What does the word bacteria mean to you? A harbinger of disease, for sure! But there is more to bacteria than just being responsible for ailments. Bacteria can actually help optimize your health. Yes, you read it right! That’s what probiotic bacteria are all about.
Probiotics and Health- Why Take a Probiotic?
Your gut contains more bacteria than the total number of cells in your body combined- something known as the gut microbiome. On average, a healthy adult contains more than 160 different types of bacteria in their gut (1).
There exists a delicate balance between the good and bacteria in your gut, with the natural balance in favor of good bacteria. The probiotic bacteria are responsible for a variety of health benefits.
Here is the list of the top 4 health benefits associated with probiotics.
# 1: Probiotics and Gut Health
One of the fundamental, and rather expected, benefits of probiotics is their ability to improve gut health.
Here is how this happens. As mentioned, the gut contains a mix of good and bad bacteria. Due to disease or unhealthy lifestyle- especially eating a Western-styled diet- can shift the balance toward bad bacteria. This is known as dysbiosis.
Your gut acts as an interface between the outside world and your body’s inside environment. When bad bacteria are on the rise, they increase the permeability of your gut for toxins and harmful substances. Once these substances gain entry into your body, it manifests as slow metabolism, low energy, and poor health as a whole (2).
When you reintroduce probiotics into your gut, these bacteria put a stop to gut inflammation and bring the gut permeability back to normal. Moreover, these bacteria soothe your gut locally as well and can help with conditions like IBS, food intolerance, food allergies, gut inflammation, and so on (3).
# 2: Probiotics Boost Metabolism
If you feel lethargic, are putting on weight for no apparent reason, and have a compromised stamina then these are indicators that your metabolism is not working the way it should.
Years of unhealthy eating and a sedentary lifestyle can put a significant load on your metabolic health. It can lead to a toxic buildup in your body and can lead to outcomes like poor energy levels, fat accumulation, and weight gain.
Organic probiotics help your body get rid of the excess toxins that are compromising your metabolic health. These good bacteria reset your metabolic health and make sure that you stay in shape and remain active as well.
Researchers have long known that weight gain is linked to lower levels of probiotic bacteria. In a 6 year study, researchers noticed that individuals with a lower number of Lactobacilli in their body have a higher chance to gain weight compared to those with higher levels of these bacteria (4).
# 3: Cardiovascular Benefits of Probiotics
Another important benefit of organic probiotics is their ability to improve the health of different body systems, in addition to their obvious benefits for gut health.
Research suggests that probiotics help correct a number of factors that are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events like ischemic heart disease.
For instance, in one research, scientists found that giving a probiotic containing a combination of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria can cause a significant reduction in blood sugar levels and can help improve insulin sensitivity in Type 2 diabetics (5). Erratic blood sugar levels are the top reasons for higher cardiovascular disease risk.
Furthermore, probiotics help improve cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels, and by reducing the level of inflammation in the body- all of which are known risk factors for heightened risk of cardiovascular disease (6).
# 4: Probiotics Health Improve Gut-Brain-Endocrine Axis
Researchers have explored an interesting aspect related to gut health. They have noticed that the gut is closely linked to other body systems as well like the hormonal system and the brain itself. This fact might be shocking for you but having dysbiosis can make you prone to health problems like thyroid dysfunction and even Alzheimer’s Disease.
Scientists believe that this is due to something called the gut-brain-endocrine axis. Your brain controls your gut functions but the chemicals from your gut make their way into your bloodstream and then into your endocrine organs (like thyroid and adrenals) and your brain as well.
For instance, scientists have noticed that the risk of autoimmune Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (a form of hypothyroidism) is four times higher in individuals with leaky gut (7). Similarly, results of Brazilian study shows that individuals with leaky gut are significantly at a higher risk of developing brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s (8).