17 Probiotics Benefits And Side Effects

Probiotics are one of the most popular health foods at present. This is due to the evidence of modern medicine supporting the activity of the gut microbiota and the link between human health and disease.

Do you know what are probiotics benefits and side effects?

Therefore, the modification of intestinal flora has received more and more attention as a potential treatment for human and animal diseases.

Table of Contents

What are probiotics?

Probiotics/lactic acid bacteria are simply a group of microorganisms that can effectively promote human health, and can resist stomach acid and bile acid, and can be attached and colonized in the intestine.

According to statistics, the human gastrointestinal tract contains a rich and diverse microbial community, gathering more than 100 trillion microorganisms. These microbial groups encode more than 3 million genes (the human genome is composed of approximately 23,000 genes), producing thousands of metabolites. And 80% of immune cells are distributed here, which has a decisive influence on metabolism and immune function.

These gut microbiotas play an important role in maintaining the stability of the intestinal environment, including the metabolism of nutrients, the synthesis of vitamin K and vitamin B12, the metabolism of exogenous organisms, as well as preventing the invasion of pathological organisms and maintaining the barrier function.

Current evidence finds that the composition of the intestinal flora changes in many disease states, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, malignant tumors, type 2 diabetes, obesity, colitis, asthma, mental illness, inflammatory diseases, and many immune diseases.

How are probiotics and lactic acid bacteria different?

Probiotics are the general term for all “beneficial bacteria”, and lactic acid bacteria are just one type of probiotics, which metabolize sugar to produce lactic acid. Since 90% of probiotics are lactic acid bacteria, probiotics are almost equal to lactic acid bacteria. Common lactic acid bacteria are Lactobacillus acidophilus (also known as A bacteria), Lactobacillus paracasei 33 (also known as LP33).

What are the benefits of probiotics?

Most of the following studies use different strains, non-strains have all the effects

1. Probiotics help lose weight

As lifestyle changes around the world, overweight and obese have become one of the most important public health issues.

Although there are many ways to improve overweight and obesity, calorie restriction and exercise are still the main methods of treatment, but the effect often varies from person to person.

There is increasing evidence that the gut microbiota plays an important role in energy balance and appetite suppression hormone secretion, and any adverse changes in this complex ecosystem, namely intestinal disorders, contribute to the development and progression of obesity.

A systematic literature review and meta-analyses (including 19 randomized controlled trials with a total of 1412 participants) pointed out that supplementing probiotics or synbiotics to average body weight and average body mass index (BMI ) change is not helpful and has little effect on lowering the waist circumference.

*Conclusion: Up to now, supplementing with probiotics has not significantly helped weight loss, and it needs to be further verified by more large-scale studies with accurate design.

2. Probiotics are beneficial for acute upper respiratory tract infections (common cold)

Acute upper respiratory infection or acute infection of the nose, sinus, pharynx, middle ear, larynx, epiglottis, airway, and bronchial tubes caused by viruses or bacteria.

Common cold (most common), acute sinusitis, acute pharyngitis, acute laryngotracheobronchitis, acute epiglottis, acute sinusitis, and acute otitis media are all forms of acute upper respiratory tract infection.

Common symptoms include cough, fever, headache, sore throat, runny nose, and sneezing. Depending on the condition, the symptoms usually resolve in a few days.

A Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (including 13 randomized controlled trials, a total of 3720 participants of all ages) pointed out that oral probiotics can reduce the number and duration of acute upper respiratory tract infections compared to placebo Average duration of time, use of antibiotics, and absenteeism related to colds.

*Conclusion: Oral probiotics may be helpful in preventing acute respiratory infections, but it is limited by the low quality of the evidence included, and more research is needed to support it.

3. Probiotics relieve anxiety symptoms

Anxiety is a common mental disorder. It is usually associated with fear, nervousness, fear, and panic, but it may also involve the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, or nervous systems, whether alone or in combination.

The causes of anxiety disorders include the interaction of psychosocial factors, including childhood adversity, stress or trauma, and genetic vulnerability, and there are also high comorbidities with other mental disorders, such as depression, alcohol/drug dependence, And abuse.

Probiotics are believed to help fight anxiety due to their effects of reducing systemic inflammation, reducing hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity, and regulating neurotransmitter levels in the brain.

A meta-analysis of literature (including 12 randomized controlled trials with 1,551 participants) pointed out that neither metabolic analysis nor subgroup analysis found that probiotics and placebo had significant differences in relieving anxiety symptoms.

