Certain Strains And Additives Can Make People Worse
The point of taking a probiotic is to improve gut health, but many probiotics on the market contain ingredients that could actually do the opposite.
Especially if you are sensitive, certain strains found in probiotics can cause acidosis or histamine reaction.
Many people are also sensitive to the prebiotics and other added ingredients such as inulin, maltodextrin, magnesium stearate, silica, titanium dioxide etc.
What Are The Side Effects Of Probiotics
Probiotics are generally safe for most people. However, some people may experience side effects, such as gas and bloating. Probiotics may also trigger allergic reactions in some people.
To reduce the risk of side effects, start with a small dose of probiotics and gradually increase your intake. If you experience any severe side effects, stop taking probiotics and see your doctor.
Evidence For Taking Probiotics
Numerous reviews recommend taking probiotics every day, both for health maintenance and for treating a variety of health issues.
Probiotics dont just help to improve gastrointestinal microbiota. They have also been shown to boost your immune system, reduce bad cholesterol levels, relieve symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, reduce high blood pressure, and even improve lactose metabolism.
In addition, probiotics may help to support gut-brain communication, which has been suggested as a therapeutic solution for anxiety and depression.
Daily supplementation with Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains has been found to reduce symptoms in people with these disorders and improve overall digestive function.
Probiotics are generally recognized as safe to take every day and typically have no side-effects besides occasional digestive upset. They have been used successfully by millions of people around the world and will continue to be one of the most researched and evidence-based supplements available.
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More Research Is Needed To Clearly Understand Probiotics
Though researchers don’t have the full picture yet, the National Institute of Health says there is evidence to suggest probiotics might be helpful for certain health conditions.
For example, in a review published in Antibiotics, across multiple studies, researchers found that probiotics can help relieve diarrhea caused by taking antibiotics. On average 8% of people who took a probiotic experienced antibiotic-associated diarrhea compared to almost 18% of people who did not take a probiotic.
Two stand-out strains that the researchers found helped were L. rhamnosus GG and S. boulardii. The dosage, however, varied among the different studies ranging anywhere from as little as 106 colony forming units to 1010 CFU taken one to two times a day for one to two weeks straight.
And another review, published in 2014 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that probiotics helped ease constipation in adults, including upping stool frequency and decreasing bloating. When it came to boosting stool frequency, for example, the B. lactis strain seemed to be the most effective, resulting in an additional 1.5 go’s weekly.
While this difference was statistically significant, it is a very small effect, if you think about it. And it may be that some people respond better than others, though researchers don’t yet know how to identify them.
If You Take A Probiotic You Need To Eat Prebiotics
The bacteria in your gutboth visitors and residentsneed to eat too. Enter prebiotics, nondigestible carbs that feed friendly bacteria and help them multiply. They may even be helpful on their own, at recalibrating microbiota that have been thrown out of whack by stress a recent study found mice who ate prebiotics slept better after a stressful experience. Hutkins advises taking them daily in the form of food, not pills, because it’s difficult to get the needed amount from a supplement. Prebiotics are found in wholegrain oatmeal, bananas, onions, garlic, and asparagus.
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Rotate And Dont Take It Every Day
Taking the same probiotic every day may not be best as you can create an ecosystem of just a few strains of bacteria. Depending on what is going on in my life/body, I take probiotic supplements 1-3 times a week. Sometimes I even take 1-2 weeks off.
I also rotate each week/month to ensure diversity of strains.
If you are dealing with a specific issue, therapeutic, targeted probiotics can really help bring the body back into balance, but overdoing it can bring it out of balance.
Tips To Maximize The Health Benefits Of Probiotics
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Do Probiotics Detox The Body
Yes, they do, by taking daily probiotics you are boosting the number of good bacteria in the gut. This will result in you detoxifying your system and enabling the gut to absorb nutrients more effectively. It is considered that after taking antibiotics the imbalance of good bacteria will have negative results which can last a considerable amount of time, even after youve stop taking your course of antibiotics.
Should I Eat Before Taking A Probiotic
Taking a probiotic after or during your meal may negate some of the benefits of the supplement due to busy digestion efforts in your gut. But Dr. Asike explains that some bacterial strains are naturally more resistant to stomach acid, and can be taken with meals safely in some cases, multiple times a day. You’ll likely see printed language on your chosen probiotic packaging that indicates it’s safe to take with meals.
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Should You Take A Daily Probiotic Supplement
Probiotics are good for your gut, but the source matters.
