Probiotics and Health
Possible Health Benefits for Probiotics
1) Treating Diarrhea
Certain strains of probiotics have demonstrated positive results in treating diarrhea and gastroenteritis.
One study published in the Journal of Pediatrics concluded that Lactobacillus species are safe and effective for treating children with infectious diarrhea.
The researchers concluded that preventive consumption of Lactobacillus species could significantly reduce the risk of diarrhea, particularly nosocomial rotavirus gastroenteritis.
2) Brain function
Probiotics may be beneficial for brain function. Researchers at UCLA found that brain function improved among healthy women who regularly consumed yogurt containing probiotics.
Researchers have also suggested a connection between probiotics and anxiety. Studies have demonstrated the stress-reducing qualities of probiotics in mice. While this link remains untested in humans, the findings suggest possible ways in which probiotics can support the treatment of mental health problems.
Research has also suggested that a formulation of Lactobacillus can reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in the blood. LDL is sometimes referred to as “bad” cholesterol.
Dr. Mitchell Jones, one of the authors of the study, showed that probiotics can “in particular reduce the cholesterol esters associated with “bad” saturated fatty acids in the blood.”
4) Blood pressure
One study has found that milk fermented with strains of Lactobacillus may help lower blood pressure.
In addition, this study shows that probiotics can increase vitamin D levels in the blood through their metabolic processes. Vitamin D also helps to prevent the increase of blood pressure.
5) Irritable bowel syndrome
There is growing evidence that probiotics can help treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Two review articles, published in Nutrition in Clinical Practice, examined therapeutic approaches to IBS. They found that probiotics are highly effective at managing IBS, especially Bifidobacterium infantis.
Scientists found that probiotic bacteria can protect against infection by more harmful bacteria.
7) Psoriasis and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
Scientists at University College Cork, Ireland, reported that Bifidobacterium may also have benefits for patients with psoriasis and chronic fatigue syndrome.
This study is significant, the authors added, because it shows that a single probiotic can affect the systemic immune system in humans, and not only the mucosal immune system. The mucosal immune system protects the respiratory system, the urogenital tract, and the lining of the stomach.
Systemic immune defense, however, works throughout the body. If probiotics can act in support of systemic immunity, they can respond to conditions like psoriasis and chronic fatigue syndrome.