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What Do Probiotics Do For The Human Body

When Will You Feel Benefits

What is a Probiotic? How do Probiotics Work? … Well it Depends…

This varies depending on each persons state of health and the quality of the probiotic supplement. Generally speaking, if you are taking a high-quality probiotic supplement, you will likely feel a positive impact on your digestion in the first few days of taking it. The additional health benefits should become apparent after a few weeks or months.

That said, given the external stressors we are confronted with on a daily basis, it is highly beneficial to add a probiotic supplement to your long term, daily wellness routine. This will rebuild and then maintain your health and vitality from your core.

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.

Probiotics May Improve Digestive Health

Using probiotics may help reduce diarrhea caused by things like antibiotic use, cancer therapy, and hospital infections. Bacteria strains of Streptococcus and Lactobacillus can help, but doctors also use yeast strains, such as various Saccharomyces boulardii, to help prevent diarrhea, according to a paper published in March 2016 in the International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences.

If dairy gives you bad gas, you may have lactose intolerance, which is caused by a deficiency in the enzyme lactase. The good news is that probiotics seem to help with lactose digestion. Studies show that the probiotic used to make yogurt release lactase, which takes over the bodys usual responsibility of digesting lactose.

If your gassiness isnt due to lactose intolerance or associated with recurrent diarrhea from any of the aforementioned reasons, you may have a condition called irritable bowel syndrome . IBS is a default diagnosis that is used for unexplained digestive symptoms, such as gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. Some studies suggest probiotics can help relieve symptoms of IBS.

Don’t Miss: Schiff Digestive Advantage Daily Probiotic

Probiotic Foods And Their Potential Problems

A 2014 study suggests that probiotic foods are slightly more favorable in terms of their viability in delivering their benefits compared to probiotic supplements. However, for a variety of reasons, not everyone has the option of working that many probiotic foods into their diet.

Not everyone is a fan of probiotic foods. What one person finds delicious another may find off-putting.

Many probiotic foods are fermented and for many people, this can be a bit of an acquired taste.

On top of that, a lot of the time with probiotic foods, you just dont know exactly how potent the probiotics in a food are. If a food has a very low quantity of probiotic microorganisms, then it might not provide any probiotic benefit whatsoever.

Another thing worth taking into consideration with probiotic foods is how many probiotic species/strains they contain. A lot of probiotic foods have just one probiotic strain, which is great but doesnt necessarily provide the wide range of health benefits that many consumers want.

To get a full range of probiotic strains from food alone, youd have to regularly consume a pretty wide variety of probiotic foods.

Perhaps the biggest concern with including probiotic foods in your diet is whether what youre getting is really probiotic. When the companies who manufacture these foods pasteurize them by treating them with mild heat, it kills bad bacteria but also the good probiotic ones.

What Should We Look For When Choosing A Probiotic Supplement

144 Benefits of Probiotics

There are two key issues when choosing a probiotic: the first is to ensure that the product contains enough bacteria to have an effect the second is to ensure that it survives the acidic environment of the stomach in order to reach the large intestine. Examples of probiotics that meet this criteria include Alforex, Yakult, Symprove and VSL #3. Each of these is designed to treat different symptoms, so if you are thinking about taking a probiotic, seek advice from a specialist dietitian or GP to ensure you take the correct one.

Unless stated differently by manufactures, probiotics should be taken for a minimum of four weeks before effects may be seen. If no improvement is noted, it is recommended that you try another brand or stop completely.

Also Check: Best Probiotic For Women’s Gut Health

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Probiotics

I dont like fermented foods. Whats another way to get probiotics?

A diet high in fiber, which is a prebiotic, may promote probiotic growth in the gut. You can also take a probiotic supplement with clearance from your healthcare team.

Is it just as good to take probiotic supplements as it is to eat foods with probiotics?

In general, the body benefits most from consuming probiotics via food, which often also contains beneficial nutrients. But if youre using probiotics to treat a disease or illness, a supplement that contains a higher number of strains may be more effective, noted a paper published in September 2017 the journal Biochemistry & Pharmacology.

If I take a probiotic supplement, is it best to take it before, during, or after a meal?

