When Is The Best Time To Take A Probiotic
This is probably one of the most common questions I receive. Some probiotics are specific about when you should take them, while others give no advice. My take? Probiotics that arent manufactured as well will often ask you to take them on an empty stomach so they bypass the stomach faster to ensure survival. When you eat, the stomach holds onto its contents and it gets way more acidic, which can kill off the probiotics.
However, if you are taking a good quality, enteric-coated probiotic then you dont have to worry about it. Treat probiotics the same way you do exercise: the best time to take them is whenever it will be easiest to fit it in.
How To Choose A Probiotic Thats Right For You
Okay so weve established that the opportunity to take advantage of the consumer is RIPE when it comes to supplements and probiotics specifically. But dont give up and throw in the probiotic towel yet. Lets dig into some tips on how to choose a probiotic thats legit and then Ill give my personal recommendation below.
According to Kristin Oja, DNP, FNP-C, IFCMP, there are four things you should consider:
Probiotics That Are Effective Against Diarrhea
Diarrhea often happens due to gut flora imbalances. Right bacteria can help restore that, providing lots of friendly bacteria to repopulate the gut. There are several possible causes of diarrhea that can be treated with different probiotics:
- For kids diarrhea, the bacteria strains most likely to help are Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii.
- If the suspected cause of diarrhea is taking antibiotics, try supplements with Saccharomyces boulardii and some strains of Lactobacillus.
- Travellers Diarrhea, caused by consumption of unfamiliar and/or contaminated products, can be helped by taking probiotics with Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Saccharomyces boulardii.
- In the case of colitis caused by C. difficile bacteria, some evidence suggests that probiotics with Saccharomyces boulardii and Lactobacillus strains are the best bet.
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Choose Probiotics That Have Been Properly Stored
It may be better to purchase probiotic supplements inside a reputable store or pharmacy rather than by mail because improper storage can destroy the organisms.
Microbes are especially sensitive to heat and moisture and may be dead by the time they reach you if their environments are not controlled.
This is especially true if the supplement needs refrigeration. Be sure to read the label to learn how to store them once you get them home.
Align Probiotic Extra Strength
Align is a physician-trusted brand that contains Bifidobacteriumlongum 35624, formerly known as Bifidobacterium infantis 35624, a probiotic strain that has been researched for its role in digestive health, including IBS symptoms .
Aligns Extra Strength probiotic label states that each capsule contains 5 billion live bacteria at the time of manufacturing and 50,000,000 CFUs up until the best by date.
As it doesnt require refrigeration, its a good option if you frequently travel or prefer not to worry about storing your probiotic supplement in the fridge.
Note that Align contains trace amounts of lactose, so it may not be appropriate for those with severe lactose intolerance.
Bio-Kult contains 14 probiotic strains, including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Streptococcus thermophilus, and Bifidobacterium longum.
Each Bio-Kult capsule contains a minimum of 2 billion microorganisms, and Bio-Kult guarantees that the total bacteria count of their products is viable until the end of the products shelf life.
Each probiotic strain in Bio-Kult is microencapsulated and individually freeze-dried, which protects the probiotics from stomach acid and allows the product to be stored at room temperature.
Bio-Kult products are third-party tested by United Kingdom Accreditation Service accredited labs.
Bio-Kult is not appropriate for those with a severe allergy to milk proteins, but it is safe for those with lactose intolerance.
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What To Look For When Buying Probiotics
If you think supplementing with a probiotic is right for you, dietitian Alex shares her tips on what you should know and look for when choosing the best probiotic supplement for your concerns.
Check expiration dates, make sure the bacteria is live, and look for CFUs in the billions. Anything less isnt as potent. A good brand specifies the amount of live organisms, and lists the exact strains used in their formula.
The label should also specify that the living microbes are viable through end of shelf life or best-by date rather than at time of manufacture to ensure the bacteria are still live when you take them and able to reach your colon. Quality trumps everything: Bargain supplements typically arent of good quality. Depending on strands, a good probiotic can cost anywhere from $25-$60.
Alex recommends one of the curated probiotic blends from HUM Nutrition:
- Gut Instinct supports the comprehensive health of your body and digestion with ten strains of probiotics and 25 billion organisms in each capsule.
- Skin Squad combines 40 billion organisms from nine different strains, all specifically chosen to support skin health.
- Private Party zeroes in on vaginal health with three probiotic strains to support a healthy vaginal pH and cranberry extract to help support urinary tract health.
How To Choose A Probiotic And Why It Matters
Whether or not to take a probiotic is almost as common a supplement question as taking a daily multivitamin. Its not surprising considering the mind-blowing rate at which science is confirming the powerful role our gut health plays in nearly every aspect of our health. The connection of our gut to our overall health now stretches beyond the fringe medicine and the wellness worlds, and far into conventional medicine and our daily life through everyday advertising. And as this conversations evolved, probiotics have taken center stage for their potential to support microbiome health and as youll see, for good reason.