*Conclusion: Based on the limited evidence at present, the use of probiotics in relieving anxiety has no obvious help, and more large-scale trials are still needed to support it.

4. Probiotics are good for allergies (for allergic rhinitis)

Allergic rhinitis is the most common phenomenon of allergies. It is estimated that about 10% to 30% of the total population suffers from this disease. It is a specific inflammatory reaction of the nasal mucosa caused by allergens, mainly runny nose and itching, sneezing, and stuffy nose.

Allergic rhinitis often causes great inconvenience to the patient’s life, even unable to concentrate on school and work, and the treatment is to avoid allergens, nasal corticosteroids, decongestants, antihistamines, but only 38.8% of patients said that the symptoms were under control and it was difficult to eradicate the symptoms.

A systematic retrospective analysis (including 22 double-blind controlled studies with a total of 2242 participants) found that probiotics can help alleviate seasonal allergic rhinitis symptoms such as nasal congestion, itching, and runny nose. Th1: Th2 ratio), especially the LP-33 strain has a more obvious effect.

5. Probiotics benefit chronic periodontitis

Periodontal disease refers to the inflammation caused by the accumulation of bacteria or plaque in the tissues around the teeth, from easy-to-treat gingivitis to irreversible severe periodontitis.

Chronic periodontitis is characterized by swelling and bleeding of the gums, atrophy of the gums, and deep pockets between the teeth and the gums, which cause the teeth to loosen or even fall off.

Pathogenic factors In addition to poor oral hygiene habits, there are smoking, systemic diseases, steroids, antiepileptic drugs, anticancer drugs, inappropriate crowns and bridges, incomplete teeth, loose fillings, pregnancy and use Oral contraceptives.

A literature review and meta-analysis (including 7 randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trials related to chronic periodontitis) pointed out that the use of probiotics in addition to traditional scaling and root planing can help To improve the improvement of periodontal damage indicators, such as periodontal probe depth and clinical attachment level.

The underlying mechanism may be related to the production of antibacterial compounds by probiotics, improving the epithelial barrier, and inhibiting the adhesion and growth of harmful bacteria.

*Conclusion: Adjuvant probiotic therapy can bring additional benefits to improve periodontitis, but due to possible bias and heterogeneity, more high-quality randomized clinical trials are still needed for further verification.

6. Probiotics are beneficial for blood pressure regulation

Like smoking, diabetes, and dyslipidemia, hypertension is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and about 30% of global deaths are caused by cardiovascular disease.

In most countries, 15% to 30% of adults, and more than 50% of the elderly suffer from high blood pressure, which is also a serious public health problem.

A meta-analysis of literature (including 9 randomized controlled trials, a total of 543 participants) pointed out that daily consumption of probiotics can improve blood pressure (systolic blood pressure-3.3 mm Hg diastolic blood pressure-1.4 mm Hg), and The most significant subjects were those with more than 8 weeks of use, multiple strains, blood pressure greater than 130/85 mm Hg, and daily doses greater than 10 billion colony forming units.

The underlying mechanism may be related to the improvement of blood cholesterol, lower blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, and regulation of the renin-angiotensin system by probiotics.

*Conclusion: Regular daily intake of probiotics may have a positive effect on blood pressure regulation.

7. Probiotics reduce the incidence of allergies and atopic constitutions in young children

The term “atopy” refers to the fact that individuals or families are prone to produce corresponding immunoglobulin E (IgE) for environmental triggering factors (such as pollen, house dust mites, and food allergens) due to genetic predisposition ).

The atopic constitution is often associated with atopic dermatitis, asthma, allergic rhinitis, hay fever, and food allergies.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (including 17 randomized controlled trials with a total of 2947 participants) pointed out that the continued use of probiotics before and after childbirth (referring to pregnancy, breastfeeding, and children under 1-year-old) can help reduce the risk of young children’s specific reactions (atopy) and food allergies.

*Conclusion: Continued probiotic supplementation before and after childbirth can help reduce the incidence of atopic physique and food allergies in children, but more long-term studies are needed to confirm the best strain, dosage, and treatment time.

8. Probiotics benefit postoperative wound infection

As surgical techniques change with each passing day, postoperative wound infection remains a major issue, accounting for 38% of all nosocomial infections.

Surgical site infections not only increase the number of additional hospital stays of 7 to 10 days but also increase the risk of death ranging from 2 to 11 times.

A meta-analysis (28 studies, 2511 participants) pointed out that the use of probiotics during gastrointestinal surgery can reduce the incidence of postoperative infections (including respiratory tract, Urinary tract, and wound infection).

