How Probiotic Supplements Are Different From Other Supplementsand Why It Matters
As you know, probiotics are commonly found in supplement form, but because they are live organisms that need to arrive to your gut healthy, happy, and ready to go, they are quite unlike most other vitamin, mineral, and multinutrient supplements youre familiar with. Why does this matter? Because special care needs to be taken to safeguard probiotics through every step of their journey.
Should Children Eat Probiotic Foods
Some studies suggest that probiotics may be good for children. One study found that children who were given probiotics every day for 3 months were less likely to have respiratory problems and diarrhea than children who were given a placebo.
And while more research is needed, probiotics may reduce childrens risk of developing certain conditions like autoimmune diseases, allergies and asthma.
On the other hand, some researchers note that probiotics may not have much effect on children. Because their microbiome isnt fully developed, probiotics may simply be passed as normal waste.
Probiotics are considered safe for kids with some exceptions, notes Dr. Drass. You should avoid giving your child probiotics if they have a compromised immune system or cancer, or if they are a premature infant. In these cases, probiotics can put them at risk for infections.
In general, its better for kids to get probiotics through foods instead of supplements unless their pediatrician recommends otherwise. Talk to your childs doctor if youre thinking about using probiotics to help your childs digestion because keeping your child safe and healthy is their prime concern.
How Might Probiotics Work
Probiotics may have a variety of effects in the body, and different probiotics may act in different ways.
- Help your body maintain a healthy community of microorganisms or help your bodyâs community of microorganisms return to a healthy condition after being disturbed
- Produce substances that have desirable effects
- Influence your bodyâs immune response.
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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.
Antibiotic Resistance In Probiotics From Health Supplements
Arguably the biggest health concern of consuming probiotic supplements is the risk of transferring resistant determinants. Here, we screened the probiotic supplements for susceptibility to more than 30 types of antibiotics representing different modes of actions . We employed the disc diffusion method for this study using commercially available antibiotic discs . We spread probiotics dissolved in PBS onto MRS agar plates to create an even lawn of bacteria and incubate at similar conditions. Inhibition zones forming around the antibiotic discs would indicate failure of bacteria to grow around that particular antibiotic, and those with diameters of less than 12 mm, that is, twice the diameter of the disc, are considered resistant. We presented our data as a heat map in Figure 2C, where green represents susceptible and red represents resistant to the antibiotic. Based on Figure 2C, product B is resistant to six antibiotics, namely, teicoplanin, vancomycin, amikacin, tobramycin, ciprofloxacin, and sparfloxacin, which have different modes of actions, for example, inhibiting cell wall, protein, or DNA synthesis. Interestingly, there were no probiotics resistant to antibiotics that act on ribosome 50S.
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The Benefits Of Probiotics
Theyre especially helpful for diarrhea or constipation both of which are common for kids, especially during potty training. Probiotics may help ease some of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease as well.
Children already taking antibiotics can benefit from probiotics, too. Antibiotics can cause stomach pain, constipation or diarrhea, and probiotics can ease these side effects. But not all probiotics are effective while taking antibiotics, so talk to your childs pediatrician or pharmacist about which probiotic is best for your child.
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.
Can I Take Or Eat Something To Increase The Good Probiotics In My Body
You can increase the amount of good microbes in your body through foods, drinks and supplements. You may already have certain foods in your daily diet that contain probiotics. Fermented foods in particular are home to a host of good bacteria that benefit your body. There are also fermented drinks like kombucha or kefir that introduce extra probiotics into your diet.
Apart from food, you can add probiotics to your diet through dietary supplements. These arent drugs, so they do not need to be approved by the Federal Drug Administration . Its important that you always talk to your healthcare provider before starting any kind of supplement or major change to your diet.
But Why Take Them On An Ongoing Basis
Many people choose to take probiotics every day, whilst some might just use them periodically or whenever they feel that they need a little support. Whichever way you find works best for you, it is worth remembering that many factors can negatively affect the probiotic colonies in our gut.
