What Do Probiotics Do
While everyone could benefit from probiotics weve all had bad stomach days! those suffering from digestive disorders may find them especially helpful. Probiotics are thought to play a role in preventing and treating certain conditions, such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohns disease, says Rumsey.
Things To Consider When Buying Probiotics
We recommend that you look at three factors when in the market for a new probiotic.
Probiotic strains are different in all gummies. Some of them include ingredients like sugar and others are free of gluten and dairy products. Some probiotic gummies even contain artificial flavors and colors. However, these might do more harm than good, so better steer clear of them. What’s important is that your research is complete and your intake of bacteria is natural and healthy.
The most effective probiotic supplements include three different types of strains, Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces. Hard on the mouth , arent they? Well, many probiotics have multiple strains of bacteria which is why they are called multistrain probiotics.
These are believed to produce better results. Adults should take probiotics having a minimum of six strains of bacteria. At least one of them should be Lactobacillus and the other should be Bifidobacterium.
Colony Forming Units
Probiotic supplements are quantified in colony forming units which is the number of active bacteria present in a gummy. Ideally, a probiotic supplement should have a minimum 1 billion CFU. Most gummies and supplements have 3 to 5 billion CFUs but they can even exceed to about 50 billion or more.
Which Probiotics Species Are Best
Its difficult for IBS researchers to pinpoint just how effective probiotics are.
This is due to differences in study design, patient populations, probiotics strains and dosages used of previous clinical trials.
Generally speaking, there is emerging evidence that probiotics help to improve overall symptom response and quality of life compared to taking a dummy pill over an 8-10 week period. This goes for all type of IBS .
However, they appear less effective for specifically treating abdominal pain, excessive gas and bloating .
At the 2015 Yale University workshop, two particular probiotic varieties were identified as the best options for IBS :
- Bifantis : a group of bacteria that normally live in the intestines, but specifically the strain 35624. Its reported many people are missing this strain from their gut
- VSL#3: a probiotic mixture of eight strains .
As you can see in the the table here, the strains Lactobacillus plantarum 299V and Bifidobacterium animalis were also rated, although not as highly.
A list of probiotic strains rated for effectiveness in IBS at the 2011 and 2015 Yale University Workshops. Click to enlarge.
Note that recommendations are given as A, B or C ratings. None of the probiotic recommendations for IBS are rated A because more studies are needed first.
Summary: In 2011 Yale university rated Bifidobacterium infantis and VSL#3 as the best probiotics for IBS. Lactobacillus plantarum and Bifidobacterium animalis may also be useful.
Also Check: Best Probiotic For Ibs And Gerd
Best Probiotic For: Constipation Brain Function
B. longum is one of the first types of bacteria to colonize our bodies at birth. These important microorganisms ferment sugars into lactic acid, helping to stabilize the acidity of the GI tract and inhibit growth of harmful bacteria. For a group of adults prone to constipation, taking a mix of B. longum BB536 with milk or yogurt for two weeks increased bowel movements .
B. longum is also one of the species researched for the role of probiotics in the gut brain axis. A report from University College Cork found in a study of healthy men that supplementing with B. longum 1714 caused stress levels to decrease and memory to improve .
Acute Onset Infectious Diarrhea
Several randomized controlled trials have evaluated the use of probiotics in acute infectious diarrhea. The data are largely from pediatric studies where both prevention and treatment were examined. Trials were conducted across the world with durations of up to 1 year. In the pediatric population, rotavirus has been the most common cause of infectious diarrhea. Data suggests that the benefit of probiotics in preventing acute infectious diarrhea is modest., Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG , L. reuteri and L. casei all have shown benefit, with an approximate NNT of 7 children to prevent 1 case of rotavirus in the child care center setting. With the currently available rotavirus vaccine in consideration, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that probiotics for preventing acute infectious diarrhea are not universally endorsed, but acknowledges that they may have a role in special circumstances. According to the US Center for Disease Control, data is not sufficient to support the use of probiotics such as LGG to prevent travelers diarrhea of bacterial origin.
The data supporting treatment of acute infectious diarrhea with probiotics are stronger. LGG is the most effective probiotic reported on to date, reducing both severity and duration of diarrhea by ~1 day., The American Academy of Pediatrics supports the recommendation of LGG early in the course of acute infectious diarrhea to reduce symptom duration.
Recommended Reading: Can Probiotics Get Rid Of Uti
Make Sure Your Probiotics Don’t Go Bad
Always look for the manufacturing date or expiration date, after which the potency on the bottle can no longer be guaranteed. Most probiotics are good for two years from the manufacturing date, but ask the manufacturer if that information is not clear on their website. Many high-quality shelf-stable probiotics exist. These do not require refrigeration. Other formulations do. The label should tell you specifically whether or not to refrigerate.
How We Made Our Selections
To pick the probiotics for this list, I evaluated each brand based on the following factors:
- Brand Reputation: Does the brand have a good reputation in the industry? Are the products made in a certified Good Manufacturing Practices facility?
- Professional Involvement: Are there healthcare professionals involved with the brand?
