How To Use Them Safely
The FDA regulates probiotics like foods, not like medications. Unlike drug companies, makers of probiotic supplements don’t have to show their products are safe or that they work.
Ask your doctor if taking probiotics is a good idea for you. In general, probiotic foods and supplements are thought to be safe for most people, though some people with immune system problems or other serious health conditions shouldn’t take them.
In some cases, mild side effects might include an upset stomach, diarrhea, gas, and bloating for the first couple of days after you start taking them. They may also trigger allergic reactions. Stop taking them and talk to your doctor if you have problems.
Certain Probiotics Have Specific Benefits
So, now that youve decided that refrigerated probiotics are right for you, its time to zero in on what particular benefits you want the supplement to have. Thats because certain bacteria strains are particularly good for specific health issues. The probiotics in this roundup were selected because they contain the bacteria strains supported by medical studies and recommended by Schapiro, a certified dietitian/nutritionist.
With all that in mind, its time to find the right probiotic for you. The options below are all highly rated on Amazon, with hundreds of positive reviews.
How Can You Tell If Probiotics Are Alive And Active
Our gastrointestinal tract is home to trillions of microbes. A balanced microbiome helps keep us healthy, energetic, and in a good mood.
Probiotics contain a combination of live beneficial microorganisms that provide physiological benefits to our health. Primarily, these are good bacteria that are naturally occurring in fermented foods.
While probiotics are present in a variety of foods, they are also commonly consumed as a dietary supplement. If youve purchased a probioitic supplement, you might be wondering, How do I know if my probiotics are still alive and active?
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Conditions Related To Allergy
- A review of 23 studies in which probiotics were tested for treating allergic rhinitis found some evidence that they may be helpful for improving symptoms and quality of life. However, because the studies tested different probiotics and measured different effects, no recommendations about the use of probiotics could be made. Few side effects of probiotics were reported in these studies.
- A review of 11 studies of probiotics for asthma in children had inconclusive results.
- Atopic dermatitis is an itchy chronic skin disorder thatâs associated with allergies but not caused by them. Itâs most common in infants and may start as early as age 2 to 6 months. Many people outgrow it by early adulthood. Atopic dermatitis is one of several types of eczema.
- A 2017 review of 13 studies of probiotics for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in infants and children did not find consistent evidence of a beneficial effect. A review of 9 studies in adults provided preliminary evidence that some strains of probiotics might be beneficial for symptoms of atopic dermatitis.
Prevention of Allergies
How Safe Are Probiotics
Because microbes used as probiotics already exist naturally in your body, probiotic foods and supplements are generally considered safe. They may trigger allergic reactions, and may also cause mild stomach upset, diarrhea, or flatulence and bloating for the first few days after starting to take them.
There are certain people who need to use caution when using probiotic supplements. There is a risk of infection in some people. These people include those who have:
- A weakened immune system .
- A critical illness.
Caution should also be used when giving probiotics to very sick infants.
Always talk to your healthcare provider before starting a probiotic supplement.
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Which Yogurt Has The Best Probiotics
Weve covered this in passing already, but the best probiotic yogurt is without a doubt the type which has the active or live culture seal or wording on the packaging.
Anything less than this and youre not going to be getting much in the way of probiotic content, if any at all.
Youll find yogurts come in all different shapes, sizes, flavours and varieties, and this can make purchasing the right one for you quite difficult.
Many people wonder about whether Greek yogurt is a good source of probiotics, and the answer really varies according to the brand.
Greek yogurt is strained three times, as opposed to twice in the regular processing procedure.
This is what gives Greek yogurt that iconic thick and creamy feel, but you lose out on some of the whey in this process, which means it has a lower calcium amount than regular yogurt.
In terms of probiotics, this varies from brand to brand, and you should check on the packaging as to whether any live or active cultures are present or have been added, to ensure youre getting a good probiotic hit.
Overall, traditional yogurt is probably the best route, but lets check out some of the other options you might have before you.
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Where To Find Probiotic Cultures
There are typically two sources of probiotic cultures: supplements, food, and raw cultures.
If youre looking to make your own DIY probiotic yogurt or food product, then youll want to find a dependable raw culture. On the other hand, depending on the strength and reason for use of the probiotic, you can buy products that have already been imbued with the powers of probiotic cultures such as supplements, probiotic powders, or even probiotic-rich foods.
With that said, before making any changes to your diet or implementing any new supplement, its incredibly important to speak with your doctor. This is even more crucial if you suffer from gut-related issues or other health conditions.
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Prebiotics Probiotics And The Connection With Bacteria
What is a prebiotic
Prebiotics are types of dietary fibre that feed the bacteria in the gut, helping them to thrive and support a healthier digestive system.
Oligosaccharides are larger, more complex carbohydrates that are able to survive through the digestive tract to reach the large intestine relatively unharmed. The large intestine is where the majority of your gut bacteria live, providing them with a great food source.
