Tips For An Effective Probiotic Trial
If youre starting a course of probiotics, it helps tohave realistic expectations about how quickly they will start working. Youdont want to give up on your probiotic supplements before theyve had a chance toimprove your well-being.You also dont want to waste money taking probiotic products that dont have any health benefitsfor you.
Based on my observation in the clinic, some patients notice the benefits of probiotics as soon as 1-3 days. For others, it takes as long as 2-3 weeks to see the effects of probiotic supplementation. A look through the research generally supports my observations about how quickly probiotics work, with one interesting exception. Heres a summary of the research results:
|Research Summary: How Soon Do Probiotics Start Working?|
|Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]||2 months 3 years|
There are hundreds of studies that show the benefits ofprobiotics for a wide variety of medical conditions including digestiveproblems andnon-digestive symptoms. However, most studies dont collect daily symptom data.That means that, for most studies, we know that probiotic supplementationwas effective but we dont know how quickly it worked.
Reasons To Take A Daily Probiotic
There are many benefits to taking a daily probiotic supplement. Its not only good for your gut, but it has a number of other benefits that you may be surprised to find out about. Here are 10 reasons you should take a probiotic each day:
Taking a probiotic is simply just a great idea.
Make Sure Any Supplements You Buy Are Coated
Some probiotic strains can’t survive the acidity of your gut. So if you’re taking a supplement, make sure it’s coated the outer shell will help it reach your intestines intact. If you can find only an uncoated version, take it with food to help protect it from the aggressive environment.
This article originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Womens Health. For more intel on how to live a happier, healthier life, pick up an issue on newsstands now.
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How Safe Are Probiotics
Because microbes used as probiotics already exist naturally in your body, probiotic foods and supplements are generally considered safe. They may trigger allergic reactions, and may also cause mild stomach upset, diarrhea, or flatulence and bloating for the first few days after starting to take them.
There are certain people who need to use caution when using probiotic supplements. There is a risk of infection in some people. These people include those who have:
- A weakened immune system .
- A critical illness.
Caution should also be used when giving probiotics to very sick infants.
Always talk to your healthcare provider before starting a probiotic supplement.
Why Take Probiotic Supplements
There are many great reasons to add a probiotic supplement to a healthy diet. Depending on the person and the type of bacteria involved, taking a probiotic supplementor eating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kombuchamay help:
- Create a healthy balance of gut microorganisms after an illness
Research shows probiotics may also help treat digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome , and even aid with fat loss. But knowing when to take your probiotics is key to getting the most out of them.
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Protect Against Colds And Flu
The natural immune-boosting action of probiotics can help to ward off colds and flu, particularly when used alongside micronutrients such as vitamin E, iron and selenium. Together, these nutrients help to boost the production of antibodies and other infection-fighting compounds.
One study found that taking probiotic supplements as well as multivitamins and minerals significantly reduced the duration of common cold and flu – by almost two days. This was a much better recovery time that those who took only multivitamins and minerals.
Researchers suggested that this effect was likely due to the way which probiotics improved the activity of T-lymphocytes, the cells that regulate immune responses.
Another study showed that taking supplements containing a blend of probiotics, vitamins and minerals for at least three months during the winter helped to reduce the severity of the common cold, as well as the frequency of catching it. Those taking the supplement blend were 13.6 per cent less likely to develop cold and flu symptoms than those taking a placebo.
This evidence suggests that although multivitamins are helpful in filling the gaps in the average diet, probiotics boost the immune system even further by optimizing nutritional uptake and absorption.
The strains best known for improving immune system function include Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus paracasei, L. casei and Lactobacillus acidophilus.
Probiotics May Increase The Risk Of Infection For Some People
While they are safe for most people, probiotics can enter the bloodstream of susceptible people and lead to infections. The people who are most at risk for this are those with suppressed immune systems, people who have been hospitalized for a long period of time, people who have venous catheters, and people who have recently had surgery.
But the risk of developing an infection is very low, and studies have never reported a serious infection. An estimated one out of every one million people taking probiotics will develop an infection, which can typically be treated by an antibiotic or antifungal.
Keeping a food diary with notes of symptoms you experience can help you understand if any fermented foods lead to side effects for you. If you find that foods rich in probiotics trigger a symptom for you, taking a supplement may be a better option.
To reduce your chances of experiencing side effects, begin with a low dose of probiotics and increase to a full dosage at a slow pace over a few weeks, which will help your body adjust to them.
