By now, you probably have a pretty good idea what probiotics do for your digestive health. They keep everything moving along down there. And probiotics help fight off gas, bloating, and discomfort.
You may even know that they are living microorganisms. Or that they fight off bad bugs to keep your digestive tract balanced.
But the probiotic benefits don’t end there. Far from it.
Researchers are discovered new things about probiotics practically daily. In fact, they’ve learned that our gut health is so critical to our overall health that many have started referring to it as our second brain.
Probiotics help far more than digestion alone
In other words, you’re not just supporting your digestive health with probiotics. You’re improving your complete health from head to toe.
Following are five surprising things probiotics help BEYOND digestion.
1. Builds stronger teeth:
As strange as it sounds, scientists say probiotics help strengthen your teeth. And they can even improve your breath while they’re at it.
Research out of Finland revealed that probiotics are great for our oral health. Specific strains—Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium—were shown to reduce the nasty bacteria that cause gum disease.
And researchers from the College of Dentistry at the University of Florida found probiotics could help prevent cavities and tooth decay. According to experts, the good bugs fire up the activity of certain amino acids which protect tooth enamel. And at the same time, they reduce the damage done by tooth-destroying bacteria.
But that’s not the only way probiotics can support your mouth. New Zealand scientists found that rinsing with mouthwash fortified with probiotics slowed the growth of bad breath germs 50 percent better than a placebo mouthwash.
2. Cuts down on coughs and colds:
It turns out over 75 percent of our immune system is located in our digestive tract. So it’s no surprise that supporting gut health can help us stay healthy.
The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews published a meta-analysis of 10 studies on probiotics and immune health. Across the board, probiotics reduced the number of colds, coughs, and respiratory infections.
3. Relieves anxiety:
In the past scientists told us, anxiety is an issue centered in the brain. But the truth is our brains aren’t the only organ involved. Your digestive tract plays a role too.
Your gut contains neurotransmitters, and it’s connected to your brain. So, what happens in your belly (and beyond) directly influences what’s going on in your head.
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found volunteers who took probiotics for 30 days experienced significantly less anxiety than those who didn’t take the good bugs. And the probiotic poppers reported having a better overall mood as well.
4. Balances cholesterol:
According to the American Heart Association, probiotics lowered LDL or so-called “bad” cholesterol levels by more than 11 percent. And even better, they did it without reducing HDL or “good” levels.
In other words, the probiotics nudged LDL into a healthier range leaving less to become oxidized and dangerous. Plus they improved the LDL to HDL ratio. And that’s every bit as important as the individual numbers themselves.
5. Improves eczema and rosacea:
Experts report that both topical and oral probiotics can help relieve the most uncomfortable symptoms of the skin conditions eczema and rosacea. In several studies, folks who either took probiotic supplements or applied yogurt containing live, active cultures directly to the skin, saw clearer, smoother, healthier skin.
And as an added bonus, some volunteers reported the good bugs led to younger appearing skin as well.
Don’t overlook the importance of your gut health. Probiotics help improve your overall health from head to toe.