“All disease begins in the gut.” Those words were spoken nearly 2,500 years ago by Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine. An oversimplification that may be, but there is truth to this statement – your gut health has a massive effect on your overall health and well-being.
There are various ways you can improve your gut health. They include eating probiotic-rich foods, consuming resistance starches, eliminating artificial sweeteners, and reducing stress. One of the fastest and most efficient ways, however, is supplementing with probiotics.
Probiotics are live microorganisms (usually in the form of bacteria) that benefit your health1. Here are three powerful, evidence-based benefits of probiotics.
1. Probiotics Help You Lose Fat
The better your gut flora, the more likely you are to sport a lean and impressive physique.
In one study, scientists supplemented the diet of 210 obese individuals with the probiotic Lactobacillus gasseri for twelve weeks 2. As a result, they lost on average 8.5% belly fat.
Why do probiotics help get you lean? Because they reduce hunger by stimulating the release of GLP-1, an appetite-suppressing hormone 3. Besides, certain probiotics decrease fat storage by raising ANGPTL4 4.
2. Probiotics Boost Your Immune System
Probiotics bolster your gut flora by increasing healthy gut bacteria and inhibiting the growth of harmful ones5
The result? Probiotics decrease your risk of infections, lower your chances of getting sick, and help you recover faster when you do get ill 6-7
So, you’ll have to skip fewer workouts due to sickness, which means you can make progress at a faster rate.
3. Probiotics Boost Your Happiness
Around 90 percent of serotonin production happens in the digestive tract. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (a brain chemical) that helps stabilize your mood.
The problem is that an unhealthy gut flora wreaks havoc on serotonin production. That’s one of the reasons why gut health is closely linked to mental health 8.
By supplementing with probiotics, you boost your gut flora, which in turn enhances your mental well-being 9.
One study, for example, supplemented the diet of 70 chemical workers with either a probiotic supplement or 100 grams of probiotic yogurt daily for six weeks. As a result, they suffered less depression, anxiety, and stress 10.
1. Hill, C., Guarner, F., Reid, G., Gibson, G. R., Merenstein, D. J., Pot, B., . . . Sanders, M. E. (2014). Expert consensus document. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 11(8), 506-14.
2. Kadooka, Y., Sato, M., Ogawa, A., Miyoshi, M., Uenishi, H., Ogawa, H., . . . Tsuchida, T. (2013). Effect of Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 in fermented milk on abdominal adiposity in adults in a randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Nutrition, 14;110(9), 1686-703
3. Yadav, H., Lee, J. H., Lloyd, J., Walter, P., & Rane, S. G. (2013). Beneficial metabolic effects of a probiotic via butyrate-induced GLP-1 hormone secretion. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 30;288(35), 25088-97.