Many millions of microorganisms share your body with you. In fact, it’s estimated that the human gut contains 100 trillion bacteria. In healthy adults, it is estimated that cells of microorganisms outnumber human cells by a factor of ten to one. These bacteria, called gut flora, can influence your health in many ways, from helping to pull out energy from healthy food, to developing your body’s immune system, to guarding against infection from harmful bacteria. This presents some very good reasons for taking probiotics everyday.
Most, if not all, people should be taking probiotics every day. It doesn’t take much for the natural bacteria in your digestive tract to be thrown out of balance such things as stress, an unhealthy diet, as well as antibiotics. Remember that antibiotics don’t just kill the bad bugs, they also throw a punch to those beneficial microorganisms that are needed for good health. It’s a good idea to rethink asking your doctor for antibiotics, especially if symptoms point to a viral infection rather than bacterial (most likely your healthcare practitioner can let you know).
An effective probiotic supplement increases beneficial microorganisms in your digestive tract. This is especially important if you consume lots of refined carbs, experience chronic stress, have had more than a few courses of antibiotics, have digestive/bowel issues, or have food sensitivities.
Below are twelve reasons why you should make sure you take a high quality probiotic everyday.
12 Reasons Why You Should Take High Quality Probiotics Everyday
(1) Good Immune Function
80% of your immune system resides in your digestive tract. An unhealthy gut supports the growth of pathogenic bacteria, which constantly spew toxins into the system. This makes your immune system work hard just to try to keep the balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria balanced. According to a 2003 review paper in the Lancet, lymphatic tissue in the intestine contains the largest pool of cells capable of producing an immune response.
(2) Probiotics may reduce estrogen dominance.
A normal bowel transit time allows excess estrogen to pass with the fecal matter out of the body. When fecal matter remains in the bowel for long periods of time, which happens with constipation, then excess estrogen can be re-absorbed and placed back into circulation. Upping your consumption of probiotics can help maintain an ideal balance of bacteria, which helps to stimulate the digestive process and promotes bowel regularity.
(3) Disease prevention.
Probiotics have been proven to help reverse ulcers, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and other gut inflammations that occur from a lack of sufficient probiotics. Also, the regular use of probiotics improves blood pressure thus a direct effect on heart health. The use of probiotics has shown to support allergy health in children.
(4) Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Gluten Sensitivity (GS) symptoms are often helped by adding probiotics.
(5) Unhealthy diet.
A diet of processed foods and low fiber diets allow pathogenic bacteria to overwhelm the good bacteria with the result being a diminish of colon function and bowel transit time.
(6) Candida overgrowth.
When the delicate balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria is upset, yeast infections such as Candida will flourish.
(7) Colorectal cancer.
Scientists have discovered that giving patients ‘good’ gut bacteria could help prevent or slow progression of colorectal cancer.
Healthy intestinal flora is needed to help prevent radiation damage from X-rays and CT scans to the large and small intestines.
(9) GMOs and Antibiotics.
GMOs and antibiotics in non-organic meat and dairy products can destroy good probiotic bacteria. This makes it necessary to add good probiotics to your diet.
(10) Healthy Skin.
Skin concerns are possibly helped by probiotics. Research suggest there are four skin conditions that seem the most promising for probiotics – acne, eczema, rosacea and skin aging. Increased numbers of good bacteria in the gut may also help to hydrate aging skin, reduce sun damage and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. According to Whitney P. Bowe, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York, and adjunct assistant clinical professor of dermatology at State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate College of Medicine in Brooklyn, “sometimes the substances produced by probiotics have antimicrobial properties, meaning they can create holes in bad bacteria and kill them. Similar to the way antibiotics work in the treatment of acne and rosacea, probiotics can help fight harmful bugs from triggering inflammation.”
(11) Healthy Weight.
Gut flora balance influences your weight. One recent study found that obese people have a less diversity in their gut flora than lean people. Other studies suggest that an increase in a group of gut bacteria called Firmicutes, and a decrease in a group of gut bacteria called Bacteroidetes, are linked with obesity.
(12) Brain health.
Studies in animals suggest disrupting gut bacteria may have an effect on the brain, and in turn, behavior. Mice given antibiotics also showed changes in their brain chemistry that are linked to depression. Animal studies also suggest that healthy gut flora can affect levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. The study also found that people who took the prebiotics had lower levels of cortisol in their saliva when they woke up in the morning, compared with people who took a placebo.
In my opinion, the many health benefits of probiotics cannot be stressed enough. Chronic stress, unhealthy diet, contaminated food and water, rounds of antibiotics as well as numerous other factors can alter that delicate balance between the good and bad microorganisms that reside in your intestinal tract. While supplementing with probiotic containing foods is always a good idea, some people will not get the full benefits because of an already impaired digestive tract. For the reasons above, I highly recommend including high quality probiotics every day.
