Probiotic Benefits

Probiotics are the "good bacteria" that live in your gut, but they also live throughout the body, including on our skin. Good bacteria are important for our immune system, our mood, our digestion and more. Discover other benefits of probiotics in the study results discussed below.

Probiotics Reduce Antibiotics Use

People often insist on antibiotics for viral illnesses such as colds, flu, and respiratory infections, for which antibiotics are ineffective. A growing body of evidence suggests probiotics can effectively treat such infections. Doctors reviewed 12 clinical trials that treated infants and children for respiratory, digestive tract, and ear infections and found lactobacillus and bifidobacterium reduced the need for antibiotics by 29 percent. In another group of five of the most rigorous studies, probiotics reduced the call for antibiotics by 53 percent. Studies lasted from four days to nine months.

Reference: European Journal of Public Health; 2018, cky185, Published Online

Probiotics reduced H. pylori

About half the world’s population carries the H. pylori bacteria, most without the symptoms that can lead to ulcers. Side effects of standard antibiotic and antacid treatments are common and increasing, while the treatments’ effectiveness is decreasing.

In this analysis of 40 studies covering 8,924 people with H. pylori, overall, 81.5 percent of those that took probiotics eradicated H. pylori compared to 71.6 percent for placebo.

After an average of two weeks, 92.6 percent of participants taking probiotics were free of H. pylori. When doctors added antibiotic and antacid treatment, 99.9 percent in the probiotics groups were H. pylori-free. Side effects, which are common with standard antibiotics and antacids, were 18.9 percent for probiotics, and 39 percent for placebo. Lactobacillus and multiple probiotic strains were most effective.

Reference: Medicine (Baltimore); 2019, Vol. 15, e15180, Published Online

Less inflammation, insulin resistance

People with type 2 diabetes may develop a bacterial imbalance in the gut that can allow a type of toxin, LPS endotoxin, to leak into the bloodstream, creating systemic inflammation. In this study, 61 adults with type 2 diabetes took a placebo or combined several probiotic strains of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium for a total of five-billion colony-forming-units per day.

After six months, while the placebo group had not changed, those taking probiotics saw a nearly 70 percent decrease in circulating endotoxin levels compared to the start of the study. Also, several signs of inflammation: tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-6, and C-reactive protein, declined between 53 and 77 percent.

The probiotics group also saw a 38 percent drop in glucose and insulin levels, and a 64 percent decrease in insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Triglycerides declined 48 percent, total cholesterol dropped 19 percent, and the ratio of HDL, the “good” cholesterol, to total cholesterol, increased.

Doctors said the significant improvements in insulin resistance, inflammation, and lipid profiles in type 2 diabetes suggest multi-strain probiotics may be an effective anti-diabetes therapy.

Reference: Clinical Nutrition Journal; 2018, 31351-7; Published Online

Article copyright 2020 by Natural Insights for Well Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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BetsyHealth Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before taking a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition, including being pregnant or nursing, or take prescription or over-the-counter medications. For example, antibiotics should be taken away from probiotics by at least four hours.