Probiotics: they’re great for your gut but what else are they good for?
It seems like probiotics are all the health rave lately. If you’re not familiar with the, probiotics are microorganisms like bacteria and yeast that replenish all the good flora in your gut and help aid your body with digestion. Every day we discover new benefits of probiotics, so if you’re not yet convinced about all of the wonderful things they can do for your health, then here are a couple more:
A new study in PLOS ONE finds that eating probiotics for just a month can help diminish the accumulation of fat in your liver. And before you get too excited, the study was done on rats so it’s not totally clear on how this translates to humans but in any case, it’s a good step towards the fight against Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).
NAFLD is a buildup of fat in the liver that’s not cause by alcohol and it’s closely related to obesity and diabetes. It’s a fairly common disease that most people don’t even know they have, but in the most extreme cases it can lead to scarring of the liver and liver failure.
For this study, the researchers administered three different strains of probiotics to obese rats for 30 days straight ad found that it significantly reduced the amount of fat buildup in the liver compared to rats that were fed a placebo. Researchers say this doesn’t mean that probiotics can cure liver disease but it does demonstrate their anti-inflammatory properties. It supports the idea that our intestinal bacteria can directly influence our liver metabolism.
This goes hand in hand with another study published this week in hypertension which finds that regular probiotic intake can actually improve your blood pressure. Researchers analyze nine different studies and found that consuming at least 1 billion CFUs of probiotics daily, which is about how much you would find in a supplement capsule, lowered systolic blood pressure in patients by around 3.5 points and diastolic blood pressure by about 2.5 points. Not a massive difference, but the effects is more pronounced in people with elevated blood pressure levels of at least 130/85.
It’s also worth noting that probiotics multiple strains of bacteria are more effective than just a single strain. But no matter what kind you take, they do have to be consumed for at least eight weeks straight in order to see the positive effects.
Researchers believe that while probiotics don’t directly influence someone’s blood pressure, they do have other positive effects on the body that can lead to lower blood pressure. Probiotics improve your cholesterol, they reduce your blood glucose levels and they help regulate the hormone system responsible for regulating blood pressure.
So go ahead, eat all of the yogurt you want!