Probiotics are a Powerful Tool
A myriad of bacteria compete for survival in the gut microbiome. Some of these bacteria are beneficial and others are detrimental. Probiotics are intended to balance your gut microbiome by outcompeting the detrimental bacteria, supporting the existing beneficial bacteria, and making the probiotic’s beneficial bacteria a permanent resident. In order to colonize the gut with the probiotic’s beneficial bacteria the probiotic must be ingested daily.
What we eat, drink, and do affects our gut microbiome and can disrupt the good bacteria. One such example is the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria with certain characteristics but do not differentiate between the beneficial and detrimental bacteria with said characteristics. By taking a probiotic daily, we can ensure beneficial bacteria is still in our gut.
Research on the staying power of probiotics supports the need to take a probiotic daily. One study found that a certain strain of bacteria “persisted in the feces of 87% of volunteers four days [after terminating bacteria administration] and in 33% of subjects seven days [after terminating bacteria administration].”
Another study found that after ending the administration of bacteria, the amount of administered bacteria found in fecal samples significantly declined as time went on. The same study stated, “even strong adhesive properties and pronounced pH tolerance seems not to result in colonization and persistence of the [bacteria] for any length of time after administration of the cultures had been terminated.” 
Gut issue alleviation and prevention
“Positive effects of probiotics on gastrointestinal cancers [occur] by various mechanisms, including anti-carcinogenic effects, anti-mutagenic properties, modification of differentiation process in tumor cells, production of short chain fatty acids, alteration of tumor gene-expressions, activation of the host’s immune system, inhibition of the bacteria that convert pro-carcinogens to carcinogens, alteration of colonic motility and transit time, as well as reduction of intestinal pH to reduce microbial activity. Different mechanisms can be involved in these beneficial effects, mainly via modulation of gut microbiota, which thereby influences host metabolism and immunity.” 
Gut function benefits
Second, probiotics stimulate change in our GI tract through various mechanisms. Improvements to the functionality of the GI tract through the use of probiotics is no exception. A few of the changes to the functionality of the GI tract, stimulated by probiotic use, include improved gut barrier integrity and nutrient absorption.
Gut barrier integrity is important as the intestinal tract is the largest and most intimate interface between humans and the external environment. Impaired gut barrier integrity can lead to unwanted toxins and pathogens entering the body. A healthy and strong gut barrier can be compromised by something as simple as stress. Nevertheless, a 2010 study showed that Lactobacillus plantarum “enhanced intestinal barrier function by affecting the expression of genes in the tight junction signaling pathway in [healthy] intestinal epithelial cells.”
Additionally, probiotics can improve nutrient absorption in the gut. Being well nourished starts with choosing to eat nutritious foods and depends on your body’s ability to absorb and use those nutrients. One way probiotics improve nutrient absorption is through ameliorating issues like diarrhea and gut inflammation (IBS, IBD, etc.) as well as improving gut barrier integrity. Furthermore, a 2013 peer-reviewed article states, “Probiotics and prebiotics increase bioavailability of micronutrients through several mechanisms and therefore represent an avenue for potentially alleviating micronutrient deficiencies.”
The gut and brain are directly connected. This connection is often referred to as the “gut-brain axis.” Balancing our gut microbiome benefits our brain. In fact, one study states that doing things to “promote a healthy [gut] microbiota, and avoiding factors that do the opposite, appears to be the most direct way of promoting brain health.”
“There is increasing evidence that probiotics may be beneficial by reducing depressive and anxiety-like symptoms.” 
A significant amount of preclinical evidence suggests that the gut microbiome and its metabolites, “are likely involved in modulating behaviors and brain processes, including stress responsiveness, emotional behavior, pain modulation, ingestive behavior, and brain biochemistry.”Probiotics have been found to beneficially affect the expression and abundance of significant brain signaling molecules, such as GABAAα2, through the balancing of the gut microbiome. Also, probiotics support healthy brain cognition and development.
For example, one study published in 2014 used the De Simone Formulation (once again under the brand name of VSL #3) found that the, “[De Simone Formulation] induced not only a change on gene expression, but also altered the expression of several proteins involved in aging and inflammation, indicating that modulation of these molecules may play a key role in the expression of brain genes.” 
As an example, a 2016 study analyzed and recorded the perceptions, athletic performance, and muscle damage following an exercise bout for 29 recreationally-trained males after two weeks of supplementation either with 20g of casein (protein) or 20g of casein plus probiotic (in this case, 1 billion CFU Bacillus coagulans). Results from this study yielded evidence that “probiotic supplementation in combination with protein tended to reduce indices of muscle damage, improve recovery, and maintain physical performance subsequent to damaging exercise.” 
“Long-term supplementation with [Lactobacillus plantarum] may increase muscle mass, enhance energy harvesting, and have health-promotion, performance-improvement, and anti-fatigue effects.” 
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