In addition, the hospitalization period and antibiotic treatment time of the probiotic group were also shorter than those of the control group.

Another meta-analysis (including 4 studies, 246 participants) pointed out that in addition to reducing probable infections (intra-abdominal and urinary tract infections), probiotics can also reduce stays in intensive care units and Antibiotic use.

*Conclusion: Oral probiotics during surgery can reduce postoperative infection events and reduce hospital stay.

9. Probiotics are good for colorectal irritability

Irritable bowel disease is a common functional gastrointestinal disease with a population prevalence rate of 11.2%, mainly characterized by abdominal distension, abdominal pain, abnormal bowel movements, and frequency changes (constipation and diarrhea). Although the exact causative factors are still unknown, it may be related to the intestinal tract Chronic mucositis, intestinal epithelial cells and immune function changes caused by colony changes are related to high visceral sensitivity.

A meta-analysis of literature (including 21 studies of colorectal irritability) pointed out that probiotic supplementation is an effective treatment for patients, and it has a more significant effect with a small dose of a single strain and short-term use (in overall Symptom response and quality of life measurement).

*Conclusion: The use of probiotics may help improve colorectal irritability, but more research is still needed to confirm the effective strain, dosage, and required treatment period.

10. Probiotics improve high cholesterol

Hypercholesterolemia is the metabolic abnormality with the highest prevalence in adults. The causes are mainly related to poor eating habits, obesity, inactivity, and smoking, and are the main causes of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.

A literature review and Meta-Analysis (including 15 randomized controlled trials, a total of 976 participants) also pointed out that oral Lactobacillus probiotic bacteria, especially L. reuteri and L. plantarm strains, have reduced The effect of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.

In addition, the same study subgroup analysis also found that ingesting related foods containing Synbiotics (synbiotic, referring to a mixture of probiotics and probiotics) has the effect of improving HDL cholesterol and triglyceride.

The underlying mechanism may be related to the assimilation of cholesterol by probiotics, the binding of cholesterol to cell membranes, the destruction of cholesterol particles, and the dissociation properties of bile salts.

*Conclusion: Oral probiotics have the effect of regulating cholesterol, but considering the high heterogeneity and possible deviations of the included studies, it still needs to be confirmed by more large-scale studies.

11. Probiotics benefit colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer type among men and women with a fatality rate, second only to prostate cancer and lung cancer. It is estimated that there are about one million newly diagnosed cases worldwide each year.

Surgery is the most common basic treatment for colorectal cancer, but preoperative preparation strategies and surgical trauma often disrupt the balance of intestinal microbes and barrier function, resulting in suppression of immune function and increased infection after surgery.

A meta-analysis of literature (including 17 studies, 1242 participants) pointed out that the use of probiotics after colorectal cancer surgery has the effect of protecting the intestinal mucosa (physical and biological barrier), but the strain and duration You must also confirm.

*Conclusion: Probiotics can protect the intestinal mucosa and biological barrier for patients with colorectal cancer after surgery.

12. Probiotics benefit diabetes and blood sugar control

Diabetes stems from the inability to produce enough insulin or poor insulin function, resulting in abnormal blood glucose levels. According to estimates by the World Health Organization, by 2030, nearly 400 million people worldwide will suffer from this disease.

Diabetes is not terminally ill, but it is terrible that the condition is not properly controlled, leading to long-term high blood sugar. The consequence is severe damage to the blood vessels and nervous system, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, retinopathy, etc., which greatly reduces the quality of life.

A meta-analysis (including 12 studies with a total of 770 participants) pointed out that taking probiotics has the potential to regulate blood sugar (fasting blood sugar and insulin) and lower blood fats (triglyceride and total cholesterol), Among them, the multiple strains and the objects used for more than 8 weeks are the most significant.

The author believes that the underlying mechanism is related to the activation of probiotics and the inhibition of cholesterol absorption properties.

13. Probiotics increase H. pylori eradication rate

Helicobacter pylori is a gram-negative bacterium that colonizes the gastric mucosa. If left untreated for a long time, it will easily cause gastrointestinal diseases such as chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer, and gastric adenocarcinoma.

The current conventional therapy for eradication of this bacterium is triple therapy, including hydrogen ion blockers and two antibiotics. However, due to the development of drug resistance, the eradication failure rate is often between 10% and 45%.

A meta-analysis (including 30 randomized controlled trials) pointed out that the combined use of probiotics and Helicobacter pylori treatment (Triple therapy/Triple therapy) can not only increase the eradication rate of 13.8%, but also reduce the variety of Treatment-related side effects (including nausea, vomiting, upper abdominal pain, and diarrhea).

