Both The Ingredients And The Label Should Match
A study published in the Journal of Pediatric Research shows that out of 16 Bifidobacteria probiotic products, only one delivers its promise on the label.
The remaining 15 products had had probiotic strains not listed on the label. That means neither you nor the manufacturer knows what youre putting in your body or how it will impact you
Its important that you do your due diligence when buying your probiotic as you may not be getting what you have paid for.
It Should Survive and Thrive in the Gut
The human digestive system is designed full of hazards to help kill harmful microbes and break down foods.
Fortunately, high-quality probiotics can survive and pass through digestive enzymes and stomach acids. Once they reach your gut, they start whirling into action to keep your gut microbiota healthy.
Heres the sad news, though: The majority of commercial probiotics dont survive and thrive in the gut.
This is the exact reason why you should only buy from trusted probiotic brands that can guarantee strain survivability.
Probiotic Strains Should Be Clinically Studied
When choosing your probiotic, quality matters.
However, most commercial brands do not have clinical studies that validate their effectiveness.
This means you could be wasting time and money on products that dont work.
Before choosing a probiotic, always check to see if the company can verify the effectiveness of their probiotics. Only select brands with ingredients that have been clinically studied.
They Can Prevent The Development Of Allergic Diseases
Surprisingly, a newborn babys gut flora begins to grow from the very first day of their lives. A babys digestive health is formed throughout the first 12 months of life and will remain with them for the remainder of their lives. A childs microbiome usually reaches maturity by around age 3, and will be similar to an adult microbiome.
The type of delivery , as well as the mothers food, supplement, and medicine intake while breastfeeding, all have an impact on how the babys microbiota grows.
The composition of the microbiota in the first year following birth has a long-term impact on a persons health and well-being.
In fact, studies show that children that consume probiotics regularly through breast milk, solid food, or supplements in the first few years of life are less prone to developing seasonal and food allergies, intolerances, and chronic skin disorders such as eczema and atopic dermatitis.
In 2015, the International World Allergy Organization published a study stating that pregnant women that were at high risk of having a child with allergies would likely reduce the childs chance of developing allergies if they took probiotic supplements throughout pregnancy and while nursing.
How To Diagnose Asymptomatic Gut Issues
There are a number of specialized tests that can help to get to the bottom of your gut issues. Again, if youve been struggling with infertility, and namely unexplained infertility, its SO important to get a proper and thorough evaluation completed so we can understand what is going wrong. The following tests are our most utilized, however, this list is by no means exhaustive!
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Probiotics Help With Gut Health
Probiotics are known to help the gut and digestive tract by promoting the growth of good bacteria which combats the effects of bad bacteria in your gut. Hence, taking a probiotic could help you improve the composition of bacteria in your gut and balance your gut which brings with it a host of other health benefits.
Particularly, improved gut health means that the absorption of nutrients is more efficient in the gut which means you are more likely to absorb more essential nutrients from your diet. These essential nutrients play a key role in the development of the child and can be very beneficial for both the child and mother.
Probiotics help to increase the bacterial diversity in the gut, which is a sign of a healthy gut. Low bacterial diversity is linked to ineffective functioning of the gut, which is linked to the ineffective absorption of nutrients which results in metabolic disorders.
Keeping You Regular While Pregnant
Constipation is defined as less than three bowel movements per week. However, for many individuals, not passing stool for more than one day is considered abnormal and cause for discomfort.
Experiencing constipation during pregnancy is quite common. An estimated 40% of pregnant women suffer from constipation toward the end of their pregnancy. This may be due to the changes in hormones, reduction in movement and the physical changes happening in the body.
Research shows that probiotics can be a powerful tool to help regulate digestion. In one study, only 2.4% of women who had taken a symbiotic during the trial suffered from such problems at the end of their pregnancy. This is a remarkable 94% reduction compared to the baseline.
Probiotics rebalance the gut flora and improve mucus production in the intestines, which in turn can improve the frequency and consistency of your bowel movements.
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Probiotics Can Help Reduce Inflammation Which Improves Fertility
Bacterial infections have high incidence among the female population at reproductive age and are widely known to cause infertility due to inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is associated with a wide range of health concerns. When a woman experiences chronic inflammation, it can affect her cycles and immune system, which can make it more difficult to conceive.
A number of probiotic strains have been found to help reduce inflammation particularly certain strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
A small animal study looking at the role of probiotics in reducing inflammation-induced infertility found that Lactobacillus plantarum did indeed reduce inflammation and increase fertility in mice.
Infection And Preterm Birth Prevention
This is a delicate subject and research is not fleshed out enough to say anything conclusively.
However, there is reason to believe that probiotics can help fight bad bacteria in the body and with that lower the risk of infections that can lead to preterm birth. Research found that certain lactobacilli strains can colonize the vaginal tract and help inhibit pathogens that are associated with preterm birth, as well as regulate the immune system.
A different study analyzing data from a Norwegian cohort also found a statistically significant lower chance of preterm birth in pregnant women who consumed probiotics, most commonly via milk products.
