Do All Probiotics Work
A reader asked me a while ago what probiotic I recommend.
In a nutshell, my family and I have taken many probiotics over the years.
Some seemed to work.
And some didn’t.
For me, “working” means a clear change in digestive health, evidenced by either rumbling in the stomach and flatulence , improved bowel habits
Probiotics: Who Shouldn’t Take Them
Some people find that taking probiotics causes symptoms like gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort. For most people, these symptoms are temporary however, side effects are more likely in those who are very young or elderly and those who have less robust immune systems or a damaged immune system, such as those with HIV or a terminal illness. Indeed, probiotics might not be good for people who are already extremely ill.
A general concern is that probiotics are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration , Lucak says. Instead, they are classified as a food supplement, so the health claims of the manufacturers are not subject to verification and may not be accurate. As a result, evidence also suggests that the strains and concentration per dose can be inaccurate from company to company and even from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
Keep in mind that the effects of one strain of probiotics do not necessarily hold true for other strains or even for different preparations of the same species or strain. If you do experience gas and bloating from one type of probiotic, you can try switching to a different kind to see whether it agrees more with your digestive system.
Because the quality and quantity of probiotics is not regulated by the FDA, it is difficult to accurately assess the effectiveness of one formulation against another, Lucak says.
Temporarily Increase Gas Bloating And May Cause Stomach Pain
You may find that as well as helping to relieve constipation symptoms, probiotics may temporarily increase certain digestive conditions.
When you start taking probiotics, you may find that you have more gas, bloating and occasional stomach cramping. It is not known why probiotics cause gas or may result in stomach pain. However, these side effects of probiotics are only experienced by a few people.
For example, a study from 2015 found that, although most people benefit from probiotics, a few people noticed excessive flatulence and bloating. However, after a week or so, your digestion should adjust to the probiotics and you should no longer have side effects from taking probiotics.17
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What Types Of Foods Have Probiotics
The full list is quite robust, but below are 7 of the most common foods containing probiotics:
While it would be great to keep ourselves in a steady supply of probiotic foods, stocking the shelves with the above items consistently wont be the cheapest endeavor. So if cost or consistency is an issue, we recommend getting your probiotics through a supplement or nutritional shake. Its way easier to budget in, stay consistent, and ensure youre getting the right daily dose. And, oftentimes, you can find supplements with additional health benefits.
Which leads us to
Probiotics Help To Relieve Constipation And Its Symptoms
Apart from helping to soften stool and increase the number of times a week that you poop, probiotics can help with the complications of constipation.
Suffering from infrequent bowel movements can make going to the bathroom very difficult and it can cause varying accompanying symptoms. However, regularly taking high-quality probiotics can help to ease the pain while passing stool and resolve stomach bloating, gas, and stomach spasms .
The journal Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica reported that probiotics helped patients to pass stool more frequently in the week. In addition, taking probiotics also helped to reduce bloating, abdominal cramping, and the sensation of incomplete emptying. The study found that probiotics with L. casei Shirota bacteria were the most beneficial for helping constipation.8
Research into easing constipation symptoms in the elderly has also shown that probiotics can treat constipation. The Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics published a systematic review of 9 studies into probiotics for treating constipation symptoms in older people.
The study concluded that probiotics improved constipation in elderly people by 1040% compared to placebo controls in which no probiotic was used.9
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Your Mood Is Better And Youre Less Stressed
If your gut is unhealthy or your microbiota is out of whack, you are likely to have difficulty digesting large food molecules. In turn, these chunks of food can actually damage the walls of your intestine, causing it to become inflamed.
This inflammation can have negative effects in areas of your body youd never expect like your brain!
Gut inflammation causes inflammatory chemicals to be released throughout your body, including into your brain. Once there, these chemicals interact with your nerve cells, causing drops in mood and leading to feelings of stress and anxiety!
With this in mind, a sure sign your probiotic is working is that you are noticing your stress levels dropping and your mood improving.
Additional Benefits Of Taking Probiotics
In summary, probiotics are powerful dietary supplements to help improve your digestion. Whether you have constipation or diarrhea, adding a high-quality probiotic to your dietary supplements could lead to big improvements and health benefits.
At the same time, it is important to remember that probiotics are not the magic pill. In addition, we recommend you eat plenty of dietary fiber , drink plenty of water each day and follow a balanced diet. If your digestive issues persist or worsen, consult a healthcare practitioner to dig deeper into potential causes!
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Not All Probiotics Are Equal
If youre planning to take a probiotic supplement to manage constipation, its important to remember that all probiotic bacteria do not have the same effects. For instance, if Bifidobacterium lactis is able to increase the frequency of bowel movements, its not necessary that other probiotic bacteria would have a similar effect. So check the strain of probiotic bacteria that youre consuming to make sure that itll be beneficial in your case. And as always, when in doubt, speak to your doctor.6 It is also a good idea to increase your intake of probiotic foods like yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut which boost your digestive health and the number of good bacteria in your stomach.
Probiotics Increase Stool Frequency
Probiotics are helpful for constipation because they can increase the frequency of your bowel movements.
The journal Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology published a systematic review of six trials into the benefits of probiotics for constipation. All the trials were randomized controlled trials and they all found that probiotics make you poop more. In most cases, the frequency of bowel movements significantly increased. The review has also mentioned that a consumption of yogurts containing the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium helped improve chronic constipation.4
The most beneficial strains of bacteria that the trials identified were L. casei rhamnosus, L. casei, L. acidophilus. Scientists also found that many Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria strains help to increase stool frequency.
The above review was carried out on the benefits of using probiotics to ease symptoms of constipation in children. Therefore, supplementing a childs diet with probiotics can help them poop easier and ease symptoms of constipation such as pain and bloating.
