Thanks to their ability to provide a number of physical and mental health benefits, probiotics are one of the most popular supplements on the market today. These live bacteria deliver advantages that go far beyond the most widely recognized health benefits of probiotics to the body’s digestive function and gut microbiome. A growing body of evidence now points to the fact that the regular use of probiotics may improve cognitive function.
Defining the Human Microbiome
Before examining how probiotics may improve cognitive function, you need to understand the function of the human microbiome. This collection of microbes takes up residence inside the human body. Microbes come in the form of fungi, viruses or bacteria.
The health-promoting types of bacteria play a critical role in the protection against harmful pathogens while also boosting immune function and assisting in the digestive process. While some types of microbes are dangerous, other kinds play a helpful role in a variety of health functions. This makes it important to encourage the right amount of healthy microbes.
There are also a variety of environmental conditions that can disrupt a healthy functioning microbiome, leading to a higher chance of developing medical conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, allergies, diabetes and more.
How Probiotics May Improve Cognitive Function
As scientists have learned more about the gut microbiome, they have discovered what is referred to as the gut-brain axis. This connection is a two-way street that relies on the gut and the brain working together to maintain a number of healthy body functions. The bi-directional relationship impacts a myriad of digestive issues in addition to mental health. When one part of the axis is not firing on all cylinders, the other side of the connection may also fail.
A new study from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom set out to determine if probiotic supplements that contain live microbes may benefit the function of the brain. The researchers looked at the effects of live probiotics on attention, memory and executive function.
The study examined the use of probiotics in infants, children, middle-aged adults and aging adults, providing a comprehensive look at a variety of populations. The data demonstrated varying results, with older individuals showing the most significant levels of improvement in cognitive function after being on a probiotic supplement. Participants in the study showed improvement in areas such as story memory, cognitive flexibility, attention span, processing speed and verbal fluency.
Additional Benefits of Probiotics
In addition to the recent emerging benefits of probiotics on cognitive function, this supplement has already been shown to provide a bevy of other health advantages. Here are a few of the most widely studied benefits of a probiotic regimen.
Encourage Optimal Digestive Health
The regular use of probiotics can help to promote the proliferation of good bacteria in the gut, supporting optimal digestive health. The right balance of bacteria can also reduce diarrhea and mitigate the negative effects of antibiotics. Additionally, probiotics are widely used to manage the symptoms of a variety of inflammatory bowel diseases, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Improve Mental Health
As more is revealed about the gut-brain axis, it becomes clear that probiotics may also improve mental health. The use of this supplement can improve symptoms of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism.
Boost Immune System
If you are like most people, you are always looking for ways to boost your immune system. The inclusion of a daily probiotic can go a long way in this plight. Some types of probiotics have been shown to encourage a greater production of natural antibodies, helping to boost crucial immune cells and natural killer cells. This production can guard the body by reducing the frequency and severity of many types of illnesses and infections.
Promote Weight Loss
If you are looking to lose a few pounds, you may want to look into the use of probiotics as a weight loss aid. Studies have shown that probiotics work to prevent the absorption and presence of dietary fat within the intestine. Rather than being stored in the body, the fat is excreted from the body through feces. Probiotics may also help you to feel fuller for a longer period of time while working to speed up calorie burn.
Lessen Severity of Allergies and Eczema
Some specific probiotic strains can be used in the fight against allergies and eczema. This relief is particularly prevalent in infants and children.
Now that you understand the vast number of benefits of probiotics, it is time to decide how you are going to leverage this power for your own individual health. While you can find probiotics in a number of different foods, many people prefer the ease and convenience of supplements. A supplement such as Florachron® encourages an ideal intestinal flora makeup through the use of a morning probiotic and an evening prebiotic.
With no downside to probiotic use, you owe it to your health and wellness to explore how the use of this supplement can benefit you.