Youll reap the most benefits from probiotics if you take them 30 minutes before a meal or while eating. Also important: taking them with a food or drink that contains some amount of fat, because probiotics are fat soluble, meaning fat helps the body properly absorb them.

Can a person take in too many probiotics?

What is the best probiotic for your health?

Simply put, researchers havent identified one yet. Most of the studies surround bacterial strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium and the yeast strain Saccharomyces boulardii. Its also likely that various strains are best for different conditions.

Is it better to choose probiotic supplements that are refrigerated?

Should I always take probiotics when on an antibiotic?

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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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:

  • Powders.
  • Liquids.

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.

Probiotics Can Help With Ulcers

Do Probiotics Work? How probiotics work – Health and Wellness

Peptic ulcers are commonly caused by an infection of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori . H. pylori is present in more than half of the worlds population and in most people it never causes any problems.

However, in some people this bacterium can lead to the formation of an ulcer, causing abdominal pain, nausea, loss of appetite, frequent burping, bloating and unintentional weight loss. H. pylori can be treated with antibiotics .

There is a growing amount of research that shows that probiotics can help manage an H. pylori infection, by increasing the eradication rate, improving symptoms and lowering treatment associated side effects.

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Candida’s Love Of Alkalinity

Candida needs an alkaline or neutral environment in order to change into its fungal form. It even goes so far as to reduce the acidity in your intestines. One of its byproducts is ammonia, an alkaline gas that increases the alkalinity in the area and promotes the growth of other yeasts.

Acid-producing probiotics, such as acidophilus, are able to slow and reverse the overgrowth of Candida. Our digestive systems have naturally evolved to be acidic as a way to prevent this and protect us from pathogens.

| Related: 7 Signs of Candida Overgrowth and Its Treatment |

Our digestive tract is the first line of defense against the pathogens that we ingest each day. Studies have shown that capric and lauric acids are able to kill Candida and could be useful for infection treatments.

The most effective antifungals used against Candida are caprylic and lauric acid, which are both found in coconut oil. Treatment for Candida fungal infections is easier to get than you probably thought.

Probiotics are also great for treating Candida. The reason they are so effective is that they produce lactic and acetic acid. Including probiotic digestive health supplements as part of your daily regimen will keep your intestinal pH balanced and acidity restored to prevent overgrowth of Candida and other yeasts.

Should Anyone Avoid Probiotics A Potential Risk For Immunocompromised People

As you probably know by now, probiotics are good microorganisms that have a mutually beneficial with their host. However, too much of a good thing can be bad in the case of probiotics for certain people.

According to the CDC, examples of persons with weakened immune systems include those with AIDS cancer and transplant patients who are taking certain immunosuppressive drugs and those with inherited diseases that affect the immune system .

If youre immunocompromised you should avoid taking probiotics because there have been documented cases of overgrowth of probiotic bacteria. Youre probably aware if youre immunocompromised, but if youre unsure you should speak with your doctor if youre considering taking probiotics.

The majority of people who take probiotics experience no side effects whatsoever. For those who do experience some side effects, they are relatively harmless and dont last long.

The most common side effects associated with probiotics are the uncomfortable digestive issues such as feeling bloated and having gas. For many of those who report having these symptoms they often say that they go away after taking probiotics for a couple weeks.

So if youre taking probiotics for the first time and want to find out of theyll really help you, its worth powering through any initial discomfort you experience to see if its just your body adjusting to the changes happening in your gut.

Read Also: Gnc Probiotic Complex With Fiber

Probiotics May Reduce The Severity Of Certain Allergies And Eczema

Certain probiotic strains may reduce the severity of eczema in children and infants.

One study found eczema symptoms improved for infants fed probiotic-supplemented milk, compared to infants fed milk without probiotics .

Another study followed children of women who took probiotics during pregnancy. Those children had an 83% lower risk of developing eczema in the first two years of life .

However, the link between probiotics and reduced eczema severity is still weak and more research needs to be done .

Some probiotics may also reduce inflammatory responses in people with milk or dairy allergies. However, the evidence is weak and further studies are needed .

Bottom Line:

Probiotics may reduce the risk and severity of certain allergies, such as eczema in infants. However, more research is needed.

What Are Prebiotics And How Do They Work

Do you know that the probiotics bacterias weight in a ...

