Are probiotics worth taking?
Probiotics are known as the “good bacteria.” These are the little bugs that help you have a healthy intestinal tract. The intestinal tract is the barrier to everything you ingest, so it is important to have it working as well as possible, which is what the good bacteria can help with.
Some of the health benefits that have been documented in scientific research include the effects right at the intestine, like preventing diarrhea and diverticular disease. However, there are also studies showing benefits that you may not think bacteria in your gut can effect. One example is preventing the common cold. If a virus or bacteria gets onto your food or drink and is taken in by the digestive system, a healthy intestinal tract can fight it off. A study by Berggren, et al. showed that a particular probiotic taken for 12 weeks reduced the risk of colds by 12%.
There is even some evidence showing that a good probiotic can help lose more fat during a weight loss plan with calorie restriction. A Canadian study (Sanchez et al.) showed that those who ate 500 less calories in a day lost about 6 lbs. over 12 weeks, while those on the same diet plus a probiotic lost almost 10 lbs. in the same time. The trial was placebo-controlled. Other studies have shown no change in weight loss, so the verdict is still out.
Probiotics may be beneficial for many other conditions as well, including stomach ulcers, anxiety, hypertension, and even allergies. Let us know if you are interested in trying a probiotic supplement.
Berggren et al. European Journal of Nutrition 50(3) 203-210
Sanchez et al. Br J Nutr. 2014 Apr 28;111(8):1507-19
Dr. Kauffman is a licensed chiropractor in Loveland Ohio and serves patients in the greater Cincinnati area. To find out more go to Loveland Chiropractor.