Theres a lot of buzz around probiotics. Theyre endorsed by celebrities and fill grocery stores aisles.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that promote a healthy gut. Scientists believe they could unlock a deeper understanding of our health. Probiotics are found in some foods and drinks, like yogurt or fermented tea.
Just like vitamins, probiotics are available as supplements. Manufacturers make steep claims about their benefits. They include digestive health, strengthened immune system, weight loss and reduced cancer risk. But can a supplement really do all that?
To learn more about probiotic supplements, we spoke with Carrie Daniel- MacDougall, Ph.D., M.P.H., a nutritional epidemiologist at MD Anderson who studies diet and the microbiome.
Heres what you should know about probiotic supplements.
Its always better to get nutrients from food. That includes probiotics.
More research needs to be done on probiotics in general and probiotic supplements, but its always better to get your nutrients from food rather than supplements, Daniel-MacDougall says. They just dont deliver the same benefits as food.
One reason is because supplements arent regulated as closely as medications. So the quality and ingredients can vary greatly from product to product.
Unless your doctor is prescribing probiotics for a specific purpose, stick to getting them from foods like yogurt that may have other nutrients, like calcium.
What Happens To Your Body When You Start Taking Probiotics
Some individuals suffer gas, bloating, or diarrhea when they first start taking probiotics. Changes in the gut microbiota might cause bacteria to produce more gas than normal, causing bloating. These negative effects, on the other hand, normally go away within a few days or weeks of using probiotics.
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What You Can Do
Don’t start taking probiotics without talking to your doctor or pharmacist about whether probiotics might help you. People who have immune deficiency or are being treated for cancer should not use probiotics without a doctor’s okay.
The most common species of bacteria used in probiotics are species of Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. The bacteria are usually freeze-dried when you take the supplement, they warm up in your digestive system and become fully active. You can find probiotic supplements in most drugstores and supermarkets. They come as capsules or tablets to swallow and as loose powder to sprinkle on food. You’ll want a product that explicitly states a “sell-by” date. Dosages vary by product, so no general dosing recommendation can be made. However, common dosages for adults range from five billion to 10 billion colony-forming units per day. Take just one dose of probiotics per day.
Some people may experience loose stools in the first few days of taking probiotics, but this goes away. Taking probiotics at the end of a meal may help to reduce the symptoms.
What Are The Risks Of Ingesting Probiotics
- Side effects. Probiotics seem to have few side effects. Some may cause intestinal gas and bloating. However, this is likely to get better over time. If your probiotics are causing these side effects, try decreasing the dose or using it every other day.
- Interactions. If you have any medical problems or take any medicines regularly, talk to your health care provider before you start using probiotics. They could interact with medicines such as antibiotics or immunosuppressive drugs.
- Risks. If you have intestinal disease or damage, HIV, cancer, a weakened immune system, or excessive bacteria in your intestines, don’t use probiotics without checking first with your health care provider.
Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria are two of the most common types of probiotics on the market.
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How Many Billion Probiotics Should I Take
Probiotics are measured by Colony Forming Units , which essentially indicate the number of viable cells. A probiotic supplement should have around 10 billion CFUs as this is the dose required to reduce the duration of diarrhea in children.
Not only is dose important but delivery as well. Many probiotic products do not protect the probiotics inside from stomach acid which kills many of the probiotics inside before they make it to the gut.
Look for probiotics with an enteric coating or some kind of delayed-release mechanisms to maximize the effective probiotic dose you are getting.
In addition to the dose, you need to consider the diversity of your probiotics. Many probiotics have one, two or just a couple strains or types of probiotics.
Studies have shown that more diverse formulations of probiotics with multiple strains of probiotics is more helpful than single strain probiotics.
Can Long Term Use Of Probiotics Be Harmful
Yes and no, this is very much dependent on your overall health. If you find you are having trouble with your immune system, suffering from long term illness, and currently taking antibiotics probiotics could lead to any negative systems to worsen over time. Therefore, it is so important to check with a doctor before introducing probiotics into your daily routine.
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Should You Take Probiotics Every Day
If youve taken supplements before, youll probably know that most should be taken every day in order to reap the benefits. But what about probiotics?
In general, its a good idea to take probiotics every day. In fact, there are many reasons why this can be highly beneficial not only for treating specific health conditions, but for keeping yourself and your family well every day.
Next Steps To Take If You’re Considering Probiotic Treatments
If you’re looking for where probiotic research stands on specific conditions, like acne or UTIs nothing conclusive on either of those topics as well as the limits of certain studies the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website provides an informative breakdown.
