You probably know about probiotics. They’re the tiny, “friendly” bugs that support a balanced and healthy gut. What you may not know is that their benefits go well beyond gut health!
Your body is full of both good and bad bacteria, and when this delicate bacterial balance is out of whack, probiotics may be your most powerful ally to help restore your intestinal ecosystem.
Before adding a probiotic to your daily routine, it’s important to consider the following factors:
1. There are multiple sources. Whether through yogurt, fermented foods (e.g., kombucha, kefir, and kvass), or supplements, there are ways to re-colonize your gut with good bacteria. However, it’s important to note that not all these sources are equally reliable. Make sure you choose a probiotic source that is strain-identified with clinically demonstrated benefits.
2. They contribute to your microbial flora. The microbiome is the genetic material of all microbes—bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses—that live on and inside the human body. The bacteria that contribute to your microbiome are essential to your health, development, immune function, and nutritional status.
3. 70% of the immune system is found in your gut. Oftentimes, a gut imbalance can lead to other kinds of health concerns. Probiotics can help support a healthy immune system.
4. Probiotics influence more than just gut health. And this list runs long. Good bacteria can positively influence nasal, sinus, and respiratory health; immune system health; gastrointestinal health; your ability to absorb nutrients; digestive comfort; vaginal and urogenital health; and weight management.Here are just some reasons to take probiotics:
Not all probiotics are the same. Different strains of the bacteria have different effects. For example, one strain may fight against cavity-causing organisms in our mouths and don’t need to survive a trip through our guts.
Research has been promising for these friendly critters.
Potential benefits of probiotics have been seen in the treatment or prevention of:
• irritable bowel syndrome
• ulcerative colitis
• Crohn’s disease
• H. pylori (the cause of ulcers)
• vaginal infections
• urinary tract infections
• recurrence of bladder cancer
• infection of the digestive tract
With all the benefits probiotics have to offer, there are many reasons to consider probiotic supplementation.
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