According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, probiotics are living microorganisms found in your gut. Probiotics can be beneficial to your health and are not harmful, even though many people believe that microorganisms (especially bacteria) are bad for your health.
Sometimes you may need to get some help from outside sources. Experts recommend that you consume probiotics in food. According to the International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAP), fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi are great places to start.
Your doctor may recommend a probiotic supplement if that is not enough. Don’t just grab anything on the pharmacy shelves. Amy Fasig, a naturopathic physician, says that probiotic supplements can be different and contain different strains to meet different needs.
According to Dr. Holly Thacker, of the Cleveland Clinic, there is still much to learn about probiotics. However, one thing is certain: your GI health can have an impact on your bodily functions. Dr. Thacker explains to Woman’s Day that food can affect a variety of medical conditions. These include cancers, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, and mood disorders. “Obviously, there is a complex interaction between food and bacteria in your intestinal tracts. Then, interactions with other substances or gut hormones your body makes.
Probiotics are a great way to maintain good health. However, they are not the same as any other supplement. Dr. Lisa Ganjhu, NYU Langone’s medical director, tells Woman’s Day that probiotics are not beneficial if you have no GI problems. It’s not a vitamin.
They help keep your other organs in good health.
You may not realize how interconnected the human body is. Dr. Thacker explained that probiotics are most effective in the gut. She says that healthy eating habits are key to preventing many different diseases, not just GI.
They are good for your gut health.
Probiotics are mainly used to keep your gastrointestinal tract healthy. If you suffer from GI issues, probiotics could prove to be very helpful. Dr. Ganjhu states, “But that being stated, if people are happy with their gut function, they’re bloated, and they don’t have any issues — I don’t tell them to take probiotics prophylactically.” They don’t have to take probiotics every day if everything is going well.
They protect the urinary tract from infection.
Probiotics may be beneficial for you if you are one of the 40-60% women who have urinary tract infections (or UTIs) with some frequency. Fasig claims they can reduce the frequency of UTIs. These microorganisms can help reduce the unpleasant symptoms associated with UTIs.
They increase immunity.
Probiotics may be the answer you are looking for if you suffer from frequent illness. According to the Cleveland Clinic, probiotics can boost immunity by enriching and replenishing good bacteria in the body. Probiotics are easier to produce vitamins and other enzymes in your body when you eat probiotics often.
They can restore good bacteria.
Although antibiotics are effective in fighting bacterial infections, overuse can cause your body to lose good bacteria, Harvard Medical School reports. Doctors recommend that you avoid taking antibiotics unless you absolutely need them. Talk to your doctor if you have to take antibiotics. The NCCIH states that probiotics can be used afterward to help restore beneficial microorganisms and maintain a balanced ratio of good bacteria.
They can prevent traveler’s diarrhoea.
They increase fertility.
It can be difficult to get pregnant. However, Fasig suggests probiotics as a way to make things easier. Research shows that certain strains of probiotics can increase your chances of success. Talk to your OBGYN to find out what probiotics might work best for your situation.
They can treat vaginal infections.
These products can solve skin problems.
Probiotics have many benefits beyond internal health. The American Academy of Dermatology has found that probiotics may help with skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and eczema. There are still many studies to be done, so consult your dermatologist before you change your routine.
They improve digestion.
Fasig believes that probiotics may help you to digest food. Harvard Medical School suggests that probiotics can also reduce symptoms such as gas, constipation, and bloating.
Sign up for Woman’s Day today to receive 73% off your first 12 issues. You can also sign up for our free newsletter to get even more Woman’s Day content.