You have likely heard the term “probiotics” being tossed around lately, but you may still be wondering, “Are they really as good as what people say?” When research uncovers any new form of treatment, whether it be medicine or even just nutritional supplements, it takes time to discern whether it really is a good idea to jump on the “health bandwagon” or not. We assure you that probiotics are here to stay and are more than just a fad or popular trend. Probiotics represent the strains of good bacteria in your gut that help treat and prevent a number of different conditions including irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, eczema, and even urinary tract infections. Probiotics are not only a natural cure for many health conditions, but these microorganisms are also an important part of a daily health regimen.
I’ve Heard of Probiotics, But What Are They?
Like so many other supplements and natural cures, people hear the terms tossed around a lot without an actual explanation of what supplements are and how they function. The American Gastroenterological Association defines probiotics as microscopic living organisms, or microorganisms, which benefit your health. Most forms of probiotics are bacteria; however, there are other forms, such as yeasts. More often than not, probiotic organisms are made up of the “good” bacteria in your body, or more specifically your gut. This good bacteria helps maintain your health and regular digestion.
If you are delving into the world of probiotics, it is important to remember that these, like many other natural supplements, are not all equal. When looking for a probiotic supplement, you want to stick to one of the two main forms – Lactobacillus or Bifidobacteriu. Doing a little research will help you identify exactly what strain of probiotics you need to do your body the most good.
Do Probiotics Offer Any Specific Health Benefits?
As probiotics are largely situated in your gut when you take a supplement, it makes sense that one of the biggest health benefits these supplements offer is improving digestive health, but they are also important for a number of other reasons as well. Daily probiotic intake can help support immune function, relieve gastrointestinal strain, lower cholesterol, reduce bacteria in your mouth, improve gum health, and relieve skin issues as well as other allergies.
Can I Use Probiotics to Treat Actual Health Conditions?
In addition to offering a myriad of general health benefits, probiotics can also treat a variety of specific conditions, according to Mayo Clinic and several other reputable sources. Probiotics are effective for treating a variety of health conditions including diarrhea, Crohn’s disease, vaginitis, eczema, and irritable bowel syndrome. WebMD even states that research has found that probiotics may be helpful in lowering the risk of certain childhood illnesses including ear infections, strep throat, and colds and that is something to raise a glass to (or at least a supplement).
This no fun gastrointestinal issue can be particularly difficult to treat. Because diarrhea is often the result of an imbalance in the bacteria in your intestine, probiotics are particularly effective for treating this condition. Probiotics can even be used to treat episodes of diarrhea and stomach upset that are a result of a recent antibiotic regimen.
2. Crohn’s Disease
A relatively common gastrointestinal issue, Crohn’s disease is characterized by episodes of diarrhea, stomach upset, bloating, inflammation, and pain. While the exact cause of the condition is unknown, research suggests that a malfunctioning immune system is one of the primary causative factors, in conjunction with heredity, diet, and stress. Nonetheless, a daily probiotic supplement restores your immune function and relieves comorbid tummy troubles. Probiotics can even help relieve issues with inflammation and bloating.
Vaginitis is a condition caused by an imbalance in the bacteria present in the vagina. As a bacterial imbalance is the primary cause of this issue, probiotics are also an obvious solution. Many women take probiotics on a regular basis to prevent vaginal issues; however, you can also use the nutritional supplements as a vaginal insertion to relieve an existing infection.
A condition characterized by skin inflammation, irritation, and itching, eczema is typically considered an allergic response. While it can be difficult to identify the exact cause of this condition, many individuals respond well to treatment with probiotics. A study presented by Healthline even found that expectant mothers who take probiotics while pregnant are less likely to have babies who experience eczema after birth and into their first years.
5. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Another common digestive issue, irritable bowel syndrome involves periods of diarrhea, bloating, and bowel pain. Probiotics help to restore natural function to your digestive system and relieve symptoms of the condition.
How Do I Incorporate Probiotics into My Health Regimen?
You can incorporate probiotics into your diet in either supplement or food form. Most health food stores carry a variety of probiotic supplements that contain different strains for treating different conditions. Likewise, foods like yogurt and kefir naturally contain probiotics to support your immune health and treat various conditions.
Let us know what types of probiotics you have used and what these super-nutrients have done for your health.
Healthy Lifestyle: Consumer Health, Is It Important to Include Probiotics and Prebiotics in a Healthy Diet? – http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/consumer-health/expert-answers/probiotics/faq-20058065
Probiotics: What They Are and What They Can Do for You – http://www.gastro.org/patient-center/diet-medications/probiotics
Surprising Benefits of Probiotics – http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/surprising-benefits-probiotics#5
What Are Probiotics? – http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/what-are-probiotics