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Help Increase The Frequency Of Pooping
One research overview observed the effect of probiotics on bowel movements in 14 studies and found that probiotics overall could increase stool frequency significantly by as many as 1.3 bowel movements a week. The probiotic bacteria Bifidobacterium lactis was particularly effective as it caused an increase of 1.5 bowel movements a week. Its worth mentioning that laxatives usually cause an increase of 2.5 bowel movements per week. So probiotics might be a more natural alternative for normalizing bowel frequency in people with functional constipation.
You Might Have Some Temporary Bloating
Most people do not experience negative side effects when taking probioticsbut some may notice a brief increase in bloating and gas. The good news is, experts say this is only temporary while your body adjusts to the new influx of good bacteria you’ve been introducing. According to Dr. Axe, these side effects will typically go away after several weeks of use, but if they don’t, Clair says you might want to reduce your dosage. You should also consult your doctor for their advice.
“It’s best to start with a low dosage and gradually increase as your body adjusts, which can help to prevent issues like loose stools,” adds Dr. Axe. “If you’re still dealing with reactions a month or so later, consider trying a different probiotic formula altogether.”
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Consume Castor Oil As A Natural Laxative
Castor oil is a natural laxative. There is actually scientific proof that castor oil makes passing stool easier and can help with chronic constipation.
A study from 2011 reported that taking castor oil for chronic constipation helps to soften stool consistency, makes pooping easier, and gives a feeling of completely emptying your bowels.16
Probiotics May Not Be Safe If Your Immune System Is Weak
Probiotics have been found to be safe for people who are healthy though they may sometimes cause mild side effects like gas. However, they have been linked to extreme side effects like the development of dangerous infections in people with compromised immune systems, critically ill people, those whove just had surgery, and very sick babies.7 So refrain from using probiotics if you have serious health issues.
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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
The Side Effects Of Probiotics
Probiotics are safe for those who are healthy. If side effects occur, they are usually mild digestive issues, like gas. Just like before starting any new drug or supplement, you should talk to your healthcare provider before starting a probiotic. This advice is especially important for those with suppressed immune systems. Serious complications, like infections, have been reported in some people.
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You Are Experiencing Digestive Issues
Your microbiota has a huge impact on your bodys ability to break down and digest food. This means that a healthy microbiota can improve digestive function.
Considering this, if you find yourself experiencing frequent digestive discomfort, this is a hint that your microbiota might be out of whack!
Regularly nausea, digestive irritation, bloating, constipation and/or diarrhea could be a sure sign you need a probiotic.
Other Benefits Of Probiotics
Many people find that when they start taking probiotics to make themselves poop easier, they also experience other health benefits.
Some of the health benefits you can expect from probiotics can be any of the following:
Better immune system. Research from 2011 found that the health of your gut and immunity are closely connected. Taking probiotics can help to boost your immunity naturally and result in fewer infections. For example, probiotics containing rhamnosus GG can help to treat inflammatory conditions. L. acidophilus NCFM helped to protect against viral infections.10
Reduce side effects of antibiotics. Probiotics can help to prevent digestive upset that occurs when taking antibiotics. The Journal of Family Practice reports that antibiotics can sometimes cause chronic diarrhea. Taking a probiotic supplement 2 hours after an antibiotic can help to prevent diarrhea and abdominal cramping after a meal. It was found that combinations containing Lactobacillus species were the most effective.11
Prevent allergies. Research has discovered that taking probiotics can help to relieve the symptoms of allergic rhinitis and atopic dermatitis.12 Scientists have also found that probiotics can minimize food allergies.
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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.
Benefits Of Taking Probiotics
Not all probiotics are the same. Different strains of the bacteria have different effects. For example, one strain may fight against cavity-causing organisms in our mouths and don’t need to survive a trip through our guts.
Research has been promising for these friendly critters. Potential benefits of probiotics have been seen in the treatment or prevention of
- H. pylori
- vaginal infections
- infection of the digestive tract caused by
- eczema in children.
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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.
Do Probiotics Make You Poop
Plus, a list of probiotic-rich foods to incorporate into your diet.
You know what really stinks? A crappy digestive systempooping problems can really make you feel down in the dumps. .
If youve struggled with IBS or constipation, you may have wondered if probiotics are the key to a healthy gut. Heres what you need to know about probiotics and their relationship to poop:
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Make Sure There Is Proper Packaging
While you dont need to purchase only refrigerated probiotics, make sure the packaging is well sealed. Its also essential that the packaging is dark to protect from light damage.
We have our own brand of Probiotics here at Avocadu called Gut-13.
Our specially formulated probiotic supplement contains:
- 50 Billion CFUs Per Serving
- 13 Different Gut Healing Strains
- Delayed Release for Deeper Support
- Made in the USA
You can read more about it and why its so important for not only gut health but overall health on our probiotics page.
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What Is The Best Probiotic For Constipation
Those struggling with chronic constipation tend to have lower levels of the beneficial probiotic strains Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium while having an increase in potentially harmful microorganisms. Choose a supplement containing multiple strains of these two types of bacteria.
When shopping for a probiotic, consider avoiding products containing gluten, dairy, soy, and yeast. If your gut is out of balance, its lining could be more permeable than its meant to be. This allows undigested molecules into the bloodstreamoften called leaky gutand gluten, dairy, soy and yeast are particularly problematic for many people with leaky gut.
Omni-Biotic Balance is a probiotic that combines six strains of beneficial bacteria specifically shown to increase frequency of bowel movements and improve stool consistency while leaving out fillers that can exacerbate digestive distress.
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