If you’ve done any nutrition research recently or even just walked the vitamin aisle at your local drugstore, you’ve at least heard of probiotics. They’re the kind of bacteria that you actually want in your body. Probiotics are live bacteria that keep your gut functioning at peak levels.

Some people take them in pill form and eat yogurts with probiotic additives. Others prefer naturally occurring probiotics like kombucha, kefir, Yakult or kimchi. Probiotics might just seem like another food fad (acai anyone?) but there’s more to this than meets the eye.

Digestive Benefits

Probiotics are a surefire way to push food through your gut without any problems. They can ease the symptoms of common conditions like diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome. And they can help stave off these issues if you don’t have them. When you decide to go crazy on your cheat day, probiotics can be a lifesaver.

But there’s more.

Drop the Pounds

Probiotics have been proven to positively affect the body’s sensitivity to leptin. Leptin is the hormone that regulates your appetite. They also keep your blood sugar under control. If you need help controlling urges during your cutting phase, probiotics might be the kind of nutrition coach you’ve been looking for.

Stop Sickness

Athletes who regularly take probiotics have less instances of common sicknesses like upper respiratory infection, cold and flu. Probiotics help maintain a balance between good and bad bacteria in your body. They fight against the bad ones when they show up unexpectedly. You’ve likely missed a training session or two because of sickness. You can avoid missing any unnecessary lifts with probiotics in your belly.

Improve Your Mood

Have you ever had those days where you’re just not in the mood to work out? Probiotics may be able to fix that. Recent studies have shown that people who take probiotics daily are happier and less likely to develop anxiety, depression or undue stress. So, all those psychological issues that keep you from achieving your goals? Kiss them goodbye.

Fix Your Allergies

Like the cold or flu, pesky seasonal allergies can prevent you from working out. Probiotics can actually stop inflammatory compounds from entering your bloodstream. That means less sinus pressure and runny nose and more sweat.

Clear Skin

Probiotics have even been shown to minimize skin conditions like eczema, rosacea and psoriasis. They can tone down inflammation and help you keep your skin clear. Intense workouts can cause these conditions to get worse, bringing on flare ups and irritation. Probiotics can work from within to stop that inflammation before it manifests itself on your skin.

For any guys out there unsure of whether to take probiotics, consider these things. You can strengthen your immune system, chow down without discomfort and be an all-around happier person. Better yet, probiotics are naturally occurring. You stand to lose nothing and gain everything. If you want that extra advantage to stay healthy, start taking probiotics and watch how your performance improves.