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Should You Be Taking a Probiotic?

by Kate Ferguson on November 4, 2015
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There are a lot of reasons why probiotics are potentially great for you, but also some questions about whether they’re helpful for everyone or not. That being said, there is proof that they can be quite great for some people, and taking them in a supplement form isn’t going to do you any harm. Here are some reasons why taking probiotics might be a pretty good idea.

Probiotics are essentially good bacteria that we need in our gut for a variety of reasons. We can lose out on some of them by taking antibiotics, getting sick, or by overfilling the body with sugar and processed foods. When the bacteria in our gut is off balance we can have a harder time digesting food and getting the nutrients that we need out of it.

For people who suffer from any kind of gastrointestinal issues, taking a probiotic can be a good first move to make. There are plenty of foods that contain the good bacteria we need as well like some yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha, but in some cases taking a coated supplement might be more effective to make sure the bacteria gets further along in your digestive track without getting wiped out. In addition to fixing up the digestive system, there are a lot of other potential good things that can happen from taking probiotics.

Some studies even go so far as to suggest that probiotics can help with mood boosting and depression preventing. There is an unquestionable link between our emotions and our gut area, so the thinking is that perhaps we can influence our mind with our gut in addition to the other way around. One study found that people who took probiotics every day for four weeks reported better moods than those who only took a placebo.

“Even if preliminary, these results provide the first evidence that the intake of probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with sad mood. As such, our findings shed an interesting new light on the potential of probiotics to serve as adjuvant or preventive therapy for depression.”

Other studies have found that by boosting the good bacteria in the gut you can increase some immunity markers, therefore potentially preventing illness. The less times you’re sick, the less antibiotics you need to take, and the more likely you are to preserve the good bacteria you’ve got to begin with. They might also help to prevent infection in the mouth and reduce the effects of gingivitis.

Probiotics also might be helpful for reducing cholesterol levels or keeping them in check. The liver uses bile to make cholesterol, and probiotics may be responsible for breaking up some of that bile so that less of it is reabsorbed into the body. There are also some links to probiotics and weight loss, but it is not totally clear why. But hey, it’s worth a shot.

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