Be Discerning About Your Antibiotic Use
Although sometimes antibiotics are necessary, Will Bulsiewicz, M.D., MSCI, a gastroenterologist and internationally recognized gut health expert, advises that you “proceed cautiously” when presented with an option to take antibiotics. Bulsiewicz recommends avoiding unnecessary use by always asking if the medication is necessary and if there are other safe options to explore first.
The Health Benefits Of Daily Probiotics
Probiotics are beneficial microbes that help with digestion, keep your gut microbiota balanced, and can help fight off harmful bacteria. These bacteria can be found in some foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and yogurt, and can also be obtained through supplements.
Choosing your probiotic is important because the quality differs and there are many strains of probiotics that provide different effects within your gut. Certain probiotic strains also work in teams. The quality of the probiotic also matters. Thats why its best to find a probiotic that has been studied for the specific health benefit you are looking for, is rooted in extensive research and testing, and made up of clean ingredients
The three most studied probiotic strains are the bacteria Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium and a yeast called Saccharomyces boulardii.
- Nutrient absorption, including some vitamins and minerals
- Support for your immune system
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.
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How To Know If A Probiotic Works For You
Probiotics work well for many medical conditions, but theyre not a panacea thats guaranteed to work for everyone.
I recommend a 3-4 week trial of probiotics to test their effectivenessfor you, even if youve tried probiotics before. But its important that youdo a full and complete trial and follow a few guidelines.
Where You Get Your Probiotics From Also Matters
Aside from when you take your probiotic, its quality will also affect how much good bacteria makes it to your large intestine. High-quality producers will put higher amounts of probiotics in their capsules to guarantee that the amount of CFUs advertised on the bottle is in each tablet for the length of its shelf life, Dr. Wallman says. And higher-quality strains also have a longer shelf life, she adds.
If youre using probiotics for a specific health condition, talk to your doctor about finding the right probiotic supplement for you.
Otherwise, find a high-quality broad spectrum probiotic supplement. Unlike spore-based probiotics, broad spectrum probiotics are usually made up of at least three different kinds of bacteria . Your gut microbiome is diverse, so its a good idea for your probiotic to be as well when using it for general health and wellbeing, Dr. Wallman says.
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How Often Should You Take Probiotics What Researchers Know So Far
- There’s no daily recommended dose of probiotics because researchers are still studying which strains of probiotics help and how much you need.
- Many over-the-counter probiotic products contain a range of 1 to 10 billion colony forming units .
- The World Health Organization says some products are effective at levels below 1 billion CFU while others require substantially more than 10 billion CFU.
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There’s no simple answer to how often you should take probiotics. In fact, researchers are still figuring out whether taking probiotics is valuable for your health, in what situations they may help, and which bacteria should be given.
If, for example, you’re generally healthy and have a diverse, balanced diet, then you probably don’t need to focus on eating more probiotic foods or taking probiotic supplements, says Ashley Gilmore, MD, a gastroenterologist at Indiana University Health.
Moreover, if you eat poorly, it’s unclear if taking probiotic supplements or adding a lot of foods with probiotics to your diet will help you gain a healthier gut. Here’s what experts do know so far for when probiotics can help and how much it takes to make a difference.
The Takeaway: How Long Does It Take For Probiotics To Work
The short answer: It takes most people 2 to 3 weeks to feel significant benefits when they start taking probiotics.
Thats because probiotics need time to accomplish their three key goals: increase your good bacteria count, decrease your bad bacteria count, and reduce inflammation.
Overthrowing the bad bacteria thats already in power, working to remove them, and reducing the inflammation that the bad bacteria had produced is a process.
Adding good bacteria in the form of probiotics is not a one-time thing — you need to consume them consistently to win the war thats going on down there.
Think of taking probiotics as adding more soldiers to the microbiome battlefield every day — and think of taking prebiotics as giving your soldiers supplies.
Expecting one dose of probiotics to fix your symptoms is like expecting to win a war in a single day. Sending one small wave of good soldiers to the battlefield — taking one probiotic pill — wont be enough to overthrow the king in power .
But sending a well-supplied group of soldiers to battle on a daily basis will eventually be enough to put your desired ruler back in power, so they can clean up the damage that bad bacteria has done .
Give your gut the soldiers, supplies, and time it needs to fix things up, and youll finally feel your best again.
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Clinical Evidence Relating To The Efficacy Of Probiotics
Below is a partial list of published clinical trials to address specific health issues conducted on various probiotic strains. The list is far from complete as the publication of new studies continues at a rapid pace. For a more comprehensive review of the strains of probiotics, prebiotics, and their synbiotic actions to address various health disorders, visit the World Gastroenterology Organization Global Guidelines. Below are excerpts from the WGO report.
