3 Benefits of Probiotics

3 Benefits of Probiotics

What are probiotics? While you may usually want to steer clear of bacteria, probiotics are a form of live bacteria that are good for you and can be very important to your gut health.  The term ‘probiotics’ refers to live bacteria that can be found in certain foods and help to keep your gut healthy.  Probiotics get into your system on their own, so you can get benefits without doing or taking anything extra.  Your gut naturally has bacteria in it, and probiotics may help to maintain a healthy balance.  We are just beginning to explore the human gut microbiome and there is much that we still don’t know.  While there is good proof that probiotics help the body, there is still no good proof that taking probiotic pills does any good.  Here are a few possible benefits that probiotics can offer our bodies.

  1. Boost Your Immunity: Probiotics may help encourage the development of natural antibodies and increase your immunity against harmful infections. They also may inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.
  2. Minimize Symptoms: Bowel disorders such as IBD, IBS, and colitis can cause uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptoms in patients. Supplementing probiotics into the diet may help ease/reduce these symptoms.
  3. Allergies: Current studies are investigating if probiotics can prevent or treat allergies, including eczema, a condition which can cause itchy and flaky skin.

What kinds of foods have probiotics in them? Many foods naturally contain live probiotics including yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, pickles, and even certain types of cheese. Look for food labels that mention “live probiotics” within the item.

In addition to this, there are numerous options when it comes to probiotic supplements. It can be overwhelming.  It should be noted that probiotics are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (the FDA) the way standard medicines are.  That means that companies that package probiotics don’t have to prove that the ingredients listed on the label are actually in the bottle.  In the end, you could buy a bottle that does not have what you think it has, so you could lose money.  Some probiotic pills are expensive!

We recommend talking to your doctor or nurse before starting a probiotic.  While probiotics are available over the counter at most pharmacy/drug stores or natural grocery stores, always ask your doctor about what the best course of action is for you.

The Centers for Gastroenterology treats patients with gastrointestinal issues in Fort Collins, Loveland, and Greeley. If you have more questions about probiotics and how they could potentially improve your gut health, please speak to one of our providers.