- Intended Use: Is there research to support using the strains in the probiotic for a specific health condition?
- Supported by Research: Is the brand committed to research? Is the product designed with the latest research in mind?
- Price: Is the price of the product comparable to other similar products?
Taking all of these aspects into consideration, below is a list of product suggestions that match my criteria. The products are organized by specific health concerns.
You May Like: Can Probiotics Help With Flatulence
So Why Take A Regular Probiotic
Many probiotic brands offer various types of probiotics, which have live micro-cultures that help to promote good bacteria in the micro flora of your gut.
The best probiotics supplements are vegetarian and gluten free, and in this list of best probiotic brands you can be assured that only the best probiotic cultures are included in each formula.
Could the best probiotic brand for you be on our list?
Probiotics provide a number of health benefits, and many people are adding them to their diets to gain more nutrition and regularity in their digestive systems.
This list of best probiotic brands makes choosing the most effective probiotic for your household easy.
Read on to see which probiotic is the best for your supplement needs!
Disclaimer: Probiotics are a nutritional supplement and none are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Any and all claims or statements are not evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are made only by the company advertising it.
|Dr. Tobias Deep Immune Optimum Probiotic Brand|
|Nutrition Now PB 8 Vegetarian Probiotics Brand|
|Gaia Source Probiotic Brand 40 Billion|
|Align Daily Probiotics Brand|
|NatureWise Brand Daily Care Time-Release Probiotics|
Choose The Right Types
Scientists give bacteria three names: genus, species, and strain. You’ll see something like “Bifidobacterium longum W11,” where bifidobacterium is the genus, longum is the species, and W11 is the strain.
You can think of it like a first, middle, and last name. You need all three to get it right. This matters because when scientists research how well probiotics work for a health condition, they use very specific types.
When you’re choosing a probiotic, make sure all three names are the ones you’re looking for. Just the same genus and species won’t do. That’d be like settling for some random actor named James Earl Cooper when you really wanted to watch a movie with James Earl Jones.
Don’t Miss: Can I Take Fiber And Probiotics Together
Survivability: Does Your Supplement Survive Stomach Acid
Even ahead of the ingredients, this is probably the most important factor in whether or not a probiotic works.
Anytime you take a probiotic, it has to make a very difficult journey throughout your digestive tract o get o our intestines where they can do some good.
The biggest culprit in destroying probiotics is stomach acid.
And if your probiotics cant survive stomach acid, theyll be dead long before they can start improving your health.
Now, as for what technology companies use to increase the survivability, there are a few options out there.
Some use enteric coated pills, special capsules and even patented systems like Bio-tract .
All of these work in different ways and vary in effectiveness.
As mentioned above, one system, called Bio-tract is actually patented and has had some studies done on it.
It works by forming a protective barrier around the tablet as soon as it gets wet .
You can actually drop one of these special tablets into a glass of water and see the barrier start to form!
This technology isnt the only way to deliver probiotics successfully into the intestines, but its one of the best weve come across.
Adding Probiotics To Your Diet
How do you decide whether to add probiotics to your diet? A first step is to talk with your doctor to make sure theyre right for you. Probiotics are generally considered safe to consume, unless you have a compromised immune system or youre seriously ill. Also, ask your doctor or pharmacist about dosage.
You may want to begin taking probiotics simply by adding some items with natural probiotics to your diet. You may want to keep a diary of what probiotics you introduce, and record over time whether you see any changes in your digestion or overall health. Some easily available food choices are:
If you want to take a probiotic dietary supplement, there are plenty of commercial products to choose from. Look for supplements that have:
- Live cultures: Check the expiration date on the label. To be effective, the probiotic should be live when you take it.
- Multiple bacteria strains: A combination of probiotics is usually more effective than a single one.
- Large enough quantities of bacteria to form colonies: This is measured in colony-forming units called CFUs.
Its important to remember that probiotics are considered to be dietary supplements, which are not regulated by the
Recommended Reading: Ancient Probiotics Men’s Once Daily
How To Choose The Best Probiotic For You
While more research is necessary to fully understand the benefits of different probiotic strains, we do know that not all probiotics are created equal. The Lactobacilli, for instance, live in our digestive, urinary, and genital systems and can be found in some fermented foods like yogurt. Bifidobacteria normally live in the intestines as lactic acid bacteria, and are also found in fermented foods.
According to registered dietitian Alex Caspero, MA, RD, For certain conditions, you want to ensure youre taking the strand that is most likely to benefit you. Heres a simple breakdown to help you determine the best probiotic for you.
Side Effects Related To Probiotics
Most people who use probiotics do not experience side effects, and even if they do, the effects are usually not diverse.
The harmful effects of probiotics can also emerge due to people suffering from chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, liver cirrhosis, high blood pressure, neonates, asthmatic patients, stomach ulcers. These special groups of people should consult with their doctors before using the supplements to know whether they can reduce their dosages to accommodate their conditions.
