Probiotics are yeasts and live bacteria that are beneficial to your digestive system and overall health. Our bodies are full of both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are essential for keeping your gut healthy as you age. You can find probiotics in supplement form, and they’re also present in certain foods, such as yogurt.
Types of Probiotics
Several types of bacteria are classified as probiotics, and they all have different beneficial qualities for seniors and other age groups. Lactobacillus is the most common, and it is found in fermented foods and yogurt. Certain strains can prevent diarrhea and help those who are lactose intolerant. Bifidobacterium is found in most dairy products and can ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Saccharomyces boulardii is a yeast that’s found in probiotics; it’s known to help treat diarrhea and other digestive issues.
They Can Help You Lose Weight
Probiotics can help you lose weight, which will increase your quality of life further if you're carrying a few extra pounds. Scientists believe that probiotics prevent the absorption of dietary fat so that your body harvests fewer calories from the foods that you eat. They can fight obesity by releasing the appetite-reducing hormone GLP-1. An increase in GLP-1 helps you burn more calories and fat, leading to a decrease in fat storage.
The Benefits of Probiotics
Probiotics send food through your digestive system by influencing the nerves that control gut movement. Along with gut health, they are useful for treating urinary and vaginal infections and eczema. They also might play a role in preventing allergies and colds. Researchers have found that probiotic supplements can improve mood and mental health disorders. Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains, in particular, are linked to improvements in autism, anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Some probiotic strains can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, keeping your heart healthy. They break down bile and prevent it from being reabsorbed into the stomach and entering the blood as cholesterol. Probiotics can reduce inflammatory responses in those with milk allergies.
Over 1 million people in the United States alone have Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or inflammatory bowel disease. Many types of probiotics have improved symptoms in these conditions and are just as effective as prescription medication. Probiotics boost the immune system and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut. They promote the production of natural antibodies in the body. A study on children found that taking certain strains of probiotics reduced the severity of respiratory infections.
You should talk to your doctor before starting supplementation with probiotics if you are currently taking a prescription drug or antibiotic. You may also need to avoid probiotic supplements if you have a weakened immune system or are allergic to dairy products.
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