Benefits of a Daily Probiotic
By Molly Knudsen, MS, RDN
Between trying to eat a balanced diet, getting enough exercise, and sleeping a sufficient amount, is remembering to take a probiotic every day really essential for your health?
Probiotic studies usually research the effects of taking probiotics daily, so occasional use isn’t likely to have the same positive health outcomes.
Here are three research-backed benefits of having specific probiotic strains daily:
- It may support a healthy, balanced intestinal microbiota
- Over 100 publications demonstrate Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 strains support a balance of intestinal microbiota.1,2 Intestinal microbiota refers to the live microorganisms, such as bacteria, that call the small and large intestine home. These microorganisms are a mix of beneficial, neutral, or potentially harmful organisms to our health.3 When living in harmony, the gut is in homeostasis. This balance of good and bad bacteria is ideal for health. If the amount of bad bacteria tips the scale away from homeostasis in the gut, that leads to dysbiosis. Dysbiosis occurs from the loss of beneficial bacteria, the overgrowth of harmful bacteria, or the loss of microbial diversity in the gut.4 These two particular strains, L. acidophilus NCFM and B. lactis Bi-07, act as general maintenance for gut health.1,2
- It may support healthy immune function
- With cold and flu season upon us, keeping your immune system ready to fight infection should be a top priority, and that begins with maintaining a healthy gut. Surprisingly, 70% of the immune system is located in the gut.5 Research shows the strains L. acidophilus NCFM and B. lactis Bi-07 may support the immune system, so you can enjoy this season.6
- It may support weight management
- Losing weight is challenging, and maintaining it may seem impossible. The probiotic strain Bifidobacterium lactis B-420 may aid in controlling body weight.7 Clinical studies show daily intake of this strain supports body weight regulation and controls body fat.7
Are similar benefits observed when consuming fermented foods?
Fermented foods may contain live microorganisms that act as probiotics. However, food manufacturers rarely disclose the genus, species, and strains of bacteria in their products. It’s important to remember daily consumption of specific probiotic strains produced the health benefits found in research. You may have to do some digging to determine if fermented foods contain clinically studied probiotic strains.
What else can I do to support my gut?
Discussing a well-researched probiotic with your healthcare practitioner is a great start to achieving your health goals. But there are additional steps you can take toward keeping your gut healthy and happy as well.
- Eat a diet rich in whole, nutritious foods and fiber
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid refined and sugar-rich foods
- Ringel-Kulka T et al. J Clin Gastroenter. 2011;45:518-525.
- Leyer GJ et al. Pediatrics. 2009;124(2):e172-179.
- Zhang Y-J et al. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2015;16(4):7493-7519. doi:10.3390/ijms16047493
- DeGruttola AK et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2016;22(5):1137–1150.
- Vighi G et al. Clin Exp Immunol. 2008;153(Suppl 1):3–6.
- Kang E-J et al. Korean J Fam Med. 2013;34(1):2-10.
- Putaala H et al. Res Microbiol. 2008;159(9-10):692-698.