What Are The Benefits Of Taking A Probiotic
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. They help maintain your digestive system healthy.
Here are some situations where including them in your diet might be helpful:
They are gut-friendly
Probiotics are good bacteria that can have positive effects on your health. These microorganisms can restore the natural balance of gut bacteria, which is often thrown off by illness, antibiotics, diet, etc.
When there arent enough good bacteria and too many bad bacteria, digestive issues, allergies, mental health problems, obesity, etc., may result.
Helps prevent diarrhea
Your gut’s good and bad bacteria are affected by your diet. When consumed with antibiotics, it helps prevent diarrhea.
Probiotics can vary in effectiveness and dosage, depending on which strains are used.
Improves Mental Health
Research indicates that people with mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and stress, have changes in their gut microbiome the community of bacteria that live in your digestive tract. Probiotic supplements are thought to be beneficial in improving certain symptoms of mental health disorders by introducing good bacteria into your system.
Helps boost your immune system
It’s believed that probiotics help keep your gut microbiota balanced, which may support a healthy immune system.
They may even promote the production of natural antibodies in the body to fight against any illness.
How Are Probiotics Regulated In The United States
Government regulation of probiotics in the United States is complex. Depending on a probiotic productâs intended use, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration might regulate it as a dietary supplement, a food ingredient, or a drug.
Many probiotics are sold as dietary supplements, which donât require FDA approval before they are marketed. Dietary supplement labels may make claims about how the product affects the structure or function of the body without FDA approval, but they arenât allowed to make health claims, such as saying the supplement lowers your risk of getting a disease, without the FDAâs consent.
If a probiotic is going to be marketed as a drug for treatment of a disease or disorder, it has to meet stricter requirements. It must be proven safe and effective for its intended use through clinical trials and be approved by the FDA before it can be sold.
What Happens If You Dont Have Probiotics
Without probiotics, you would likely experience a great deal more bloating, gas, and discomfort and derive less nutrition from your food. Bloating can be a sign of your stomach not being able to digest the food youre eating. So, if you want to get the most out of your probiotic supplements, make sure you take them with a full stomach.
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What Has Science Shown About The Effectiveness Of Probiotics For Health Conditions
A great deal of research has been done on probiotics, but much remains to be learned about whether theyâre helpful and safe for various health conditions.
Probiotics have shown promise for a variety of health purposes, including prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea , prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis and in premature infants, treatment of infant colic, treatment of periodontal disease, and induction or maintenance of remission in ulcerative colitis.
However, in most instances, we still donât know which probiotics are helpful and which are not. We also donât know how much of the probiotic people would have to take or who would be most likely to benefit. Even for the conditions that have been studied the most, researchers are still working toward finding the answers to these questions.
The following sections summarize the research on probiotics for some of the conditions for which theyâve been studied.
Can Probiotics Be Harmful
- Probiotics have an extensive history of apparently safe use, particularly in healthy people. However, few studies have looked at the safety of probiotics in detail, so thereâs a lack of solid information on the frequency and severity of side effects.
- The risk of harmful effects from probiotics is greater in people with severe illnesses or compromised immune systems. When probiotics are being considered for high-risk individuals, such as premature infants or seriously ill hospital patients, the potential risks of probiotics should be carefully weighed against their benefits.
- Possible harmful effects of probiotics include infections, production of harmful substances by the probiotic microorganisms, and transfer of antibiotic resistance genes from probiotic microorganisms to other microorganisms in the digestive tract.
- Some probiotic products have been reported to contain microorganisms other than those listed on the label. In some instances, these contaminants may pose serious health risks.
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Do I Really Need To Take Probiotics Everyday
Its important to realize that everybody’s gut microbiome is unique, so there’s no one-size-fits-all probiotic plan. But if the goal is to have a healthy gastrointestinal tract and overall immune system, you want to make sure you’re constantly taking good-quality probiotics.
Along with taking probiotic supplements, it’s important to eat a diverse diet rich in fiber and beneficial bacteria. As long as these nutrients are making their way into the gut, missing a few days of a supplement won’t be as big of a deal
How Do Probiotics Work
The main job of probiotics, or good bacteria, is to maintain a healthy balance in your body. Think of it as keeping your body in neutral. When you are sick, bad bacteria enters your body and increases in number. This knocks your body out of balance. Good bacteria works to fight off the bad bacteria and restore the balance within your body, making you feel better.
