Benefits of Probiotics

Louise Mason BA Hons, Dip CNM Nutritional Therapist, Dip CNM Naturopath, mANP

Many people are confused about the potential benefits of probiotics, whether they need to take a probiotic supplement, and if so, which one to choose. Having decided to take a probiotic, how long do they take to work, and how do you know if they’re working?

We have articles that can answer all those questions for you.

What are the signs that you need probiotics?

You may be experiencing a wide range of gut health issues including bloating, discomfort, irregular bowel movements, IBS and acid reflux. Other less known indicators that your gut health may need support can be poor sleep, joint pain, food intolerances, frequent UTI’s and low mood. You can find out more in our article: What is Dysbiosis?

Optibac Immune Support probiotics

How can you tell that probiotics are working?

An improvement in your symptoms can be a sign that your probiotics are working as part of a holistic approach to gut health and wellbeing. Read more in this article: How do probiotics work?

Choosing the right probiotic can be overwhelming but a good place to start is to understand the importance of choosing a probiotic that contains well researched strains that have been shown to have positive outcomes in clinical trials.  For more expert advice read the following FAQ: How to choose a high-quality supplement

Health benefits of probiotics

 The large field of research shows that there is a huge link between gut health and our overall health and wellbeing. Every year we are learning more about the properties of different strains of gut bacteria and how they function in clinical trials which leads to the potential for more targeted formulas to help people.

So what do we know so far from research? Which health conditions might benefit from probiotics?

We’ve made it easy for you to find articles which explain more about the benefits of probiotics for the following health conditions:

Immune health

 70% of our immune system is located in our gut and as well as providing a physical barrier to keep out pathogens our gut bacteria also interact with and modulate our immune system.

Read more about probiotic strains, such as Lactobacillus paracasei CASEI 431® which have been researched for the support of immune health:

Probiotics can help stop winter bugs

Health professionals can read more about the research focusing on probiotics and immune function on the Probiotic Professionals site:

Examining research on probiotics for immunity

Cholesterol

It is fantastic to see clinical trials that show a reduction in blood cholesterol levels from taking specific probiotic strains and these are safe to take alongside statins or cholesterol-lowering medication.

Read more about probiotic strains that have been researched for cholesterol:

 Probiotics for cholesterol and heart health

Health professionals can read more about related research on Probiotics Professionals:

L. plantarum probiotic helps lower cholesterol

Gut Health

The role of gut health for overall wellbeing is well documented. To find out how to keep your gut in tip top condition, read:

Gut Health All You Need To Know

Research has indicated a positive benefit of probiotics for a variety of different digestive disorders including IBS, occasional constipation and diarrhoea, flatulence, abdominal pain, nausea and abdominal cramping.

Read these related articles for more information about probiotics for the following digestive issues:

IBS

Bloating

Occasional constipation

Occasional diarrhoea

Health professionals can read more about related research on Probiotics Professionals:

IBS

Bloating

Occasional constipation

Occasional diarrhoea

Vaginal Health

Did you know that your vagina has its own unique microbiome and if it is disrupted it can lead to vaginal infections such as thrush? Specific strains of Lactobacillus bacteria are proven to survive to reach the vagina alive, and have been extensively researched for the support of vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis.

If you want to know everything about supporting the vaginal microbiome read: All about your Vaginal flora

Lactobacillus probiotics and bacterial vaginosis

Health professionals can read more about research looking at probiotics for the support of  genito-urinary health on Probiotics Professionals:

Thrush

Menopause

UTI's

Cystitis

Women’s Health

If we don’t have a healthy gut and regular bowel movement this can impact our hormone balance which is especially important when we are menstruating, peri menopausal or menopausal. Probiotic benefits include helping with bloating and constipation due to hormonal imbalance, strains that are particularly beneficial include Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM®

Read more about probiotic strains that have been researched for Women’s health:

Which probiotics are best for women?

Health professionals can read more about related research on Probiotics Professionals:

Do women's probiotics work in the gut?

Skin Health

Whilst there aren’t any specific probiotic strains which have been identified as specifically beneficial for skin health, there is growing interest in the Gut-Skin axis and the effect of gut health on skin health. As your skin is your largest organ of detoxification, it makes sense that if you have skin issues and poor gut health that here could be a link.

skin health

Read more about probiotic strains that have been researched for Skin Health:

Probiotics for Skin and Acne

Health professionals can read more about related research on Probiotics Professionals:

Experts Back Probiotics Over Steroids for Eczema

Pregnancy

Some probiotics such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 have been specifically trialled in pregnant women and found to have particular benefits at this special time for the support of common pregnancy-related issues such as occasional constipation, vaginal infections, and mental wellbeing.  

Read more about probiotic strains that have been researched for Pregnancy:

Probiotics for pregnancy

Health professionals can read more about related research on Probiotics Professionals:

Pregnancy and Mental Health

Children’s Health

A child’s microbiome is different to an adult’s and it’s important to look for probiotic strains which have been researched in babies and children and shown in clinical trials to have probiotic benefits in this age group.

children making pancakes

Read more about probiotic strains that have been researched for children’s health:

Probiotics for Kids

Child Microbiome: Dr.Kate's Guide

How to get kids to take probiotics

Health professionals can read more about related research on Probiotics Professionals:

Prebiotics help Children's Constipation

Asthma

A common trigger for asthma attacks can be respiratory infections and some of the benefits of probiotics include a reduction of the symptoms of these infections and to support immune function.

Read more about probiotic strains that have been researched for asthma:

Probiotics For The Prevention of Asthma?

Health professionals can read more about related research on Probiotics Professionals:

Probiotic Potential for Asthma

Allergies

70% of immune cells are located in the digestive tract and there are benefits of probiotics if you have allergies. Research has shown that some types of hay fever can see a reduction in symptoms of 20% by taking certain strains of probiotics.

Read more about probiotic strains that have been researched for allergies:

Probiotics for Allergies

Health professionals can read more about related research on Probiotics Professionals:

Probiotics & Hayfever

Mental wellbeing

Your gut is your ‘Second brain’ due to the microbes in your gut acting as chemical messengers and communicating with your brain. There is currently a huge interest in the connection between the gut and the brain.

Read more about probiotic strains that have been researched for mental health:

Gut-Brain Axis & Probiotics

Health professionals can read more about related research on Probiotics Professionals:

NHS recommends probiotics for mental health

Antibiotics

Some probiotic strains have been clinically trialled and proven to reach the gut alive – even when taken alongside antibiotics!

Read more about probiotic strains that have been researched for use with antibiotics:

Probiotics with antibiotics

Health professionals can read more about related research on Probiotics Professionals:

Antibiotic resistance - can probiotics help?

There are many other developing areas of research using probiotics for a wide variety of health concerns such as weight loss, chronic fatigue syndrome and Parkinson’s disease. Search our website for related articles.

Hopefully you’ve found this list helpful, and it’s helped to answer all of your questions about the various uses and benefits of probiotics! You can also type specific health conditions or areas of interest into the Search function on our website to find more related articles: Search