Since you’re a Guide to Good Health reader, I’m guessing I probably don’t need to tell you how important a bellyful of good bacteria is. As you know, your gut is the center of your entire immune system. And keeping your intestinal flora balanced can help keep you healthy.

The trouble is, in today’s world it can be tough to do that. An on-the-go diet that’s way too high in junk and way too low in fresh healthy organic foods, stress and even medications like antibiotics all act like bulls on the loose in a china shop, shattering the balance of your gut flora making you vulnerable to getting sick.

The health benefits of probiotics can quickly get you back on track, replenishing the good bacteria in your digestive tract. And what a difference it can make!

One UK study I told you about a few years ago, found one of the health benefits of probiotics is that they could boost your immunities by an astounding fifty percent, in some cases.

And it almost goes without saying that probiotics are some of the best protection you can get against antibiotic-resistant superbugs. In fact, because of the amazing health benefits of probiotics, I think they are a “must take” supplement that everyone should be including in their daily routine.

Lower your body fat with belly bugs

Good belly bugs do a lot more for you than just fight off the common cold or the flu. And we’re learning more about their effects every day.

Just last year I told you about an exciting mouse study that revealed a connection between gut flora and diabetes. Researchers found that gut bacteria produce biochemicals and hormones that can literally stop diabetes from ever developing!

But as I read the latest issue of the British Journal of Nutrition it wasn’t that diabetes study that came to mind, but rather an earlier one that I had shared with my readers years ago. I’ll get back to that new probiotic research in BJN in just a moment, but first let me refresh your memory about that earlier study.

In 2009, Finnish researchers concluded that certain probiotics can help women manage their weight after a pregnancy.  They divided 256 pregnant women into three groups. The first group received dietary counseling and a daily probiotic. The second group got the same counseling, but received a placebo. And the third group didn’t get any dietary counseling, but got the placebo.

The women continued with whichever regimen they were assigned to throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. Once they stopped breastfeeding they were brought in for measurements of weight and waist circumference.

The women who took the probiotic came out on top. A year after having their babies they were sporting the best post-baby bodies, with the lowest body fat percentages. And just as exciting, the women taking the probiotic ended up carting around less fat around their midsections than the other two groups.

Drop more pounds with probiotics

Now, Canadian researchers have more exciting news for us about probiotic health benefits and weight. And this time it could lead to you taking your belt in a few extra notches.

Scientists recruited 125 overweight men and women. For 12 weeks all of the volunteers followed a prescribed weight loss plan. That was followed with another 12 weeks of weight maintenance. During the study half of the group was given a probiotic (in this case from the Lactobacillus rhamnous family), and the other half was given a placebo.

The women who got probiotics lost more weight than the placebo takers during the diet phase—an average of 1.8 kg more. That’s almost 4 extra pounds. And during the maintenance period the probiotic takers continued to lose weight, eventually dropping a total of 5.2 kilograms or about 11.5 pound each!

In other words, the women in the probiotic group lost twice the weight. And the only difference between the two groups was the probiotic.

Unfortunately, the guys in the study didn’t see the same results.

The researchers aren’t positive why that is. The study may simply not have gone on long enough, or the dosages might need adjusting for the men. But there’s no reason to think that probiotics can’t have similar effects on weight for men, too.

For their immune and digestion health benefits alone, probiotics should be on YOUR daily menu. And if they also happen to help you beat the battle of the bulge, that’s just very welcome icing on an already delicious cake.