The health contributions of probiotics are unarguably among the most discussed health discussions of the past few years. The National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health (NCCIH) defines probiotics as live microorganisms, mostly bacteria, that look and function like helpful microorganisms that live in the gut microbiota. The organization points out that whereas bacteria are typically classified as harmful germs, probiotic bacteria help the body maintain optimum function.
The skin & digestive system only contains nearly 2000 different bacterial strains. The benefits of probiotics have been established in various functions, including reinforcing the immune system, tackling inflammation, keeping healthy skin, and supporting the digestive system, particularly if used alongside prebiotics.
Five (5) Health Contributions of Probiotics
Probiotics have several functions that are well documented over time. Ironically, there are few foods rich in probiotics these days, mostly due to the unending refrigeration and certain practices, such as soaking foods in chlorine, all in the name of sanitation.
While we'll talk about the best foods to be eaten for probiotics, later on, let's look at five impressive benefits of these bacteria to health. Here we go.
Improve Digestive Function
The fundamental function of probiotics remains their contribution towards digestion. In fact, it is through this that they affect other body functions positively. Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia recently held a meta-analysis, and a major report of the researchers is this:
"Probiotics are generally helpful in the treatment & prevention of gastrointestinal diseases… When deciding to use probiotics as a means of treatment/prevention of gastrointestinal disease, the probiotic strain, and the type of disease are the most relevant factors to consider."
By eating probiotic-rich foods and taking supplements, your body gets higher levels of protection from various digestive diseases, including Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. However, while evidence of these benefits of probiotics on Crohn's disease is scarce, there is much stronger evidence when it comes to ulcerative colitis. Studies are currently going on to find out the effects of probiotics on gluten issues like celiac disease.
Hundreds of studies have produced evidence that probiotics are highly effective against acute diarrhea, antibiotic-related diarrhea, infectious diarrhea, traveler's diarrhea, and other forms of diarrhea and help to relieve constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, pouchitis, and H. pylori.
Help To Reduce Antibiotic Resistance
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antibiotic resistance is one of the worst threats to food security, development & global health. This is a condition in which bacteria develop resistance towards prescribed drugs. Antibiotic resistance is caused by various reasons, such as the wrong use of drugs, the absence of diversification in medications & overdose of prescribed antibiotics.
By eating foods rich in probiotics regularly, it's possible to reconfigure certain varieties of gut bacteria that are commonly disfigured after using antibiotics and prevent gut issues related to antibiotics. Additionally, probiotic foods & supplements can improve the ability of antibiotics, thus helping to prevent bacterial strains from becoming resistant.
May Combat Mental Issues
The gut has a second brain, which has, for long, been a chief point of study since researchers found out the relevance of the connection between the brain and gut. A meta-analysis in 2015 realized the link between both body parts and put down this saying:
"Several interactions between the gut and brain appear to have effects on the pathogenesis of a couple of deficiencies in which inflammation is implicated, say obesity, mood disorder, attention-deficit hypersensitivity deficiency, autism-spectrum disorders & multiple sclerosis."
Whereas studies are yet to be conducted on humans, early research on animals indicates that probiotic supplements & foods may help relieve anxiety symptoms by lowering inflammation and this brain-gut interaction. These effects extend to depression, as well. According to a pioneer meta-analysis in 2016, continuous use of probiotics will help people with manic depression have less manic episodes that they may not even have to frequent hospitals anymore.
However, a perhaps more surprising result is the way probiotics seem to affect specific symptoms of autism. The condition has been linked with gut health for some time, as autistic people have typically had digestive disorders as well. If animal models are anything to go by, improving the quality of bacteria in the gut will help the digestive function and the abnormal symptoms of autism.
Both prebiotics & probiotics are an unending topic of studies concerning immunity. Scientists usually refer to using the two together as synbiotics.
A review in 2015 reported, "We advise that Bifidobacteria & LAB and new strains probiotic strains might be a supplementary or an additional therapy & may have the ability to prevent a wide scope of immunity-related illnesses due to anti-inflammatory effects."
Chronic inflammation is directly or indirectly responsible for plenty of diseases affecting health, especially the heart. Therefore, the fact that probiotics can inhibit or limit the spread of inflammation in the gut (where 80% of the immune system is) is essential. If you find a senior who's still agile at tasks, there are high chances of him having many probiotics in his diet. As it stands, there are ongoing studies to confirm if probiotics can enhance the gut immune & lower inflammation in HIV-positive persons who get to undergo treatment.
Encourage Healthy Skin
Several researchers have assessed the benefits of probiotics for the skin, particularly in kids. Meta-analyses have revealed that probiotics are helpful in the prevention of infant eczema & pediatric atopic dermatitis. There are yet unclear indications that the development of acne is linked to the quality of gut bacteria.
The skin uses of probiotics are also linked to reduced inflammation cussed by healthy gut bacteria. L.casei, a specific probiotic strain, can reduce inflammation in antigen-specific skin. Studies now suggest that maintaining balanced gut surroundings is beneficial for both healthy & unhealthy human skin.
Concluding The Health Contributions of Probiotics
The health contributions of probiotics include better body formation and even improved metabolic syndrome. Probiotic foods and supplements should be taken regularly. Stay healthy!