What Are The Benefits Of Probiotics
Studies suggest that certain probiotics can help in certain contexts. But you will need to do your research. We can help.
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Walk into a health food store, or even a drugstore, and youre likely to find an entire aisle, maybe two, dedicated to probiotics. Probiotics are live micro-organisms, usually bacteria, that provide health benefits when consumed at appropriate doses.
According to some surveys, approximately four million Americans take probiotics, which are available as pills, powders, foods and drinks. Probiotics are a huge industry at least a $40 billion dollar one, according to Zion Market Research and popular brands sell for 35 cents to $1 a dose, with a shelf life of several months.
Proponents argue that they improve the composition of the gut microbiome, which is involved in many aspects of health including immunity, metabolism and mood.
Framed this way, probiotics may seem like a no-brainer. But before you reach for your wallet, keep in mind that while many scientists and doctors believe that probiotics have promise, they also say that a lot of products on the market dont live up to the hype.
The current evidence does not convince me to recommend probiotics for any of my healthy patients, said Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and an internist at Cambridge Health Alliance.
Mistake #: You Stop Taking Probiotics When You Take Antibiotics
One of the biggest misconceptions is that you should wait until your antibiotics are finished before you take probiotics, says registered dietitian Desiree Nielsen, author of Un-Junk Your Diet: How to Shop, Cook and Eat to Fight Inflammation and Feel Better, Forever. People think that antibiotics will kill probiotics, which is true, but probiotics can ease the side effects of antibiotics . The key to survival is when you take probiotics: wait two hours after your antibiotic dose so the antibiotic can move through your system and give probiotics a fighting chance. In addition, continue the probiotics for a time after your antibiotics are finished to ensure that their effects are out of your system.
So What Do You Do To Get Rid Of Harmful Bacteria
You take an oral supplement. There are a variety of different ones on the market today. Many of them are just as effective as some of the probiotics that you can get in the grocery store, but they are less expensive.
Plus, when you buy an oral supplement, the probiotics that were in them are destroyed.
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You’ll Have An Easier Time Maintaining A Healthy Weight
If you’re trying to slim down, taking probiotics isn’t a bad idea. While experts agree these supplements are certainly not a “magic bullet” for weight loss, they can aid in your efforts.
“Certain probiotic strains help boost muscle mass and strength, while also supporting healthy weight management and exercise recovery through several different mechanisms,” explains Dr. Axe. “Probiotics seem to support a healthy body weight and body composition in several ways, including by improving insulin sensitivity, decreasing autoimmune response found in people with diabetes, helping to regulate one’s appetite, supporting absorption of nutrients that help fuel muscles and organs, and supporting liver and kidney health which are needed for detoxification, and regulating fat storage.”
According to Dr. Axe, certain probiotics can actually inhibit the absorption of dietary fat and increase the amount of fat excreted in bowel movements.
There’s an ever-increasing amount of research to support this. For example, a 2013 study found that when women who were dieting took a probiotic supplement, they shed more pounds than women who took a placebo pilland continued to lose more weight after they finished their diet. Another 2013 study found that when people drank fermented milk products with Lactobacillus gasseri bacteria, they lost 8.2 8.5% of their belly fat over the course of 12 weeks.
Don’t forget to skim through the 18 Best Probiotic Products For Gut Health.
Probiotics For Women: What Are The Benefits
A gut health expert explains why probiotics for women are important
Consuming probiotics can be beneficial for most people, but probiotics for women may hold a special importance.
Women are two to six times more likely to experience irritable bowel syndrome than men, with inflammatory bowel disease being diagnosed at a rate of 2:1 in women compared with men. With this in mind, it may be more pressing for women to worry about their gut health and do everything they can to keep their internal microbiome diverse and functioning well.
As well as the gut microbiome we all have, women have a vaginal microbiome, which also requires a delicate balance to remain healthy and functioning properly. Some probiotics are specifically designed to support vaginal health and fertility, as well as general immunity and gut health.
Read on to find out everything you know about probiotics, and their particular importance for women. And if you’re more interested to know how probiotics can affect men’s health, read about the six benefits of probiotics for men. Plus, if you’re looking for extra dietary support, check out our guide to the best protein powder for women, to help you build lean muscle and maintain a healthy weight.
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How Probiotics Might Be Bad For You
Because these good bacteria already exist in the body, theyâre considered safe for most people. But there are some things to consider.
They can trigger an allergic reaction. They might cause mild stomach problems, especially the first few days you start taking them. You might have stomach upset, gas, diarrhea, or bloating. Those symptoms usually go away after your body gets used to them.