The underlying mechanism is related to the regulation of immune response by probiotics, improvement of intestinal barrier function, stimulation of mucus secretion, and inhibition of bacterial adhesion to epithelial cells.

14. Probiotics benefit oral hygiene

Oral hygiene is the most often overlooked health problem in daily life. Once ignored, it often becomes an important gateway for “disease from the mouth”.

Oral diseases can easily cause bleeding gums, periodontal disease, and tooth loss, but according to research, these diseases not only affect the appearance and cause bad breath but also greatly increase the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.

This is because periodontal disease and tooth loss will increase the bacteria in the oral cavity and circulate through the blood to induce a pro-inflammatory response.

A systematic review pointed out that probiotics can help reduce dental caries pathogens (CFU counts). As for periodontal disease, the literature also pointed out that it has the effect of improving probing bleeding, detecting depth, and gingival index.

However, the author mentions that due to the multiple pathogenic factors of oral diseases, reducing the number of colonies does not guarantee complete control of the disease, so more design and accurate experiments are needed to confirm the effective bacteria, dosage, and treatment time.

15. Probiotics improve functional constipation / also known as habitual constipation

Functional constipation is the most common type of constipation in adults and young children. It refers to primary persistent constipation caused by non-organ diseases. It is estimated that the prevalence rate exceeds 14%.

Common constipation medications include fiber supplements, laxatives, and stool softeners. However, due to many causes of constipation, about 47% of patients have doubts about the effectiveness and safety.

A systematic review (including 14 studies with a total of 1182 participants) and meta-analysis pointed out that the use of probiotics can help improve the overall intestinal transit time (gut) of patients with functional constipation (gut transit time), stool frequency and stool consistency, among which B. lactis strain is the most effective.

However, the authors point out that some of the results still have the risk of heterogeneity and bias, so further research needs to be confirmed.

16. Probiotics improve antibiotic-induced diarrhea

Diarrhea is an experience that everyone has from childhood to a metropolis. If not handled properly, it often causes many memorable or even embarrassing memories.

So-called diarrhea in medicine means that the stool will be relieved more than 3 times a day, and the stool is sparse or watery, and there are many causes of diarrhea, including bacterial virus infection, food poisoning, drugs, stress, malabsorption, and enteritis.

An empirical medical database (contained 23, a total of 3938 controlled studies of children under 18 years old) pointed out that the protective effects of probiotics can help prevent the use of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. The incidence was only 8%, compared with 19% in the control or placebo group.

(But the author believes that when considering possible adverse reactions, especially for patients with weakness or reduced immune function, the use of probiotics to treat diarrhea caused by antibiotics must still be reserved).

17. Probiotics are beneficial for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Asperger’s disease

ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome are common physical and mental symptoms that occur in young children.

ADHD often shows symptoms such as inability to concentrate, lack of self-control, difficulty in obeying other people’s instructions, and excessive activity, causing parental troubles in parenting. Traditional medicine generally believes that symptoms will improve after growing up, but in fact, there are Thirty percent of the children’s active symptoms improved after they entered adulthood, but they suffered from lack of attention, which caused interpersonal, work, and even marital problems.

Asperger’s syndrome is considered to be a specific type of autism. Unlike autism, Asperger patients usually have normal intelligence and language ability close to the standard (some even have a high degree of talent in certain areas, such as music and math), but It lacks social skills and empathy.

According to a preliminary clinical control observation, pregnant women in the experimental group took probiotics Lactobacillus GG during pregnancy (continued until breastfeeding), and none of the children born had ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome.

However, 17% of children in the placebo group developed ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome. Therefore, the study preliminarily determined that taking probiotics for pregnant women and infants after birth can help reduce the incidence of these two physical and mental symptoms.

Are there any side effects of probiotics?

To obtain probiotics, the general strains must undergo rigorous tests to confirm that they are safe and safe so that they can become probiotics that are beneficial to the human body. Therefore, taking probiotics is very safe, but it may accelerate intestinal peristalsis when taking it. A slight exhaust phenomenon, this is normal.

It should be noted that in patients with immunocompromised or seriously ill-use probiotics, please discuss with the doctor first to avoid unknown side effects (such as infection).

Where to buy the most recommended probiotics capsules?

In recent years, food safety problems in various countries have exploded, and it is not healthy but black-hearted products that everyone spends on. Therefore, European and American products with relatively strict quality control have become popular products.

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