Help With Weight Loss
The gut microbiota plays an important role in how the body extracts energy from food, so the gut may be an essential factor for weight loss. Some research shows that probiotic supplementation can result in weight loss.
There are likely a handful of factors at play, including the specific strain of probiotics, how long supplementation is done, plus age, gender, and baseline weight. More research is needed to understand what role probiotics play in weight loss.
Why Are Probiotics Good For You
Youve probably heard of probiotics and that they are good for your health, specifically for digestive health, but what exactly are they?
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms found naturally throughout your body and especially in your digestive system. They are sometimes called live cultures or good bacteria because they help keep your intestinal bacteria balanced. One way is by protecting against other types of bacteria that cause disease or illness. When too many bad bacteria are in the gut, probiotics can help fight them off to rebalance the gut.
There are thousands of species of bacteria that act as probiotics.
One of the most common is Lactobacillus, which can help support the immune system, healthy blood sugar levels, digestion and may help prevent yeast infections.
Another species, Bifidobacterium, is often used to manage symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome , while also being beneficial for mental health and addressing eczema in infants.
Microorganisms And Our Health
While the term microorganism refers to all types of microbes, we are going to focus primarily on bacteria in this article. When we think about the bacteria that colonize our intestinal tract, we typically sort them into two categories: beneficial strains of bacteria , including those in the genera Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, and potential disease-causing strains of bacteria , including Escherichia coli and Clostridioides difficile. While its actually much more complex than this, it is an easy way to denote which bacteria will generally improve our health or harm us. Beneficial bacteria keep pathogens in check and offer many health benefits. Disease-causing bacteria release proteins and toxic byproducts that can cause infection and harmful symptoms such as diarrhea. Some, such as Helicobacter pylori, can be both beneficial in certain quantities and harmful in other quantities.3
The balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria is important for maintaining health. Several factors can upset this balance, including diet, stress, and medications, particularly antibiotics. Adding prebiotics to the diet and taking probiotics changes the microbial population and their activity, fortifying the number of good bacteria in the gut. An increase in good bacteria can also help limit the number of harmful bacteria, since they compete for food sources and adhesion sites on the intestinal mucosa.
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Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth
The small and large intestines usually contain different types of bacteria. SIBO occurs when bacteria from the large intestine start growing in the small intestine.
The large intestine predominantly contains anaerobic bacteria, which do not require oxygen and live by fermenting indigestible carbohydrates from plant-based foods as they pass through the gut.
Symptoms of SIBO are similar to those of IBS, including gas, bloating, and diarrhea. SIBO can also cause brain fogginess and short-term memory problems.
Not everyone with IBS has SIBO, but the overgrowth is more common in people with IBS. SIBO also frequently develops in older females.
Experts do not fully understand what causes the overgrowth, but it may result from reduced gut motility, which slows the passage of food through the gut. This can cause fermentable carbohydrates to remain in the small intestine for longer.
Results of a indicate a possible link between SIBO and probiotic supplementation in people with brain fogginess. The researchers found that symptoms improved when participants stopped taking probiotics and started taking antibiotics.
Anyone with SIBO symptoms should consult a doctor.
Whats The Deal With Probiotics
You may be hearing more and more about probiotics supplements that contain “healthy” bacteria that claim to have multiple benefits, including helping with gut health and digestive issues. Probiotics are being marketed for specific conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome or to demographic audiences, such as women or children. But do they really help?
What are probiotics?
Often referred to as “friendly” or “good” bacteria, probiotics help keep the normal healthy balance of bacteria in your gut specifically the lining of the gut which includes the microbiome. We are learning more and more about the body’s microbiome and how to maintain the balance of bacteria already growing there in addition to adding living bacteria into your system through probiotics. A healthy gut microbiome helps with digestion, boosts the immune system, contributes to blood sugar levels, and may even influence mood and mental health.
Where are probiotics found?
Probiotics can be found in multiple forms.
Bacteria-fermented foods are good sources of probiotics, including:
- Active-culture yogurts
Probiotics also come in pill form with a variety of different strains or types, including acidophilus, lactobacillus or formulations targeted for different health benefits, such as gastrointestinal health or women’s health.
Research on probiotics
Generally, there are a variety of areas of research for probiotics:
What’s the consensus? Are they beneficial?
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Can Probiotics Help Digestion Summary
Probiotics are integral to the human body. They serve multiple roles and one of the things they do is aid digestion.
Consuming probiotic food or supplements appears to be an effective way to alleviate the symptoms of certain digestive problems, including IBS and ulcerative colitis.
However, the value of probiotics in other areas, such as treating irritable bowel disease, requires further study.
That does not mean probiotics have no value in the disputed areas. It means the researchers require further proof before they can recommend the use of probiotics for certain digestive conditions.
