Bacteria are usually rumored for their harmful effects on human health, but there are good bacteria as well that are beneficial for the health of their host. Some microorganisms are necessary for the proper functioning and working of our body. Our system needs microorganisms like probiotics. In this article, we intend to discuss the digestive health benefits of taking probiotics.
Probiotics not only control the disease-causing microorganisms but also play a role in enhancing nutrient absorption and promoting digestion. The source of probiotics is cultured milk and fermented foods. However, you can also get your hands on probiotic supplements.
The popularity of probiotic supplements has significantly increased over the last two decades. Research shows that probiotic supplements are taken by almost 4 million people in the United States. Not all probiotic supplements have the same effectiveness. They vary from each other in terms of the dosing and bacteria stains.
How Can Probiotics Help Digestion?
A lot of research is still going on about the working mechanism of probiotics. Scientists are experimenting with what dosage of probiotics is the most effective one. Still, the major role of probiotics has appeared in balancing the digestive system after the infection.
Probiotics: Food Vs. Supplements
The natural occurrence of probiotics is in fermented dairy, such as milk and yogurt. Probiotics are also found in sauerkraut and fresh kimchi food. It is best to include such items in your diet and get benefitted from the advantages provided by probiotics.
An important thing to remember is that the food containing probiotics is of the best use only when it is cold and unprocessed. The reason is that as soon as the food is heated, it loses the good bacteria.
People with digestive problems can get the most out of probiotic supplements. For example, you have a specific symptom, and you take a probiotic supplement for that. There is a high chance that you might not experience any improvement even after five to six weeks.
In that case, you have to use the supplement of a different brand. Its strain of bacteria will be different from that of the older supplement.
Digestive Issues That May Benefit From Probiotics
Although the most suitable dose of probiotics for each condition has not been determined yet, preliminary research concludes the helpful role of probiotics in dealing with several gastrointestinal issues. Some of these issues with a little description are mentioned as under:
Probiotics help acute diarrhea go by slowing down gastrointestinal contraction.
Research shows that after the use of probiotics, the rate of constipation improvement in elderly people has been up to 40%. The alleviation of constipation results from the decrease in transit time by probiotics. It also makes the stools easier and softer to pass.
Gassiness, Cramping, And Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS)
People with IBS can get their gastrointestinal symptoms relieved if they take probiotic supplements. These symptoms include pain, bloating, cramping, diarrhea and gas.
Probiotics and lactose intolerance have quite a positive relationship with each other. Studies show that the effect of some strains is more than the others.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Both Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease come under IBD. These digestive conditions show the symptoms of pain, bloody stools, and diarrhea. The rebalance of the gut flora from inflammatory to anti-inflammatory is possible with Probiotics. Still, there is a need for more research on which exact Probiotics strains at which dosage can help IBD.
During And After Antibiotics
No matter which antibiotics are taken by the user, the most common side effect is diarrhea. The reason is that both good and bacteria die in the process. Research shows that people taking probiotics with antibiotics have a 50% chance of getting antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
A bacteria, Clostridioides difficile, causes not only a large intestine infection but also diarrhea. As per the current analysis, if you accompany probiotics with the antibiotics, the risk of diarrhea is caused by the C. diff. It is significantly minimized.
As far as the safety of taking probiotics with antibiotics is concerned, it is quite safe for people with a stable immune system. Anyone having a weak immune system cannot take this combination.
How To Use Probiotics For Digestive Health?
The more you consume the probiotics, the more you get its benefits. There are two ways to consume probiotics, food sources, and supplements. Probiotics are contained in a number of traditional foods all around the world.
Examples Of Food Sources Containing Probiotics:
- Greek yogurt
Whenever you start taking probiotics, make sure you start the process slowly. Get awarded on the side effects as well. Probiotics have different strains, and the effect of each of those strains is different as well.
Tips For Taking Probiotics
Slowly Increase CFUs
The daily dosage of probiotics that is recommended by the experts is around 1 billion to 10 billion colony forming units (CFUs). Take a start at 1CFU and increase the dosage in accordance with your body’s response. As far as Kefir is concerned, each of its cups contains 15-20 CFUs. Every probiotic supplement has its CFUs listed on the bottle.
Not everyone is accustomed to taking fermented foods. If it is your first time, go to a highly-rated restaurant and taste the fermented food.
Take At Specific Times In Regards To Meals
An important thing to remember while taking probiotics is that they should be taken before you eat your meal or while you are eating your food. Never take them after your meal.
Try Natural Sources Before Supplements
Taking probiotic supplements is a considerable option, but if you get them from their natural source, it proves more beneficial for you. It’s not just the benefit that is more with the natural food sources; the variety of the strains is also more in them.
Pay Attention To Labels And Quality
The regulation of supplements is not made by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Therefore, one cannot guarantee the quality of probiotic supplements. Users are instructed to read the labels with attention. Make sure you follow the instructions strictly. The brand you pick for the supplements must be trustworthy. Consider reaching out to your doctor for further guidance.