What is a probiotic?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial to the human body, especially the digestive system. Theyre thought to help restore the natural balance of bacteria in the gut when its been disrupted, such as by an illness.
Including Yogurt In Your Diet
Including yogurt in your diet is simple and convenient. Plus, the variety of flavors makes it easy to find one that you will enjoy eating. While spooning yogurt right out of the container is the quickest way to get the job done, there are many other ways to sneak this nutritious snack into your day.
- Add 1/2 cup of Greek-style yogurt to a smoothie
- Mix low-fat granola or cereal into a container of yogurt
- Add fresh fruit to plain or vanilla-flavored yogurt
- Use yogurt in place of sour cream
- Top your pancakes or waffles with unsweetened Greek-yogurt and fresh strawberries
- Mix low-fat Greek yogurt with onion soup for a tasty veggie dip
- Freeze fruit-flavored yogurt in ice-cube trays for frozen yogurt treats
If you don’t have a favorite type of yogurt, some of the best probiotic yogurt brands include Dannon, Yoplait, Chobani, Fage and Stonyfield. Harvard Health Publishing recommends choosing yogurt with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving. Additionally, check the label for protein and look for yogurt with 5 grams or more of protein per serving. Greek-style yogurt is a great choice if you want some extra protein.
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Where Do Probiotics Come From
Every friendly bacteria strain is unique, and this is also true of their origins. Saccharomyces boulardii, for example, is actually a yeast, and was originally derived from the lychee fruit. Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, on the other hand, was first extracted from a yogurt source. Many strains of friendly bacteria are known as ‘human strains’, this means they were initially isolated from healthy digestive tracts of humans and are natural residents of the gut! This doesn’t, however, mean they are extracted from humans for commercial use or that probiotics you may take are directly taken from that source. In fact, the original strains are stored in microbiology ‘banks’ and future generations are cultured by scientists in laboratories.
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Best Low Fat Astro Biobest Probiotic Yogurt
- Per serving : 70 calories, 1.5 g fat , 70 mg sodium, 7 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 6 g protein
- Probiotic strains: 1 Billion+ Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM, Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07
Astros plain yogurt contains over 1 billion active probiotic cultures and 7 essential vitamins and minerals. It is also 90% lactose-reduced, when compared with regular plain yogurt, so may be a better option for those who are sensitive to lactose.
Astro BioBest has only 1.5 grams of fat per serving, making it a great option if you are watching your fat intake, or if you find high-fat dairy difficult on your digestive system.
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Probiotic Foods To Help Balance Your Gut
Itâs true that probiotics can be found in some foods. You might already include them in your diet, or you may be able to replace a food currently in your diet with another that specifically contains probiotics. But picking a probiotic food is not as easy as picking any yogurt off the shelves at the store, and not all fermented foods have probiotics in them.
Finding foods with live cultures is easy. Finding foods with live cultures that have proven health benefits requires attention to detail and research. Plus, you need to make sure youâre getting enough probiotics from those foods in your diet to actually get the health benefit you want.
Yogurt is a classic example. All yogurts do contain live cultures at some point as they are being made. However, as a part of the manufacturing process, the live cultures donât always survive until the yogurt makes it to store shelves. Alternatively, some yogurts still contain live cultures post-processing, however, the specific strains used to make the yogurt provide no benefits to humans.
The truth is, few yogurts naturally contain a probiotic strain. Oftentimes, probiotics are added to the yogurt, but not used as part of the production process.
If you donât already eat fermented foods, there are other options to help you add probiotics to your gut without making a significant dietary change. Probiotic supplements like Align DualBiotic Prebiotic + Probiotic Gummies will guarantee you add more good bacteria to your gut.*
Why Do Antibiotics Cause Diarrhea
Diarrhea, which refers to passing loose, watery stools at least three times a day, is a common side effect for patients while taking antibiotics. However, some patients may be more likely to be affected than others, including:
- Patients receiving inpatient care
- Children under 2 years old or adults over 65 years old
- Patients receiving certain antibiotics, such as erythromycin and penicillin
There are two primary reasons a patient might experience antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
The first involves the entire intestinal microbiome, which contains about 39 trillion bacteria. Colonic flora or bacteria in the colon plays an important role in keeping the lining of the colon healthy and helping it to digest unabsorbed carbohydrates.
Antibiotics can alter the number and type of bacteria in a patients colon. As a result, some carbohydrates may remain unabsorbed, leading to water secretion and loose stools. Whats more, this change in bacteria can impact the lining of the colon, making it more difficult for the body to reabsorb water in the colon. This can lead to a higher stool volume or diarrhea.
The second cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhea involves just one bacterium called C. difficile. Antibiotics may increase the amount of C. difficile, which produces a toxin that can lead to inflammation of the colon. C. difficile infection can also cause impaired water reabsorption, fluid secretion, and diarrhea.
