How To Make The Most Of Probiotic Supplements
Probiotics are generally simple to take, but like all supplements, they do require following directions for best results. These tips can help you avoid typical pitfalls to get the most out of your probiotics:
What Should Be Considered When Choosing Probiotic Supplements
Once you understood the importance of intestinal flora, you wanted to buy a probiotic product. You go to any pharmacy and approach the aisle and think, Which one should I buy? The question came.
Here are the features that will form the answer to the question and examine before choosing:
- Types of organisms contained in the product,
- Number of organisms found,
- The process of probiotics becoming a product,
- Storage conditions and expiry date.
Lets examine these features.
Beware Of The Internet
If you order products from the internet, make sure you know the company from which you are ordering.
There are scammers out there who are willing to send you fake products labeled as probiotics. At best, the ingredients could be harmless, like garlic powder. At worst, they could be laced with powerful herbs, prescription medications or illegal drugs. Some companies may simply take your money and disappear.
Read Also: What Is The Best Natural Probiotic
Importance Of Microorganisms For Your Gut
The complex community of microorganisms in your gut is called the gut flora, gut microbiota, or gut microbiome .
The gut microbiota includes bacteria, viruses, fungi, archaea, and helminths with bacteria comprising the vast majority. Your gut is home to a complex eco-system of 300500 bacterial species .
Most of the gut flora is found in your colon, or large intestine, which is the last part of your digestive tract.
Surprisingly, the metabolic activities of your gut flora resemble those of an organ. For this reason, some scientists refer to the gut flora as the forgotten organ .
Your gut flora performs many important health functions. It manufactures vitamins, including vitamin K and some of the B vitamins .
It also turns fibers into short-chain fats like butyrate, propionate, and acetate, which feed your gut wall and perform many metabolic functions (
Probiotics and prebiotic fibers can help correct this balance, ensuring that your forgotten organ is functioning optimally .
Your gut flora consists of hundreds of types of microorganisms. These microorganisms perform numerous important bodily functions.
Probiotics are widely researched for their effects on digestive health .
Evidence suggests that probiotic supplements can help cure antibiotic-associated diarrhea .
When people take antibiotics, especially for long periods of time, they often experience diarrhea even long after the infection has been eradicated.
These unknowns include :
How Fermentation Creates Probiotics
For centuries, people have used fermentation to process food, transforming one type of food into another: cucumbers become pickles, milk becomes yogurt, soybeans become miso
As it turns out, fermentation doesnt just preserve food. It also optimizes the foods health potential with beneficial bacteria.
During fermentation, naturally-occurring bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food, creating acid as a byproduct. This generates an environment that supports the growth of enzymes, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and of course, beneficial bacteria. For example:
Lactic Acid Bacteria
Fermentation is sometimes referred to as lacto-fermentation, because the most commonly produced acid is lactic acid. And as a result, the probiotic most often found in fermented foods is lactic acid bacteria or Lactobacillusthe same beneficial bacteria often advertised on probiotic yogurts, for example.
Acetic Acid Bacteria
Fermentation will sometimes produce acetic acid instead, which is associated with the development of vinegars. Kombucha and apple cider vinegar both produce acetic acid as part of their fermentation process. The beneficial bacteria created as a result is Acetobacter, also known as acetic acid bacteria.
Fermentation changes a foods scent and flavor quite a bit. In general, they are a bit stronger and may take some getting used to. Not everyone is going to be a fan of pickles from the first bite!
Also Check: What Is A Good Probiotic Vitamin
Are Some Strains Better Than Others
Many probiotics contain mixtures of two or more individual strains of bacteria or yeasts. They may also contain prebiotics, which are compounds that the probiotics can feed on. If a formula contains both probiotics and prebiotics, it is called a synbiotic.
Products most often contain Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium species, although many other species exist. Different strains of the same species of probiotics can act in different ways, according to some research .
Some people take probiotics for maintaining everyday health. When using a probiotic for a specific health concern, people should speak to a healthcare professional about the best strategy. This is because show that different probiotics and dosages are effective for different conditions and situations.
Read on to learn more about the best probiotics for specific uses.
People can take probiotics in supplement form or in the form of foods and beverages such as yogurt and drinks that have live cultures added to them.
Fermented foods also naturally contain beneficial bacteria. Examples of fermented foods include:
Probiotic manufacturers measure amounts of bacteria in colony-forming units . Supplements can vary, with some commonly having a CFU of billions. Foods with added probiotics often contain lower numbers of bacteria. Generally, people might take higher-CFU products for specific conditions and a lower-CFU product for general health maintenance.