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They Don’t Hang Out In Your Gut For Very Long
When you nosh or swallow a probiotic, it doesn’t take up permanent residence in your intestinal ecosystem with the bacteria that’s there already, says Hutkins. It might help crowd out a microorganism that’s making you sick , but it eventually just passes through the gut. That’s why it’s impossible to take too many you’ll just poop them out. This in-and-out nature also means that if you’re aiming for a health benefit, you need to ingest them almost daily.
The Abc Of Probiotics
There are a few different strains of beneficial probiotic bacteriathe main ones being Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces boulardii. Lactobacillus can help improve digestive health while Bifidobacterium has been found to reduce inflammation. Saccharomyces boulardii can also help reduce digestive issues and issues associated with antibiotics.
Not every probiotic strain is a quick fix for everything. Its important to talk with your healthcare provider about which particular strain can help with your specific symptoms.
This is because not all probiotics are created equal. In fact, far from it. According to the National Institutes of Health, Probiotics are not all alike. For example, if a specific kind of Lactobacillus helps prevent an illness, that doesnt necessarily mean that another kind of Lactobacillus would have the same effect or that any of the Bifidobacterium probiotics would do the same thing.
The NIH also states, We still dont know which probiotics are helpful and which are not. We also dont know how much of the probiotic people would have to take or who would most likely benefit from taking probiotics. Even for the conditions that have been studied the most, researchers are still working toward finding the answers to these questions.
Other bad bacteria that are linked to diseases include Blastocystis hominis , Giardia , H. pylori , and Proteus mirabilis , among many others.
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Are There Any Storage Instructions For Probiotics
Several probiotic strains are very fragile and need to be protected from heat, oxygen, light and humidity. The probiotics might start to break down or die if they are exposed to these elements. Because of this, you may need to refrigerate your probiotics or store it in a particular place. Refrigerating certain probiotic strains ensures that theyre still viable when you go to use them and will still provide the full benefit of the probiotic. Always read the labels on any probiotic product you purchase to make sure you store it correctly and use it within the expiration date.
Optimize Gut Function By Balancing The Bacteria In Your Digestive System
Keeping the gut microbiome balanced allows for normal gut function, while some changes to the gut bacteria can lead to problems. Probiotics can help maintain the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut and help repopulate with healthy bacteria after conditions that disturbed the microbiome.
For example, taking antibiotics kills off many of your good gut bacteria. This leaves room for bad bacteria, viruses, and fungi to overgrow. Taking a probiotic during and after antibiotics is a must for sustained health.
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People With An Immune System Problem Or Another Serious Health Condition
If you have a problem with your immune system, or another serious health condition, you may be at an increased risk of experiencing issues if you take probiotics. Some studies have connected probiotics to serious infections, which is more likely to happen to those who suffer from immune system problems, people who have recently had surgery, and people who are critically ill.
If you have any of these issues, you should avoid taking probiotics, or talk to your doctor before doing so. For people who have compromised immune systems because of a disease or active treatment for a disease , taking probiotics could possibly increase their chances of becoming ill.
May Improve Mental Health
The gut is commonly referred to as the second brain because of the strong gut-brain connection. In fact, interactions between the gut and brain are thought to have an impact on several of the pathogenesis of mental disorders caused by inflammation, such as mood disorders, ADHD, MS, obesity, and autism spectrum disorder.
Based on animal studies, researchers think it is possible that changing the quality of bacteria in the gut could benefit both the digestive system and the abnormal behaviors that are exhibited in cases of autism.
Early research in animal studies suggests that probiotic supplements might help relieve symptoms of anxiety by reducing inflammation in the gut-brain connection. Human studies are currently being conducted to learn if probiotic supplements could improve cognitive and language development, as well as brain function and connectivity.
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Probiotics May Help Promote Healthy Weight Loss
For women who want to maintain a healthy weight, probiotics can help. According to a 2016 study published in Nutrition & Metabolism, there are many strains of probiotics that can help suppress body weight gain and support anti-obesity effects. These include the strains Lactobacillus curvatus HY7601, Lactobacillus curvatus HY7601 in combination with Lactobacillus plantarum KY1032 and Pediococcus pentosaceus LP28, among others.
Additionally, the same study found promising effects of probiotics in improving liver function, fat metabolism and insulin resistance in patients with obesity related non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Reduce Gas And Bloating
Gas and bloating are common digestive problems. Possible reasons for gas and bloating include an imbalance in your gut microbiome, yeast overgrowth, and food intolerances. It can also be a sign of a more serious condition such as an IBS. Probiotic supplements can help rebalance the gut microbiome and even help crowd out bad bacteria.