Its also important to bear in mind probiotics may not be a suitable option for certain individuals.
For instance, people who have HIV or other conditions that impair immune function would do well to avoid this type of product.
If you have any known health issues or have concerns about how suitable probiotic products may be for you, the best thing to do is seek the advice of your doctor.
There is no substitute for professional medical advice especially where probiotics and digestion are concerned.
About Chris Hill
Chris Hill’s understanding of the supplement industry is second to none and he has contacts within the industry that allow him access to information most people cant obtain.
Role Of Probiotics In Digestive Health
The gut is home to around 100 trillion microorganisms, both good and bad. The composition and functions of these microorganisms that include bacteria, yeast, and fungi play a major role in maintaining ones health. The good microbes of the gut are required for carrying out metabolic, digestive, and immune functions. Probiotics are foods or supplements that contain beneficial bacteria or yeast that help to restore the composition of gut microorganisms and their beneficial functions.
Probiotics play a vital role in digestive health, and they help to:
- Promote a healthy digestive system.
- Help the body in digestion and nutrient absorption.
- Help in the synthesis of vitamins and activation of some enzymes required for digestion.
- Help to maintain a healthy microbiota in the digestive tract.
- Restore the natural balance of gut microbiota after being disturbed by infection, illness, improper diet, or antibiotic medications.
- Inhibit the growth of pathogenic or harmful microorganisms in the gut and prevent bacterial or fungal infections.
Other important benefits of probiotics include:
- Help the liver to neutralize and eliminate toxins from the body.
- Influence the bodys immune response like inflammation and allergies.
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Do Probiotics Help With Constipation
Constipation is common, affecting millions of Americans every year . But while occasional constipation or slow gastrointestinal motility may be normal, if its chronic and affecting your quality of life, it should be addressed. Often, the problem can be solved by resolving underlying imbalances within the gut microbiome.
Chronic constipation affects up to 27% of the U.S. population, and is most common among women and older adults above age 65 . Constipation is medically defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week, usually with hard stool that is difficult to pass. However, functional medicine typically defines healthy bowel movements as having a bowel movement at least one per day, ideally 1-3.
Do probiotics help with constipation? In short, yes, they can. And while other treatments like laxatives are fine for short term use, probiotics can actually help address the root cause of chronic constipation for longer lasting change.
Help With Certain Mental Health Conditions
Microbiota composition changes are related to depression and anxiety. This may be because 95 percent of the neurotransmitter serotonin, the feel-good hormone, is produced by the bacteria in the gut.
One study found that after 30 days of supplementing with the probiotic strains Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacteria longum, healthy participants had less anxiety and depression.
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Probiotics For Upset Stomach And Food Poisoning
Trillions of bacteria live inside us in fact, the bacteria residing in our gut are essential to good health. However, there are different types of bacteria and other micro-organisms living in our gut: some are friendly and work with body systems to keep their host healthy, these are known as probiotics. But other micro-organisms are less desirable these are known as pathogens, and can cause upset stomachs, either in the form of gastro-enteritis, or on an ongoing basis such as in IBS-type symptoms.
Lets look at the different factors which can upset the delicate balance in our gut and cause an upset stomach, and how probiotics might be able to help.
Benefits For The Mind And Brain
Gut health is about more than just digestion. Scientific evidence shows that the gut and the brain stand in constant communication with each other. You may have noticed this connection when your stomach drops or you have a gut feeling. This gut-brain axis influences many mental health conditions.
More research shows the important role that gastrointestinal health plays in improving mood and supporting focus and memory.
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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
What Is The Recommended Dose Of Probiotics For Better Digestive Health
The recommended daily dose of probiotics should be between 1 billion to 10 billion CFUs . As an example, a cup of Kefir contains around 15 to 20 CFUs. When you start having probiotics for the first time, you should start from 1 CFU and slowly increase the daily dosage. In case you are taking probiotic supplements, then the CFU will be mentioned on the bottle. Keep in mind that probiotics need to be taken before eating or along with your meal. Do not take probiotics after you have eaten. Also, before you buy probiotic supplements, it is more beneficial to include probiotics from natural food sources in your meal. This is because foods that contain probiotics have a variety of bacteria strains.
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How Long Does It Take Probiotics To Work
The short answer is: It depends on the specific outcome youre hoping to achieve, the current condition of your gut and overall health, and the quality of the probiotic you are taking.
If you are taking a high quality, multispecies and multistrain supplement, you can expect to notice initial improvements and health benefits of probiotics in your digestion as early as the first 1-2 weeks after starting your probiotic.
Depending on how sensitive you are, many people feel a difference after a few days. More fundamental effects of the probiotics such as improvements to mood, weight loss or a reduction in inflammation of your gut barrier might set in after 4-8 weeks.
