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Probiotics supplements are in vogue at the moment because of their numerous health benefits. It is important to remember that probiotics are not chemicals like antibiotics, they are in fact cultures of live bacteria or yeasts. The World Health Organization has defined probiotics as ‘live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host’.
These probiotics help boost your immune system by maintaining the balance of the good and bad bacteria in your gut. UCLA researchers have also proven that balancing the gut microbiome can enhance neurotransmitter functions, thereby reducing depression and anxiety.
Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are the most common microorganisms that are used in probiotic supplements. Some of the other bacterial genera are Streptococcus and Enterococcus as well as the fungus Saccharomyces boulardii.
Top Reasons To Start Taking A Probiotic Supplement
How do you know when you need to start supporting your gut health with probiotics? Let's take a look at a handful of reasons many people begin adding a probiotic supplement to their diet.
When you are on antibiotics
The main job of antibiotics is to kill disease-causing bacteria or other microorganisms in the body. The only problem with using antibiotics is that these chemicals cannot distinguish between good and bad bacteria. This means that they kill microorganisms indiscriminately.
While consuming antibiotics gives you short term gains, they can be very bad for your health in the long term simply because they disturb the gut microbiome. A probiotic supplement when you are on antibiotics is one of the best ways to ensure that the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut is maintained. Remember to start taking probiotic supplements only after your round of antibiotics is done, otherwise the antibiotics will kill the probiotics too.
When you have digestive problems
If you are suffering from digestive problems such as bloating, gas, indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea, it may be due to the imbalance in gut flora. Sometimes, these digestive problems are a result of your diet. When these symptoms persist even after changing your diet, it is time for you to start taking probiotic supplement. Research indicates that probiotic supplements can be effective in treatment of diseases like antibiotic-associated diarrhea, infectious diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.
When you have had a recent incidence of food poisoning
Food poisoning is usually a sign that something that you have eaten didn’t fit well with your digestive system. When this happens, the possibility of the multiplication of bad bacteria in your gut increases. Taking a probiotic supplement in such a situation will ensure that the balance of the gut flora is maintained, and that your bowel movements and digestive system is back on track.
Research states that probiotics may actually aid in the treatment of gastroenteritis (food poisoning) in children. As per this research, the probiotic strains that were found to be effective were Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Saccharomyces boulardii. You can even use probiotic supplements as a preventative measure while traveling to foreign countries.
When you have a weak immune system
Do you get every flu or cold going around? If yes, chances are high that your immune system is weak. Taking a probiotic supplement is one of the best ways to boost your immune system and arm your body against harmful viruses and bacteria. Probiotics work on maintaining the balance of your gut flora, which is essential for the proper functioning of your immune system.
The good bacteria that your body gains from probiotic supplements can aid in training your immune system to identify foreign microbes. Along with eating probiotic-rich food daily, adding a probiotic supplement to your diet is a great way to strengthen your immune system.
When you have allergies or asthma
Studies show that consumption of probiotics may indeed reduce the severity of symptoms of asthma. Probiotic supplements can also alleviate allergies, particularly food allergies. Sometimes, the main cause of these food allergies is a leaky gut – taking probiotic supplement can improve the functioning of gut flora, thereby taking care of the food allergies. There are certain studies conducted with children that indicate that healthier gut flora reduces the chances of developing food allergies.
When you have mood disorders
There is a bidirectional relationship between your gut microbiome and brain functioning. When you are going through times of stress, anxiety, or depression, it is likely that your gut flora is imbalanced. Using probiotics during these times will not only rebalance the scales between good and bad bacteria, but also improve the functioning of the neurotransmitters, owing to the prolific brain-gut interaction. Once the neurotransmitters are functioning at optimum level, there is a possibility that your mood will improve.
When you suffer from yeast infections
One of the signs that there is an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your body is when you start suffering from recurrent yeast infections or Candidiasis. Starting a course of probiotic supplements is one of the easiest ways to control the growth of bad bacteria and to bring it back into balance. Getting rid of the imbalance will then get rid of the symptoms of the bad bacterial overgrowth. There have been studies that indicate probiotics help treat candidiasis, however further research is required.
If you find yourself facing any of these health challenges or concerns begin by speaking to your doctor and possibly consider taking a probiotic supplement. Keep in mind that you don't need to wait for these signs. Choose to consume probiotics on a daily basis to help support a healthy gut flora, a healthy immune system, and an overall healthy life.
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