Some evidence suggests that probiotics may help reduce these symptoms, especially in people with digestive disorders like IBS.
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Women And Digestive Issues: A Sensitive Subject
Because the gut is the foundation of our immune system, supporting optimal digestive function is one of the most important ways in which women can maintain a healthy body. However, digestive health remains a sensitive topic of conversation among women, and many are hesitant to talk about digestive issues even with their close friends.
Renew Life recently conducted a surveyi about how often women experience digestive health issues and here is what we found:
Despite the fact that nearly three quarters of the women surveyed said they experienced an occasional digestive upset in the past year, 64 percent said they prefer not to talk about gut issues with their friends. The reason? Many women still consider gut health a taboo topic and would rather discuss unpopular opinions than their tummy issues .
Among our key goals at Renew Life is to help women understand the importance of digestive health, including the connection between the gut ecosystem and our overall well-being. This includes educating women about the benefits of taking a daily probiotic supplement to help maintain gut balance and wellness.
Women’s Health Benefits Of Taking Probiotics
The primary benefit for women taking probiotics is the ability to balance yeast and good bacterial cultures in the vaginal microbiome. What many women suspect to be a yeast infection can actually be an imbalance in the bacterial flora.
This imbalance can be a problem for many women who treat a yeast infection then further throw their vaginal health out of balance with strong yeast infection medications. Taking these probiotic pills can replenish the natural balance of the vaginal microbiome to fight bacterial vaginal infections.
Many women also suffer from mental conditions like brain fog or memory lapses, especially under stress. A constant feeling of tiredness or lack of energy can lead to over-imbibing on caffeinated drinks, which can affect cardiac health and lead to feelings of anxiety. Additionally, some women don’t get enough rest at night if they consume large quantities of caffeine.
Sleep is when our body repairs damage to muscles and organs as well as our immune system. Women who don’t get enough sleep and push through their days are like people who drive their cars while the “check engine” light is on.
Adding probiotics to your routine can help you manage any issues you have that come from an unhealthy gut microbiome. Doctors and researchers have found that several health conditions stem from an imbalance in the digestive tract bacteria, leading to system-wide problems within the body.
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Dosage Amounts Of Probiotic Drinks
Since you can usually find probiotics in drinks or supplements, you need to understand the dosage amounts. These probiotic drinks and supplements are measured in a supplement dosage known as colony-forming units, or CFUs.
What does that mean for your product? Colony-forming units are the number of viable and live bacteria in the product. An average probiotic drink should have about 1 billion CFUs per dose for an average adult. While it seems like a lot of bacteria, it is actually on the low end of the scale. Most probiotic supplements contain billions of CFUs per dose, and some even have 100 billion CFUs.
If you want to find the correct dose for your body, you might want to consult your nutritionist or doctor. These professionals can help you figure out what is the proper dosage for you. In some cases, you may need just one type of bacteria for optimal health. However, some drinks do contain multiple species of bacteria in the product.
Whatever you choose, these probiotics can help your digestive system get back on the right track for a healthy and happy gut.
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Health Benefits Of Probiotics
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Probiotics are live microorganisms that can be consumed through fermented foods or supplements .
More and more studies show that the balance or imbalance of bacteria in your digestive system is linked to overall health and disease.
Probiotics promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria and have been linked to a wide range of health benefits.
These include benefits for weight loss, digestive health, immune function and more (
This is an overview of the key health benefits linked to probiotics.
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When Should I Take A Probiotic
Because supplements like probiotics arent regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, each probiotic supplement may come with different directions on dosing and timing. The most important advice is to choose a time youll actually stick to, especially if you have trouble remembering to take pills in the first place. Consistency is the key with taking probiotics if one wants to reap the potential benefits, Dr. Asike says.
While the time of day is ultimately up to you, this expert suggests that probiotics may be most effective if you plan to take them about 30 minutes before a mealand most effective if you take your supplement before breakfast. Probiotics will have a greater effect in your small intestine if you take them before you eat: During a fast or prior to eating, the stomach wont be as acidic and this will allow the probiotic capsule or tablet to be able to make its way into the intestine, he explains.
Adding a probiotic into your routine first thing in the A.M., then, will likely keep your stomach from sabotaging your efforts. Breakfast is usually eaten around the same time daily, and tends to be smaller and more easily digested, Dr. Asike says.