How Do You Know Probiotics Are Working
Probiotics are the good bacteria in the gut which help support a healthy gut microbiome. Some positive effects of probiotics include fighting off bad bacteria, improving digestion and regulating bowel movements, supporting the immune system, and helping with weight loss.
Your gut contains billions of good bacteria that support many critical functions in your body, including digestion, nutrient absorption and the immune system. This world of good bacteria is referred to as your gut microbiome.
Environmental factors such as a diet of overly processed foods, certain medications and stress can disrupt this ecosystem of good bacteria living in your gut. When the ecosystem of gut bacteria gets disrupted, ailments such as digestive discomfort, irregular bowel movements, more frequent illness and allergies can develop.
Over the past few years, probiotics have become one of the most popular supplements. Probiotics are dietary supplements that consist of some of these many good bacteria that live in a healthy gut and that can help rebalance and strengthen your gut microbiome.
Probiotics can help with improving digestion, gut health and overall wellbeing. So, lets say you were to start taking a probiotic supplement which in our opinion, almost everyone should how do you know that your probiotic is working?
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Can Probiotics Really Help My Digestive Health
The term probiotic has become very popular these days. From being advertised on TV to being sold at all grocery stores and being recommended by physicians, probiotics are suddenly everywhere. But what exactly are probiotics? Probiotics are live bacteria yeasts that are said to be beneficial for your digestive health. Probiotics are also known as good or helpful bacteria since they keep your gut healthy by naturally increasing the number of good bacteria in the gut. Probiotics are generally found in supplements and many yogurts. In fact, probiotic yogurts are today one of the most common ways of consuming a probiotic. However, many people often wonder if probiotics are really as beneficial as they are being made out to be. So can probiotics really help your digestive health? Or are they just the latest health trend that has become popular around the globe? Lets find out.
Can I Take Or Eat Something To Increase The Good Probiotics In My Body
You can increase the amount of good microbes in your body through foods, drinks and supplements. You may already have certain foods in your daily diet that contain probiotics. Fermented foods in particular are home to a host of good bacteria that benefit your body. There are also fermented drinks like kombucha or kefir that introduce extra probiotics into your diet.
Apart from food, you can add probiotics to your diet through dietary supplements. These arent drugs, so they do not need to be approved by the Federal Drug Administration . Its important that you always talk to your healthcare provider before starting any kind of supplement or major change to your diet.
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Are There Any Risks Related To Probiotics
Probiotics are generally considered safe. However, there are some risks linked to the supplements. These risks are increased if you have a medical condition that weakens your immune system, have recently had surgery or have other serious medical conditions.
Unlikely, but possible, risks can include:
- Developing an infection.
- Developing a resistance to antibiotics.
- Developing harmful byproducts from the probiotic supplement.
Can Probiotics Help With Ibs
Irritable bowel syndrome is a digestive disorder that can cause stomach cramps, bloating, constipation , or diarrhea .
Theres no cure for IBS at the moment, but some research suggests probiotics might lessen symptoms and help you to poop more regularly.
One group of researchers looked at 43 studies on the use of probiotics for people with IBS, and they concluded that probiotic supplements were an effective treatment for symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating, and flatulence.
Another review also found that probiotics were significantly more effective in reducing the severity and pain of IBS symptoms than a placebo.
A 2016 study investigating the effects of probiotic supplements on people with IBS-C found that probiotics not only reduced their symptoms, but also helped them poop more regularly.
Its worth noting that different studies looked at different types and combinations of probiotic bacteria, and the participants received different doses.
Scientists haven’t figured out which probiotic is best for IBS management, but the evidence so far suggests that supplements containing several types of probiotic have the most potential to improve IBS symptoms.
How To Get Probiotics
To introduce probiotics into your diet, look for probiotic foods containing cultures of good bacteria that can provide specific health benefits. This is where reading labels is important not all live cultures are probiotics, so look for foods that specify the strain they include and the benefits they can offer.
Another option is to take a daily probiotic supplement, such as Align, which helps soothe occasional abdominal discomfort, gas, and bloating, to promote a healthy digestive system.*
If you have any health conditions or concerns, consult your doctor before beginning this sort of regimen. Ask about specific strains and/or combinations you should be taking and when.
Youll also want to make sure you read the label for the ideal storage temperature of your supplements. Some probiotic supplements require refrigeration, but Aligns unique strain is designed to ensure the good bacteria remain alive and stable at room temperature no refrigeration necessary.
Normal digestive functions can vary greatly from person to person, but ultimately, probiotics can be an effective tool in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.
To learn more about probiotics and get $2 off your first month of Align, join the Healthy Gut Team Up here.