Did you know that the gut is one of the main powerhouses of the body? So many people suffer from illnesses, ailments, and conditions that, without even realizing it, originated in the gut (hello skin conditions and moodiness). That is why it is crucial to maintain proper gut health in order to ensure that you are maximizing your health and wellness. Probiotics are live microbes, typically bacteria and yeasts, that naturally live within your large intestine. They are part of your microbiome, a diverse group of trillions of organisms that consist of bacteria, yeast, and protozoa. Everyone’s microbiome is unique, but there are common probiotic bacteria such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium that are common in probiotic over-the-counter formulas.
Probiotics are generally quite safe and are taken with the intention of reestablishing a healthy balance of microbes in your gut. The main goal of probiotics is to introduce good bacteria and maintain a healthy balance in your body. We interviewed Dr. Vikki Petersen, certified clinical nutritionist, chiropractor, and certified functional medicine practitioner, who dives into the importance of probiotics when it comes to maintaining one’s overall health and wellness.
Nutritionist’s Top 6 Reasons You Should Be Taking A Probiotic
1) Improves Cell Growth
Probiotics enhance the development of natural killer cells and stimulate the activity of the cells that line your intestine, your intestinal epithelial cells. This is integral to a strong immune response and proper digestion.
2) Weight Management
Studies have suggested that probiotics can assist you in losing weight and belly fat. The balance of two families of beneficial bacteria, Bacteroides, and firmicutes seems to be key. Overweight individuals tend to have more firmicutes and fewer bacteroidetes as compared to individuals of normal weight.
3) Improves Digestion
Probiotics can improve digestion in a variety of ways. They can improve the digestion of carbohydrates, assist in the absorption of protein, along with other vitamins and nutrients. Other digestive symptoms that improve with the use of probiotics include gas, bloating, digestive pain, diarrhea, and constipation.
Those suffering from constipation have a different balance of bacteria in their intestines when compared to those who do not suffer. Probiotics serve to introduce more beneficial bacteria while lowering the pH of the large intestine, helping stool to move faster.
5) Reduces Inflammation
Probiotics modulate the inflammatory response in a beneficial fashion… To that end, probiotics are used to treat chronic inflammatory conditions including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis (UC), and celiac disease (CD).
6) Reduces Bad Cholesterol
Several studies have found probiotics to reduce total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Specifically, research was conducted with Lactobacillus probiotics. Studies conducted on humans, not animals, have found measurable improvements in not only overall lipid profiles but also reducing triglycerides.