If you are wondering what the benefits of taking your probiotics are, we’ve observed a few more reasons in our research. Let’s start with what probiotics are.Probiotics are known as the “good bacteria” for your gut/gastrointestinal tract that work to give individuals health benefits. But what exactly are these health benefits? Over the years, many research studies on probiotics in humans have shown that probiotics have beneficial health effects, including the more well-known ones such as helping to reduce the risk of antibiotics-associated diarrhea (a common side effect that’s experienced when taking antibiotics, which can also kill “good bacteria” in the gut) and improve immune function (eg. decreasing incidence of respiratory tract infections).
Immune System Benefits
To add to this latter effect, a study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport studied a supplement containing probiotics (Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and B. Longum) in athletes (rugby players) to observe if probiotics had a beneficial effect on immune function. The athletes took either the supplement or placebo for four weeks, and recorded any symptoms of infection. The athletes taking the probiotics supplement experienced significantly fewer infectious episodes (respiratory tract illness and gastrointestinal episodes) compared to the placebo group. Furthermore, for those who experienced illness, the number of days being ill tended to be higher in the placebo group versus the probiotic group. This is yet another study showing that probiotics help to promote a healthy immune system. Great news, just time for autumn/winter flu season. (Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24045086)
But boosting our immune systems isn’t the only new research on probiotics. We also identified another study that reviewed the benefits of probiotics on obesity-related health issues. In this research article, the authors did a ‘meta-analysis’ of studies (that is – combining results from different studies) that investigated effects of prebiotics and synbiotics supplementation in overweight and obese individuals. (Link: http://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(14)00256-8/abstract)
Probiotics' Impact on Insulin and Obesity
Prebiotics are substances that are
non-digestible and which provide a benefit to the individual by helping to
stimulate favourable growth of good bacteria in the gut. Synbiotics are the
combination of prebiotics with probiotics. Researchers observed that prebiotics
were associated with reduced cholesterol, and triglyceride and an increase in
HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and synbiotics were associated with improvements in
insulin and triglyceride levels. The outcomes
that were evaluated in this study suggest a larger role for synbiotics in the
management of obesity-related diseases. With the overweight/obesity and related
metabolic issues affecting many individuals, probiotics might just be a key
supplement to add to your daily regimen.