Can Probiotics Be Harmful
- Probiotics have an extensive history of apparently safe use, particularly in healthy people. However, few studies have looked at the safety of probiotics in detail, so thereâs a lack of solid information on the frequency and severity of side effects.
- The risk of harmful effects from probiotics is greater in people with severe illnesses or compromised immune systems. When probiotics are being considered for high-risk individuals, such as premature infants or seriously ill hospital patients, the potential risks of probiotics should be carefully weighed against their benefits.
- Possible harmful effects of probiotics include infections, production of harmful substances by the probiotic microorganisms, and transfer of antibiotic resistance genes from probiotic microorganisms to other microorganisms in the digestive tract.
- Some probiotic products have been reported to contain microorganisms other than those listed on the label. In some instances, these contaminants may pose serious health risks.
You May Like: D Mannose Cranberry With Probiotics
Ora Organic Trust Your Gut Vegan Probiotics With Prebiotics
Ora Organic Trust Your Gut Vegan Probiotics with Prebiotics come in pill form. Each serving contains 8 billion lactobacillus sporogenes and 15 mg of plant-derived calcium.
This product does not contain any additives or fillers so you can be assured that it is safe for your consumption. It also comes in vegetarian capsule form so it is easy to take.
Image courtesy Ora Organic
What You Can Do
Don’t start taking probiotics without talking to your doctor or pharmacist about whether probiotics might help you. People who have immune deficiency or are being treated for cancer should not use probiotics without a doctor’s okay.
The most common species of bacteria used in probiotics are species of Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. The bacteria are usually freeze-dried when you take the supplement, they warm up in your digestive system and become fully active. You can find probiotic supplements in most drugstores and supermarkets. They come as capsules or tablets to swallow and as loose powder to sprinkle on food. You’ll want a product that explicitly states a “sell-by” date. Dosages vary by product, so no general dosing recommendation can be made. However, common dosages for adults range from five billion to 10 billion colony-forming units per day. Take just one dose of probiotics per day.
Some people may experience loose stools in the first few days of taking probiotics, but this goes away. Taking probiotics at the end of a meal may help to reduce the symptoms.
Also Check: Ultimate Flora Probiotic Side Effects
May Improve Symptoms Of Certain Gastrointestinal Diseases
Some of the most well-studied uses of probiotic supplements relate to the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases like irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease .
One review of 11 studies found that 7 of them reported that probiotic supplementation significantly improved symptoms like bloating and abdominal pain in IBS patients, compared with a placebo, while the remaining 4 studies did not find significant improvements.
The review also found that multi-strain probiotics used for at least 8 weeks seemed to be most effective at improving IBS symptoms .
Notably, Lactobacillus acidophilus was present in all of the multi-strain supplement studies that reported significantly improved symptoms .
Multi-strain probiotics may improve some symptoms in those with IBD, though they appear to be less effective for people with Crohns disease.
Evidence is currently limited, and well-designed studies are needed (
While some people, including those with IBS and certain types of IBD, may benefit from specific strains of probiotics, in general, most healthy people who follow a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle do not need to supplement with probiotics.
Plus, some researchers are concerned that the widespread use of probiotics may lead to antibiotic resistance and warn that many studies investigating the safety and efficacy of probiotics are of poor quality .
What To Avoid When Taking Probiotics Or Prebiotics
It has become increasingly clear that the gut microbiota plays a major role in many aspects of human health. Probiotics and prebiotics are often used to help maintain gut microflora balance, but there are some dangers associated with this practice.
Some people who take probiotics or prebiotics experience stomach upset, as well as increased flatulence.
In addition, it is possible for certain types of bacteria to develop resistance to antibiotics if they were taken alongside these supplements.
Finally, those with compromised immune systems should be careful about taking high doses of probiotics which could lead to fungal infections from yeast strains such as Candida albicans or Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
However, if you do not have any medical conditions then probiotics and prebiotics can be a great way to maintain gut health.
Also Check: What Does Probiotics Do For Your Stomach
How Do Probiotics And Prebiotics Work
Prebiotics and probiotics have both been shown to improve digestive health. A study published in the journal Gut found that supplementing with prebiotics for four weeks improved symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome such as bloating, constipation and abdominal pain.
Another study published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics found that patients who supplemented with probiotics for six months had a significant reduction in lactose intolerance.
The human body has a constant battle going on between bad microorganisms and good ones . Your immune system is constantly trying to get rid of any bad guys from attacking or infecting you, and your digestive system is no different.