Good bacteria keeps you healthy by supporting your immune function and controlling inflammation. Certain types of good bacteria can also:
- Help your body digest food.
- Keep bad bacteria from getting out of control and making you sick.
- Create vitamins.
- Help support the cells that line your gut to prevent bad bacteria that you may have consumed from entering your blood.
- Breakdown and absorb medications.
This balancing act is naturally happening in your body all of the time. You dont actually need to take probiotic supplements to make it happen. Good bacteria is just a natural part of your body. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in fiber every day helps to keep the number of good bacteria at proper levels.
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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.
How Popular Are Probiotics
The 2012 National Health Interview Survey showed that about 4 million U.S. adults had used probiotics or prebiotics in the past 30 days. Among adults, probiotics or prebiotics were the third most commonly used dietary supplement other than vitamins and minerals. The use of probiotics by adults quadrupled between 2007 and 2012. The 2012 NHIS also showed that 300,000 children age 4 to 17 had used probiotics or prebiotics in the 30 days before the survey.
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Do You Really Need That Probiotic Yogurt
Exactly how delicate is your gut bacteria, anyway?
Our bodies come with built-in detox systems , but the massive interest in probiotic products for gut health wouldnt make you think it. Lets remember our gut bacteria has pretty much been sorting itself out since forever.
And yet, people have become increasingly anti-gut, blaming gut bacteria and the supposed imbalances therein for a whole host of problems, from fatigue and migraines to diabetes. Has our modern diet, perhaps, really compromised our gut health to the degree that it needs an entire industry churning out products that cater to our guts supposed sensitivities?
We know, for instance, that the distribution of gut bacteria in your GI tract will vary depending on what part of the world you live in and thus what kind of traditional diet you follow. We also know that there are interactions happening within the gut microbiome meaning any of the various organisms living in our intestinal tract. One of the big areas of research there revolves around the immune system the lining of our GI tracts has a lot of surface area, which means lots of cells being continually exposed to their surrounding environments.
This relates to the Hygiene Hypothesis, which essentially holds that because Western societys modern, developed environment is so over-sanitized, were not being exposed during infancy to the same variety of organisms we were 100 or even just 50 years ago.
Food Sources Of Prebiotics
If youre eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, youre probably already consuming prebiotics. And a big benefit of consuming prebiotic foods is that youre not only consuming fiber, youre getting healthy antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals into your diet. Common foods that contain prebiotics include asparagus, oats, beans, peas, apples, watermelon, chickpeas, leeks, bananas, and onions. Prebiotics are also available as a nutritional supplement.
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Is Honey A Probiotic
Honey is also being recognized as a potential prebiotic, since it has oligosaccharides that can promote the growth of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, in addition to antimicrobial components which can act as an anti-bacterial agent. In addition, honey has been shown to be a good source of essential fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid.
EFAs are essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system, immune system and cardiovascular system. They are also involved in the production of neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine, which are important for learning and memory, as well as the regulation of blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar levels. ARA have also been linked to the prevention and treatment of Alzheimers disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Sowhat Do Probiotics Really Do
Probiotics help people with specific conditions where gut dysfunction is a problem. Consider it one of natures best medicines if you suffer from:
But, any benefit is specific to the strain of probiotic, and even the transport of the good strains is still a work in progress. Thats because we still dont know if good strains that we can create in a supplement or a food like yogurt can survive the environment in your stomach and then have a positive impact in your gut.
Any probiotic, even a combination product, is just a tiny drop in the bucket, Doron explains. In our groups research, we saw that when subjects took a probiotic containing lactobacillus, we couldnt even detect a change in lactobacillus abundance within their gut.
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How Long Should You Take Probiotics
Probiotics have been shown to be safe to use long-term. One study found that long-term use of probiotics led to beneficial changes in the gut microbiome.
Like dosage, the duration for taking probiotics varies depending on the bacterial strains and specific product. Some conditions, like acute diarrhea, may not require long-term use of probiotics to see positive effects.
Modern lifestyle exposes the gut microbiome to many factors that can negatively impact your gut flora. Stress, a diet full of sugar and processed foods, alcohol, and certain medications all negatively impact the gut microbiome. Incorporating a high-quality probiotic supplement into your daily wellness routine can help maintain a healthy gut microbiome and promote overall health.
When looking for a probiotic to incorporate into your daily routine, look for a probiotic supplement with multiple probiotic strains and species that is supported by science and clinical studies.
