Probiotics and health – Benefits of taking probiotics
•August 22nd, 2018•0 Comments•365 Views•
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The human body is home to over five hundred different strains of bacteria that serve specific functions.
Even bacteria of the same name may function in different ways. For example, if a specific strain of Lactobacillus (a commonly studied probiotic strain) helps prevent an illness, that doesn't mean that another strain of Lactobacillus would have the same effect.
We have yet to discover all the effects that probiotics have on the body, but we do know that the right strains, cultured and processed the right way, offer the following six proven health benefits.
1. Probiotics Provide Energy
According to Gastroenterologist, up to 10% of our daily energy needs are provided through the process of fermentation by our gut flora.
By breaking down the components of food that we are unable to digest (like fiber), bacteria in our gut allow us to assimilate fatty acids, sugars, and amino acids that we would not have access to otherwise.
2. Probiotics Are Antioxidants and Anti-inflammatory
As these oxygen radicals accumulate in the intestinal tract, they can damage the intestinal lining and create a state of chronic inflammation.
Strains of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus have been found to limit the accumulation of free radicals in the intestinal tracts of rats by acting as antioxidants.
The end-products that gut bacteria produce, like the short-chain fatty acid called butyrate, also have antioxidant properties that help to reduce inflammation and heal the intestinal wall.
3. Probiotics Resist Infection
The fermentation end-product butyrate also supports regulatory T-cell functions in the gut and contributes to the integrity of the intestinal wall.
This allows the body to prevent infectious pathogens from getting in while we let our immune system eliminate them from the body.
Probiotics also prevent pathogenic bacteria like E. Coli from being able to colonize our intestinal tract by out-competing them for food, using acids to change the environment.
Creating anti-microbial substances that prevent the bad bacteria from thriving.
4. Probiotics Prevent Digestive Issues
We need bacteria to digest food. Probiotics help prevent digestive issues in many ways. They keep our intestinal wall from being oxidized by free radicals by acting as antioxidants and triggering the production of protective mucus.
Probiotics also produce substances that provide the intestinal wall with what it needs to heal itself.
Butyrate, for example, provides the components that the intestinal wall needs to form new cells while providing energy for existing cells.
Butyrate has also been found to increase intestinal motility, which helps prevent constipation.
5. Probiotics Produce Vitamin K and B Vitamins
In addition to producing butyrate, probiotics have the capacity to synthesize seven different vitamins:
Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis.
Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is involved in more than 100 enzyme reactions that are mostly concerned with protein metabolism.
Vitamin B5: Vitamin B5 is needed to produce red blood cells, manufacture sex, and stress-related hormones, synthesize cholesterol and maintain a healthy digestive tract.
Biotin: Biotin metabolizes carbohydrates, fats, and amino acids and plays a role in preventing insulin resistance.
Folate: Folate is essential for proper cell division.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K is required for the synthesis of proteins involved in blood clotting and bone formation.
These vitamins are essential for processes that affect every cell in the body, but our needs for these vitamins are not met by our probiotics alone.
We must consume adequate amounts of these vitamins to receive their benefits because it is unclear how much of these vitamins are produced by our probiotics.
6. Probiotics Help with Fat Loss
A few studies suggest that specific Lactobacillus strains have an impact on body fat, weight, and metabolic disorders.
For example, the ingestion of Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 for 12 weeks reduced fat mass gain, body weight, and waist to hip ratio in overweight subjects when compared to a placebo.
This may be due to the link between leptin and probiotics. Leptin is a hormone secreted by fat cells that let the brain know when we are full.
Probiotics indirectly affect our leptin response by promoting a state of low inflammation and allowing us to get more nutrition out of every calorie we eat. This creates the perfect environment for fat loss.
How to Make Probiotics Work for You
Even the best probiotic will do little to combat a poor diet. In fact, the best probiotic supplement is the right food.
To improve your digestive health and receive all the benefits of probiotics, all you have to do is eat prebiotics and probiotics in the form of raw, unpasteurized fermented organic vegetables and organic non-starchy vegetables every day.
With enough time on this kind of diet without processed and refined foods, almost anyone can improve their digestive system.