How Probiotics Are Good For You
They might lower the number of “bad” bacteria in your gut that can cause illness or inflammation. They can also replace those problem germs with good or helpful bacteria.
Researchers are studying when and how probiotics might best help. There’s more research for some illnesses than others. They might help people with:
- Diarrhea, especially when it’s linked to specific antibiotics. Probiotics also might help with infectious diarrhea, especially in children.
- Inflammatory bowel diseases including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Some probiotics might keep ulcerative colitis in remission and prevent Crohn’s disease from relapsing and getting worse.
- Irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics can sometimes help ease symptoms, including stomach pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
Probiotics also are being studied for many other conditions. There isnât as much research yet, but some people say that probiotics have helped them with:
- Decreasing inflammation, such as from rheumatoid arthritis
What Are The Most Common Types Of Probiotic Bacteria
Though there are many types of bacteria that can be considered probiotics, there are two specific types of bacteria that are common probiotics found in stores. These include:
Probiotics are also made up of good yeast. The most common type of yeast found in probiotics is:
- Saccharomyces boulardii.
Is It Safe To Take A Break From Probiotics If You Are Consuming It Everyday
Yes, it is safe to take a small break here and there. We always recommend checking in with your body. After all, you know your body better than anyone else does. Once you have been on probiotics for a while, consider how youre feeling. Some people give themselves a few days off probiotics every month to evaluate the way they feel their body changing. It is all a learning experience learning about your body and what works for you.
So there you have it: a little bit of insight into probiotics and answering how often should you take probiotics. Sure, probiotics can feel like a choose your own adventure ride, but its important to remember that consistency is key hopefully now you understand the benefits of taking probiotics daily.
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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.
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.
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The Best Time To Take Probiotics
So when should you pop your probiotic capsule? Research shows that the best time to take probiotics is just before a meal or as you begin your meal, says Lisa Richards, CNC, nutritionist and creator of The Candida diet. This is the time when your stomach environment is at its least acidic, because your body has not yet begun to produce stomach acid in large quantities to digest your food. Taking your probiotics at this time will make their passage to your gut a little easier, and ensure you get the most from those beneficial bacteria.
However, Richards says the when-to-take aspect of probiotics depends on what type you opt for. If your probiotic is enteric-coated or uses delayed-release capsules, it is more likely to survive stomach acid and so the exact timing is less important, she says. If youre taking a live strain probiotic supplement, ideally you want to take them 20 minutes after you eat, first thing in the morning or right before bedtime, Greenfield says. This allows more of the probiotics to get into the large intestines where they will have the most benefits. If you are taking a soil-based probiotic, you can take them with food for most impact. Not sure what kind you have? Dr. Sonpal says brands put that info on the packaging.
What you eat affects your gut too. Watch the video to see how:
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Should You Take Probiotics Every Day
If youve taken supplements before, youll probably know that most should be taken every day in order to reap the benefits. But what about probiotics?
In general, its a good idea to take probiotics every day. In fact, there are many reasons why this can be highly beneficial not only for treating specific health conditions, but for keeping yourself and your family well every day.
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Can Probiotics Hurt Me
For most healthy people, probiotics dont cause any harm. They are generally considered safe and are often given a try to see if they could help with various medical conditions. Theres a lot of research around the topic of probiotics. Scientists are trying to determine when and how they should be used, as well as how effective they are. Talk to your healthcare provider before starting a probiotic supplement because there are some cases where you shouldnt be taking them. Its always best to have the conversation first before starting a new supplement.
Taking Probiotics Every Day Benefits Your Body And Mind
Bernstein defines probiotics as “beneficial microorganisms that are ingested in food or supplemental form,” and explains that these “good bacteria” can promote good health in several different ways. For one thing, he says they can help to boost the immune system. He adds that “not only thwart … inflammation, illness or infection, but prevent them as well.” He also recommends probiotics for good digestion, saying that they can treat or prevent a range of conditions including diarrhea, bloating, gas, stomach pain, and constipation. Probiotics may also have the power to regulate and maintain blood sugar levels, helping to prevent spikes in blood sugar that Bernstein warns can lead to weight gain, hypertension, and diabetes.
