Powerful Health Benefits Of Probiotics For Women
What do you think of when you hear the word bacteria?
Maybe your first thought is gross. But when you look at the dozens of studies that analyze bacteria, its proving to be more of a friend than a foe.
In fact, for any average person, there are approximately 100 trillion good bacteria living inside their body at any given moment . This good bacteria encourages a healthy gut and can be found in certain foods, as well as in probiotics, something you can take daily as a supplement.
Should You Start Eating Probiotics
Russian microbiologist Elie Metchnikoff was the first to associate the large amounts of fermented dairy products with the good health and longevity of Bulgarians back in 1907. He proposed that the acid-producing organisms in fermented dairy products could prevent what he called “fouling” in the large intestine. He believed if eaten regularly, these foods could lead to a longer, healthier life. One version of the Old Testament even attributes Abraham’s long life 175 years to the “consumption of sour milk.” Fermented milk products may have also been used to treat illnesses of the digestive tract during Roman times.
The scientific community agrees that there are potential health benefits to eating foods with probiotics. However, more research is needed to solidify the claims. The best we can say right now is they won’t hurt and may help.
Remember that dietary supplements are not tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration like medications. And the probiotic strains in the supplements may not be specific for the condition you’re looking to treat. You may want to consult with a practitioner, like a registered dietitian, who is familiar with probiotics. Always tell your physician what you are doing that may affect your health.
Benefits Of Probiotics For Women
Probiotics may also offer benefits specific to womens health. Research shows that 40-60% of women experience urinary tract infections with some regularity. Probiotics help to strengthen the immune system and fight off bad bacteria, and may help reduce the frequency in which women experience UTIs. Probiotics may also protect women from vaginal yeast infections.
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They May Lead To Uncomfortable Digestive Symptoms
While uncommon, the most frequently reported side effect of taking bacteria-based probiotic supplements is a short-term increase in gas and bloating. Probiotics that are yeast-based can cause constipation and increased thirst as well. These side effects usually go away after a few weeks of continued use of probiotics. If gas or bloating continues for more than two weeks, discontinue taking your probiotic supplement and consult your physician.
Probiotics Help Prevent Diarrhea
It makes sense that a healthy gut = healthy poop. But scientists have found that probiotics specifically reduce your risk of getting the runs.
A 2017 research review suggests that probiotics may prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Since antibiotics kill off bad *and* good bacteria while fighting infections, probiotics top up the good guys. This could potentially help you avoid those extra-urgent trips to the toilet.
Some research has also found that probiotic supplements could put the kibosh on travelers diarrhea.
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Probiotics May Help You Lose Weight And Belly Fat
Researchers have discovered that probiotics may help with weight loss through a number of different mechanisms. Some probiotics prevent the absorption of dietary fat in the intestine. The fat is then excreted through feces rather than stored in the body.Probiotics may also help you store less fat and burn calories faster due to the increase in certain hormones in the body that probiotics may effect.
Protect Against Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotics may be needed to help the body fight infections, but they can disrupt the gut environment. Antibiotics often decrease the variety of good bacteria in the gut, which can reduce their ability to fight against other disease-causing microbes.
Sometimes, harmful bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics which is a real threat to treatment. Some strains of Lactobacillus bacteria have been shown to protect against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus , an infection resistant to several common antibiotics.
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What Has Science Shown About The Effectiveness Of Probiotics For Health Conditions
A great deal of research has been done on probiotics, but much remains to be learned about whether theyâre helpful and safe for various health conditions.
Probiotics have shown promise for a variety of health purposes, including prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea , prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis and in premature infants, treatment of infant colic, treatment of periodontal disease, and induction or maintenance of remission in ulcerative colitis.
However, in most instances, we still donât know which probiotics are helpful and which are not. We also donât know how much of the probiotic people would have to take or who would be most likely to benefit. Even for the conditions that have been studied the most, researchers are still working toward finding the answers to these questions.
The following sections summarize the research on probiotics for some of the conditions for which theyâve been studied.
