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7 Benefits of Probiotics: Enhancing Health Beyond Digestion
  • 2023-10-16
  • admin

Probiotics are something that many people are likely familiar with. They are beneficial microorganisms that have various advantages for our bodies. Besides their daily benefits such as aiding in preventing constipation and supporting intestinal movement, it's surprising to learn that probiotics offer numerous other advantages.


What is Probiotics

Probiotics are a mix of living, healthy bacteria and/or yeast that exist naturally in your body. Bacteria are typically thought of negatively as being something that makes you sick. You continually have two different types of bacteria in and on your body, though: healthy bacteria and bad bacteria. Good bacteria included in probiotics contribute to the health and efficiency of your body. When there is an excess of harmful bacteria, this beneficial bacteria assists you in numerous ways, including making you feel better and fending off the bad bacteria.



1. Nutritional Benefits

Probiotics can help make your food easier to digest and more nutritious. They may not break down fats much, but they are good at breaking down proteins and carbohydrates. They can even create vitamins in your food. When probiotics, like lactobacillus, get to work, they partially break down big proteins in your food into smaller parts called peptides and amino acids, which are easier for your stomach to handle.


Probiotics can also break down lactose (a sugar found in milk) into glucose and galactose. Then, glucose can be turned into lactic acid and other helpful chemicals that support the development of your brain and nervous system, especially in children.


In addition, probiotics have enzymes that can break down casein (a protein in milk) into smaller pieces, making it easier for your body to digest and absorb. Probiotic fermentation can increase the levels of certain beneficial fatty acids in milk, and although it breaks down a small amount of fat, this actually makes the food easier to digest.


When probiotics are working, they can take in certain vitamins and create B vitamins like folic acid. They also produce organic acids that help your body absorb iron and vitamin D better. This fermentation process can also improve the use of other nutrients in your food, such as calcium, phosphorus, and iron.


2. Cholesterol Reduction by Probiotics

Numerous clinical studies, both in and outside of the country, have shown that taking probiotics and related products can help reduce the amount of cholesterol in the human body. When probiotics are grown in a special cholesterol-rich environment that contains bile salts, they can soak up some of the cholesterol from that environment. These probiotics also change some of the cholesterol into a substance called bile salts, which the body can then get rid of.


Probiotics don't just absorb cholesterol; they also slow down the body's own cholesterol production. Research has proven that probiotics can lower the levels of cholesterol and another type of fat called triglycerides in the blood. Among these probiotics, a type called "lactic acid bacteria" is especially effective at reducing cholesterol, and there are many different strains to choose from.


3. Anti-Cancer Effects of Probiotics

Probiotics can help fight cancer. They do this in a few ways. First, they slow down the activity of enzymes that can lead to mutations in our cells, and they also directly block some cancer-causing substances. When probiotics grow in our guts, they reduce the number of harmful bacteria that make these cancer-causing substances, which lowers the risk of cancer.


Probiotics can also stop certain enzymes in our colon, especially those that turn harmless substances into cancer-causing ones. Carcinogens, or things that can cause cancer, start by making changes in our cells. Some probiotics can prevent these changes.


Probiotic cell walls can grab onto harmful stuff like the leftovers of amino acids. They're also great at capturing as much as 98% of nitrosamines, which are chemicals that can lead to stomach and colon cancer. So, by using probiotics, we can lower our risk of these cancers.


Probiotics can also break down harmful substances called N-nitrosamines, which are known to cause cancer. Additionally, probiotics and what they produce can activate our immune system, making it stronger against cancer. They help our bodies make substances like interferons and mitogens, activate natural killer cells, and create antibodies, all of which boost our immune system and help us fight cancer.


4. Inhibiting Harmful Bacteria and Improving Gut Function

The metabolism of probiotics generates various byproducts such as organic acids, acetic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and bacteriocins, which can inhibit spoilage and pathogenic bacteria in food. Probiotics have a good inhibitory effect on some spoilage and cold-resistant bacteria. When probiotics ferment lactose in the body, they produce plenty of organic acids, creating an acidic environment in the intestines. This acidity can suppress the growth of pathogenic and harmful bacteria, preventing infections and maintaining a balanced gut microbiome.


Probiotics and their byproducts can stimulate the secretion of host digestive enzymes and enhance intestinal contractions, aiding in the digestion and absorption of food while preventing constipation. They also exhibit inhibitory effects on pathogenic bacteria such as Shigella, Salmonella, Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus. Lactic acid bacteria like Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Lactococcus produce hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which can inhibit and kill Gram-negative bacteria, hydrogen peroxide enzyme-positive bacteria, and pathogenic bacteria like Escherichia coli and Salmonella.


Some Lactobacilli produce extracellular glycosidases that break down complex polysaccharides in the intestinal mucosa. These sugars act as potential receptors for pathogenic toxins. By breaking down these sugars, the enzymes prevent the adhesion of pathogenic bacteria toxins to the epithelial cells. Additionally, many probiotics produce small proteins or peptides similar to bacteriocins, which have inhibitory effects on bacteria like Staphylococcus, Clostridium, Salmonella, and Shigella.



5. Lowering High Blood Pressure

Studies indicate that probiotics can help reduce high blood pressure by breaking down certain pieces of protein in our food using their enzymes, like carboxypeptidase and aminopeptidase. This process releases small pieces, called peptides, that can lower blood pressure. Some parts of probiotic bacteria, like a substance found in the cell wall of a bacterium called Lactobacillus caseii YIP9018, have been shown to lower blood pressure in rats and people with high blood pressure. Some probiotics, especially live lactobacilli that reach the intestines, help our bodies absorb minerals that can regulate blood pressure. Additionally, some probiotics' outer sugars might also have blood pressure-lowering effects.


6. Preventing Blood Clots

The byproducts of probiotics can stop blood cells from sticking together and forming clots. This means that eating foods with a lot of lactic acid bacteria regularly can help prevent issues like high blood fat levels, thickened blood, and the formation of dangerous blood clots.


7. Improving Liver Health

Probiotics in the gut can help your liver work better. They do this by protecting your stomach lining, which reduces how much alcohol gets into your system. This can prevent liver damage and fatty liver caused by heavy drinking. Probiotics also stop harmful bacteria from growing, which means your liver doesn't have to work as hard to detoxify your body, ultimately making your liver function better.




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