Probiotics are made up of living microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeasts, which naturally live in your body. You can also consume them through fermented foods, beverages, and supplements. While probiotics are mostly known for improving digestion and treating diarrhea, they offer a myriad of other health benefits.
Here, you’ll learn five lesser-known health benefits of probiotic bacteria.
- Maintains a Healthy Vaginal Balance
Healthy bacteria keep your vaginal pH balanced. However, hormonal changes, feminine hygiene products, and sexual intercourse may disrupt this delicate balance. When that happens, women become vulnerable to yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis.
Luckily, you can balance vaginal pH with probiotics. Studies have shown that certain probiotic strains—Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Lactobacillus reuteri, to name a few—can restore that much-needed balance.
These probiotic supplements are most beneficial to women who experience recurring yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis.
- Improves Symptoms of Some Mental Health Disorders
A growing pool of research shows that probiotic supplements can improve the symptoms of some mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
In one study involving patients with major depressive disorders, the group that consumed probiotic capsules experienced a significant decrease in depressive symptoms compared to the placebo group.
- Fights the Common Cold and Flu
You can protect yourself against viral infections by taking probiotics regularly. Since probiotics can give your immune system a boost, you can also reduce the severity of your symptoms if you do catch a cold. On top of that, the long-term use of probiotics can help you reduce the length of a cold.
- May Decrease the Severity of Eczema in Children
Taking probiotic supplements may reduce the risk of eczema in infants. One study investigated whether this is the case for its participants. This involved children-mother pairings, with the latter consuming probiotics during their pregnancy. Results showed that the infants had lower risks of developing eczema within the first 24 months of their life.
There are also studies that suggest that certain probiotic strains can reduce the severity of milk and dairy allergies. However, further research is needed to fully understand the effects of probiotics on skin conditions.
- Lowers Risks of Developing Certain Cancers
It’s no secret that probiotics can improve your gut health. However, there are promising studies that show how probiotics can potentially prevent gastrointestinal cancers and reduce tumor formation.
Other studies demonstrate the ability of probiotic bacteria to prevent complications in patients undergoing colorectal surgery for cancer and intestinal cancer treatment.
Probiotics exist naturally throughout your body. However, your diet and the antibiotics you take, among other factors, can significantly reduce your probiotic levels.
From your mood to your vaginal health, probiotics have very important roles to play in your overall wellness. To maintain a beneficial balance of bacteria in your body, make sure to eat prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods.
Talk to your doctor before taking any probiotic supplements, so you can figure out the most beneficial strains for your health, how much you need, and when you need to take it.