As clinical studies accelerate, probiotics have been shown to affect clinical outcomes outside the normal gastrointestinal disease realm. Emerging evidence suggests that the gut microbiome may affect non-gastrointestinal conditions, such as reducing the incidence and duration of upper respiratory tract infections. Ongoing clinical trials are testing probiotics to prevent some manifestations of metabolic syndrome, including excess weight and type-2 diabetes.
So How Long Should You Take Probiotics For
Ideally, probiotics should be used for as short a time as possible however long it takes for you to rectify whatever gut microbiome imbalances are present in your digestive system.
For most people, two to three weeks of probiotic use is more than enough to see significant improvements in digestive health.
If you are taking probiotics for any longer than 2-3 weeks and you do not see significant improvements in digestive health, then probiotics are not the answer.
For optimal digestive health, it is better to focus on consuming lots of prebioic fiber on regular basis to feed your existing healthy gut bacteria. This can be supplemented with fermened foods, which provide a nice influx of gut-friendly bacteria without overwhelming the gut with enormous quantities of unusual bacterial species.
In summary: How long to take probiotics
Generally speaking, you should not take probiotics for longer than 3 weeks if you do not see significant improvements in digestive health. Probiotics are not meant to be taken on a daily basis for long periods of time. For long-term gut health, use prebiotics and fermented foods.
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When Should I Take A Probiotic
Because supplements like probiotics aren’t regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, each probiotic supplement may come with different directions on dosing and timing. The most important advice is to choose a time you’ll actually stick to, especially if you have trouble remembering to take pills in the first place. “Consistency is the key with taking probiotics if one wants to reap the potential benefits,” Dr. Asike says.
While the time of day is ultimately up to you, this expert suggests that probiotics may be most effective if you plan to take them about 30 minutes before a mealand most effective if you take your supplement before breakfast. Probiotics will have a greater effect in your small intestine if you take them before you eat: “During a fast or prior to eating, the stomach won’t be as acidic and this will allow the probiotic capsule or tablet to be able to make its way into the intestine,” he explains.
Adding a probiotic into your routine first thing in the A.M., then, will likely keep your stomach from sabotaging your efforts. “Breakfast is usually eaten around the same time daily, and tends to be smaller and more easily digested,” Dr. Asike says.
How Does The Microbiome Affect Health
The Human Microbiome is a community of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live on and in the human body.
The microbiome has an influence on a persons health and lifespan. It is even linked to chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer. The relation between the microbiome and health is becoming more noticeable with the discovery of new species of bacteria, fungi, and viruses in the last few years.
The human microbiome can be studied by analyzing certain genes that are present in every individual persons gut.
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Should I Take Probiotics Every Day
Whether through food or supplement, we do believe you should make a conscious effort to get more probiotics into your body every day. Why? According to studies1, probiotics only adhere to the intestines on a short-term basis. This is why probiotics through dietary means help maintain ample levels.
Another factor is that antibiotics kill bad and good bacteria indiscriminately and can negatively impact probiotic colonies. Even if youre not on any antibiotic medications, you may still be exposed to them indirectly. Non-organic meat, for example, contains antibiotics. Similarly, some drinking water sources contain chlorine, an anti-microbial agent that may also harm your gut flora.
In a perfect world, we wouldnt be exposed to these chemicals and antibodies, but unless you live in a hut out in the Andes Mountains, youre probably exposed one way or another. This is why probiotics from external sources matter and why daily use is beneficial.
Do Probiotics Need To Be Refrigerated
In general, probiotic bacteria are naturally sensitive to heat and moisture, both of which can kill the specialized organisms and render them ineffective. This is why certain probiotic supplements require refrigeration and will include clear instructions from the manufacturer regarding storage and ideal temperature to maintain effectiveness. Luckily, since the best time to take a probiotic is on an empty stomach and your stomach is likely empty right after you wake up or before you go to bed, its also an easy time to access a refrigerator.
However, not all probiotics are in need of refrigeration. In fact, freeze-dried organismssuch as those found in our Parsley Health probioticare shelf-stable, giving them significantly longer shelf-lives than their live probiotic counterparts. Freeze-drying helps to stabilize the probiotics and allows for large amounts of bacteria to be concentrated into a smaller volumeincreasing the final products potency and amount of CFUs.
When purchasing a probiotic, be sure to read the label closely. If your probiotic requires refrigeration, ensure your retailer has kept it refrigerated or if ordering by mail, that its shipped quickly with appropriate packaging and limited exposure to heat and moisture. Freeze-dried probiotics are much more resistant to extreme temperature shiftssuch as the cold temperatures that can be experienced when being shipped in an airplaneso they can withstand air travel or shipment in hotter climates.