If you have an immune system problem or another serious health condition, you may have a greater chance of issues. Some reports have linked probiotics to serious infections and other side effects. The people most likely to have trouble are those with immune system problems, people who’ve had surgery, and others who are critically ill. Don’t take probiotics if you have any of those issues.
Always talk to your pediatrician before giving probiotic supplements to your child. If you’re pregnant or nursing, you should also talk to your doctor before you try one.
Most probiotics in the U.S. are sold as dietary supplements. That means the companies that make them don’t have to test their products and show that they work or that they are safe. More research is needed to confirm that probiotics are safe and effective.
Ask your doctor which probiotics are the right ones for you. Be sure to stop taking them if you have any problems.
Can I Use Probiotics To Help With Medical Conditions
There is currently a large amount of research happening around the idea of what probiotics can do for your body. Even though there are a lot of possibly positive outcomes, researchers are still working to find definitive answers about how probiotics can help with various conditions.
However, there are some medical conditions where probiotics may help. This can vary between people meaning that what works for one person may not work for another. These can also vary based on the certain probiotic that is taken.
Some of the conditions that might be helped by increasing the amount of probiotics in your body include:
- Upper respiratory infections .
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Reasons You Should Take Probiotics
Nutritional Supplements, Probiotics
Taking a probiotic supplement is one of the best things you can do for your body. The special microorganisms that we call beneficial bacteria dwell in your gut where they help maintain a healthful, balanced environment that is critical for overall health.
Although you can get probiotics from fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimcheeand you should enjoy these foodsmany men find that taking a high-quality probiotic supplement makes the most sense.
Now, I usually recommend whole foods for better health. So why in this case do I recommend a supplement?
One major reason is because youll know you are getting large amounts of many different beneficial bacteria. Another is because the prebiotic benefit you get from selected foods, though helpful because it feeds the bacteria you have, doesnt provide a sufficient amount of active bacteria, nor the varieties that your body and mind need, for optimal function and well-being.
Also, if the foods have been pasteurized or processed, the likelihood of getting a viable prebiotic effect is even less.
Probiotic supplements, or just probiotics, isnt just one kind of bacteria Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the primary types, with many different species within each genus and many strains in each species. You want to ingest a variety of probiotics because different strains provide different health benefits.
How To Use Prebiotics Safely
Try to get prebiotics from whole foods since they also have healthy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some experts say you should get at least 5 grams of prebiotics in your diet every day. Too much can lead to gas or bloating. Start with small amounts so your gut can get used to them.
Although side effects are rare, prebiotics arenât for everyone. If you have IBS, prebiotics can make your symptoms worse, and you could have:
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Learning About The Microbiome
The community of microorganisms that lives on us and in us is called the âmicrobiome,â and itâs a hot topic for research. The Human Microbiome Project, supported by the National Institutes of Health from 2007 to 2016, played a key role in this research by mapping the normal bacteria that live in and on the healthy human body. With this understanding of a normal microbiome as the basis, researchers around the world, including many supported by NIH, are now exploring the links between changes in the microbiome and various diseases. Theyâre also developing new therapeutic approaches designed to modify the microbiome to treat disease and support health.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is among the many agencies funding research on the microbiome. Researchers supported by NCCIH are studying the interactions between components of food and microorganisms in the digestive tract. The focus is on the ways in which diet-microbiome interactions may lead to the production of substances with beneficial health effects.
You Might Have More Energy
Not only might your mood get a lift from taking probiotics, but Dr. Axe notes that you may also find you have increased energy and less fatigue.
“Probiotics play a role in neurotransmitter production, including serotonin, which has mood-boosting and calming/sleep-promoting effects,” he explains. “Some also contribute to cognitive health by helping to facilitate a healthy inflammation response and supporting nutrient absorption, which helps fuel normal brain activity.”
Research has revealed that chronic fatigue syndrome is linked to an imbalance in the microbiomewhich can cause “leaky gut syndrome.” Basically, this means that bacteria enter the blood, triggering an immune response. Fortunately, research has also proven that taking probiotics may be useful for restoring balance to the microbiome and thus, alleviating fatigue and other symptoms.
You can also get a good amount of probiotics in your diet when you incorporate these 14 Probiotic Foods for a Healthy Gut into your meals!
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When To Take Your Probiotics
After you eat, your stomachs pH rises to about a four, which is much less acidic and easier for probiotics to survive, so its best to take your probiotics alongside a meal, says Friedman. By consuming your probiotic with food, you provide a buffering system for the supplement and ensure its safe passage through the digestive tract, he says. Plus, aside from protection, food also provides your probiotic with the proper nourishment it needs to survive, grow, and multiply once in your gut.
