Are Foods Or Supplements Better
From the research that’s been done so far, it appears that either food or supplements can effectively deliver probiotics to your gut.
But is one better than the other? That depends. It’s easier to get a consistent amount of probiotics from supplements. But when you get probiotics from foods, you also reap the benefits of the other nutrients.
You may want to try both approaches and see what appears to give you better results.
When Should You Take A Probiotic Supplement
According to Sarah, you might consider taking probiotic supplements when thereâs an imbalance of bacteria in the gut. As we mentioned earlier, this could include taking probiotic supplements during and after a course of antibiotics.
Itâs important to remember that while probiotic supplements may be useful in some situations, they should not be used to replace a balanced diet.
Making Sense Of Probiotic Strains
There are about 8,000 different types of probiotics, according to a 2019 article in Nature Medicineand likely, more remain undiscovered. These strains fall into several categories frequently used in probiotic products.
The most common are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces. You may come across strains of Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia, and Bacillus as well, though research on these types is more limited .
This type of good bacteria plays an important role in food digestion. It may also help prevent gut problems like infection, irritable bowel syndrome , and cancer, according to research published in Frontiers in Microbiology.
While there are many types in this genera, the strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus is one of the most heavily studied, says Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, Senior Dietician at UCLA Medical Center and author of Recipe for Survival. The text Integrative Medicine outlines what studies to date have uncovered: supplementing with this probiotic strain may alleviate diarrhea, prevent atopic dermatitis, protect against urinary tract infections, and improve gut health. But scientists continue to explore the potential health benefits of other Lactobacillus strains, toosuch as that it may ward off flu and the common cold.
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Saccharomyces is actually a probiotic yeast .
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Beware Of The Internet
If you order products from the internet, make sure you know the company from which you are ordering.
There are scammers out there who are willing to send you fake products labeled as probiotics. At best, the ingredients could be harmless, like garlic powder. At worst, they could be laced with powerful herbs, prescription medications or illegal drugs. Some companies may simply take your money and disappear.
Why Is Picking A Probiotic So Confusing
Now, its not my style to buy a one-way ticket to Negative Town, but when it comes to supplements its all about being discerning, making good decisions and avoiding being taken advantage of.
And why would we be taken advantage of? Well to start off, the dietary supplements market is projected to hit a valuation of U.S. $349.4 billion by 2026 and the 2012 National Health Interview Survey showed that about 4 million U.S. adults had used probiotics or prebiotics in the past 30 days .
Long story short, with all that money on the table there is bound to becorruption, lies and sneaky marketing tactics.
Now, this doesnt overshadow the fact that probiotics can help with overall wellness. Kristin Oja, DNP, FNP-C, IFCMP, and founder of STAT Wellness explains, pro and biotics literally means for life. She says, They are the beneficial bacteria that promote a healthy digestive tract, help with serotonin levels , metabolism, contribute to a healthy immune system, and better-looking skin.
They have even shown promise for a variety of conditions, including the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea, prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis and sepsis in premature infants, treatment of infant colic, treatment of periodontal disease, and induction or maintenance of remission in ulcerative colitis .
The key to finding a great probiotic, however, requires making informed decisions, label reading, brand transparency and science. But Im getting ahead of myself.
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Probiotics For Women And Men
Its important to recognize that women and men have very different health needs, and therefore, may require different probiotics. But choosing the right probiotic for your gender might be a challenge while research suggests that probiotics impact women and men differently, theres still no conclusive evidence as to the best probiotic for each gender. However, there are a couple of key factors that could influence which probiotic is best for your body. For example, women might be looking for improved vaginal health, while men might be interested in boosting their metabolism. So while both women and men have different health needs, when it comes to choosing a probiotic, its best to look at your specific body when making a decision.
Align Cares About Its Product From Creation To Consumption
Align uses freeze-drying technology to make the probiotic go dormant to guarantee the bacteria is alive and ready to work when you take it. Plus, each type of probiotic supplement comes packaged in the best way to ensure the bacteria stay alive. Align capsules come in blister packs, while Align gummies come in foil-sealed bottles to keep moisture out, and the bacteria alive. Align users can feel confident the good bacteria will help build and maintain a strong, healthy gut.*
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What Sets Seed Apart From The Rest
There is definitely no standardization talk when it comes to SEED. SEEDs Daily Synbioticincludes clinically studied probiotic strains that deliver core benefits to the gastrointestinal system which, in turn, influence systemic health.