So, whilst you might think that once you have established good gut flora that it can then be left to its own devices, in reality our lifestyles are now so challenging for our microbiome that many of us need to nurture it on an ongoing basis. If you would like to learn more, read our article on the gut microbiome – all you need to know.
Most people know that antibiotics do not differentiate between the good and bad bacteria in our guts, and therefore negatively impact on our probiotic colonies, but even if we don’t take them ourselves, it’s possible there may be other sources of antibiotics in our food chain, such as in meat and other animal products. These have a similarly negative impact on our gut flora.
In addition, we are often exposed to chemicals such as chlorine in our drinking water. Chlorine is a strong anti-microbial agent, and whilst it helps to keep undesirable bacteria out of our water supply, it also damages our delicate gut flora.
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Note: Probiotic Supplements May Also Be Delivered Outside The Gi Tract
The issue of gastric conditions and bile exposure in the GI tract can be irrelevant when probiotic supplements are delivered to specific sites.
- The oral cavity has also been targeted for the prevention of conditions such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
- In addition, rectally administered probiotic formulations show potential in treatments for inflammatory disorders such as ulcerative colitis.
Different Strains Survive Better
Some bacterial strains are more resilient toward stomach acid and have better survival rates than others as they pass through the stomach. Survival rates of different strains can be improved depending on the delivery method of the probiotic supplement.
Gastric resistance varies from species to species and within strains.
Lactobacillus spp. are more viable in gastric conditions compared to other probiotic species, thus making gastro-resistance less of a priority in choosing a dosage form for these probiotics.
A 2021 study evaluated the survivability of five strains of lactic acid bacteria from commercial probiotics and under simulated conditions of the gastrointestinal tract. The strains were without protective capsules and added in a food matrix. Lactobacillus plantarum was the most resistant to the applied conditions of the culture medium. It showed a noticeable growth under both in vitro gastric conditions at pH 4.0 and 5.0, as well as in vitro intestinal conditions at all tested concentrations of bile salts.
The increased survival of probiotic lactic acid bacteria in acidic conditions in the presence of glucose has also been reported.
Interestingly, probiotics do not have an antagonistic effect on each others survival when used in a multi-strain product compared to a single-strain product, at least within a microbiota in a simulated colonic environment.
Other bacteria also show variation in acid survival within the same species:
Can I Get Probiotics From Food
You can absolutely increase beneficial microbes in your body from the foods you eat. Certain foods have probiotics in them and can benefit the health of your microbiome.
These foods can be introduced into your diet at any point of the day. You may even be regularly eating them now and not realize that they contain probiotics. You will want to check the food label for live and active cultures. A few suggestions for just some of the probiotic-rich foods you can add to your diet and some times to try them include:
For breakfast, try:
Probiotic supplements may be combined with a prebiotic. Prebiotics are complex carbohydrates that feed the microorganisms in your gut. Basically, prebiotics are the food source for the good bacteria. They help feed the good bacteria and keep it healthy. Prebiotics include inulin, pectin and resistant starches.
When you have a supplement that combines a probiotic and prebiotic, its called a synbiotic.
Best Time To Take Probiotics At Night Before Bed
The recommendation is to wait 2-3 hours after eating before taking probiotics to help the probiotics travel through the stomach as quickly as possible. However, you should always check the intake instructions on the probiotic supplement for the most effective way to take your probiotic.
Taking probiotics late in the day or at night before bed can be very beneficial, especially for individuals who eat dinner on the early side. For most people, the stomach tends to be empty either early in the morning after waking up or at the end of the day before going to bed.
How much and how late you ate before bed plays a major role in how empty your stomach is. This is why we recommend waiting 2-3 hours after eating before taking your probiotic.
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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.
