When you go to the doctor’s office for a bacterial infection such as strep throat, you’ll likely receive a prescription for antibiotics to clear up the illness. Yet, if you’ve been down the vitamin aisle lately, chances are you’ve come across probiotics. What are these new supplements, and why are so many people taking them? Here are 3 reasons to consider a daily probiotic.

While antibiotics are used to zap the bad bacteria in your body, probiotics are used to promote the helpful bacteria that support intestinal, and ultimately, whole-body health. When we take antibiotics, these medications also naturally take away some of the good bacteria our body needs to thrive. Probiotics help to restore the essential balance in our intestinal tract. Moreover, aside from antibiotics, there are many other dietary, environmental, and medical factors which can affect our population of good bacteria. Thus, probiotics can be a healthy choice for many populations – with a doctor’s permission, of course.

If you’re not already doing so, here are three reasons to consider discussing a probiotic supplement with your healthcare provider:

Prevent Gut Dysbiosis

Because probiotics help to maintain a healthy population of microorganisms in the intestines, it is important to consider a daily probiotic. They could help to prevent against a serious condition known as gut dysbiosis. When factors such as age, diet, stress, and disease diminish the abundance and diversity of healthy gut bacteria, it can impact the homeostasis, or stable state, of the gut. Gut dysbiosis occurs when this imbalance happens consistently. The condition is linked not only to intestinal issues such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but also central nervous system disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. Fortunately, probiotics have been shown to help regulate these bacteria for improved intestinal health.

Support Immune System Health

The intestinal immune system encounters more foreign and harmful substances than any other system in the body, making it a key player in disease prevention. In fact, as much as 70% of the body’s entire immune system is located in the intestines. Yet, to provide the right immune responses when needed, the intestinal tract needs a healthy balance of bacteria. Taking probiotics can help to promote that balance, and use of these supplements has even been linked to prevention of the common cold.

Aid in Weight Management

Losing weight and keeping it off can be challenging. While eating a diet rich in lean protein, whole grains, and nutrient-rich fruit and vegetables is essential to maintaining a healthy weight, probiotics could also play a beneficial role in weight management. Specifically, the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium lactics B-420 appears to help control body fat and assist with the regulation of body weight.

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