Supplements could also cause harm if they are consumed after expiry, poor storage conditions that could tamper with the quality of the bacterial strain, such as storing in poorly ventilated areas, storing above or below recommended temperature or in damp areas.
Poorly coated probiotic supplements may also cause more harm than good as viable counts of bacteria, when exposed to a poor environment, tend to die faster than multiply.
According to a CDC review paper, some of these effects may include:
The stomach is temporarily bloating with gas after ingesting the probiotic supplement.
How the bowel constipates, and users get excessive thirst from ingesting yeast-based probiotics.
You May Like: How Do You Know If Probiotics Are Working
Who Should Buy Probiotics
Probiotics are most important for people who may have a disrupted or deficient gut microbiome. Probiotics are commonly recommended following a course of antibiotics, for example.
While antibiotic drugs can be very effective against infectious bacteria, they also lay waste to the healthy bacteria present in your stomach and intestines, paradoxically leaving you vulnerable to health disruptions in the future.
Taking a probiotic supplement after a course of antibiotics can help rectify this imbalance. Probiotics are also very helpful in many people who have intestinal problems like Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, or irritable bowel syndrome .
The mechanisms behind many of these intestinal problems are unknown, but appear to be linked both to your immune system function and your levels of probiotic bacteria.
Not only are gut bacteria populations different between people with intestinal problems and health people, but modifying the gut bacteria in people with irritable bowel syndrome or Crohns disease can lead to improvements in symptoms, which strongly suggests gut bacteria is linked to the problem.
Beyond people with these health problems, there is increasing recognition that even healthy people can have a disrupted gut biome as a result of their diet.
Whats The Best Source Of Probiotics
There are three main sources of probiotics: supplements, yogurts, and fermented foods. Of these three types of probiotics, there are advantages and disadvantages to each.First it is important to understand not all yogurts and fermented foods are probiotics. Only yogurts and fermented foods that have been proven in scientific research to provide a health benefit are probiotics. Many yogurts and fermented foods contain bacterial strains that have not demonstrated a benefit. Additionally, refrigeration to protect the microbial populations may be required.Supplement type probiotics most often come in chewables, powders, or capsules. With these products personal preferences regarding tastes, swallowing pills, convenience, and packaging to protect the CFUs are important. Choosing the product that provides the desired strain is most important in determining the health benefits you can expect.
Recommended Reading: Does Probiotic Yogurt Help You Poop
The Right Type Of Bacteria
Its critical to choose strains that will address your specific problem and have been evaluated for your population group.
As mentioned, probiotics behave in a strain-specific way, so it is important to get the exact strain that has been evaluated for your specific concern.
In the next section, I will provide more details on the strains to choose for each specific health concern.
Which Probiotics Benefit Your Health The Most
Similar to what we just talked about, this is obviously the most important characteristic that all good probiotics share.
Good probiotics just tend to work, and work well in most people.
The list of health issues probiotics seem to help with is enormous.
Everything from gas, indigestion and constipation all the way to energy and the immune system.
If you talk to people, many credit probiotics with aiding in quite a few health concerns.
So when youre trying to find the best probiotics, this is the most important consideration.
You want maximum health benefit in the area youre looking to improve. Its as simple as that.
You May Like: Best Probiotic Yogurt For Ibs
Best Probiotic For: Gi Support Brain Function
Studies show some promising results with L. casei for digestive support and regulating diarrhea. One study on the effect of milk fermented by L. Casei strain DN-114 found that supplementation significantly reduced the incidence of diarrhea .
L. casei also made headlines when a study found it beneficial in relieving anxiety. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study found supplementation with 24 billion units of the L. casei strain Shirota led to a rise in probiotics lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, as well as a significant decrease in symptoms of anxiety and depression .
Now lets take a look at a separate class of probiotics, bifidobacterium.
What Conditions Do Probiotics Help With
Some of the conditions that might be helped by taking probiotics include:
Antibiotic associated diarrhoea
There’s good evidence that taking widely available types of probiotics alongside a course of antibiotics may help reduce the risk of getting diarrhoea.
They may also reduce the likelihood of getting a Clostridium difficile infection, which can have long-term serious consequences.
Successful strains include Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, L. acidophilus , L. caseii and Saccharomyces boulardii .
Probiotics can also reduce the severity and duration of infectious diarrhoea in children.
There’s no consensus on which strains of probiotics helps with IBS.
Irritable bowel syndrome
While there are studies that show some benefit from probiotics in reducing symptoms of IBS, there’s no consensus on which strains or dose.
The symptoms of IBS vary from person to person, so it’s considered unlikely that there’s a one size fits all treatment. That said, they could be worth a try discuss the options with your doctor.
Inflammatory bowel disease
Probiotics may be useful for treating pouchitis, a side effect of bowel surgery for people with ulcerative colitis.
However, the evidence for treatment of ulcerative colitis itself is inconclusive, with some studies suggesting a modest effect. Your doctor may be able to recommend products that could help.
There’s no evidence probiotics are useful for Crohn’s disease.
Eczema and other allergies
Coughs and colds
Recommended Reading: How To Use Probiotics To Lose Weight