I personally love that with 24 strains, I am getting a wide, diverse range of probiotic activity. But not only that, SEED includes probiotic strains to target the following areas:
- Digestive Health/GI Immunity/Gut Barrier Integrity
- Dermatological Health
- Cardiovascular Health
- Micronutrient Synthesis
Did you notice Dermatological Health? Yeah, thats skin health, ladies! Several of the strains in the Daily Synbiotic have been studied for their beneficial effects on atopic dermatitis and have demonstrated improvement in SCORAD scores and the promotion of overall skin health.
SEED adds, To date, our strains have collectively been studied in 16 strain-specific, double-blind, placebo-controlled, published human studies conducted in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and Japan, as well as 13 in vitro/ex vivo mechanistic studies. You can check out those studies here.
AKA, there is no sneaky all-natural,heal your gut today or restore digestive health marketing talk around here. Just the facts to back it up.
For more, you can check out all the included strains and what they specifically target on SEEDs Label Reading 101 resource page.
Should Healthy People Take Probiotics
You may have heard that all people should take a probiotic supplement. However, research suggests that generally healthy people do not attain a benefit from probiotic supplements. A few specific supplements are clinically recommended for a few specific medical conditions, but you can otherwise obtain the most benefits from nourishing the microbes already in your gut, says Finkel.
She uses the analogy of a garden. Imagine you have a beautiful garden with a wide variety of plants that are not getting enough water and sunlight. Rather than uprooting and replacing every plant in your garden, why not take better care of the garden you have? Finkel recommends “nourishing the garden” of your microbiome by eating fiber-rich foods that will feed your microbiome, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
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Best Probiotic For Inflammation
This is another reason why many people being taking probiotics, and their search will most likely lead them to L. Plantarum. L. Plantarum can be great for digestive supports, regulating diarrhea, and decreasing stomach bloat. If you struggle with any of these symptoms, you may want to consider getting your hands on some L. Plantarum.
I Recommend Seeds Daily Synbiotic
Now that we know what to look for in a probiotic and what to avoid, lets talk about a good option that not only meets but exceeds all of the above criteria.
SEED is a probiotic company informed by a Scientific Advisory Board comprised of scientists, researchers, doctors and authors across the fields of microbiology, immunology, genetics, metabolomics, gastroenterology, pediatrics, molecular biology and transcriptomicsincluding primary investigators from the NIHs Human Microbiome Project. You can check out everyone involved here.
Seed developed what they call their Daily Synbiotic, a combination of 24 probiotic strains with a non-fermenting prebiotic compound sourced from Indian pomegranate.
Hold upWhat? Did you just say prebiotic? Non-fermenting? Compound? Im already lost.
Okay so here it is, big picture. Probiotics are live microorganisms that when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host . This is the kind of bacteria that improves gut health within your body, which in turn may lead to improved overall wellness.
A prebiotic, on the other hand, is often referred to as the food that feeds the bacteria. But we know that this is only part of the story. Certain non-fermenting prebiotics are biotransformed by gut microbes into important compounds that support key aspects of your health.
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Improved Weight Loss Success
Another growing area of research on probiotics is weight loss.
Also, a systematic review and meta-analysis found that using a probiotic supplement was associated with decreases in body mass index , weight, and fat mass with a probiotic dose of at least 30 billion for greater than 12 weeks.
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Know Which Bacteria Is Right For You
Just as you cant use any random antibiotic to fight an infection, you also cant rely on any single strand of bacteria to offer any and all probiotic health benefits. Specific bacteria perform specific functions, so spend some time researching which option is best for you. A probiotic with a large number of bacterial cultures will address more health needs. However, theres no evidence that consuming more bacteria offers more benefits. So if you have time to do some research, its better to get specific about your probiotic needs.
“If you’re looking for a probiotic for overall health, try to find one with multiple strains . Since our gut is filled with tons of various kinds of good bacteria, it is best to try and cover more of our bases,” said , a registered dietician who runs FoodFarmacistRD.com.
Bifidobacterium species, for instance, are helpful at preventing the yeast accumulation that can cause jock itch, thrush, and vaginal yeast infections. They can also support gut health and reduce the frequency of some gastrointestinal problems. Bacillus species can improve the bodys ability to absorb some nutrients, such as calcium and phosphorous. Streptococcus strains may support healthy gums and teeth and reduce the risk of throat infections.
Check The Colony Forming Unit Count
CFU stands for Colony Forming Units. What this means is the number of alive and active microorganisms in one serving of a probiotic dietary supplement. These are typically measured in CFUs per gram or per milliliter.
The average CFU count in probiotics is between 1 and 10 Billion CFUs per serving. Some companies even advertise extremely high counts such as over 100 Billion CFUs.