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Should I Take A Probiotic Every Day
The short answer: Yes, you should aim to take a probiotic every single day if possible. “It’s best to take probiotics at least once daily with water or milk,” Dr. Asike says. There are many different forms of probiotics you can purchase in the wellness aisle from powders to capsules, tablets to liquid suspensions, but a regular dose on an even basis should be a goal regardless of which strain of probiotic you take.
If you’re wondering what may be the best option for a daily probiotic, Dr. Asike recommends looking for multi-species or multi-strain products before single-strain supplements, as they may provide more benefits overall. Saccharomyces boulardii, as well as Lactobaccilus rhamnosus,are popular options that may provide more relief to those experiencing irritable bowel syndrome, he adds. “There isn’t one over-the-counter brand that’s better than another when it comes to strains I advise looking for multi-species or multi-strain , and to grab a store brand if that’s what’s available.”
Manage Your Stress Levels And Prioritize Taking A Break
Stress wreaks havoc on the gut by destroying good bacteria and contributing to bacterial imbalanceor gut dysbiosis. If you’re experiencing chronic stress, then figure out ways to manage your stress levels and get your system back into balance. Yoga, meditation, journaling, and taking a vacation are all good places to start.
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Probiotic Pearls Acidophilus Nutritional Supplement
The Probiotic Pearls Acidophilus Nutritional Supplement is a great daily probiotic that helps to promote your digestive balance and colon health. This supplement also aims to support your bodys immune defense.
An added bonus is how this probiotic supplement gives you a ton of flexibility and is convenient since it doesnt need to be refrigerated and can be taken with or without food!
One of the greatest features of this particular probiotic supplement is that uses what the manufacturer calls True Delivery Technology. This supposedly allows the probiotic to be protected enough to successfully deliver the probiotic bacteria to your digestive tract. These capsules are designed to withstand the harsh stomach acids and ensure that the probiotics you are taking make it all the way to where they are needed most. This is an amazing feature as there are many other gelatin capsules that simply cannot stand against the acidity of your stomach acids. Most capsules are disintegrated and digested long before they even may it to the latter stages of the digestive system.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Taking Probiotics Daily
Taking probiotics daily will allow you to reap the most benefits from all the good bacteria entering the gut. Firstly, they help to support your immune system. Did you know that roughly 70% of your immune system is in your gut? Therefore, a balanced and healthy immune response is very much dependent on strong communities of helpful bacteria in the gut.
A premium-quality probiotic supplement can help to support the foundation of your health at its core. Probiotics can also encourage a balanced microbiome. The bodys delicate balance of bacteria can be under attack by unhealthy lifestyle choices and environmental factors some of which you cant help, like medications and aging. These factors can have significant impacts on your healthy microflora balance. This is why taking probiotic supplements everyday are essential, as they will help to make sure that the healthy bacteria levels in your body are replenished so that your body can maintain a healthy state.
Probiotics can also help in terms of your day-to-day mood. Did you know that having a gut feeling is much more than having a hunch? A healthy gut environment plays a significant role in terms of your emotional and mental balance. The good bacteria in your intestinal tract support hundreds of nervous system chemicals being produced, which will regulate your mood.
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Tips For An Effective Probiotic Trial
If youre starting a course of probiotics, it helps tohave realistic expectations about how quickly they will start working. Youdont want to give up on your probiotic supplements before theyve had a chance toimprove your well-being.You also dont want to waste money taking probiotic products that dont have any health benefitsfor you.
Based on my observation in the clinic, some patients notice the benefits of probiotics as soon as 1-3 days. For others, it takes as long as 2-3 weeks to see the effects of probiotic supplementation. A look through the research generally supports my observations about how quickly probiotics work, with one interesting exception. Heres a summary of the research results:
|Research Summary: How Soon Do Probiotics Start Working?|
|Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]||2 months 3 years|
There are hundreds of studies that show the benefits ofprobiotics for a wide variety of medical conditions including digestiveproblems andnon-digestive symptoms. However, most studies dont collect daily symptom data.That means that, for most studies, we know that probiotic supplementationwas effective but we dont know how quickly it worked.
Will Any Probiotic Work
If you are taking a probiotic other than the two Lactobacillus strains mentioned above, it is best to wait 1 to 2 hours after taking your antibiotics before taking the probiotic supplement. Ideally, any alternative probiotic strains taken should also have research demonstrating their efficacy during antibiotic therapy. If you are taking a probiotic from a different supplier, it is best to ask that supplier directly about the length of time to leave between taking their product and taking your antibiotics. As a general rule, many companies tend to recommend waiting 1 or 2 hours after taking antibiotics before taking their probiotics. After this length of time, sufficient levels of the beneficial bacteria are able to reach the gut alive. It is generally recommended to take probiotics every day during your course of antibiotics this way you can replenish your friendly bacteria on a daily basis, before your digestive system is upset by a longstanding microbial imbalance.