The bottom line is that you should discuss your best course of action with a doctor or registered dietitian especially “if you are considering starting a probiotic to treat a specific illness, have a chronic disease or if you are immunosuppressed,” Gilmore says.
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Balancing The Intestinal Ecosystem
Although the vast majority of existing clinical trials indicate that probiotic doses of 10-20 billion CFU per day are sufficient for maintaining immune and digestive health, research studies examining the dose-response of larger CFUs and products featuring CFUs of 50 to 100 billion are becoming increasingly common.6,7 While it may be tempting to assume that a larger CFU automatically translates to greater probiotic benefits, this is not necessarily the case for every individual or health indication.8,9
One of the mechanisms of probiotic therapy is restoration of intestinal balance by replacing harmful microbes with more favorable ones. Because not everyone needs very large amounts of probiotic bacteria to achieve this, regularly providing the body with a moderate infusion of high-quality bacteria may represent a more biologically meaningful approach to health maintenance than overwhelming the gut microbiota ecosystem with more bacteria than is needed.
Thus, for individuals in relatively good health, a daily dose of 10-20 billion CFU is likely sufficient for supporting everyday immune and digestive support.
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The Facts On Probiotics
- Prevent many common alignments that occur in childhood
Probiotics can also:
- Overwhelm the gut eco-system with one species of bacteria, creating a monoculture
- Build a temporary environment in your system on a daily basis because they cant colonize the human gut
- Increase tight junction function, the velcro-like proteins that allow the body to absorb the nutrients it needs and block the toxins it doesnt
- Produce diverse ecosystem of bacteria
- Generate communication between your gut and its cells
I would like to bring up another interesting thought Dr. Bush also explains why some people see good results with probiotics at first, but then those results stop:
You may have had 5-7 dominant species that were really, NOT beneficial to your health, then you overwhelm those species with 5-7 other species that had more of a health benefit, so you feel an initial improvement. If you separate out the placebo effect there is a percentage of people that have some sort of measurable benefit in that first couple weeks on a probiotic. Talk to those people in 6-12 months? It will probably be somewhere around the same.
How Much Should You Take Daily
The gut microbiome is unique to every person, so the amount of probiotics needed daily likely varies widely between individuals. Many factors influence the environment of your gut, such as your genes, health conditions, medications, including antibiotics, stress and diet. In addition, many different strains of probiotics are linked to different health benefits, and the amount of probiotics necessary to achieve a health benefit varies.
The dosage of probiotic supplements is listed in colony-forming units . Were still learning about the optimal amount of CFUs needed, but research shows that probiotics with between 1 million and 1 billion CFUs are adequate to produce health benefits. However, some probiotics have been shown to provide benefits at much lower amounts, and others need much higher doses.
The delivery mechanism is also important as it can offer probiotics protection against deterioration during manufacturing, storage and digestion. Techniques like freeze drying the good bacteria and rehydrating them in water prior to intake are used to help CFUs arrive as viable, live cultures to your large intestine, where they will be most impactful.
The Best Time To Take Probiotics
So… when should you pop your probiotic capsule? “Research shows that the best time to take probiotics is just before a meal or as you begin your meal,” says Lisa Richards, CNC, nutritionist and creator of The Candida diet. “This is the time when your stomach environment is at its least acidic, because your body has not yet begun to produce stomach acid in large quantities to digest your food. Taking your probiotics at this time will make their passage to your gut a little easier, and ensure you get the most from those beneficial bacteria.”
However, Richards says the when-to-take aspect of probiotics depends on what type you opt for. “If your probiotic is enteric-coated or uses delayed-release capsules, it is more likely to survive stomach acid and so the exact timing is less important,” she says. If you’re taking a live strain probiotic supplement, “ideally you want to take them 20 minutes after you eat, first thing in the morning or right before bedtime,” Greenfield says. “This allows more of the probiotics to get into the large intestines where they will have the most benefits. If you are taking a soil-based probiotic, you can take them with food for most impact.” Not sure what kind you have? Dr. Sonpal says brands put that info on the packaging.
What you eat affects your gut too. Watch the video to see how:
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Add Kefir To Your Smoothies
Kefir, a tart and tangy cultured milk drink, is packed with various strains of beneficial probiotics and live cultures, says Sassos, who drinks four ounces of it each morning with her breakfast. Choose plain kefir whenever possible, as the flavored varieties often contain added sugar. If you find that kefir tastes too tart alone, she recommends adding it to a smoothie for a nutritious boost.