Probiotics are tiny bacteria that naturally occur in the gastrointestinal tract. When consumed in adequate amounts, probiotics provide a slew of health benefits.
Why You Need Them:
Digestion & GI Health—Probiotics aid digestion and absorption of nutrients in the gut. Not only do probiotics ensure your body can absorb vitamins, minerals, and protein from food, but they also affect the production of neurotransmitters that are made in the GI tract, allowing for better cognition and motivation.
Fat Loss—Supporting the growth of anti-inflammatory microflora in the gut can promote reductions in body fat. For example, a Japanese study found that by increasing probiotic intake for four weeks, participants decreased belly fat by 8.2 percent. Researchers believe probiotic foods help people lose belly fat by improving metabolism and raising an anti-inflammatory signal called adiponectin that improves the body’s ability to burn belly fat.
Detoxification—Probiotics displace pathogenic, harmful bacteria and improve the body’s ability to eliminate waste products and foreign compounds. They also help prevent damage to the liver and other organs due to alcohol, antibiotics, or everyday painkillers like Tylenol. In a study of rats, researchers found that administration a probiotic for 7 days prior to Tylenol use prevented toxicity and damage to the liver, which were observed in a placebo-treated group.
What To Look For:
A key factor when choosing a probiotic is that the supplement you buy actually contains live microflora bacteria. Many products are only guaranteed at the time of manufacture, which means that the majority may have died off by the time you get around to taking them.
Instead, only buy probiotics that are guaranteed though the date of expiration. Also, it’s important that you get products containing the species and strain that have been tested in research and shown to have worthwhile outcomes. Here are seven examples of what to look for:
- • Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM
- • Bifidobacterium lactis BI-07 or HN019
- • Bacillus Indicus HU36
- • Bacillus Subtilis HU58
- • Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001
- • Saccharomyces boulardii