How Effective Are Probiotics
Researchers are currently unsure how effective probiotic supplements are for treating conditions. Theres constant research on the topic. While many research studies have had positive results on the impact of probiotic supplements, more research is still needed.
Its also important to keep in mind that unlike medications, dietary supplements do not need to be approved by the FDA. This means that manufacturers can sell supplements simply with claims of safety and effectiveness.
Always talk with your healthcare provider before taking a supplement or giving one to your child. Supplements might interfere with medicines you may be taking. If you are pregnant or breast feeding, check with your provider before taking any supplement.
What Is Gut Flora
Gut flora, or intestinal flora, is the natural barrier defending your intestine. Its located throughout your intestine and is important for a number of reasons:
- It plays a critical role in completing the digestive process
- It enables the proper intake of nutritional elements from the food that you eat
- It helps to maintain the regular movement of your intestine
- It reinforces the intestinal barrier, making the whole body more resistant to infection
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.
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Probiotics Diversity And The Human Microbiome
The human microbiome is the collection of microbes that live in and on the human body. We are made up of many more bacterial cells than human cells. Incredibly, the microbes in our bodies outnumber our own cells by a ratio of about 10 to 1. Many of these microbes live in the gastrointestinal tract, which contains about 100,000 billion bacteria from more than 400 different species and 60 percent of the bodys immune cells.
The digestive tract is sterile, with relatively few microbes, until after birth. The initial colonization of the intestines by bacteria is affected by how a baby is delivered, diet, hygiene, infections and medications, such as antibiotics. Microbial diversity is important for the development of the infants digestive tract and maturing of the immune system.
By diversity, we mean many different types of microbes. After 1 year, the gut microbiome is relatively stable in healthy children but it can be altered later in life by what we eat, infections, antibiotics, stress, travel, and various disease conditions.
Note: The safety of probiotics is not known in people with impaired immune systems, pregnant women, and the elderly
Probiotics And Vaginal Health
Probiotics may also be of use in maintaining urogenital health. Like the intestinal tract, the vagina is a finely balanced ecosystem. The dominant Lactobacilli strains normally make it too acidic for harmful microorganisms to survive. But the system can be thrown out of balance by a number of factors, including antibiotics, spermicides, and birth control pills. Probiotic treatment that restores the balance of microflora may be helpful for such common female urogenital problems as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, and urinary tract infection.
Many women eat yogurt or insert it into the vagina to treat recurring yeast infections, a “folk” remedy for which medical science offers limited support. Oral and vaginal administration of Lactobacilli may help in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis, although there isn’t enough evidence yet to recommend it over conventional approaches. Probiotic treatment of urinary tract infections is under study.
Probiotics are generally considered safe they’re already present in a normal digestive system although there’s a theoretical risk for people with impaired immune function. Be sure the ingredients are clearly marked on the label and familiar to you or your health provider. There’s no way to judge the safety of unidentified mixtures.
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Probiotics For Travellers Diarrhoea
Whether you’re going away to a familiar destination, returning home to see family or backpacking to distant lands to explore uncharted territory, holidays are invariably a memorable experience. However, sometimes these new experiences can also produce some nasty and uncomfortable stomach-related side effects.
Saccharomyces boulardii has also been extensively clinically researched6 for travellers diarrhoea and found to support gut health in those that travel abroad to exotic locations. S. boulardii, as mentioned above, works differently from other probiotics specifically because of its unique transient qualities. This means that it can pass through the system without binding to the gut wall. It works by adhering itself to harmful bacteria and gently removing those unwelcome pathogens from the system.
When travelling abroad, it is a good idea to also take other types of probiotics alongside Saccharomyces boulardii to give an extra level of protection to the gut, and to battle bad bacteria and other nasties in two ways. Live cultures, like L. acidophilus and L. rhamnosus possess qualities that enable them to line the interior of the gut wall, creating a physical barrier and fortifying the gut’s natural defences. They also create a gut environment which discourages the growth of pathogens so can be a particular aid against contracting upset stomachs in countries where tummy troubles are a common issue for travellers.
Symptoms Accompanying Diarrhea In Dogs
Dogs that have only one or two loose stools generally do not exhibit other symptoms. When dogs experience diarrhea for more than two days, the risk of dehydration dramatically increases. Although a dog with diarrhea may continue to drink water, the amount of fluids lost is greater than the fluid taken in. Signs of dehydration and other complications resulting from untreated diarrhea include:
- Lack of energy, lethargy
- Fast breathing and/or excessive panting
- Rapid weight loss
- Attitude changes
- Dry nose, gums and mouth
- Loss of skin hydration and elasticity .
- Has a rectal temperature greater than 105° F
- Unsteady gait or inability to rise from a prone position
Lethargy can be one of the symptoms of diarrhea in dogs.
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Possible Side Effects Related To Probiotic Use
While probiotics are generally considered safe for both children and adults and serious side effects are rare in healthy people, some potential adverse effects may occur in certain populations.
