Although we rarely stop to examine the importance of bacteria, they are involved in so many processes of our health that stimulating them and keeping them in a healthy balance is vital. In this sense, taking supplements with probiotics is a method to improve our health that we should all attend to.
Commonly associated with the improvement of the bacterial flora, these small living entities called probiotics are capable of influencing our life, improving our intestinal health.
Unfortunately, probiotics are also very unknown, and almost anyone who does not apply to the study of medicine knows very well its importance and its fields of application.
What are probiotics?
From the moment we are born, human beings acquire an innumerable amount of bacteria that, although we do not know it, accompany us throughout our lives, intervening in different mechanisms of our system.
Many of the bacteria that we humans have are friendly. They synthesize vitamins, convert fiber into short chain amino acids and improve our immune system.
Normally bacteria work by themselves, growing and proliferating at a constant and balanced rate. But sometimes, for different reasons, they need help to balance themselves. That is where probiotics intervene.
As the name implies, probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in correct doses, stimulate the development of beneficial bacteria, with all the additional benefits that have already been raised.
Probiotics are usually present in foods, but their most common method of consumption today is through supplements.
5 Reasons to consume probiotics
Thanks to what we call bacterial flora, countless bacteria accumulate in our body. The composition of these varies from person to person, but it is estimated that each of us hosts billions of bacteria, of about 500 different species.
Despite living together, it has been shown that each type of bacteria fulfills specific functions, with different benefits for our health. In the same sense, each type of probiotic stimulates specific types of bacteria, with different independent benefits, with which we can speak of approximately five great benefits or reasons to take them.
1.Can relieve constipation
Constipation is a phenomenon characterized by rigid movements of the intestine, which cause difficulty to excrete or infrequent excretions.
In most people, constipation is a minor problem, which is only occasionally intervened. For other people, however, it can become a chronic problem.
Among adults, chronic constipation is quite common, especially in older adults bedridden, but it is a problem that can appear at any age.
The treatment for chronic constipation is usually based on laxatives and stool softeners, but recent studies have shown that probiotics, mainly type B lactis, can be quite useful to relieve their symptoms, regulating the functioning of digestion.
2.They are effective in treating diarrhea
Diarrhea is a temporary condition characterized by infrequent movements of the intestines, which produce liquid stools.
The main cause of diarrhea is an infection, usually a product of food poisoning, although it may also be due to other factors.
As counterproductive as it may seem, another common cause of diarrhea is antibiotic treatment: when the antibiotic destroys an infection, it also destroys many useful bacteria, which can lead to inflammation in the digestive system and more diarrhea.
Regarding all this, several studies have shown that treating diarrhea with probiotics can be beneficial, in that it helps control the levels of healthy bacteria during the treatment of a disease.
Among the best supplements with probiotics to treat diarrhea are those that contain bacillus coagulans or saccharomyces boulardii.
3.They can improve brain health
There is a close connection between intestinal well-being and brain health: the bacteria in the colon digest and ferment the fiber to convert it into short-chain fatty acids, which nourish the intestine. Research has indicated that this process has a beneficial impact on the brain and nervous system.
The benefits of this whole process are multiple: studies have shown a link between the consumption of probiotics and the relief of the symptoms of certain conditions such as the following:
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Memory deficiencies.
Apparently the most effective probiotics to treat all these brain diseases are those that contain bifidobacterium longum, bifidobacterium breve, bifidobacterium infantis, lactobacillus helveticus and lactobacillus rhamnosus.
4.They can help you lose weight
There is medical evidence that the balance of bacteria in the stomach can influence body weight: studies specifically indicate that probiotics can help control or reduce a person’s weight.
Studies in humans and animals suggest that certain families of bacteria can help to better process the fat and calories of food.
Supplements with probiotics that seem to offer a better result in this regard, are those that contain lactobacillus gasseri, lactobacillus rhamnosus or those that combine lactobacillus rhamnosus with bifidobacterium lactis.
However, it is important to note that no study has indicated that taking probiotics is an infallible method of weight loss for any person, so that a balanced diet and the care of other aspects of health is still relevant in this case.
5.They can improve heart health
Several studies have found that bacteria present in yogurt or in certain supplements with probiotics can affect heart markers and related organs in a positive way.
Among other benefits, probiotics can increase the amount of good cholesterol in the blood and reduce the bad, as well as help control blood pressure.
Supplements with probiotics that appear to be better for the cardiac system are those that contain lactobacillus acidophilus, bifidobacterium longum, and lactobacillus reuteri.