Not only are probiotics good for the body, but they may also be able to support mental health. Bernstein credits these beneficial bacteria with the power to prevent or control both anxiety and depression. For optimal mind and body wellness, he says many of us could benefit from “taking these on a regular basis, and thus keeping a plentiful supply of ‘good bacteria’ in our intestinal tracts.”
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Balancing The Intestinal Ecosystem
Although the vast majority of existing clinical trials indicate that probiotic doses of 10-20 billion CFU per day are sufficient for maintaining immune and digestive health, research studies examining the dose-response of larger CFUs and products featuring CFUs of 50 to 100 billion are becoming increasingly common.6,7 While it may be tempting to assume that a larger CFU automatically translates to greater probiotic benefits, this is not necessarily the case for every individual or health indication.8,9
One of the mechanisms of probiotic therapy is restoration of intestinal balance by replacing harmful microbes with more favorable ones. Because not everyone needs very large amounts of probiotic bacteria to achieve this, regularly providing the body with a moderate infusion of high-quality bacteria may represent a more biologically meaningful approach to health maintenance than overwhelming the gut microbiota ecosystem with more bacteria than is needed.
Thus, for individuals in relatively good health, a daily dose of 10-20 billion CFU is likely sufficient for supporting everyday immune and digestive support.
- Prevent many common alignments that occur in childhood
Probiotics can also:
- Overwhelm the gut eco-system with one species of bacteria, creating a monoculture
- Build a temporary environment in your system on a daily basis because they cant colonize the human gut
How To Take Probiotics: A Guide For First
If taking a daily probiotic supplement is on your list of personal health goals, youre off to a strong start. Supplying your body with additional good bacteria can go a long way toward supporting optimal digestion and health.
We say additional because there are literally trillions of these microscopic organisms already living in and around your body, mainly in your digestive tract which is where at least 70 percent of your immune system can be found. Inside your gut, your beneficial microbes work to maintain a balanced intestinal environment, which supports digestive health and immune function.
But with so many probiotic supplements to choose from on the shelves today, we understand you may have some questions, beginning with: What exactly are probiotics? How much additional bacteria should I be taking each day? Is it possible to take too many probiotics?
All of these are great questions to ask when choosing the right daily probiotic supplement for you and your family, so weve put together some answers you may find helpful.
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Common Mistakes When Taking Probiotic Supplements
There are some common missteps that can prevent you from getting the most out of your probiotics, according to Strealy. These can include:
- Leaving probiotics on the shelf when they require refrigeration.
- Not taking a probiotic for long enough. I recommend taking it for at least a month, Strealy says.
- Not taking a high enough dose. This might occur because there arent enough live cultures in your probiotic, or if you dont follow the dosing directions, such as taking two supplements in the morning instead of one in the morning and another at night.
- Choosing a probiotic strain that hasnt been studied for the symptoms you want to manage.
- Using a probiotic that also contains prebiotics if you have IBS. Some prebiotics are FODMAPs , which are fermentable starches and fibers that can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation for those with IBS. Initially, to manage IBS, I recommend selecting a probiotic that does not contain prebiotics, says Strealy.
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Can You Take Too Much Probiotics If Youre Ill
There are exceptions, though, in which you need to exercise caution with regards to dosage. If you are gravely ill or have a condition that compromises your immune system, then we suggest speaking to your doctor before going on probiotics. While extremely rare, there are documented instances of patients developing complications after taking probiotics.
In one of these cases1, a 17-year-old boy hospitalized for colitis developed bacteremia one week after taking a lactobacillus probiotic strain. Bacteremia is a condition where abnormal traces of bacteria enters your bloodstream. Researchers concluded that probiotics in such an instance may pose a risk for immunosuppressed patients.
There is also another case2 in which a 48-year-old patient developed endocarditis, an infection that occurs in the inner lining of the heart. The diagnosis arose after the patient had been on a lactobacillus probiotic strain.
