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What are the health benefits of taking probiotics?

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that support a healthy digestive system and are often referred to as “friendly bacteria”. The human stomach and intestines are inhabited by a number of different types, which make up the microbiome. These can be helpful (“good”) bacteria or can potentially be harmful (“bad”) bacteria. This delicate balance can be disrupted by poor diet, illness, and medications such as antibiotics. Disturbance to the natural balance can reduce the numbers of “good” bacteria in the digestive system, which may have negative impacts on metabolism, the immune and nervous systems, and increase the risk of diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and obesity.

Probiotics are often added to yoghurt or taken as supplements to help keep a good balance of bacteria in the gut. Find out how probiotic supplements can benefit your digestive system.

Mental health

The human digestive system is lined with nerves, called the enteric nervous system (ENS) – also referred to as the “second brain”. The ENS controls digestion and communicates with the brain to exchange information, known as the gut-brain connection. Research shows that microbiome health and composition is linked to low mood and mental health problems. There is evidence that probiotic supplements may help improve anxiety, depression, stress and memory, by promoting more healthy gut bacteria.

Heart health

Bile is a digestive fluid made up of cholesterol that helps breakdown food. “Good” bacteria that break down bile can help reduce cholesterol, by preventing it from being reabsorbed in the gut and entering the bloodstream. Probiotics can help keep your heart healthy by promoting this good bacteria and lowering levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

Help with digestive disorders

Inflammatory bowel disease describes two conditions caused by inflammation of the digestive tract: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. An unhealthy gut microbiome with too many “bad” bacteria can contribute to these digestive disorders, by causing prolonged inflammation. Probiotic supplements have been known to help ease symptoms of ulcerative colitis, and sometimes have been just as effective as medication

Probiotics may also benefit and ease symptoms of other bowel disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Disturbances to the balance of gut bacteria may play a role in the development of this condition, by causing inflammation.

Boost immune system 

It is thought that probiotics may help boost the immune system and protect against infections, by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria and promoting the growth of natural antibodies and immune cells. These include T lymphocytes and natural killer cells, which are essential for the immune response and fighting off infections and disease.

If you have a digestive problem or would like to improve your overall health, try our Acidophilus Probiotic Tablets. These contain live bacteria to help restore the gut flora and support a healthy digestive system.

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This is the UK’s Go-To resource for Health and Wellness related needs and is updated regularly. If we haven’t already written about a particular aspect that you’re interested in, then please submit your enquiry here and one of our qualified health specialist will take a look.

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