce cravings
    • Increase your appetite control
    • Combat the signs of leaky gut syndrome
    • Improve your weight management
    • Promote regular bowel movements

    Click here for your 30-day supply!

    Still, have questions? Our Probiotic FAQ can give you the answers you’re looking for.

    Resources:

    1. https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/good-bad-germs#1
    2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-you-take-probiotics
    3. https://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/nutrition/g3096/probiotics-for-women/
    4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25047574
    5. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/probiotics-and-weight-loss#section3
    6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26466123
    7. https://www.humnutrition.com/blog/the-guide-to-choosing-the-best-probiotic-for-you/
    8. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-get-more-probiotics
    9. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/probiotics-side-effects#section6
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