Probiotics are “good” active bacteria that live in the human body to help it digest food and absorb nutrients. Located mostly in the intestinal tract, they work in different ways to keep your immune system alert and ready to fight viral infections. Ever since the 1990’s, probiotics have caught the researchers’ attention, who identified a few ways probiotics can improve or boost your health condition:
- Antibiotic treatment causes the “good” live bacteria in your body to decrease in number thereby weakening the immune system;
- Probiotics can help keep the immune system in balance increasing the number of “good” bacteria;
- They can keep the “bad” bacteria and viruses in check, helping the body work normally;
- Relieve digestive problems, such as constipation, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and other issues with Diet (see Mayo Clinic);
- Improve mood;
- Improve vaginal and urinary health;
- Support weight loss;
- Relieve gas and reduce bloating;
- Aid digestion.
Why are probiotics important for women?
Probiotics are beneficial for everybody, but women however seem to benefit the most. Why? Generally more prone to developing problems related to the digestive tract, women more frequently suffer from constipation or IBS than men do. Furthermore, probiotics can also help improve outcomes in other conditions typical to women like vaginal thrush or urinary tract infections (UTIs).
In all these cases, tiny probiotic bacteria like Lactobacilus can keep perpetrators out of your system. Not only does Lactobacilus smooth digestion, but it also look after your vaginal and urinary health. Regulating pH levels in the vagina, urinary tract and gut, Lactobacilus pumps up your immune system improving your overall health and wellness. Some strains of Lactobacilus can relieve diarrhea and promote lactose digestion, especially in people having trouble digesting lactose. It can be found in fermented foods and dairy products (yogurt). Bifidobacterium lactis is another miraculous probiotic, which can help with IBS and constipation symptoms.
Eat well, look well! Dermatologists have determined that probiotics also have a crucial impact on skin health. According to Dr. Whitney Bowe, clinical assistant professor of dermatology, Mount Sinai Medical Center of New York City, there is sustained evidence that probiotics can offer successful remedies for acne and rosacea. With this in mind, researchers continue to study probiotics in relation to skin care to identify which probiotic strains can help repair the epidermal tissue if applied topically to the skin.
Several cosmetic companies have started producing skin care products based on a probiotic formula and some of them are already being marketed. However, applying a probiotic cream on damaged skin without having a balanced diet including foods such as kefir, yogurt and sauerkraut will not work miracles. If the taste of any of these foods keeps you away from them, adding probiotic supplements to your diet will definitely make a difference, because it all starts from the inside out.
Although probiotics have been shown to be beneficial for both men and women, there are certain strains which boost women’s health more. Researchers have found that the following probiotics work better in women:
- L. acidophilus ensures the integrity of the intestinal wall, it alleviates constipation, reduces gas, cramping and diarrhea while enhancing the capacity of the body to absorb nutrients. Typically found in the vaginal flora, it also helps cure urinary tract and vaginal infections.
- L. plantarum boosts the immune system by producing the hydrogen peroxide that the human body needs to defend itself against bacteria.
- L. rhamnosus is acknowledged to be one of the Lactobacilus strains most effective in fighting vaginal infections and traveler’s diarrhea, studies suggest.
- B. longum is known for its ability to maintain the digestive tract. As a species of Gram-positive bacteria, it curbs the development of bad bacteria and microorganisms thereby increasing overall immunity. It helps digestion of complex sugars (lactose) by producing lactic acid.
- B. subtilus is a species of probiotics that works by building a real barricade against Gram-negative bacteria by producing natural antibiotic compounds.
- B. breve is known for its ability to combat Gram-negative bacteria. Located in the intestinal tract, is an anaerobic, non-motile microorganism, studies have shown that this probiotic is extremely efficacious against diarrhea caused by overuse of antibiotics, E. coli, allergies, gas and IBS.