One of the powerful features of probiotic bacteria is that specific ones have the ability to fight and inhibit the growth of pathogens. In addition, probiotic bacteria can influence the environment in the gut to make it less hospitable for pathogens to survive.
In addition, a Current Diabetes Reports article from 2014 states that probiotics in obese and diabetic pregnant patients slightly lowered the incidence of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia , and preterm delivery.
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How Beneficial Can Be Prebiotics And Probiotics
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are thought to be beneficial in preventing several health conditions. They are usually consumed as supplements or yogurts and are also referred to as good bacteria.
Probiotics are said to restore the balance of bacteria in the gut when it has become disrupted through long-term antibiotic use or gastrointestinal disease, for example. However, there is little solid evidence to support this claim.
How To Recognize Foods With Probiotics
Foods may not always have an indication on the label that they have probiotics. If you intend to get yogurt with probiotics, you should make sure that it’s pasteurized. Also, check the ingredient list to make sure that it includes live, active cultures.
Yogurt should have at least 100 million cultures per gram before being labeled as having live and active cultures. The label may also indicate the specific probiotics in the yogurt.
Fermented foods also contain probiotics. Fermentation preserves and promotes probiotic growth. Foods that can be fermented include cabbage, cucumbers, soybeans, and milk. Fermentation also helps preserve food and promotes the formation of enzymes, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins.
While fermenting foods may promote the growth of probiotics, the downside is that the taste and smell may get too strong. Also, not all fermented foods have probiotics. Some products, like beer and wine, undergo processes that eliminate probiotics.
Baking or canning will kill prebiotics.
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What Does Vaginal Microbiota Do
When we are specifically talking about vaginal microbiota, we have to keep in mind that bacteria from the Lactobacillus family are the most common bacteria in the female vagina and endometrium, especially during the reproductive years.
The vaginal microflora is in charge of producing lactic acid, which in turn creates an acidic environment that prevents pathogenic microorganisms from growing. We can therefore say that vaginal microbiota protect this part of the body from the colonisation of harmful microorganisms and also supports the development of a defence system to help encourage pregnancy.
Can Probiotics Help You Get Pregnant
Here is the amazing thing! Yes, probiotics are great for gut health and improving gut dysbiosis, which in turn improves fertility. But there are also probiotic bacterial strains that are clinically shown to BOOST fertility by improving natural folate production and vaginal health.
Folate is an essential vitamin that supports cellular health and plays a critical role in fertility and pregnancy. Several bacteria in this group work by helping your body naturally produce more folate. Folate is something you want in preparation for pregnancybefore and through conception. Several other strains lower rates of yeast infections and improve womens health. The strains listed below perform some of these tasks, but no strain is proven to do them all.
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How Common Is Probiotic Use During Pregnancy
With constipation and diarrhea being two frequently experienced common discomforts during pregnancy, the use of probiotics during pregnancy is common. The Canadian Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada found 45 to 93% of midwives had prescribed some form of natural health products to expecting mothers.
Prevention Of Preterm Birth And Infection Probiotics During Pregnancy
- Probiotics can aid in the fight against bad bacteria in the body, lowering the risk of infections that can contribute to preterm labor.
- Certain lactobacillus strains have been found to colonize the vaginal canal and help block microorganisms linked to preterm delivery, as well as modulate the immune system.
- One of the most significant characteristics of probiotic bacteria is their capacity to resist and prevent pathogen growth.
- Probiotic bacteria can change the gut microbiome, making it less favorable for pathogens to survive.
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Lower Risk Of Vaginal Infection
Vaginal infections are common during pregnancy. Changes in hormones can increase the risk of developing bacterial vaginosis. This can be irritating since it can be itchy and have an unpleasant odor.
Probiotics can prevent those unwanted infections since it helps in fighting off those bad bacteria in our body.
Should You Take Probiotics During Pregnancy
Pregnancy can be an exciting time full of new experiences and learnings, especially when it comes to diet and supplements.
However, if youre pregnant and feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available, know that youre not alone.
Youve likely discovered that conflicting evidence abounds on health and wellness websites. Plus, many people friends, family, co-workers, or even strangers might feel warranted to give you their personal opinion on whats safe and whats not when youre pregnant.
Its understandable if this makes you wary about adding new foods and supplements to your diet, including probiotics.
This article breaks down the latest research on the safety of taking probiotics during pregnancy, enabling you to make an informed decision when choosing pregnancy supplements.
Taking certain amounts may offer health benefits like improved digestive health and reduced risk of heart disease .
Research has found most strains of probiotics, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, to be safe to take long term .
However, some researchers are exploring if the overuse of probiotic supplements could lead to the transfer of genes resistant to infectious pathogens, antibiotic resistance, and other negative health consequences .
Regardless, rest assured that studies have found that taking probiotic supplements during pregnancy is safe and not associated with adverse outcomes.
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Bacterial Concentration And The Adherent Effect
For years, vaginal Lactobacilli had been considered as totally beneficial components of the genital system, while the seminal Lactobacillus were still controversial. An essential point that had been ignored in the previous studies is that the concentrations of vaginal Lactobacillus and seminal Lactobacillus are totally different. Ejaculated spermatozoa stay in the vaginal tract for a period before fertilization. Even if seminal Lactobacillus have a positive effect on spermatozoa, it remains dubious whether vaginal Lactobacillus, which are far higher in concentration, exert a positive effect on ejaculated spermatozoa.
