4 Intriguing New Applications for Probiotics: Heart, Dental, Skin, and Sinus Health
Since probiotics have enjoyed a recent boom in popularity, we’ve seen a major uptick in publications about the importance of probiotics in regard to supporting gastrointestinal health. However, the scientific community has upped the ante by thinking outside of the petri dish and discovering some innovative and novel applications for these amazing microbes.
From maintaining optimal gum and skin health to helping to keep our nasal passages and arteries healthy, strains from the Lactobacillus genera are shaping up to be some truly impressive multitasking microflora!
Probiotics and Heart Health
Due to the alarming number of heart issues affecting so many around the country, most of us are concerned about cardiovascular well-being these days. It's becoming obvious that we need to support our heart health, and one great way to help do this is by supplementing with probiotics.
In fact, new research has indicated that the probiotic strain Lactobacillus reuteri is helpful in normalizing cholesterol levels in the blood. In a fascinating study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in 2012, two daily doses of L. reuteri appeared to have helped keep key cholesterol-bearing molecules in the blood in check.1
Excess cholesterol creates buildup inside artery walls, which can lead to all kinds of problems. As this gunk builds up, it narrows blood vessel pathways, which increases the chances of cardiovascular issues down the road.
Medications like statins can maintain cholesterol levels in a healthy range by interrupting enterohepatic circulation, a process that synthesizes and circulates cholesterol in the body. While statins are the “go-to” choice for many doctors and patients, these and other lifestyle factors have a way of wiping out the good flora in your system. Research indicates that beneficial bacteria may help to discourage the compounds that carry cholesterol through the bloodstream, and help maintain normal cholesterol levels in the blood without indiscriminately targeting the other good guys working to keep your heart healthy.
Dental Health and Oral Hygiene
Your mouth is full of microbes, both good and bad, but with a host of hygiene products on the market aimed at eradicating all oral bacteria, many of us have wiped out the majority of the good guys along the way.
The truth is that the beneficial flora living within the oral cavity often encounter just as much adversity as their neighbors living in the gut.
You see, these probiotics are meant to act as warriors, supporting strong teeth and gums and serving as our immune system’s first line of defense—keeping our breath sweet and our ear, nose, and throat tissues healthy. Probiotic supplementation can help maintain the balance of beneficial microbes in our mouths, but it will only help if we use the most beneficial types of probiotic strains like L. reuteri, which can help your gum tissue to stay comfortable and healthy.
Supplementing with a high-quality oral probiotic formula like Hyperbiotics PRO-Dental is one of the easiest ways to support your oral microbiome.
Skin and a Healthier Complexion
While many philosophers claim that the eyes are “windows to the soul,” medical professionals and beauty experts will avow that the skin is a mirror to one’s overall health. Many skin issues arise due to lack of nutrition or poor nutrient absorption and immune system reactions. Beneficial bacteria are key to supporting the immune system and keeping it balanced—which can then help keep your skin looking great.
While probiotic supplements support immune health from within the gut environment, topical probiotic treatments may help keep sensitive skin clear and comfortable, and help maintain the building blocks of health from the outside in.
Research also demonstrates that, taken orally, Lactobacillus plantarum improves skin elasticity and hydration, and reduces the appearance of facial wrinkles.2
Sinus and Upper Respiratory Health
For many of us, common environmental triggers are the bane of our comfort and overall health. Whether you are a seasonal sufferer or have sensitivities to animals, you may be able to keep feeling your best around these triggers by eating more probiotic foods and by taking a high-quality probiotic supplement.
During the past decade, Swiss and Finnish scientists conducted various studies testing how probiotics affect the immune mechanisms behind seasonal sinus congestion, itchy eyes, and sensitive skin. While their goals, methods, and parameters varied, all three groups came to the same conclusion: people with seasonal upper respiratory issues did well with probiotic support.
The immune response to certain microbes in the air creates irritations such as increased white blood cells in the nasal mucosa. (This is how scientists explain your stuffy or runny nose, excess mucus, and sinus pressure.) When the immune system reacts like this, it releases eosinophils (white cells) and cytokines, which are proteins that trigger cell responses. A Finnish group studied children with birch pollen sensitivities in 2009, and the results indicated that the children who consumed the probiotics (compared to the placebo group) showed decreases in white blood cell counts and cytokines in their blood and nasal mucosa along with higher levels of microflora in their feces.3
In 2011, one of the Swiss teams investigated the effects of probiotics on immune markers in the blood of adults sensitive to grass pollen. One group of subjects received the placebo, while the others received daily doses of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus paracasei. Blood tests revealed no significant change in the immune markers for the placebo group, but blood work for the fermented milk group showed decreases in the immune markers that signal an unfavorable response to microbes in the air.4
The major theme here is that science is making leaps and bounds in learning how we can support various aspects of our health by introducing probiotics to our personal microbiome—softening the effects of modern lifestyles and maintaining health in the way that nature intended.
While fermented milk products contain some of the probiotic species crucial for vibrant health, it makes sense to bring a wider variety of microflora on board. Using a high-quality probiotic supplement like Hyperbiotics PRO-15, which contains fifteen different bacteria species, can help provide ultimate support for your heart, teeth, skin, upper respiratory health, and beyond.
1. Jones, M. L., Martoni, C. J., & Prakash, S. (2012). Cholesterol lowering and inhibition of sterol absorption by Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242: a randomized controlled trial. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition,66(11), 1234-1241.
2. Lee, D. E., Huh, C., Ra, J., Choi, I., Jeong, J., Kim, S., . . . Ahn, Y. (2015). Clinical Evidence of Effects of Lactobacillus plantarum HY7714 on Skin Aging: A Randomized, Double Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology,25(12), 2160-2168.
3. Ouwehand, A. C. (2009). Specific probiotics alleviate allergic rhinitis during the birch pollen season. World Journal of Gastroenterology,15(26), 3261.
4. Wassenberg, J., Nutten, S., Audran, R., Barbier, N., Aubert, V., Moulin, J., . . . Spertini, F. (2011). Effect of Lactobacillus paracasei ST11 on a nasal provocation test with grass pollen in allergic rhinitis. Clinical & Experimental Allergy,41(4), 565-573.
Julie Hays is the Communications Director here at Hyperbiotics. Health writer and mama of two little girls, Julie's on a mission to empower others to live lives free of the microbial depletion many of us face today. For more ideas on how you can maximize wellness and benefit from the power of probiotics, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.
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