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Do All Yoghurts Have Probiotics
All yoghurt contains live bacterial cultures, which ferment milk to make yoghurt, but only some types of yoghurt have added probiotics .
The addition of live bacterial cultures to milk results in fermentation, where the lactose in milk is converted to lactic acid which sets the yoghurt. Traditional bacterial strains used to make yoghurt are Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies bulgaricus.
In addition to these Ã¢starter culturesÃ¢, some yoghurts also contain added probiotics the most common species being Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. When consumed in adequate amounts, probiotics have been shown to provide a benefit to overall health.
Probiotic dosages are measured in CFUs . To make sure youÃ¢re consuming enough probiotic, go for a yoghurt that contains at least 108 CFU per serve.1
Specific strains of probiotics, such as the well researched Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG , have shown positive health effects in the digestive system, particularly on lactose intolerance, immunity, allergies and inflammatory bowel disease.2,3,4 Health benefits of probiotics are unique to the specific strain, so when youÃ¢re choosing a yoghurt with added probiotics look at the type of probiotic strain listed on the food label and speak to an Accredited Practising Dietitian for individual advice.
For information about the digestive benefits of yoghurt and other dairy foods visit this page
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It May Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Tempeh is traditionally made from soybeans, which contain natural plant compounds called isoflavones.
Soy isoflavones have been associated with reduced cholesterol levels. One review looked at 11 studies and found that soy isoflavones were able to significantly decrease both total and LDL cholesterol .
Another study looked at the effects of soy protein on cholesterol levels and triglycerides. In the study, 42 participants ate a diet containing either soy protein or animal protein over a 6-week period.
Compared with animal protein, soy protein decreased LDL cholesterol by 5.7% and total cholesterol by 4.4%. It also decreased triglycerides by 13.3% .
Though most available research focuses on the effects of soy isoflavones and soy protein on blood cholesterol, one study did focus specifically on tempeh.
A 2013 animal study examined the effects of nutrient-enriched soybean tempeh on mice with liver damage. It found that tempeh had a protective effect on the liver and was able to reverse damage to liver cells.
Additionally, tempeh caused a decrease in both cholesterol and triglyceride levels .
Tempeh is made from soybeans, which contain soy isoflavones. Studies show that soy isoflavones and soy protein may decrease blood cholesterol levels.
Other studies have found that supplementing with soy isoflavones may have a favorable effect on several health conditions associated with oxidative stress.
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Myth: Probiotics Can Replace Medications
Although some people may prefer natural treatments, probiotics have typically been studied in conjunction with medications â not as a substitute for them.
I would never advocate stopping a medication and switching to a probiotic, Hibberd said. Instead, people should use probiotics as additions to their existing treatment programs, or preventively so they might avoid the need for a medication down the road, she explained.
Benefits Of Yogurt With Lactobacillus
The genus Lactobacillus is one of the most common bacteria classified as a probiotic, according to Harvard Health Publications. Probiotics promote the growth of âgoodâ bacteria through fermented foods like yogurt and over-the-counter supplements.
And when good bacteria or live cultures are present, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says their presence may change or repopulate intestinal bacteria to balance gut flora. Which is great news since this also creates an environment not suitable for harmful bacteria. Basically, what all of this means is that probiotics may have a positive impact on your overall health, especially gastrointestinal health.
More specifically, the Academy points to the role probiotics play in managing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health points out that probiotics show promise in preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea and induction or maintenance of remission in ulcerative colitis.
However, the NCCIH does stress that in general, researchers still donât know which probiotics are helpful and which are not. Plus, itâs still not known how much you would need to take in a supplement or consume from foods in order to get the most health benefits. But the good news is, probiotics are safe, particularly in healthy people.
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The Pros Of Probiotics
Yogurt may contain probiotics, which are live microorganisms similar to those in your gut. Yogurt is made from milk, with a dash of bacteria to kick off the fermenting process.
Research today is making some important connections between the types of bacteria that live in your body and your overall health. Studies have linked these bacteria to a wide variety of conditions ranging from mood disorders to infections. Some studies suggest that having certain types of good bacteria may help insulate people from certain health woes. There is some evidence that probiotics, like those found in yogurt, can help improve symptoms of some digestive problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome and certain types of diarrhea.
Another promising area of research is the role of gut microbes in obesity. Researchers have found that people who are lean and people who weigh too much typically have different types of gut bacteria. This raises the question: can people lose weight if you change the type of bacteria in their bodies? Researchers are searching for this answer right now.
So far, the FDA hasn’t approved any probiotics to treat specific health conditions, but that hasn’t stopped some yogurt companies from promoting the health benefits available from their brand’s unique probiotics. Until we have clinical studies that offer the evidence we need, be skeptical of specific health claims made about various products.