Stop missing the advantages of probiotics for gut health

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Are you overlooking the advantages of probiotics? Don’t miss out on the potential power of these mighty microbes.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Please see the disclaimer below for more information.

Understanding probiotics and how they work

Probiotics could have important potential benefits for your overall well-being. Understanding how they may positively impact your digestive system, boost your immune health and even contribute to mental wellness is eye-opening.

From enhancing nutrient absorption to aiding in weight management, these beneficial bacteria offer a range of perks that may surprise you. Let’s dive into the world of probiotics and discover how they might benefit you.

Sources of probiotics

First, where do probiotics come from? From natural probiotic foods to supplements, there are a few places to find probiotic strains. Here are some you might be familiar with:

  • Yogurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Kombucha
  • Probiotic-fortified foods
  • Supplements in pill, capsule or liquid form

“Getting in your probiotics doesn’t have to mean taking a supplement — there are a lot of real food sources of probiotics. It may sound intimidating, but learning how to ferment vegetables at home is not as hard as it seems.”

— Anne Mauney, MPH, RD, fANNEtastic food

It’s important to note that while consuming probiotics is generally safe, their health benefits are still being studied, and their effects can vary from person to person. It’s always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

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5 advantages of probiotics you need to know

What is the role of probiotics in your health? Here are five compelling perks that everyone should know about.

Nutrient absorption

According to Judkins’ 2020 study on probiotics and the small intestine, strain-specific therapy could improve nutrient absorption by restoring intestinal barrier integrity and reducing disease-related pathology. These specific strains are classified as nutribiotics due to their potential to improve people’s nutritional status.

Certain probiotics promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which is essential for overall human health. They enhance digestion by aiding nutrient absorption and supporting an optimal environment within the digestive tract.

Digestive health

Furthermore, probiotics have been found to alleviate symptoms associated with inflammatory bowel syndrome, or IBS, and other gastrointestinal disorders. A 2006 randomized controlled trial concludes probiotic supplements can help reduce abdominal pain, bloating and discomfort in females with IBS. 

Probiotics are also known to aid in managing diarrhea caused by infections. When harmful bacteria upset the balance within the gastrointestinal tract, leading to diarrhea, introducing friendly bacteria through probiotics seems to help mitigate its severity. Similarly, a 2007 study from the British Medical Journal suggests that probiotics may also be used to prevent loose bowels associated with antibiotic use. By supporting a healthy gut environment and combating harmful microorganisms, probiotics assist in maintaining optimal digestive function.

Immune system

Certain probiotic strains have been found to improve the body’s immune response. For example, clinical studies show that probiotics can support the production of natural antibodies in the body, which are essential for fighting off harmful pathogens.

Mauney from fANNEtastic food emphasizes, “The community of bacteria living in your gut is crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system. Therefore, consuming probiotics is one way to improve gut health and overall health.”

Individuals can potentially reduce their susceptibility to respiratory infections and illnesses by consuming foods or supplements containing beneficial microbes. This is particularly significant given that respiratory infections are common and can significantly impact one’s quality of life.

Mental health

The growing area of psychobiotic research explores the gut-brain connection, depositing the idea that specific probiotics could produce neurohormones and neurotransmitters that alleviate depression and anxiety symptoms. Literature published in Nutrients suggests that these microorganisms offer multifaceted health benefits “without undesired secondary effects, and…a lower risk of allergies…compared to psychotropic drugs.”

Weight management

A study in the British Journal of Nutrition explores the potential of supplementation with the probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus to aid in weight loss and maintenance among obese individuals, with a focus on the modulation of the gut microbiota. Their conclusion states the formulation “helps obese women to achieve sustainable weight loss.”

Furthermore, another study from Nutrients highlights the impact of probiotic supplementation on appetite sensations and eating behaviors. The observations support the hypothesis that the gut-brain axis may impact appetite control and related behaviors in obesity and weight management.

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Choosing the right probiotic supplement for your needs

Don’t jump into probiotics as the next new wellness tip without proper consideration of several factors. Here’s what to keep in mind before selecting a probiotic supplement:

  1. Look at the strain diversity. Different strains of healthy bacteria offer various benefits, so choose a supplement with the correct strain for you.
  2. Check the potency and pick a product with adequate live cultures, enough to support your gut health effectively.
  3. Consider the viability of the probiotic. This refers to whether the bacteria can survive and thrive in your gut once consumed. Look for products that have been tested for viability or contain technologies ensuring survival through your digestive system.

Consulting a healthcare professional or gut health specialist is the best option when determining which probiotic is most suitable for your specific health goals. A healthcare provider can provide personalized recommendations based on your unique needs and history.

Safe usage and considerations for probiotic supplementation

Following recommended dosages and storage instructions when taking probiotics is imperative for optimal efficacy and minimizing potential side effects. Storing the supplements according to the manufacturer’s guidelines will help maintain their potency and effectiveness over time. Be sure the product is labeled clearly. You wouldn’t want to mix up your supplement with the probiotic for your dog.

In conclusion

You’ve gained an understanding of the advantages of probiotics, their effectiveness and how to choose the right supplement for your needs. Not all probiotics are created equal, so an educated choice is very important.

Remember to prioritize strains targeting your specific health concerns and consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplementation. Be mindful of safe usage practices to maximize the benefits of probiotics.

Stay informed about the latest research and developments in this field as your health journey continues. Keep seeking reliable sources of information as you consider what to add to your wellness routine for potential long-term benefits.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The contents of this article, made available via Food Drink Life, are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The content presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or dietary changes. Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk.

Jessica Haggard is dedicated to helping people cook easy everyday recipes focusing on bioavailable and nutrient-dense foods. She helps people overcome food allergies and discover healthy recipes that make a difference in their health with gluten-free, low-carb and keto cooking at Primal Edge Health.

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