The adherent ability is a crucial property it varies with the alteration of bacterial concentration. The adherent ability is an important criterion for evaluating the probiotic or pathogenic effect of microbes. Bacterial adhesion is the first step in colonization. It determines the invasive ability of pathogens and the potential of probiotics. The adherent effect of vaginal Lactobacillus species has been extensively studied. Species with a strong adherent effect are considered to be more beneficial to the human body, and probiotics with higher adherence to cells or the extracellular matrix, such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus fermentum, are more frequently used for clinical treatment .
Why Should I Use Probiotics While Pregnant
Probiotics help ensure that the pregnant womans gut microbiome is healthy and operating correctly, allowing vitamins and nutrients ingested through food, drinks, and supplements to be absorbed into her system and nourish both her and the developing fetus.
Furthermore, probiotics aid digestion and maintain regular bowel movements, which can sometimes be a problem during pregnancy.
Probiotics also improve the mothers intestinal barrier, protecting her and her baby from potentially harmful microorganisms that enter the bloodstream and cause illness.
Furthermore, if an expecting mother is required to take powerful medicines, such as antibiotics, probiotics can help to develop a balanced microbiome. This guarantees that all processes controlled by the intestines continue to operate normally.
A happy balance of gut flora also strengthens the immune system. And besides, the gut makes up 80 percent of the immune system. The expecting mothers immune system changes during pregnancy to suit the growing baby.
Some probiotic bacterial strains support the strengthening of the mothers immune system throughout pregnancy and in the regulation of the mothers immune system after childbirth.
Taking a probiotic pill during the postnatal period is also very advantageous because this can often be a very hectic time for the mom, which can lead to irregular bowel habits.
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Are There Tests To Assess Vaginal And Endometrial Microbiota
Fortunately, measuring vaginal and endometrial microbiota is possible. For this there are tests that study the endometrium and detect abnormalities in the microbiota, as well as the presence of pathogenic bacteria that may lead to infection.
At URE Centro Gutenberg we carry out these studies through a simple test that involves retrieving a sample of endometrial tissue in the doctors office. There are currently two types of tests available: EMMA and ALICE.
The EMMA test focuses on determining the levels of endometrial flora and also makes it possible for us to recommend the best treatment to the patient in order to balance out these levels, in turn improving her reproductive prognosis.
On the other hand, the ALICE test serves to determine the presence of pathogenic bacteria in the endometrium which are responsible for chronic endometritis and, as a result, implantation failure and recurrent miscarriage. Additionally, this test allows the specialist to prescribe the correct course of antibiotic and probiotic treatment.
Help Maintain Bowel Regularity In Pregnant Women Probiotics During Pregnancy
- It is quite normal for a pregnant woman to experience constipation.
- Constipation affects 40% of pregnant women at the end of their pregnancy.
- Constipation happens because there are a lot of changes in the hormones and less physical movement of the body.
- Probiotics help to rebalance the gut flora and increase mucus production in the intestines, which might help you have more regular bowel movements.
How Do You Know What You Are Getting
Probiotic supplements, like other dietary supplements, are unregulated by the US government. Companies are not required to verify that what they are claiming is in their supplements are actually in their supplements! Yikes!
So how can you tell that you are getting what you are paying for?
One good first-step is to make sure that the supplements you are choosing are third-party tested and verified. Look for the following:
USP verification seal. Seeing the letters USP is not enough. It must say that it is USP verified
Verify with consumer labs
Some bloggers advocate to try a milk test. Basically they mix probiotics in with milk to see if the acid from the bacteria makes yogurt. They claim that if the milk stays liquid, then the probiotic you are using is dead. Although it would be a fun science-experiment, I dont believe that this test is an accurate indicator. Some probiotics are enterically coated and are only active once they enter an acidic environment . Other probiotics are not actually acid-producing bacteria, and therefore would fail this test.
Using pharmacy-grade probiotics from a reputable source is a great start.
Make sure you are taking an appropriate dose and take it consistently every day.
If this is too much to handle, food-sources of probiotics are always a good bet. Foods like fermented vegetables, real yogurt/skyr, kefir, tempeh, miso, and pickles are all great choices.
Can You Take Probiotics And Prenatal Vitamins Together
There have been no interactions found between vitamins with minerals and probiotics. This does not mean that interactions do not exist. If you are taking a prenatal vitamin and would like to be sure that probiotics do not interfere with the prenatal vitamin that you are taking, you should consult a healthcare professional for advice.
Taking prenatal vitamins is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients that it needs to support the growth and development of the baby. It is as important as probiotics for it ensures the completion of the nutrient requirement. While probiotics enable the better absorption of nutrients in the gut, prenatal vitamins provide these nutrients straight to the body.
If you are concerned about mixing your prenatal vitamins and probiotic supplements, you should consult your healthcare provider to get the advice that you require to put your mind to rest.
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