Microorganisms like Candida yeast and Clostridium difficile can cause serious health problems, so its important to keep those good guys strong
Culturelle Daily Probiotic Digestive Health Capsules
Culturelle Daily Probiotic comes in capsule form. Each serving contains 10 billion lactobacillus sporogenes and 5 mg of plant-derived calcium.
It also helps promote healthy intestinal flora, prevent occasional diarrhea due to antibiotic use or mild cases of irritable bowel syndrome, maintain general well-being, relieve occasional constipation, and improve overall health.
Image courtesy Hyperbiotics
You May Like: C Section Babies And Probiotics
Count The Colony Forming Units
This tells you how much bacteria you’re getting in each dose. How much you need varies with different types and what you want to treat. There’s no general rule to follow. Most doses range from 1 to 10 billion CFUs that you take once or twice a day.
If you don’t get enough CFUs, you might not get the results you want. But more isn’t always better. It could just be a waste of money. To find out what you might need, ask your doctor.
On the label, some makers list CFUs “at time of manufacture.” But it’s important for the CFU count to tell you how much you’re getting when you use the probiotic before it expires. If you’re not sure what the count tells you, get in touch with the maker.
Keep in mind that the CFU listed is usually the total for all probiotic types in the product. If you can find one that lists it for each type, that’s even better.
Additional Conditions Eased Through Probiotics
Constipation and irritable bowel syndrome aren’t the only conditions that can be helped by probiotics. With each ailment, you’ll need to make sure you’re taking the proper dosage, for the right duration, to experience the benefits.
There’s more evidence that lactobacillus is effective for:
- Hayfever. Probiotics can improve the quality of life of those with these types of allergies by 18 percent.
- Diarrhea caused by antibiotics. When you get sick and take antibiotics, you strip your gut of essential bacteria that helps to keep you healthy. So, when you’re taking antibiotics and experience diarrhea due to the change in balance, taking a probiotic can improve these symptoms.
- Eczema. It is improved in children and infants through the administration of probiotics. Giving these supplements to children can prevent them from ever getting eczema in the first place.
- Bacterial vaginosis. Lactobacillus suppositories may be the solution to this, but talk to a doctor first.
- Constipation. It won’t stop right away, but with four to eight weeks of regular dosages, you may find relief from lactobacillus.
- Diabetes. Probiotics have also been found to help reduce the chances of the onset of diabetes during pregnancy.
- Heart disease. This particular strain can be used to reduce your cholesterol levels.
- Ulcerative colitis. Lactobacillus can effect a remission in this condition of the bowels.
You May Like: Best Probiotic For Gas Bloating
Talking To Your Health Care Provider About Probiotics
Probiotics For Males And Females
The effects of probiotics may be different in males and females.
In a 2014 study, researchers gave males and females with obesityLactobacillus rhamnosus. The results suggested that females lost weight and fat during the trial, and that they maintained the loss after study completion. The males in the study, however, did not.
A different study in people with Salmonella infection suggested that the effects of taking Lactobacillus plantarum varied according to sex. Although the study authors saw little evidence that this probiotic can treat Salmonella, they noted how males and females experienced the symptoms and clearance of the infection differently.
Scientists need to conduct more studies to establish whether or not probiotic therapy should be different depending on a persons sex.
shows that people with obesity have lower bacterial diversity.
A small 2019 study found that people following a low calorie diet for 15 weeks had changes in their gut bacteria. They also had a reduction in bacteria associated with atherosclerosis, which occurs when the arteries become clogged with plaque.
The links between weight and gut bacteria could indicate that probiotics may be able to support weight loss.
Some suggest that supplementation with synbiotics, using strains such as Lactobacillus gasseri, cause weight reduction in large independent studies. Adding certain fibers may increase these effects.
Choose The Right Probiotic For Your Health Condition
Not all probiotics are created equal. The combination of strains included in the probiotic supplement plays a critical role in determining its impact on a range of health outcomes.
Each probiotic strain performs a different function. Depending on what the probiotic is trying to accomplish, you will find different strains in the composition. Furthermore, several studies, including this powerful study by Visconti et al., have demonstrated that probiotic strains work in teams for optimal impact.
A high-quality, science-based probiotic supplement will contain strains that are mindfully combined for optimal impact. At OMNi-BiOTiC®, our products are tailored to specific health conditions, rooted in 25 years of microbiome research and clinical studies to demonstrate efficacy. For example, OMNi-BiOTiC® STRESS Release was specifically formulated for individuals with leaky gut and irritable bowel syndrome.
In a clinical study with IBS patients, OMNi-BiOTiC® STRESS Release demonstrated a reduction in symptom severity, improved bacterial diversity in the intestines, and a reduction in Zonulin, the main marker for leaky gut.