Prebiotics are considered by some to be non-digestible carbohydrates, that are not digested by the body but nourish the micro-organisms in the colon. They occur naturally in the diet and are found in foods such as garlic, bananas, oats, onions and leeks. This idea has been criticised by some due to its poor definition and some scientists prefer to use the term ‘microbiota accessible carbohydrates’, as they are fermentable dietary fibre that the microbes can use. However, foods containing prebiotics are also the components of a healthy diet and should therefore be consumed regularly.

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Are There Any Risks Related To Probiotics

Probiotics are generally considered safe. However, there are some risks linked to the supplements. These risks are increased if you have a medical condition that weakens your immune system, have recently had surgery or have other serious medical conditions.

Unlikely, but possible, risks can include:

  • Developing an infection.
  • Developing a resistance to antibiotics.
  • Developing harmful byproducts from the probiotic supplement.

How Long Do Probiotics Take To Work

The time it takes for probiotics to work depends on the probiotic strain being used, the composition of the gut microbiome of the individual and the symptoms the individual is experiencing. Everyone is unique with different gut microbiomes, each as unique as our fingerprints12. Therefore, it can be difficult to predict how quickly an individual will respond to a particular probiotic supplement.

When it comes to specific probiotic strains, each strain has a different effect on the gut microbiome. For example, significant improvements in a range of digestive symptoms were seen within 2 weeks when Bifidobacteria lactis HN019 was supplemented daily13. Other strains such as Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14® and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1® when taken daily have been detected in the vaginal flora 7 days14 after starting probiotic supplementation. However, improvement of symptoms when taking these strains was noted after a month of supplementation15. In contrast to this, Saccharomyces boulardii, the probiotic yeast, has been shown to have beneficial effects quite quickly, notably in one trial, within 3 days16. Find out more on this topic by reading Are all probiotics the same?

Bifidobacteria lactis HN019 can be found in Optibac Every Day MAX.

Healthcare professionals can read more about the research behind Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14®, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1® and Saccharomyces boulardii on the Probiotics Database.

Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Probiotic Supplement To Take Daily

How Should People Take Probiotics

The requirements for a microbe to be considered a probiotic are that the microbe must be alive when administered, it must be documented to have a health benefit, and it must be administered at levels to confer a health benefit. A rule of thumb often cited is to take at least a billion colony forming units daily.

These are live microorganisms that will not provide the promised benefits if they don’t remain alive. The manufacturer and consumer must pay close attention to the conditions of storage at which the particular microorganism will survive and the end of their shelf life. The potency will indicate the number of viable bacteria per dose, and the purity has to do with presence of contaminating or ineffective bacteria.

The other thing to remember is that these microorganisms are not all created equally. In fact, the genus, strain, and species all need to be the same for the results that found in the study to be the results that one hopes to achieve when taking it. For example, with the strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, the genus is Lactobacillus, the species is rhamnosus, and the strain is GG. If any one of those is different in your supplement, you may not attain the same results.

Do Probiotics Have Any Benefit For Generally Healthy People

Enhance Your Immune System to Fight Viruses and Disease with Prebiotics and Probiotics

Probiotic intervention studies have been conducted on healthy or âat-riskâ subjects targeting diverse clinical endpoints. Taken together, these studies suggest that there may be some benefit in free-living, generally healthy people. For example, studies have shown that probiotics can modestly decrease the incidence and duration of common upper respiratory tract infections in children. Some evidence exists for certain probiotics to help manage blood lipids in people with mild hypercholesterolemia . Probiotics can improve lactose digestion in lactose intolerant people, with most evidence showing that lactose consumed in yogurt with live cultures is better tolerated than the same amount of lactose consumed without live cultures . A recent systematic review evaluated the role of probiotics in the management of lower gastrointestinal symptoms . Included studies covered a range of symptoms experienced by healthy subjects or subjects with minor gastrointestinal symptoms. Consensus statements were considered by a panel of 14 experts on behalf of the European Society for Primary Care Gastroenterology. In short, the panel agreed that specific probiotics should be tried or considered for management of several symptoms of IBS, although not all probiotics showed benefit. Observed benefits for IBS may be of modest magnitude, strain-specific and depend on the host physiology, diet and colonising microbiota.

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