You’ve probably heard the term “probiotics” somewhere and have a loose definition in mind. You know it’s something for your stomach, right? Yep, but scientists found its benefits don’t stop at your tummy. It can alleviate autism and allergies — and even trim your waistline!
1. Helps You Lose Weight
Researchers found that regularly taking probiotics boosts your fat burning. They found that when you increase certain good strains of bacteria in your gut, your body seems to lose more excess weight.
One possible explanation is that the increase in good gut bacteria lowers your peripheral serotonin production. Wait, isn’t serotonin that wonderful chemical that lowers your appetite? Yes – but only the serotonin made by your brain. Some bad strains of bacteria in your gut are responsible for making serotonin too, but this “peripheral” serotonin has been found to hinder your body’s ability to burn fat!
If you have more good bacteria in your gut, they’ll keep your bad bacteria in check. This means there won’t be as many producing peripheral serotonin.
2. Alleviate Allergies
Believe it or not, scientists found that children with allergies have different proportions of gut bacteria than children without allergies. The key difference is that allergic children have lower levels of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.
Researchers found that taking probiotics daily lowers your genetic tendency to develop allergies! Eczema patients showed clinical improvement with probiotic supplementation. Lactobacilli are a main component of probiotics, and researchers theorize the increase in these species in your gut is how probiotics alleviate allergies.
This means you can help relieve your allergies if you take probiotic supplements every day. It also means that if you’re always eating junk food and you upset the balance of your gut bacteria, you could end up with allergies or worsen your existing rashes and hives!
3. Helps Prevent Dry and Irritated Eyes When Taking Antibiotics
If your doctor prescribes you antibiotics, she’ll probably warn you about side effects. These side effects can include dry or irritated eyes, which can also result from a mild allergic reaction to the antibiotic.
Researchers found that probiotics help lower general side effects of antibiotics, including dry or irritated eyes. In fact, patients given probiotics while on antibiotics experienced 12 percent fewer side effects than the placebo group.
Sadly, a little eye discomfort is the minimum of adverse possibilities that antibiotics can cause to your eyes. It’s well-documented that antibiotics have caused permanent eye damage, including damage to your corneas. These aren’t rare, strong antibiotics either – your run-of-the-mill ciprofloxacin that your doctor prescribes when you have a bacteria-caused cold and cough can cause retinal detachment. These are serious conditions that can cause permanent vision loss if left untreated.
If you’re taking antibiotics and experiencing vision-related changes, don’t hesitate to see an ophthalmologist. If you usually see an optometrist (where you get your eyes checked for a new glasses or contacts prescription), he’s not able to diagnose any serious medical conditions caused by antibiotics. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors specializing in eye care and can make the right call if you come in with vision-related symptoms.
4. Makes Antibiotics More Effective
Taking probiotics while on antibiotics not only protects you from side effects, it also boosts the effectiveness of your antibiotics. Studies show that doing so can protect your gut from antibiotic-induced superinfections. Antibiotics can cause an imbalance in your gut bacteria, but probiotics help assure your good bacteria levels stay competitive. They also found that the good bacteria in probiotics help enhance the effectiveness of the antibiotics because they secrete molecules into your mucous linings that attack bad germs.
Researchers also found that because of these actions, probiotics lessen antibiotic-caused diarrhea.
5. Alleviates IBS
If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), probiotics can help with that too! IBS is actually a blanket diagnosis, ranging anywhere from constant constipation to severe abdominal pain.
Researchers are starting to find more evidence that a major cause of IBS is an imbalance in your gut bacteria. Too much bad bacteria can cause stomach pain, which is a symptom of IBS. They discovered that IBS patients who supplemented with probiotics daily experienced a decrease in bloating symptoms. They studied how probiotics interact with IBS and found that the good bacteria in probiotics keep bad bacteria from sticking to your intestines and control their growth. They also found that these good bacteria can boost your protection from salmonella.
Studies also show that probiotics lower inflammation in your body, and researchers have linked inflammation with IBS. Inflammation also increases your risk for cancer, and inflammation in your digestive tract can increase your chances of developing serious conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Take probiotics every day and you’ll lessen your IBS symptoms and protect yourself from IBD and cancer.
6. Alleviates Autism
If you have children who’ve been diagnosed with a form of autism, probiotics can help manage their condition. Researchers found that autistic children suffer from constipation and diarrhea more frequently than normal children. These discomforts can worsen their behavior problems. Since taking probiotics daily can normalize the digestive system and alleviate constipation and diarrhea, they can help lessen any intestinal discomfort your children may be routinely experiencing. This should hopefully help them be more content.
Researchers also found that autistic children have lower amounts of a few key bacterial species in their gut, and in general, less gut bacteria diversity. They found that these lower levels of gut bacteria can worsen or even cause their autism since they discovered that gut microbes make substances that directly affect the nervous system’s processes. In fact, they found that these chemicals can cause hyperactivity, which is a hallmark symptom of autism. They theorize this abnormal gut microbiota may result in abnormal levels of these neural process-influencing chemicals, which throws their neural processes off balance and lead to autism symptoms.
Giving your children probiotic supplements every day can lessen any constipation or diarrhea they’re experiencing, while also making sure balanced levels of hyperactivity-causing chemicals are being made by their gut bacteria.
Natural Probiotic Foods
Can’t wait to rush to the store to grab a bottle of probiotic supplements? Wait – you don’t need to take a pill to enrich your gut with good bacteria. Plenty of natural, healthy foods are teeming with the same bacteria that scientists found help alleviate autism, allergies, and gastrointestinal problems.
Here are a few:
- Buttermilk is cow’s milk fermented with lactobacilli. It’s usually in liquid form.
- Yogurt is cow’s milk fermented with lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. It has a pudding-like consistency.
- Kefir is cow’s milk fermented with good bacteria. Kefir’s consistency is between yogurt’s and buttermilk’s.
- Natto is soybeans fermented with good bacteria. Originating in Japan, it has a sticky nut-like consistency.
- Tempeh is fermented soybeans originating in Indonesia. It has a cake-like consistency.
- Miso is soybeans fermented with salt, rice, barley, and fungus. It has a paste-like consistency, and once upon a time, was critical for nutrition in feudal Japan.
- Kimchi is fermented vegetables originating in Korea. It’s teeming with probiotics!
- Kombucha is fermented tea originating in Russia. Studies show its probiotic properties can boost your immunity.
Taking probiotics does more than cure your upset stomach. It can help treat autism, calm your allergies, help you lose weight, and boost your immunity. If you don’t like taking pills or capsules, try some yummy natural probiotic foods instead.
Featured photo credit: GreatDaneInc via pixabay.com