Vaginal Health And Fertility
Studies have shown that some strains of Lactobacilli, a particular type of probiotic found in most probiotic foods, can be beneficial in treating and preventing vaginal infections. Bacterial vaginosis can be particularly problematic as it can cause pelvic inflammatory diseases and pregnancy complications. A healthy vaginal biome is an important factor for a successful pregnancy and infant health, as studies suggest a babys very first gastrointestinal microbes are seeded to them as they are pushed through the birth canal.
Dean encourages the use of oral probiotics for vaginal health. Probiotics are particularly good for vaginal health as they keep the balance of the vaginal microbiome which can be susceptible to yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis and urogenital infections, she says. There are specific strains that have been researched and used in this area with great beneficial effects.
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Probiotics May Improve Nutrient Absorption
Around 90 percent of nutrient absorption happens in the small intestine, and intestinal microflora play an important role in this process. Probiotics help break down food into nutrients that can enter the bloodstream and be used by the body.
Those who suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohns or any other type of gastrointestinal disorder will often have trouble absorbing nutrients from food. Research now shows that both probiotics and prebiotics can help to improve the absorption of micronutrients, including vitamins and minerals from foods that we eat.
Improve Mood And Reduce Stress
The bacteria in the gut produce neurotransmitters that are your bodys messengers. Neurotransmitters help with sleep, mood, as well as controlling your bladder and heart function. Stress is known to disturb the gut bacteria, which may affect the quantity and function of neurotransmitters.
Probiotic supplements can help repopulate the gut bacteria during and after periods of stress and have been shown to improve mood, sleep, and cognitive function.
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Mushroom Probiotics For Women And Men
Teelixir created Mushroom Probioticsa carefully formulated blend of medicinal mushroom prebiotics and organic superfoods that nourish the gut and support healthy digestion.
The prebiotic components originate from organic lectin-free grainsmillet, hemp, amaranth and quinoa.
Medicinal mushrooms Turkey Tail, Maitake and Shiitake mushrooms are also rich in probiotic fibres and provide anti-microbial, antifungal properties making them bacteriostaticpreventing the overgrowth of dysbiotic bacteria and yeasts.
Mushroom prebiotics feeds the beneficial microbes in our gut, which in turn create nutrients such as Vitamin K and SCFA that repair enterocytes and fuel cellular energy production.
Our unique bio-fermentation process, using fourteen strains of organic bacteria , creates a powerful prebiotic + probiotic whole-food blend.
Mushroom Probiotics benefit men and women by nourishing the existing microbiome and growth of beneficial strains, whilst modulating dysbiotic and unfriendly bacterial strains – helping to support a diverse microbiome alongside a diverse healthy diet.
This potent formula works to balance your gut microbiome, support digestive function, reduce gas and bloating, increase energy levels, boost immunity, lower stress and anxiety, elevate mood and nourish skin healthall in an easy-to-consume daily probiotic powder.
You may also be interested in the gut-supportive benefits of Lion’s Mane mushroom.
Why Are Men’s Probiotic Needs Different To Women
So, how individualized should your probiotics be? Aragona says that men and women often experience different digestive issues, which is another reason they tend to require different probiotics.
The type of probiotic strain being ingested is always dependent on the person, as not one person has the same gut bacteria or microbiome, he says. And the same goes for men’s and womens probiotics. While they offer similar benefits, ultimately, they have been made specifically for their sex. For example, while women more commonly experience greater issues in the lower digestive tracts, such as constipation or IBS, men experience more in the upper gastrointestinal such as acid reflux, and so the needs differ and it is best to stick to the probiotic made for you.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to offer medical advice.
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+ Potential Health Benefits Of Probiotics
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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
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A Pediatric Gi Doctor Explains The Benefits And Side Effects Of Probiotics For Kids
Probiotics are live strains of healthy bacteria that are intended to have health benefits, especially for the digestive system. These supplements are becoming increasingly popular as research suggests that our gut bacteria and microbiome play a larger role in our overall health than we realized.
