There is a new emphasis on probiotics when it comes to advertising certain foods in the grocery store. Probiotics are basically friendly microorganism that consists of mostly bacteria although some yeast products hold them as well. Today, you can find them in many yogurts, granola bars and chocolates and while they seem like a new trend, they have actually been around for well over a century.
While probiotics are considered very healthy for the digestive system, are they right for your particular needs? The truth is that there are positives and potential negatives in adding probiotics to your diet.
Pros of Probiotics
The most obvious advantage to consuming probiotics on a regular basis is how they impact the digestive system. Having plenty of probiotics in the gut provides for the better consumption and passage of food through the digestive tract. However, there are other positive benefits that probiotics have as well.
A study by BMC Surgery in 2012 indicated that probiotics may actually help lower the chances for contracting colorectal cancer. Further studies will be needed in order to see the full effects.
Reduction of Oral Diseases:
There has been some research indicated that probiotic organisms have a positive effect in preventing the following oral conditions:
2. Periodontal Disease
3. Halitosis and Other Oral Diseases
However, the studies are considered incomplete and further research must be performed in order to confirm or deny its effects.
Studies have shown that probiotics may have a positive effect on blood pressure. In fact, those who have elevated levels of blood pressure may benefit the most when consuming probiotics on a daily basis.
Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis:
One study conducted in 2013 showed a connection between having one dominant type of bacteria in the digestive tract and contracting rheumatoid arthritis. Consuming probiotics would prevent such an overgrowth of one form of bacteria.
Cons of Probiotics
There are some downsides for certain individuals who may feel some abdominal discomfort, bloating or excessive gas from consuming probiotics. However, these individuals are mostly children and the elderly who have less robust immune systems as compared to adults. Plus, such symptoms are usually temporary and will fade over time as the body gets used to consuming more of these microorganisms.
However, if such symptoms persist you can always switch to another type of probiotic to see if it has the same effects. In some cases, you might start off by only eating a little and gauging the effects that way so you are not too distressed if your body has issues.
Arguably the biggest disadvantage is that probiotics are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which means that you might not get what is generally supposed to be good for you. There are probiotics that have little positive effects as compared to others, so you will have to be a little careful in what you decide to pick.
Overall, probiotics have generally positive effects on the digestive system which can lead to feeling better and even preventing certain types of diseases.