If you experience ongoing side effects from probiotics such as bloating and gas, it may be a good idea to take a break from probiotics and ensure you are taking the correct strain and dose.
It is a good idea to talk to your healthcare practitioner before starting a probiotic supplement to understand the best strain, dose, and duration for your health needs and goals
Additional Benefits Of Probiotics
Ongoing research continues to reveal more potential benefits of taking probiotics. Consider some of the conditions probiotics may help:
- Reduction of systematic inflammation, which is linked to many chronic health conditions
- A small reduction in blood pressure, which can help people with cardiovascular problems
- Lowered blood cholesterol, including LDL levels
- Improvements to skin conditions such as acne, eczema, rosacea, and others
- Better immune system function so people can combat common colds and flu
- Reduction of the symptoms associated with anxiety and clinical depression
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Is It Ok To Take Probiotics Every Day
A common question about probiotics is whether it is ok to take probiotic supplements every day. Whilst there may be a few exceptions to this rule, the general answer is yes, its safe, and usually recommended, to take them daily.
Its important to understand that probiotics are a natural supplement and not a medicine. They are best used at breakfast time as part of a daily health regime, rather than as a quick fix option. There are also some situations where certain strains can be taken for a short time, such as alongside antibiotics. Fermented foods containing live cultures have been part of traditional diets in many different ethnic groups for centuries. Learn more by reading about our 5 favourite fermented foods. People have been consuming probiotics for generations in foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and kombucha , but it has only been more recently that we have been able to consume specific strains for specific purposes, in easy-to-take capsules, powders, or kids gummies.
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How Do I Get Probiotics
Foods prepared by bacterial fermentation contain probiotics. These probiotic foods include sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir drinks, kimchi, and other foods. People can also take probiotic supplements. Dozens of probiotic bacteria offer health benefits. The most common groups are Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. Research shows different probiotics work well for different health issues. Choosing the right probiotics supplements can also make a huge difference in your gut health and overall well-being. The best probiotic supplements contain multiple bacterial groups or colonies in high numbers like the naturally occuring cultures from kefir or kimchi.
Buy simply taking a single Probiotic supplement over and over can actually be harmful.One of the probiotic side effects is that there would be an over population of a single strain of other needed bacteria. That is why probiotics supplementation should rotate between different colony groups. Proper testing can help identify the bacteria present in your gut and which specific strains are needed to restore proper balance. Testing can also be used after taking probiotcs as a way to measure the effectiveness of the supplementation program or protocol.
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How Often Should You Take A Probiotic Supplement
Research is still emerging about the gut microbiome, but it is safe to consume sources of probiotics each day. Taking most probiotics once per day can offer many different health benefits, while some probiotic strains have specific dose recommendations.
Probiotics are good bacteria that, when taken in adequate amounts, help balance your digestive system, which is home to hundreds of thousands of bacteria already. Some of those pre-existing bacteria are beneficial, while others can be harmful and may make you sick.
There are several bacterial strains commonly found in the human gut, yet each persons gut flora is unique, made up of different strains and amounts of bacteria. The bacteria in your intestines have different roles, such as producing fatty acids or defending against pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Each probiotic strain also has different effects on the body. Because of this, there isnt a standard recommendation for how much and how often to take probiotic supplements, but evidence shows that use of probiotics can provide numerous health benefits.
How Probiotics Might Be Bad For You
Because these good bacteria already exist in the body, theyâre considered safe for most people. But there are some things to consider.
They can trigger an allergic reaction. They might cause mild stomach problems, especially the first few days you start taking them. You might have stomach upset, gas, diarrhea, or bloating. Those symptoms usually go away after your body gets used to them.
If you have an immune system problem or another serious health condition, you may have a greater chance of issues. Some reports have linked probiotics to serious infections and other side effects. The people most likely to have trouble are those with immune system problems, people who’ve had surgery, and others who are critically ill. Don’t take probiotics if you have any of those issues.
Always talk to your pediatrician before giving probiotic supplements to your child. If you’re pregnant or nursing, you should also talk to your doctor before you try one.
Most probiotics in the U.S. are sold as dietary supplements. That means the companies that make them don’t have to test their products and show that they work or that they are safe. More research is needed to confirm that probiotics are safe and effective.
Ask your doctor which probiotics are the right ones for you. Be sure to stop taking them if you have any problems.
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