We must stress again that these are exceptionally rare cases, and patients in both instances had pre-existing conditions that weakened their immune system. In this scenario, too many probiotics or even probiotics in moderate doses may lead to medical complications.
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What Happens To Your Body When You Start Taking Probiotics
Some individuals suffer gas, bloating, or diarrhea when they first start taking probiotics. Changes in the gut microbiota might cause bacteria to produce more gas than normal, causing bloating. These negative effects, on the other hand, normally go away within a few days or weeks of using probiotics.
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The Benefits Of Taking Probiotics Every Day
Probiotic supplements can have many functions. Diversifying the gut microbial landscape is a big one, Gandhi says, which helps to maintain balance in the gut microbiome.*
While promoting gut health is one obvious benefit, research has also shown certain strains of probiotics can help reduce bloat, aid proper nutrient absorption, promote regularity, and support a healthy weight.*
As for probiotic foods, “Ideally we should always be eating probiotic-rich, fermented food daily,” Gandhi says, “but even more so if you are not taking a supplement.” These foods introduce multiple new strains of good bacteria to the gut, diversifying the microbiome, she explains.
One way to get gut-friendly benefits, while also extending the life span of seasonal produce, is to preserve vegetables. “Making and eating traditional foods such as sauerkraut, pickles, natto, kombucha, and beet kvass is a delicious and fun way to optimize your gut health and strengthen immunity,” registered dietitian Ella Davar, R.D., CDN, says.
As a general rule of thumb, Davar recommends getting probiotics from a variety of sources. “Those who don’t have time for cooking, or don’t like the taste of probiotic-rich foods, might greatly benefit from the supplement,” she explains.*
Next Steps To Take If Youre Considering Probiotic Treatments
If youre looking for where probiotic research stands on specific conditions, like acne or UTIs nothing conclusive on either of those topics as well as the limits of certain studies the NIHs National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website provides an informative breakdown.
The bottom line is that you should discuss your best course of action with a doctor or registered dietitian especially if you are considering starting a probiotic to treat a specific illness, have a chronic disease or if you are immunosuppressed, Gilmore says.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Too Many Probiotics
If you take too many probiotics, youll probably suffer with bloating, gas, and possibly diarrhoea. There are currently no maximum RDAs for any probiotic strains, as they arent considered a vital part of your diet by any health authority.
However, research findings generally suggest anything from 1 billion CFU to 10 billion CFU as an effective daily dose, depending on the strain .
Do Probiotics Make You Poop
This is a common question that people have when they are considering taking probiotics. While some people worry that taking probiotics will cause them to have more frequent bowel movements, this is not necessarily the case. Probiotics can help to increase the frequency of your bowel movements if you are constipated, but they will not cause you to have diarrhea.
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There Is No Way To Know What Dose You Are Taking
The probiotic supplement market is relatively unregulated, so its hard to know how many CFUs we actually are consuming when we take probiotics in pill form. Moreover, its difficult to know if the organisms in those probiotics are even still alive and capable of doing their job, or if theyre dead and useless. Even if the bacteria are alive, theres a question about whether they can survive once inside your gut.
If you are getting your probiotics from foods like store-bought yogurt, there are also very few ways to be sure that you are consuming a significant dose of good bacteria. The conditions that the yogurt is stored in down the supply-chain, the temperature of your refrigerator, and the strain of probiotic that the yogurt contains all have a significant effect on the dosage of CFU. Many of the beneficial microbes could have perished before you consume the yogurt.
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Probiotics May Help Promote Healthy Weight Loss
For women who want to maintain a healthy weight, probiotics can help. According to a 2016 study published in Nutrition & Metabolism, there are many strains of probiotics that can help suppress body weight gain and support anti-obesity effects. These include the strains Lactobacillus curvatus HY7601, Lactobacillus curvatus HY7601 in combination with Lactobacillus plantarum KY1032 and Pediococcus pentosaceus LP28, among others.
Additionally, the same study found promising effects of probiotics in improving liver function, fat metabolism and insulin resistance in patients with obesity related non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
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