BONUS Reason Why You Should Take Probiotics Every Day.
Probiotics Are Good for the Bones Too?
A year-long study that included nearly 100 elderly women found that those who consumed probiotics experienced 50% less bone loss than participants given a placebo. Dr. Mattias Lorentzon, a chief physician and professor of geriatrics at the University of Gothenburg writes, “Older women are the group in society most at risk of osteoporosis and fractures. The fact that we have been able to show that treatment with probiotics can affect bone loss represents a paradigm shift. Treatment with probiotics can be an effective and safe way to prevent the onset of osteoporosis in many older people in the future.” Journal of Internal Medicine, June 2018
Research & References
- Allen SJ, Martinez EG, Gregorio GV, et al. Probiotics for treating acute infectious diarrhoea. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2010;(11):CD003048. Accessed at www.thecochranelibrary.com on February 15, 2011.
- American Academy of Microbiology. Probiotic Microbes: The Scientific Basis. Report from a colloquium held in Baltimore, MD, November 5–7, 2005. Washington, DC: American Academy of Microbiology; 2006.
- Bonifait L, Chandad F, Grenier D. Probiotics for oral health: myth or reality? Journal (Canadian Dental Association). 2009;75(8):585–590.
- Duffy LC, Sporn S, Hibberd P, et al. Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. In: Coates PM, Betz JM, Blackman MR, et al., eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Informa Healthcare; 2010:469–478.
- Goldin BR, Gorbach SL. Clinical indications for probiotics: an overview. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2008;46(suppl 2):S96–S100.
- Hempel S, Newberry S, Ruelaz A, et al. Safety of Probiotics to Reduce Risk and Prevent or Treat Disease. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment no. 200. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Web site. Accessed at www.ahrq.gov/clinic/tp/probiotictp.htm on May 10, 2011.
- Hibberd PL, Hoffman FA, Heimbach JT, eds. Developing probiotics as food and drugs: scientific and regulatory challenges. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2008;46(suppl 2).
- Hoffman FA, Heimbach JT, Sanders ME, et al. Executive summary: scientific and regulatory challenges of development of probiotics as foods and drugs. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2008;46(suppl 2):S53–S57.
- Iyer C, Kosters A, Sethi G, et al. Probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri promotes TNF-induced apoptosis in human myeloid leukemia-derived cells by modulation of NF-kB and MAPK signaling. Cellular Microbiology. 2008;10(7):1442–1452.
- Kligler B, Cohrssen A. Probiotics. American Family Physician. 2008;78(9):1073–1078.
- McDade-Ngutter C, Versalovic J, Alexander W, et al. National Institutes of Health Gastrointestinal Microbiota and Advances in Prebiotic and Probiotic Research conference summary. Gastroenterology. 2009;136(5):1473–1475.
- Neish AS. Microbes in gastrointestinal health and disease. Gastroenterology. 2009;136(1):65–80.
- Petrof EO. Probiotics and gastrointestinal disease: clinical evidence and basic science. Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Allergy Agents in Medicinal Chemistry. 2009;8(3):260–269.
- Preidis GA, Versalovic J. Targeting the human microbiome with antibiotics, probiotics, and prebiotics: gastroenterology enters the metagenomics era. Gastroenterology. 2009;136(6):2015–2031.
- Sethi T. Probiotics in pediatric care. Explore. 2009;5(4):245–249).
- Sharp RR, Achkar JP, Brinich MA, et al. Helping patients make informed choices about probiotics: a need for research. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2009;104(4):809–813.
- Snydman DR. The safety of probiotics. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2008;46(suppl 2):S104–S111).
- Tong JL, Ran ZH, Shen J, et al. Meta-analysis: the effect of supplementation with probiotics on eradication rates and adverse events during Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy. Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 2007;25(2):155–168.
- Vanderhoof JA, Young R. Probiotics in the United States. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2008;46(suppl 2):S67–S72.
- Zhang W, Azevedo MSP, Wen K, et al. Probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus enhances the immunogenicity of an oral rotavirus vaccine in gnotobiotic pigs. Vaccine. 2008;26(29–30):3655–3661.
- Eloe-Fadrosh EA, Brady A, Crabtree J, Drabek EF, Ma B, Mahurkar A, Ravel J, Haverkamp M, Fiorino A-M, Botelho C, Andreyeva I, Hibberd PL, Fraser CM. 2015. Functional dynamics of the gut microbiome in elderly people during probiotic consumption. mBio 6(2):e00231-15. doi:10.1128/mBio.00231-15.