Probiotics are living microorganisms present in either food or supplements that help to ease stomach issues and aid in your overall health.
Consume probiotics in whichever form you choose, either from fermented foods or probiotic supplements, probiotic options include:
- Probiotic supplements
- Reduces the symptoms of digestive disorders
- Improves mental health
- Improves heart health
- Promotes weight loss
- Taking antibiotics can reduce the number of bacteria needed to maintain a healthy bacterial balance in the gut, and diarrhea can be a common side effect from this bacterial unbalance. The microorganisms in probiotics work to reduce diarrhea by returning the guts bacterial balance to pre-antibiotic treatment . Numerous studies have found that probiotics can significantly reduce diarrhea caused by an antibiotic bacterial imbalance , .
- Studies have shown that probiotics may improve mental health by improving your mood . Probiotic studies have also shown that probiotics reduce depression levels, inflammation markers, and insulin levels, all working to improve your mental health .
- Lowering your LDL cholesterol and blood pressure is essential for keeping your heart healthy, and probiotics may help to do this. Studies have shown that LDL cholesterol was reduced by 5% in subjects eating probiotic yogurt over a 2-8 week period . Some lactic-acid producing bacteria, established through probiotics, enable this by breaking down bile in the gut, preventing it from being reabsorbed and continuing to enter the blood as LDL cholesterol .
- There is evidence that taking probiotics may help you lose weight; one study showed that women who took probiotics over 24 weeks lost significantly more weight than the women who took a placebo . This weight loss could be caused by probiotics preventing the absorption of fat in the intestine , suppressing appetite, and burning more calories through hormonal changes .
Usually, probiotics are taken once per day. Simply follow the instructions on the probiotic you use.
Side effects from probiotics are relatively uncommon, but some symptoms can include:
- An upset stomach, gas and bloating usually subsides quickly but reducing your probiotic intake can help, as can changing the probiotic food you eat to something more tolerable.
- Some of the bacteria in probiotics can produce histamine in the stomach and cause what looks like an allergic reaction. Those intolerant to histamine should take other probiotics that don’t produce histamine.
Jamie Lee Curtis
- Some probiotics contain yeast and dairy and therefore aren’t suitable for those with yeast allergies.
- Be sure to consult a doctor before taking probiotics if you aren’t sure if they’re right for you, especially if you are immunocompromised to prone to infection.