“Research has shown that these bacteria talk to the brain and our immune system,” says Rinarani Sanghavi, M.D., Director of Neurogastroenterology and GI Motility at Children’s Health and Associate Professor at UT Southwestern. “They may play a huge role in brain development, cognition and mood.”
With all the possible benefits, it’s no wonder parents are increasingly curious about giving probiotics to children. But are these supplements safe for kids and do they really make a difference? Dr. Sanghavi explains.
Choosing The Right Strain Is Crucial
Recent research has ID’d a few different magical microorganisms that may help, depending on your health issue, so make sure you have the right strain:
If you’re healthy and want to stay that way… Shoot for 50 to 100 billion CFUs of a combo of lactobcillus and bifidobacterium. Starting with a large amount of CFUs will either keep you riding high or trigger small but yucky reactions, like gas or nausea. If you notice those, scale back to 50 billion, then 20 bill, until you feel like your usual self. If you have annoying tummy troubles… Allow your predominant symptoms to guide you. Bloated and constipated? Look for lactobacillus acidophilus or lactobacillus casei, which help restore gut flora. Can’t stop going number two? Types with saccharomyces boulardii can ease antibiotic-associated diarrhea and even prevent extreme cases caused by infections.
If you get recurring yeast infections… The itch-meets-ouch infection is caused by an overgrowth of bad bacteria. To “recolonize” your vagina, you want the good bacteria that’s found there: lactobacillus acidophilus.Go the direct route. Use 2 to 5 billion CFUs in an OTC probiotic suppository, or wet an oral capsule to soften, then insert it. Pros suggest doing this every other day at the end of your period (three times total for prevention.
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Is It Just As Good To Take Probiotic Supplements
A lot of probiotic supplements and probiotic foods are marketed to be probiotic-rich but unfortunately, many of those products are unfairly mislabeled.
Sure, companies add probiotic strains in their productsusually in small amountsand use their inclusion as a marketing tactic to make consumers associate that product with being a healthy solution for better microbiome health. However, this isnt always true.
Most probiotics on the market use lab-grown and synthetic bacteria. When a company states they have billions of bacteria in their products thats a sign they are synthetic and made in a laboratory.
While the idea of consuming billions of healthy bacteria in one pill sounds convincing, the reality is this marketing tactic is often misleading to the consumer. Heres why:
Theres no guarantee at the time of purchase that a probiotic product has that same amount of good bacteria it lists on its label.
From the moment most probiotics are manufactured in the lab, they begin to degrade. This bacteria is extremely sensitive and volatile. These probiotic products must be constantly refrigerated to prevent the good bacteria from dying.
Good bacteria are only useful if it remains alive. Synthetic bacteria are also not as strong as naturally fermented probiotic foods.
The purpose of probiotics, therefore, must be to arrive alive in the intestines to perform their necessary function and also be commensal to the gut.
Could You Benefit From A Probiotic Supplement
While there are several potential benefits of probiotics, its important to get educated before you increase your probiotic intake.
When you go to the grocery store, youre likely to see a number of items containing probiotics, these friendly microorganisms that are most commonly bacteria and sometimes a type of yeast.
And thanks to their popularity, you can find everything from probiotic smoothies, chocolate, and granola bars to probiotic supplements and powders.
Though theyve become more prominent over the last two decades, Probiotics have actually been consumed by humans in one form or another for more than 100 years, says Susan Lucak, MD, a gastroenterologist in New York City and a special lecturer at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University.
The two most common types of probiotics found on the market are species of good bacteria called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. While their manufacturers claim that probiotics have a number of overall and digestive health benefits, supplement dosing and the included strains vary widely, and not everyone needs one.
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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.
Certain Probiotics Could Dial Down Ibs And Ibd Symptoms
While theres no cure for inflammatory bowel disease , probiotics may be a treatment option for IBD symptoms.
Some probiotic strains have helped soothe symptoms in folks with mild ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and even necrotizing enterocolitis, a deadly bowel condition in some premature newborns.
It might seem obvious that good gut bacteria could help with gastrointestinal issues. But we need more research to fully understand the *exact* strains of probiotics that could help, how often to take them, and which IBD or IBS symptoms they could prevent.
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