Skin Care
Probiotics Studies Widening, from Skincare to Depression Treatments
Nov 20, 2017 - 4:56:39 PM

( - Bacteria's reputation has been undergoing a slow and steady shift. Over the last 10 years, researchers are beginning to discover the role that probiotics plays in enhancing one's health.

Probiotics, also known as friendly bacteria, are microbes that reside in our gut. They can, however, also be found in natural sources and can be used to enhance a person's natural microbial ecosystem. Confusion over probiotics has existed over what can fall under this term. Lynne McFarland, a professor at the University of Washington Seattle, wrote a paper on probiotics. This paper covered its use, as well as its history and development. In an interview with CNN, she clarifies that the general consensus on probiotics is that it must be a microbe that is alive, in bacteria or yeast form. And then there must also be a proven health benefit to taking that specific strain. This last criterion is tricky to determine.

Studies on the effectiveness of probiotics in various health realms are attempting to clarify this issue. Here are the most current areas in which probiotics are being studied.

Probiotics as a skincare solution to prevent acne and strengthen the skin barrier.

Probiotic skincare uses the concepts of the health benefits from good bacteria, and brings it to a new playing field - the skin. The skin has a bacterial eco system, just as the gut has. An imbalance in this eco-system results in skin that is highly sensitive and blemish prone.

A 2014 study on the effects of probiotics on acne provides growing evidence to support probiotic skincare. Researchers noted that probiotic use helped to curb P. acnes bacteria with the help of antibacterial proteins as a result of probiotic use. Applying the probiotic on one's skin was shown to strengthen the skin's barrier, which is another way to prevent the spread of the P. acnes bacteria.

Cosmetic makers and skin care companies, like Glowbiotics Skincare, have developed a way to use topical probiotics to strengthen the skin's ability to defend and repair itself.

Probiotics as a treatment for depression.

Is there a connection between a healthy gut and lower chances of depression? This is the question that McMaster University tried to answer, according to a paper published in May, 2017.

The parameters of the study consisted of 44 adults with mild depressive symptoms and IBS. The participants were followed for two and a half months. Half the participants took a placebo and half were given a dose of Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 daily.

In their study, they found that adults with IBS and who had depressive symptoms reported feeling happier after taking a probiotic.

The study brings to light several theories that are popular among researchers and medical scientists today. That the brain and the gut are communicating. When patients took a specific probiotic their IBS symptoms improved as did their feelings of well-being.

The results of the study have been heralded as promising, but experts desire a larger scale trial to confirm the results.

Probiotics in one's daily life?

What do nutrition and medical experts acknowledge are the proven ways to incorporate probiotics into your body? Probiotic supplements do not need to be your first source for getting the health benefits of good bacteria. Here are foods that you will likely be able to find in your supermarket that contain live, healthy bacteria.

Yogurt. This dairy product has long topped the list for being a rich source of friendly bacteria. And can provide probiotic benefits to your gut. The specific bacteria in yogurt are lactic acid bacteria as well as bifidobacteria. Yogurt has been linked to controlling diarrhea as a side effect to antibiotics. As well as improving the strength of one's bones. It is also a food easy to eat for breakfast.

Tempeh. A fermented product made from soy and formed into a firm cake. This food item is high in protein, but the fermentation increases its probiotic content and vitamin B12.

Miso. Another fermented product from soybeans, this paste is a staple in the Japanese diet. The paste is typically dissolved into water to form a soup. But it can also be used as a dressing or flavor addition for any of a number of dishes. Miso has been linked to lower risk of breast cancer in Japanese women, as well as reducing the risk of stroke.

Pickles. Cucumbers that have been fermented contain lactic acid bacteria. This bacteria strain has been connected to digestive health. This bacterium is not present, however, in pickles that are made from vinegar.


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