The problem is like all other supplements not all probiotic supplements are created equal. What you choose to take can either be incredibly health supportive, or largely ineffective based on which strains of probiotics are included, whether or not the brand is reliable, and other factors. This article will help you clear the confusion and point you to how to choose reliable products so you can feel confident in the choice youre making for your microbiome.
Watch Out For These Non
- Fillers like caprylic, which is typically sourced from milk, and glycerin which can derivate from animal fat.
- Bacteria strain that grows on dairy products, such as Lactobacillus.
- Avoid capsules that have animal origins like gelatine. Go for products that use vegetable cellulose as a shell.
- Lactose, the sugar of milk.
- Digestive enzymes are generally paired with probiotics to boost the digestive process. Still, some of them may be sourced from animal products.
How To Choose Probiotic Supplements
Finding the right type of probiotic foryour body is very important. But unfortunately it is not as easy as you want itto be. There is a large range of probiotics, all with different ingredients anddifferent things they do for your body. To find the right probiotic, followthese steps and tips:
It is important to read the probiotic labelso you know exactly what types of probiotics are in the product. All labelsshould include:
* Multi-Strain: Many labels onlyinclude the species, but the different strains provide different benefits. Since most people dont know exactly whatstrain of the good bacteria you are missing, it is safest to choose a probioticthat is multi-strain to increase your chances of benefiting from the product.
* Number of organisms in a single dose:an adequate therapeutic dose is anywhere between 50 to 100 billionbacteria. If you choose a probiotic thatonly provides you about 2 billion bacteria, chances are you are not going tofeel a big difference from taking the product. It is best when the product specifies the guaranteed number of organismsat the time of production and the minimum number of organisms guaranteed at thetime of expiration.
Wise XS Probiotic from Wise Vitality is multi strain, has up to 100 billion bacteria per capsule, shelf stable , delayed release and hypoallergenic . These are the reasons why it is considered one of the best probiotic supplements in the market today. It is available on
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Choosing Probiotics For Your Health Needs
Probiotics are not one size fits all.
There are 400 to 600 bacterial strains in the human intestine, making up trillions of bacteria all together. These beneficial microbes support healthy digestion, nutrient absorption, immune system function, and more.
Different probiotic strains perform different functions in the human body. Some strains of bacteria even work together in teams. This is why different combinations of strains work best to address different health goals.
For example, specific strains are known to support neurotransmitter production, including the happiness hormone serotonin. These types of strains can be found in probiotics supporting the gut-brain axis and mood.
Individuals who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome , on the other hand, will likely be looking for a probiotic to promote better digestion, reduce inflammation and support a strong gut-barrier.
When youre choosing a probiotic, first of all, consider what youre hoping to accomplish for your health. Oftentimes, an in-depth stool test can also shed more light on what your gut flora and gastrointestinal health may need.
Is A Higher Cfu Count Always Better
In a word, no. More bacteria isnt always better, or more effective. Which is important to know, because we are starting to see companies play a numbers game. But 100 billion of a bad probiotic wont help you.
In the research, it appears that 10 billion CFU is a kind of average/minimum for effectiveness. However, there are exceptions to this, where evidence-based probiotics have been found to work at lower doses.
Each product will have its own specific CFU count that is its effective dose, and that dosage should be based on actual researchnot just what sounds good on the front of the package. The way to know? Check the brands website to see if they link to studies that show if the product works at the dosage they sell.
So, if you have a probiotic you like, and then another one comes out with double the CFU, dont assume its going to be better.
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Best Probiotic For: Gi Support Brain Function
Studies show some promising results with L. casei for digestive support and regulating diarrhea. One study on the effect of milk fermented by L. Casei strain DN-114 found that supplementation significantly reduced the incidence of diarrhea .
L. casei also made headlines when a study found it beneficial in relieving anxiety. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study found supplementation with 24 billion units of the L. casei strain Shirota led to a rise in probiotics lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, as well as a significant decrease in symptoms of anxiety and depression .
Now lets take a look at a separate class of probiotics, bifidobacterium.
Why You Might Take A Probiotic
Probiotics are microorganisms that help support various aspects of overall health by providing beneficial strains of organisms that help to repopulate your gut flora with the right kind of bacteria and yeasts. Probiotics seem to have an ever-expanding list of superpowers and this may be especially true when it comes to probiotics for women. While research is still young and emerging when it comes to the cause and effect relationship of taking a probiotic, there are some really impressive studies showing use of probiotics can lead to:
- Reduced insulin resistance
- Improved HPA Axis function, reduced stress, and improved resilience and well-being
- Reductions in anxiety and depression, which may trickle over to improved premenstrual mood
- Better sleep, healthier circadian rhythm, and breaking the cycle of stress causing sleep problems
- Clearing up IBS, constipation, bloating, and diarrhea
- Achieving a healthier weight improved weight loss
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Probiotics For Males And Females
The effects of probiotics may be different in males and females.
In a 2014 study, researchers gave males and females with obesityLactobacillus rhamnosus. The results suggested that females lost weight and fat during the trial, and that they maintained the loss after study completion. The males in the study, however, did not.