People who are vulnerable to infections, including individuals recovering from surgery, critically ill infants, and those who have indwelling catheters or are chronically ill are more at risk of experiencing adverse reactions after taking probiotics .
For example, probiotics may cause serious systemic infections, diarrhea, excessive immune system stimulation, abdominal cramping, and nausea in immunocompromised individuals .
Less serious side effects related to taking probiotics can occasionally occur in healthy people as well, including bloating, gas, hiccups, skin rashes, and constipation .
While probiotics are generally considered safe for most people, its always a good idea to consult your healthcare provider before adding any supplement to you or your childs diet.
Do Probiotics Help With Constipation
A study using two different multi-strain probiotics – one containing L. acidophilus and L. reuteri, and another containing L. plantarum, L rhamnosus, and L. lactis – found that they improved the main symptoms of IBS-C:
- Abdominal cramps
Other studies indicate that lactic acid bacteria, which include probiotic species and strains of Lactobacillus, may alleviate constipation, but the results of 42 trials reporting positive results were inconsistent.
Another probiotic strain which is good at giving the bowels a good shift in IBS-C is Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12. According to a 2015 clinical trial, makes stools less hard and lumpy, easier to pass, and supports good general gut health.
TIPIf you want to find out the composition of your own gut microbiome, you need an Atlas Biomed Microbiome Test
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Is There A Way To Stop Probiotics From Giving You Diarrhea
Yes. You can help to reduce the overall effects of probiotics giving you diarrhea if you try taking them on an empty stomach and by drinking plenty of water.
This can help reduce the chance of the probiotic turning food in your stomach into a session of diarrhea.
However, for some people, they may have diarrhea for a few days after taking probiotics, and then shortly after their body adjusts so it could just even be a short-term issue.
Another method could be to reduce your overall intake of probiotics on a daily basis. This can help your body adjust, without giving it too much to the point that it causes stomach problems.
Should I Take Probiotics While On Antibiotics
You want to start taking a probiotic the same day you start taking an antibiotic, but not at the same time. A quick rule of thumb is to take your probiotic two hours before or two hours after taking your antibiotic. This will give sufficient time for the antibiotic to work while not killing off the beneficial bacteria.
What is considered severe diarrhea?
Severe diarrhea means having more than 10 loose, watery stools in a single day . Moderate diarrhea means having more than a few but not more than 10 diarrhea stools in a day. Mild diarrhea means having a few diarrhea stools in a day.
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Are Probiotics Beneficial For Dogs
Probiotics for Dogs Benefits. The major benefits of probiotics for dogs include their ability to do the following: Probiotics can also help as your dog ages and can help to fight against foreign pathogens. If your dog has ingested something toxic or is experiencing food poisoning, probiotics can speed up the healing process.
Small Bowel Bacterial Overgrowth
Certain circumstances such as insufficient production of gastric acid , extented gastrointestinal transit time, resection of the small intestine, or, most frequently, terminal renal failure can lead to an excessive growth of single bacterial strains in the small intestine and to increased, partly life-threatening concentrations of D-lactic acid and toxic metabolites of the bacterial protein metabolism. Only a few successful approaches to normalizing the small intestinal microflora have been reported , e.g., decreased frequency of diarrheas following administration of L. acidophilus and L. casei to patients with small bowel bacterial overgrowth.
In conclusion, the few reported clinical trials are not yet sufficient to recommend the use of probiotics in the treatment of small bowel bacterial overgrowth.
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Travelers Diarrhea May Occur Less Frequently When The Lgg Probiotic Strain Is Consumed
A clinical study investigated the impact of consuming the LGG® probiotic strain on the rate of travelers diarrhea. The study was conducted in healthy adults who traveled to Asia, Africa, and central and south America. The study started 2 days prior to departure and ended on the last day of the trip.2 Participants received the LGG® strain or a placebo. Just 3.9% of the LGG® group experienced travelers diarrhea, compared to 7.4% of the placebo group.2
To support this, in a study of 756 people traveling to Turkey there were significantly fewer cases of travelers diarrhea when the LGG® probiotic was consumed, compared to placebo.1
Can You Give Them The Same Probiotic You Give Your Dog
If you want to try and save money by giving both your dog and cat the same probiotic, dont. Dogs and cats have very different digestive systems. Your cats small intestine, for one, is way shorter than your dogs.
Also, your cat is a carnivore and your dog is an omnivore. Their bodies evolved to work with these specific diets. This is why they cant use the same probiotic.
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What Causes Diarrhea In Dogs
- Dietary changes, such as switching to another brand of dog food, overfeeding, underfeeding and giving the dog too much people food or canned food.
- Ingesting spoiled food, outside debris, toxic substances or foreign objects
- Viral, fungal or bacterial infections
- Food allergies to fillers and by-products found in some commercial dog food
- Parasitic infestations of the intestines
- Inflammatory bowel disease caused by a constant and excessive influx of white blood cells entering the colon and/or intestines.