However, a higher CFU does not necessarily mean that this is a better product. In fact, probiotic manufacturers often add more CFUs than claimed on the label to account for the fact that many of the bacteria in the capsule will die between the manufacturing date and the day they are ingested by the customer.
Instead of simply looking at CFU, search for a product with clinical studies and scientific evidence, and an effective delivery mechanism that increases the survival rates of the good bacteria into the large intestine.
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Sign #: You Are Bloated And Gassy
Bloating and flatulence is a clear indication that the gut bacteria in your intestine are out of balance, with the bad bacteria outnumbering the good causing inefficient digestion.
A single course of antibiotics or a sugar-rich meal can wipe out whole colonies of probiotic species in your body.
Bloating is the most common gut health issue afflicting more than 42% adults in the country. According to a recent survey, almost 15% people with distended bellies experience bloating on a regular basis, right after their meals.
Gas is the by-product of leftover food being fermented by harmful microbes in the small intestine and colon. While it is normal to pass gas 13 20 times a day, excess flatulence means that there are more harmful microbes in your gut, than good ones.
Probiotics can help with bloating and gas related issues by ensuring food gets digested optimally and keeps moving along the digestive tract.
Issues To Be Aware Of
If you’re considering trying probiotics, there are a few issues you need to be aware of.
Probiotics are generally classed as food rather than medicine, which means they don’t go through the rigorous testing medicines do.
Because of the way probiotics are regulated, we can’t always be sure that:
- the product actually contains the bacteria stated on the food label
- the product contains enough bacteria to have an effect
- the bacteria are able to survive long enough to reach your gut
There are many different types of probiotics that may have different effects on the body, and little is known about which types are best.
You may find a particular type of probiotic helps with one problem. But this doesn’t mean it’ll help other problems, or that other types of probiotic will work just as well.
And there’s likely to be a huge difference between the pharmaceutical-grade probiotics that show promise in clinical trials and the yoghurts and supplements sold in shops.
Page last reviewed: 27 November 2018 Next review due: 27 November 2021
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More Doesnt Always Mean Better
Certain brands will try to sell you on the ultra-mega dose with 60 or even 100 billion CFU , which come with a hefty price increase. The good news for your budget is right now we dont have evidence that more is necessarily better. The number of CFU is typically what was present at the time of manufacture, and not what is present when you buy it which means you could be wasting your money in more than one way. Experts recommend to look for at least 1 billion CFU per daily dose. No need to shell out extra $$ for the 100 million billion CFU product.
Why Your Probiotics May Not Bet Working And What To Do
It’s frustrating when your probiotics don’t show any signs of improvement even after four weeks of use. But before you consider looking for an alternative, you need to understand why your probiotics aren’t working.
The Strains Don’t Survive in Your Digestive TractOne of the major reasons why probiotics don’t show any fruitful results is that they can’t make it through the digestive tract alive. Probiotics will die within your stomach if they aren’t strong enough to survive the acidic environment.If you’re considering choosing a different product, you need to look for strong strains that can easily make it through the digestive tract or different forms of probiotic intake.
Improper StorageThe bacteria won’t survive if the probiotics aren’t stored in a suitable environment. Storage instructions are always clearly marked on the label. Always ensure you store your probiotics as per the instructions.
Lack of routineYou need to take probiotics regularly if you want them to work effectively. Even if you change the product you use, there won’t be any significant changes in your health if you forget to take them.
Set a reminder on your phone to ensure you don’t miss a dose. Taking your probiotics every day with your breakfast or afternoon snack is also a good way to remember.
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Signs Your Probiotics Arent Working And What To Do About It
The problem is that many existing probiotic products are ineffective. They maycontain strains that are dead or dont survive in your digestive tract, since anoverwhelmingly large percentage of probiotics die upon contact with stomach acid.Here are some signs that your probiotics arent working:
- The symptoms are not improving: If after 4 weeks of taking your probiotic
- regularly, you dont feel the therapeutic effects described above, or your symptoms have shown no improvement, it may mean that your probiotic is not working.
- You experience side effects: The most common side effects include bloating, gas, and headaches.
- You are getting sick more often: If after several weeks youre experiencing any of the above, it may be time to change your probiotic. Ideally, you want to purchase the highest quality, most potent probiotic you can afford, one which uses human-sourced strains of both lactobacilli and bifidobacteria and has been proven to survive the harsh conditions of the stomach.
If you want a probiotic supplement that is guaranteed to work, go ahead and try my Rebalance Formula. Years of research and testing went into creating a unique blend of 12 clinically-proven strains, to support the entire digestive process. Additionally, it is stored in our climate-controlled facility to make sure that it stays alive and effective so that you can see the best possible results.