Posted by Nicole on November 20, 2019
If you take probiotics, there is a good chance you do so for your digestive health. You may be aware that probiotics have demonstrated research-backed effectiveness in treating diarrhea, H. pylori, IBS, Chron’s disease, and more.
But did you know that there are some other benefits to taking probiotics which go beyond your digestive health? Here are some unexpected ways you may not be aware that probiotics can benefit your body and mind.
1. Improve mental health.
There are a number of studies which show that probiotics can improve psychological health. This research review reports benefits for “anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, and memory abilities, including spatial and non-spatial memory.”
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers found that following six weeks of treatment, groups assigned to take a probiotic capsule or consume probiotic yogurt showed “significant improvement” in mental health.
2. Vaginal health.
The Harvard Medical School states, “Probiotic treatment that restores the balance of microflora may be helpful for such common female urogenital problems as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, and urinary tract infection.”
It does seem that further research is required in this area. But as this study reports, “Probiotics must not be considered a panacea in treating urogenital infections. However, the available data promises that it will be a strong option for improving and maintaining urogenital health.”
3. Support cardiovascular health.
It may come as a surprise, but taking probiotics may be able to help you keep your heart healthy.
As described here, probiotics seem to reduce cholesterol via more than one potential mechanism.
In a meta-analysis, researchers discovered that a “fermented yoghurt product produced a 4% decrease in total cholesterol and a 5% decrease in LDL-cholesterol when the open-label study is excluded.”
Probiotics have also demonstrated potential benefits for blood pressure.
4. Combat eczema in infants.
There are a couple of studies which show that probiotics may be able to help prevent or treat eczema in children.
This study looked to see the effects of feeding infants with eczema probiotic-supplemented, Bifidobacterium lactis Bb-12 or Lactobacillus strain GG (ATCC 53103). The researchers reported, “After 2 months, a significant improvement in skin condition occurred in patients given probiotic-supplemented formulas, as compared to the unsupplemented group.”
Probiotics also may be able to prevent infant eczema from developing in the first place.
5. Increase immunity.
You might already know that your digestive health plays an important role in governing your immune health.
So it may not be entirely surprising to you to discover that probiotics can potentially boost immunity.
One large study investigated the effects of Lactobacillus GG supplementation in milk. 282 children were in the experimental group while 289 were in the control group. The researchers reported, “There was also a relative reduction of 17% in the number of children suffering from respiratory infections with complications and lower respiratory tract infections.”
Further, participants in the study had fewer day care sick days and required fewer antibiotic treatments.
Benefits are not confined to respiratory ailments either. Here is some research which shows a reduction in urinary tract infections with the administration of Lactobacillus crispatus.
Taking a probiotic supplement can enhance your digestive health. But as you now see, the benefits can far surpass your digestive tract. With a regular probiotic supplement, you can improve immunity, protect cardiovascular health, prevent or treat infant eczema, support urogenital health, and even improve mental function.