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  • Everything You Should Know About Probiotics

    Everything You Should Know About Probiotics

    Probiotics are the helpful bacteria that live primarily in your gut and play a crucial role in your overall health by fighting pathogens that lead to a weakened immune system. A healthy, balanced gut microbiome can reduce blood pressure; normalize cholesterol levels; improve vaginal, urinary, and kidney health; and fight heart disease, some cancers, and even dementia. Many chronic health problems and inflammatory diseases are caused by a damaged microbiome where the good bacteria is overrun by the harmful bacteria so by taking a probiotic you can lower your risks of inflammatory diseases. There are many health benefits on probiotics as well. 

    Probiotics are known to help with digestive health. Strong evidence suggests that probiotic supplements can help cure antibiotic-associated diarrhea. When people take antibiotics, especially for long periods of time, they often experience diarrhea even long after the infection has been eradicated. This is usually because the antibiotics kill the natural bacteria in your gut, which shifts gut balance and allows harmful bacteria to thrive.

    Probiotics also combat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a common digestive disorder, reducing gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and other symptoms by allowing good bacteria into your gut. 

                An interesting fact is people who are overweight or obese have different gut bacteria then lean people. Animal studies indicate that fecal transplants from lean animals can make obese animals lose weight. Therefore, many scientists believe that your gut bacteria are important in determining body weight. Although more research is needed, some probiotic strains appear to aid weight loss. In one study in 210 people with central obesity, which is characterized by excess belly fat, taking the probiotic Lactobacillus gasseri daily resulted in an 8.5% loss of belly fat over 12 weeks. Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis are also found in lean people and can assist with weight loss and obesity prevention. 

                Probiotics can help with your skins immune system including allergies and eczema. Probiotics help reduce inflammatory repsonses and so taking a probiotic once a day can help reduce the appearance of skin rashes like eczema or even reduce inflammatory responses in people who are allergic to milk or dairy.  

                You can get probiotics from a variety of foods and supplements. Live probiotic cultures are often found in fermented dairy products such as yogurts and milk drinks. Fermented foods like pickled vegetables, tempeh, miso, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and soy products may also contain some lactic acid bacteria. However, if you can’t stomach these foods,  you can also take probiotics as tablets, capsules and powders that contain the bacteria in dried form. Be aware that some probiotics can be destroyed by stomach acid before they even reach the gut so it’s important that you consume adequate amounts. Most of the studies showing benefits used dosages of 1 billion to 100 billion live organisms or colony-forming units (CFU) per day