What Do Probiotics Do?

If you’ve spent any time in health and wellness shops or even the vitamin aisle at the grocery store, you’ve likely seen bottles of probiotics. They’re advertised everywhere, like online and in TV commercials. They may seem like a good thing to try, but many people don’t understand the purpose of taking daily probiotics.

Read on if you’ve ever wondered what probiotics do. You may find a few surprising answers since probiotics tackle many health challenges at one time. 

They Balance Your Gut Bacteria

The main purpose of probiotics is to balance your gut bacteria. They’re microorganisms that people normally find in fermented foods, like yogurt or certain cheeses. When bad bacteria overwhelm your gut, it can throw off your health. Sometimes this happens after taking prescription medication or antibiotics.

When you take probiotics, they reduce bad gut bacteria and restore your body’s natural balance so you can feel back to your old self. Your doctor may recommend a supplement or a change in your diet, depending on your health needs.

They Improve Your Mental Health

If you suffer from anxiety or depression, probiotics might help. A collective review of 15 studies found that when people took Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains for a minimum of one to two months, they experienced decreased side effects from health conditions like autism, OCD and even memory loss.

You may not think your gut has anything to do with your mind, but trials and studies have connected gut and mental health over the past few decades. 

They Treat and Prevent Diarrhea

Diarrhea can sometimes occur during times of stress, hormonal changes or when your diet fluctuates. If you can’t think of a reason for your recurring diarrhea, it could be because your gut bacteria is off.

Probiotics can treat and prevent your diarrhea, depending on the strength of the strains you take. Even if you’re not taking antibiotics, probiotics could reduce your diarrhea by 26% by eating away at large amounts of existing bad bacteria.

They Improve Symptoms of Digestive Disorders

Digestive disorders are debilitating. The symptoms often keep people from socializing or even working in an office setting. The key to remission or living with more comfortable symptoms could be probiotics.

One study found that Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium both improved ulcerative colitis symptoms of long-time patients. There are currently no cures for most digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease, so making daily life more comfortable with probiotics goes a long way in improving the quality of life of individuals with these conditions.

They Strengthen Your Immune System

People often say to take more vitamin C supplements when you want to improve your immunity, but that’s not your only option. You can also take probiotics. They’ve shown promise in boosting important immune cells like T lymphocytes and IgA-producing cells. 

Everyone needs to have a second option instead of just increasing their daily vitamin C intake. Too much can create painful and constant symptoms like cramping, headaches and sleeping issues. Starting with a gentle probiotic will round out your health. You can always switch to a stronger probiotic strain if you feel the need to.

They Help With Weight Loss

Anyone looking to lose weight can find assistance with probiotics. Some strains prevent you from absorbing excess dietary fat, excreting it through feces instead of storing it in your cells. They can also help directly with weight loss, since one study found that Lactobacillus rhamnosus produced 50% more weight loss with women who took it every day.

Chat With Your Doctor

It’s always smart to talk with your doctor before introducing anything new into your diet or medication routine. Although probiotics are a natural supplement that can result in any of these benefits, make sure it’s safe to take with your existing conditions and medications.