A study published in the journal Beneficial Microbes found that probiotics taken with a mealor even within 30 minutes of eating somethingsurvived in much higher numbers than those taken 30 minutes after a meal. You see, about a half hour after you eat, the pH of your stomach once again becomes more acidic .
The study also noted that probiotics taken with food containing healthy fats had the greatest survival rates, so the authors recommend the meal you take your probiotics with contain some fat.
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Surprising Reasons You Should Take A Daily Probiotic
By now youve probably heard of the microbiome, the community of trillions of microorganisms that live inside and on your body. But did you know that microbes are so fundamental to life that they outnumber human cells by about 10 to 1?
Our microbiome is full of all kinds of microbes, both good and bad. When our microbiome is balanced, the good guys work hard to keep us vibrant and healthy. However, when too many of the bad guys are hanging around, the good bacteria lose their footing and cant do their jobs properly.
The good news is that we can swing the balance of the microbes in our microbiome in favor of the good guys by consuming probiotics, or beneficial bacteria. Probiotics work to replenish the beneficial bacteria in our body and provide a myriad of important, supportive health benefits.
Here are the top 10 reasons why taking a daily probiotic supplement is one of the best things you can do to support your overall health and wellness. Probiotics for Women and Probiotics for Men are a great start toward overall wellness.
1. Encourage a balanced microbiome
From modern diets filled with sugar and additives to exposure to antibiotics in both medicine and food, your lifestyle can wreak havoc on your bodys delicate balance of bacteria. Even aging, stress, environmental toxins, and medications can have indiscriminate effects on your healthy microflora balance.
2. Support immune function
3. Support nutrient absorption
4. Maintain your mood
6. Freshen breath
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Next Steps To Take If You’re Considering Probiotic Treatments
If you’re looking for where probiotic research stands on specific conditions, like acne or UTIs nothing conclusive on either of those topics as well as the limits of certain studies the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website provides an informative breakdown.
The bottom line is that you should discuss your best course of action with a doctor or registered dietitian especially “if you are considering starting a probiotic to treat a specific illness, have a chronic disease or if you are immunosuppressed,” Gilmore says.
Is It Safe To Take Probiotics Every Day
Probiotics have repeatedly been shown to be safe for healthy adults and can be taken daily. However, some people should avoid taking probiotics, including those with a severely weakened immune system due to an illness. You can talk to your doctor before starting a probiotic supplement.
Scientific research has looked at the daily use of probiotics, and many studies show that taking probiotics every day can help with a variety of health concerns.
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Should You Take A Daily Probiotic Supplement
Probiotics are good for your gut, but the source matters.
Theres a lot of buzz around probiotics. Theyre endorsed by celebrities and fill grocery stores aisles.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that promote a healthy gut. Scientists believe they could unlock a deeper understanding of our health. Probiotics are found in some foods and drinks, like yogurt or fermented tea.
Just like vitamins, probiotics are available as supplements. Manufacturers make steep claims about their benefits. They include digestive health, strengthened immune system, weight loss and reduced cancer risk. But can a supplement really do all that?
To learn more about probiotic supplements, we spoke with Carrie Daniel- MacDougall, Ph.D., M.P.H., a nutritional epidemiologist at MD Anderson who studies diet and the microbiome.
Heres what you should know about probiotic supplements.
Its always better to get nutrients from food. That includes probiotics.
More research needs to be done on probiotics in general and probiotic supplements, but its always better to get your nutrients from food rather than supplements, Daniel-MacDougall says. They just dont deliver the same benefits as food.
One reason is because supplements arent regulated as closely as medications. So the quality and ingredients can vary greatly from product to product.
Unless your doctor is prescribing probiotics for a specific purpose, stick to getting them from foods like yogurt that may have other nutrients, like calcium.
What Is The Best Time To Take Probiotics
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Research shows the best time to take a probiotic is first thing in the morning before eating breakfast or before going to sleep at night. Probiotics are most effective when taken on an empty stomach. Taking probiotics at least 30 minutes before a meal will reduce the time it takes for the good bacteria to get to your gut.
Probiotics are dietary supplements containing beneficial bacteria naturally occurring in your intestinal tract.
Environmental factors such as stress, processed food, chemicals in our water and food, pollution, radiation, and certain medications can negatively impact the diversity and number of good bacteria in your gut.
Probiotic dietary supplements aim to maintain and restore the natural diversity of your gut bacteria.
When you take your probiotic matters. Consistency is key according to Breanna Woods, MS, RDN, a registered dietician with Omni-Biotic USA.
For optimal health benefits of probiotics, it is best to take your supplement daily. Establishing a routine around when to take your probiotic can make it easier to remember.
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