Probiotics are live micro-organisms that promote the growth of good bacteria in your digestive tract. Lack of good bacteria in the gut will result in digestive problems such as diarrhea, bloating, constipation, and other kinds of ailments. But with the help of probiotics, it can restore your gut to its normal state. However, these microbes must be alive, and you have to take plenty of them to garner its benefits.
Two of the most common groups of probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. If that doesn’t sound confusing enough, wait until you hear that its advanced names are even more complicated. It comes with numbers, letters, and other details that look straight out from an algebra lesson (just kidding). So what are the benefits of taking probiotics? Here are eight of them:
- Helps Ease Diarrhea While Traveling
- If you’re a person that loves to travel a lot, then taking a lot of probiotics is just what you need. Feeding on foods rich in probiotics such as garlic, onions, asparagus, and other veggies, especially the ones that contain a lot of fiber will help prevent traveler’s diarrhea.
- May Help Treat Stomach Bugs in Kids
- A study conducted in Canada has found that probiotics help on treating stomach bugs in kids. However, the results are a bit vague. This is because the kids were already too sick when they were treated with probiotics. Giving the probiotics sooner may have shown significant results, but it’s there anyway.
- Eases Common Cold
- We all hate when we get a cold, especially one that lasts up to ten days. However, with the help of probiotics, it can shorten the days of the cold. A study has shown that people who take probiotics have seen lesser days of getting cold, and the symptoms have lowered down to 34%.
- It Helps Protect Premature Infants
- A lot of premature babies are most likely to develop an intestinal disorder inside the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This is because babies still didn’t have good bacteria inside their guts, and the only way for them to gain some is by feeding them foods that are rich in probiotics.
- Lowers Bad Cholesterol
- There are plenty of drugs around that help lower blood cholesterol. One example is statin. However, despite of its blood cholesterol-lowering ability, it comes with a side effect such as muscle wasting. What most people don’t know that probiotics can also lower bad cholesterol. Various studies have shown that probiotics can lower bad LDL cholesterol levels. But don’t rely on probiotics alone. You must still eat foods that can lower your cholesterol as well.
- Helps Treat Bacterial Vaginosis
- Bacterial vaginosis (BV) can be treated with some probiotic strains such as the L. rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14. Why it’s important to treat BV? Because when left untreated, you’re more prone to sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Although antibiotics can help, probiotics also play a vital role in treating such.
- Helps Prevent Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea
- Taking probiotics such as the Florastor, Saccharomyces boulardii, Bio K+ L. acidophilus CL1285, L. caseiLBC80R, or L. rhamnosusCLR2 helps prevent antibiotic-associated bacteria from developing.
- Promotes Stronger Bones
- The more we get older, our bones get weaker. But thanks to probiotics, it reduces the chance of our bones getting brittle that can lead to osteoporosis. The L. reuteri probiotic is known to help reduce bone loss, especially in older women that lack bone mineral density according to a study.
Things That Probiotics Can’t Treat Just Yet
Despite all the good stuff that probiotics have in store for us, there are some things that it can’t do just yet such as:
- Treating depression – The gut
has a special connection with our mind. Which means that probiotics can cure
whatever mental ailment we have, right? To answer that question, no. It may be
in the future, but your best bet is to contact a psychiatrist for a special
- Treating allergies – As of today,
there is still no proof that probiotics can treat food allergies in both
infants and adults. However, research is already made about this, but only in
its early stages.
- Treating skin diseases – Skin diseases such as acne, eczema, rosacea, and others are still being treated with specific medication, not with probiotics. But various research has been conducted on how probiotics can affect the skin. So maybe in the near future, we will see some probiotic-based medication for skin diseases.