- Liver or kidney disease
- Digestive tract tumors
- Inflammation of the colon , an often chronic condition produced when the colon is irritated by parasites, infections, stress, IBD or ingestion of contaminated food.
- Canine hemorrhagic gastroenteritis , a serious illness characterized by bloody diarrhea and vomiting.
A change in dog food brand can be one of the causes of diarrhea.
Do I Need To Take Probiotics After I Take Antibiotics
Antibiotic medications are often needed to fight an infection. However, while antibiotics are killing the bad bacteria, they are also knocking out the good bacteria in your body. Some people develop conditions like diarrhea after taking an antibiotic. In other people, this may allow for really bad bacteria to take over and populate the gut, such as with C. diff. Some research has shown a positive connection between taking probiotics after an antibiotic and relief from diarrhea. This hasnt been proven yet and doesnt work for everyone.
The thought behind adding probiotics back into your body after taking an antibiotic is that it can repopulate the good bacteria that was destroyed by the antibiotics and re-boot your system. The extra good bacteria helps repopulate your gut and fight off any remaining bad bacteria. Many people feel that adding in probiotics wont hurt, might help you feel better a little faster and prevent diarrhea.
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How Diarrhea In Dogs Is Treated
Sometimes diarrhea in dogs is minor it passes on its own without an issue. In other cases, home remedies may help and if not, a trip to the vet may be necessary.
Some things you can try before going to the vet include:
- Fasting: Withholding food for 12 to 24 hours can help to let your dogs digestive system settle. However, just be sure to let your dog have access to water during this time, as diarrhea can be dehydrating.
- Probiotics: Probiotics may help treat diarrhea in dogs by aiding in digestion and balancing the microbiome.
- Yogurt: Small amounts of yogurt may help treat diarrhea in dogs, as it contains probiotics. Keep in mind this is only for dogs who can tolerate some amount of dairy products.
- Cottage cheese
- Lactobacillus reuteri
Issues To Be Aware Of
If you’re considering trying probiotics, there are a few issues you need to be aware of.
Probiotics are generally classed as food rather than medicine, which means they don’t go through the rigorous testing medicines do.
Because of the way probiotics are regulated, we can’t always be sure that:
- the product actually contains the bacteria stated on the food label
- the product contains enough bacteria to have an effect
- the bacteria are able to survive long enough to reach your gut
There are many different types of probiotics that may have different effects on the body, and little is known about which types are best.
You may find a particular type of probiotic helps with one problem. But this doesn’t mean it’ll help other problems, or that other types of probiotic will work just as well.
And there’s likely to be a huge difference between the pharmaceutical-grade probiotics that show promise in clinical trials and the yoghurts and supplements sold in shops.
Page last reviewed: 27 November 2018 Next review due: 27 November 2021
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Can I Get Probiotics From Food
You can absolutely increase beneficial microbes in your body from the foods you eat. Certain foods have probiotics in them and can benefit the health of your microbiome.
These foods can be introduced into your diet at any point of the day. You may even be regularly eating them now and not realize that they contain probiotics. You will want to check the food label for live and active cultures. A few suggestions for just some of the probiotic-rich foods you can add to your diet and some times to try them include:
For breakfast, try:
Probiotic supplements may be combined with a prebiotic. Prebiotics are complex carbohydrates that feed the microorganisms in your gut. Basically, prebiotics are the food source for the good bacteria. They help feed the good bacteria and keep it healthy. Prebiotics include inulin, pectin and resistant starches.
When you have a supplement that combines a probiotic and prebiotic, its called a synbiotic.
Alleviation Or Prevention Of Diarrhea Caused By Antibiotic Treatment
Disturbance or destruction of the indigenous microflora caused by antibiotic treatment as well as a subsequent excessive growth of normally harmless bacteria often lead to diarrhea and symptoms related to toxin production. Antibiotic-associated diarrhea is a common clinical problem, occurring in 2530% of patients with 25% of cases caused by C. difficile.
Prevention and treatment of AAD is a frequently used model to test the effectiveness of food probiotics and the justification of health claims. Of higher importance is the testing of possible clinical applications of selected probiotic microorganisms and multiple-strain probiotics to reduce use of antibiotics for prevention or treatment of undesirable side effects . Administration of LGG, Saccharomyces boulardii, and other probiotic strains before and during antibiotic treatment reduced the frequency and/or duration of episodes and the severity of symptoms in many cases but was not always effective .
Eradication of the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori using clarithromycin, amoxicillin, and omeprazol is a rather mild therapy and leads to diarrheas in only 1020% of cases. Coadministration of S. boulardii during H. pylori eradication did reduce AAD from 11.5 to 6.9% of patients . Administration of fermented milk containing 107108 per day B. animalis ssp. lactis and L. acidophilus 4 wk before and during a H. pylori eradication therapy led to significantly fewer episodes of diarrhea compared with the placebo group .
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