9 Surprising Benefits of Taking Probiotics
Probiotics have become a hot topic in the health and wellness industry over the past five years. The reintroduction of good bacteria to the gut is believed to have numerous benefits. This leaves many people wondering if probiotics may be the key to reaching their health and wellness goals.
While there’s still much to be discovered, the initial results of probiotic-related studies are promising. Here are nine surprising benefits of taking probiotics.
Boost Your Immune System
People are often surprised to find out that their gut has its own nervous system. This complex system is thought to be deeply entwined with overall immunity. There is a direct correlation between the level of healthy gut bacteria and the body’s immune response.
This reason alone is enough to justify taking probiotics. The world is experiencing an unprecedented health crisis in the form of COVID-19. Taking probiotics increases the level of good bacteria in the body, which will help overpower the bad bacteria and other issues we pick up in the world.
Taking probiotics may be the first line of defense during cold and flu season. By having a better immune system, your body will be able to fight off common bacteria and viruses before your body feels the symptoms.
Another compelling reason to take probiotics is that they can help improve digestion. This consideration is especially important for those who have digestive disorders or struggle to process certain foods. Those who struggle with Chron’s disease, IBS, and lactose intolerance will benefit from taking probiotics.
During the digestive process, probiotics can also help improve nutrient absorption. This effect means you’ll get the most out of the food you eat, letting your body use the vitamins and minerals derived from your diet effectively. Your body only has a limited amount of time to absorb nutrients from food— the more streamlined the process, the better.
In addition to boosting immunity, better gut health is also linked with better recovery. This benefit applies to both illness recovery— for example, getting over a cold— and physical recovery after an intense workout.
Less pain and inflammation means getting back on your feet sooner. For many people, this is the difference between paying their bills and experiencing a financial struggle related to medical expenses or time off work.
Improve Athletic Performance
It’s important to note that there’s no evidence showing a direct relationship between probiotics and athletic performance. There is, however, ample information regarding an indirect connection. The idea is that better digestion, immunity, recovery, and energy levels help contribute to athletic performance.
Consider it this way: if you change your diet to fuel your marathon training, ensuring your body can absorb the nutrients you consume makes a big impact. While taking probiotics isn’t going to turn you into Michael Phelps, it can improve functionality in key body systems that help you keep moving toward your goals.
The direct relationship between gut health and inflammation is incredibly important. Healthy gut bacteria reduces inflammation, which subsequently helps prevent inflammatory diseases.
There’s also a correlation between gut health and treating cancer as well as fighting against heart disease. While probiotics aren’t a miracle cure by any means, using this tool to improve your gut health can contribute to longevity and quality of life over time. The boosted immune function can also help offset the effects of many medical treatments that result in immunosuppression.
Assist with Weight Management
One of the reasons probiotics have become such a hot topic is the implications for weight loss. First, know that probiotics aren’t a weight loss pill. While they can assist with weight management, it’s largely a secondary effect of how probiotics impact digestion.
The better your digestive system operates, the better your weight management will be. As probiotics are tied to nutrient absorption, bowel regulation, reduced inflammation, and better sleep, they make it easier for the body to do its job. For those who struggle with dietary issues or hormonal fluctuations, this can help boost the effects of proper nutrition and exercise.
Improve Skin Quality
The anti-inflammatory effects of probiotics and overall improvements to gut health have a dramatic effect on skin quality. This benefit is especially prevalent in those with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
There’s also evidence that probiotics could be a potent treatment for acne-prone skin. While there’s still work to be done in terms of research, this form of non-medicinal treatment holds a lot of promise. Using probiotics could be a more natural alternative to synthetic or chemical-based acne treatments.
Bloating is often the result of digestive issues, causing a build-up in fluid retention or gas. While adding more fiber to one’s diet can help with digestion, it can often exacerbate bloating in some individuals. Taking probiotics can help streamline digestion and reduce bloating related to increased fiber levels.
This effect is another reason why probiotics have been labeled as a weight loss supplement. Those who take probiotics often look and feel slimmer due to the reduction of gas in their abdomen.
Improve Mental Health
Scientists still don’t fully understand the full implications of how gut health impacts the body. Perhaps the most surprising benefit of taking probiotics is the link to improved mental health. Gut bacteria not only help aid cognition levels and depressive disorders, but it’s also being studied as a link to autism.
While the how and why of gut bacteria concerning mental health is still a mystery, there is a direct link between your mood and your food. Many scientists think that this connection is what leads to a “gut feeling” or intuition. There’s a mysterious, intriguing connection between our minds and our digestive systems, and probiotics may be the key to unlocking it.
What to Look for in Probiotics
Not all probiotics are made the same. One of the most important considerations when purchasing probiotics is the number of strains and CFU count. Look for a CFU count above 50 million with at least ten strains. It’s also important to look at the other ingredients in the capsule to ensure you aren’t coming in contact with any allergens that could counteract the effects of the probiotics.
While probiotics aren’t a miracle cure for any ailments, they’re proven to improve one’s overall health and wellness. Look for a high-quality brand that suits your needs.