Scientific Guidelines For Testing
First, probiotics must be alive when administered. One of the concerns throughout the scientific literature resides in the viability and reproducibility on a large scale of observed results for specific studies, as well as the viability and stability during use and storage, and finally the ability to survive in stomach acids and then in the intestinal ecosystem.
Second, probiotics must have undergone controlled evaluation to document health benefits in the target host. Only products that contain live organisms shown in reproducible human studies to confer a health benefit may claim to be probiotic. The correct definition of health benefit, backed with solid scientific evidence, is a strong element for the proper identification and assessment of the effect of a probiotic. This aspect is a challenge for scientific and industrial investigations because several difficulties arise, such as variability in the site for probiotic use and mode of application.
Third, the probiotic candidate must be a taxonomically defined microbe or combination of microbes ” rel=”nofollow”> strain level). It is commonly admitted that most effects of probiotics are strain-specific and cannot be extended to other probiotics of the same genus or species. This calls for a precise identification of the strain, i.e. genotypic and phenotypic characterization of the tested microorganism.
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Psoriasis And Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
This specific type of bacteria is often included in supplements to fortify the digestive system.
Probiotics are available as supplements, though there is not yet enough evidence to prove that a specific brand or type will help with a particular condition.
The Food and Drug Administration for medical purposes. However, they do not consider probiotic supplements to be medication and so do not monitor claims about probiotic contents. A person cannot be sure exactly what a product contains. Also, it is not always clear how long a probiotic stays active in the body. As a result, a person cannot be sure how effective any product is likely to be or which condition it may help with.
Probiotics are likely to be safe for most people, but there are some points to consider before using them or increasing the intake.
The note that while probiotics are likely safe for those in good health, these bacteria may pose a risk to people with weakened immune systems or other health issues.
These people may face a risk of:
What Types Of Bacteria Are In Probiotics
Probiotics may contain a variety of microorganisms. The most common are bacteria that belong to groups called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Other bacteria may also be used as probiotics, and so may yeasts such as Saccharomyces boulardii.
Different types of probiotics may have different effects. For example, if a specific kind of Lactobacillus helps prevent an illness, that doesnât necessarily mean that another kind of Lactobacillus or any of the Bifidobacterium probiotics would do the same thing.
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Best Flavor: Activatedyou Morning Complete
ActivatedYou Morning Complete combines both prebiotics and probiotics. However, it also combines foods known as green superfoods which makes it one of the best prebiotic supplements.
The first instinct about this product is that your body will get beneficial bacteria and nutrients that will aid the growth of this bacteria. The second is the energy you may be able to access because of the inclusion of the green superfood formula.
Morning complete is a powdered supplement with apple flavor. The users of this supplement all praise the tea texture of this supplement, along with the taste.
ActivatedYou are the makers of this supplement and they claim it is a product of deep research into the functioning of the digestive system and the effect of having probiotic organisms in the right quantity in the body while providing the nutrients that sustain these probiotics. They understand that good health comes from the body accessing the nutrients it needs and without gut bacteria that boosts the proper digestion of your food, there wouldnt be any nutrients for your body to absorb.
Morning Complete provides your body with the nutrient you need to function properly and boost your immunity. It is the blend you need for energy and wellness.
The makers of Morning Complete used fine approved ingredients for their prebiotic supplement. They are
How To Get Started With Probiotics
Think you want to give probiotics a shot? Here are Dr. Crescis take-aways to help you navigate them:
Probiotics are generally recognized as safe, but theyre typically not recommended if you have a compromised immune system. Ask your physician if probiotics are right for you.
It may take some trial and error to find the probiotic that works for you. If you notice no benefits from one product after a few weeks, try a different one with a different strain of bacteria.
Probiotics may cause bloating and gas, as well as changes in your stool patterns all indications that the product is working, Dr. Cresci says.
Prebiotic foods help your good bacteria flourish. Include beans, asparagus, onions, green bananas and other fermentable fiber sources in your diet.
This article originally appeared in Cleveland Clinic Mens Health Advisor.
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