You probably already know that your gut bacteria can not only affect your digestive system but have far more other interactions with other organs, such as the brain and can have a considerable impact on your immune and endocrine systems.
According to latest research, probiotics (beneficial gut bacteria) can reduce the risk in developing type 2 diabetes, atopic eczema, and reduce LDL cholesterol.
A team of researchers has even discovered that a bacterium, Akkermansia municiphila, was found at high levels in lean people and reduced in obese counterparts. Transferring this bacterium (or probiotic) to obese mice makes them lose weight without changing their diet.
However, it is not only the probiotic species that count. For instance you may buy a probiotic containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus, but you have to know that only the strain (specified by the last letters or numbers after the latin name) must be looked at when buying a probiotic supplement.
For instance, you may find a probiotic containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus, but in fact only the strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG has shown benefits in reducing cow's milk allergy, intestinal candidiasis and postpartum obesity (obesity after pregnancy).
For high cholesterol? Lactobacillus plantarum 299v and Bifidobacterium longum BB5636 have both shown high level of evidence in managing cholesterol imbalance.
The strains Lactobacillus La5 and bifidobacterium lactis Bb12 have shown benefits in type 2 diabetes management.
A diet rich in fibre, including vegetables, whole grains and nuts, is essential to accompany probiotic supplementation.
If you want more advice on a specific probiotic, I can help you choose the best one for you.
Everard, A & Cani, PD 2013, ‘Diabetes, obesity and gut microbiota’, Best Practice & Research Clinical Gastroenterology, vol. 27, Elsevier Ltd, no. 1, pp. 73–83.
Everard et al. 2013, ‘Cross-talk between Akkermansia muciniphila and intestinal epithelium controls diet-induced obesity’, National Academy of Sciences, vol. 110, no. 22, pp. 9066–9071
Isolauri, E, Arvola, T, Sutas, Y, Moilanen, E & Salminen, S 2000, ‘Probiotics in the management of atopic eczema’, Clinical and experimental allergy, vol. 30, pp. 1604–1610.
Kovatcheva-Datchary, P & Arora, T 2013, ‘Nutrition, the gut microbiome and the metabolic syndrome’, Best practice & research clinical gastroenterology, vol. 27, Elsevier Ltd, no. 1, pp. 59–72.
Ooi, LG & Liong, MT 2010, ‘Cholesterol-lowering effects of probiotics and prebiotics: A review of in Vivo and in Vitro Findings’, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 11, no. 6, pp. 2499–2522.