A different study in people with Salmonella infection suggested that the effects of taking Lactobacillus plantarum varied according to sex. Although the study authors saw little evidence that this probiotic can treat Salmonella, they noted how males and females experienced the symptoms and clearance of the infection differently.
Scientists need to conduct more studies to establish whether or not probiotic therapy should be different depending on a persons sex.
shows that people with obesity have lower bacterial diversity.
A small 2019 study found that people following a low calorie diet for 15 weeks had changes in their gut bacteria. They also had a reduction in bacteria associated with atherosclerosis, which occurs when the arteries become clogged with plaque.
The links between weight and gut bacteria could indicate that probiotics may be able to support weight loss.
Some suggest that supplementation with synbiotics, using strains such as Lactobacillus gasseri, cause weight reduction in large independent studies. Adding certain fibers may increase these effects.
The Power Of A Diverse Microbiome
At any rate, eating balanced amounts of both probiotics and prebiotics can help ensure that you have the right balance of bacteria to keep your gut microbiota healthy. And many factors, including the foods you eat, can impact the type of bacteria found in your digestive tract.
Generally speaking, a diverse microbiome is considered healthy. This is because the more species of bacteria you have, the more health benefits they may be able to contribute to. In fact, several studies show that elderly people possess a more diverse gut microbiota than younger adults. Between long-living Chinese, Japanese, and Italian people, all cohorts revealed diverse and balanced gut microbiota. Whereas, disturbed gut microbiotas with dysbiosis were observed in the elderly who suffer from different comorbidities.
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Best Probiotic For: Acne Vaginal Health Diarrhea
L. acidophilus is one of the most widely recognized probiotics. Consumption of it has been steady since the 1920s when doctors would recommend acidophilus milk to treat constipation and diarrhea.
These microbes survive stomach passage and are able to colonize in the intestine. Theres good evidence looking at Acidophilus NCFM in treating vaginal infections. Other studies show that it has been demonstrated in humans to reduce problems associated with lactose intolerance and even decrease the risk of colon cancer .
However, its not just digestive woes that probiotics can help address. A clinical case series followed 300 patients who took a probiotic mixture of L. acidophilus and L. bulgaricus. They documented that 80% of acne patients had some degree of clinical improvement, particularly effective in inflammatory acne. Later, an Italian study involving 40 patients found L. acidophilus and B. bifidum supplementation produced better clinical outcomes in acne as well as better tolerance and compliance with antibiotics .
How Long Should I Take Probiotics
Generally, there is no set amount of time you have to take probiotics. It depends on the desired benefit you are seeking. Most probiotics on the market today recommend dosing one or more times a day.We recommend people take them every day to ensure a continued presence in your digestive tract and maintain the health benefits they offer. If you take a break in your consumption of probiotics, you may notice that the health benefits taper off over the course of 1 â 4 weeks. This may be due to your bodyâs microbiome returning to its normal state after you stopped supplementing it with a probiotic.
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Find A Delivery Method That Works For You
In addition to liquid and powder, there are two types of capsulesdelayed-release and enteric-coated. Delayed-release capsules are better as they get the bacteria in the probiotic to the gut a full 45 minutes after standard capsules and have been shown to deliver up to 10x the bacteria to the gut. Enteric-coated capsules can contain plasticisers and phthalates, says Contractor. She explains that there are brands that use bio shield capsules to produce higher-quality probiotic supplements that are able to endure the stomach acid, releasing their contents within the small intestine, where a more alkaline environment ensures the survival of the bacteria.
Choose A Reputable Strain Of Bacteria
When choosing a probiotic supplement, you first want to make sure that youre choosing a product that contains a reputable strain of bacteria. Although there are many supplements that claim they have millions of separate strains, very few of them have been scientifically proven to have any benefit on our health, says Registered Dietitian Gabrielle Mancella. Choosing one with a proven strain, such as the bacteria strain called lactobacillus, can save you money and time, as far as determining which supplement on the shelf to choose.
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Probiotics For Gut Health
Probiotics can also be useful to help support a persons gut health and relieve gut issues.
The guts lining can sometimes become damaged, which may lead to intestinal permeability, or leaky gut. This can allow molecules to get through into the bloodstream and cause inflammation or immune reactions.
Antibiotics can kill both bad and good bacteria. Sometimes, this can cause a person to experience symptoms of diarrhea when taking them. Taking probiotics at the same time, however, can help repopulate a persons gut with beneficial bacteria and ease any symptoms of diarrhea.
In particular, the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii has been effective in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea that occurs when taking antibiotics or following infection. The yeast may also be effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease, but more research is needed to confirm this.
Research indicates that probiotics may reduce gut transit time that is, the time it takes for food to pass as a bowel movement by 12.4 hours and increase bowel movements by 1.3 per week.
The Bifidobacterium lactis strain seems most efficient in improving gut transit time, stool frequency and consistency, and flatulence. The researchers advise caution when interpreting these results, however, as there may be bias in some of the studies.
2016 review suggests that probiotic strains can help combat mood and neurotransmitter conditions.