We often think of bacteria in a negative light, but we need them for so many processes in the body. Probiotics are the good bacteria found in fermented foods such as kimchi, yogurt, kefir, and miso, and they can be bought in the form of a supplement.
The amount of information on probiotics available today is nothing short of staggering! You may already know that they are good for gut health, but research suggests that they have an effect throughout the entire body—including in the brain, skin, immune system, and even on our hormones.
It’s time to get to know your body’s inhabitants because they live with you and support you in so many ways. Here are seven fun and interesting facts that you may not know about these little guys living in and on your body.
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#1. You have 10 times more bacterial cells in your body than you have human cells
It is estimated that approximately 500 different species of bacteria live just on your skin, never mind in all other internal areas such as the gut! It’s no wonder, then, that changes in the microbial community are responsible for so many symptoms and concerns. Who is why is it so important to keep the microbiome healthy.
#2. Probiotics live all over our body, not just in the gut
You can find good bacteria all over your body, including on the skin, in the urinary tract, in the vagina, in the digestive system, in the mouth, and the respiratory system. Each location has its set of predominant bacteria that best supports the function and health of that location or organ.
#3. Each person has a unique bacterial environment, kind of like a fingerprint
One study has shown that the microbial environment we each carry has the potential to identify individuals uniquely. Although we generally carry similar strains in our bodies, there are unique microbial variances—as unique as your fingerprints—making probiotics potentially useful in forensics.
#4. Your little companions help your body absorb valuable nutrients
Gut bacteria help synthesize vitamins (such as B12 and K), produce short-chain fatty acids, and enhance digestion and nutrient absorption. Some researchers even suggest that our microbiota acts as a distinct organ because of its capacity to produce a wide range of compounds and powerful influences in the body.
#5. Probiotics begin developing before birth
Who once thought that a baby’s gut was sterile while in utero, but new research shows that babies are born with their bacteria—typically a microbiome similar to that of their mother’s intestinal environment. The placenta is filled with bacteria (both good and bad), which means that a baby’s exposure begins before birth and is dependent on the health of the mother’s microbiome.
#6. Probiotics can be used as a face mask for acne
A probiotic face mask is an inexpensive way to help clear skin from acne. Harsh soaps and environmental toxins can affect the normal skin microbiome, leaving it prone to breakouts and inflammation. You can make your mask at home by simply opening and mixing 2 capsules of probiotics with 1tsp of coconut oil (or another healthy oil if allergic to coconut). Apply it to the skin for 15 minutes before rinsing it off.
#7. Farmers are starting to use probiotics for livestock
It is common knowledge that antibiotics are often used in farm animals, but now farmers are starting to use probiotics to maintain healthier livestock. Potential benefits of probiotics in farm animals include greater resistance to infections, improved milk production and quality, increased egg production and quality, and reduced mortality caused by diarrhea.
Benefits of Probiotics for Women
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in our gut and help support our overall health. While both men and women can benefit from taking probiotics, there are some unique benefits that probiotics offer specifically for women. In this article, we’ll explore some of the ways that probiotics can support women’s health.
- Promotes digestive health: Probiotics can help support healthy digestion by maintaining a balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This can be especially helpful for women who experience digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.
- Supports vaginal health: Probiotics can help maintain the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina, which can help prevent infections such as yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. Lactobacillus crispatus, in particular, is a strain of probiotic that has been shown to be beneficial for vaginal health.
- May improve fertility: Probiotics may be beneficial for women who are trying to conceive. Research has shown that probiotics can help support a healthy reproductive system by reducing inflammation, balancing hormones, and improving overall health.
- Can ease symptoms of menopause: Probiotics may help reduce symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, mood swings, and vaginal dryness. The probiotic strain Lactobacillus acidophilus has been shown to be especially helpful for menopausal women.
- Boosts the immune system: Probiotics can help support the immune system by increasing the production of antibodies. This can be especially beneficial for women who are pregnant or nursing, as they may be more susceptible to infections.
- May improve skin health: Probiotics may help improve the health of the skin by reducing inflammation and supporting healthy gut bacteria. This can be especially helpful for women who experience skin conditions such as acne, eczema, or psoriasis.
- Supports mental health: Probiotics have been shown to have a positive impact on mental health by reducing anxiety and depression. This can be especially beneficial for women who experience mood swings or anxiety related to hormonal changes.
When it comes to choosing a probiotic supplement, it’s important to choose one that contains strains of bacteria that are known to be beneficial for women’s health. Look for supplements that contain Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus crispatus, or Bifidobacterium lactis.
In conclusion, probiotics offer many unique benefits for women’s health. By supporting digestive health, vaginal health, fertility, immune function, skin health, and mental health, probiotics can help women feel their best. If you’re considering adding a probiotic supplement to your daily routine, be sure to choose one that is specifically formulated for women’s health.