Helpful Considerations To Keep In Mind
Before taking probiotics, there are a few things that are helpful to keep in mind.
In general, probiotics are safe. However, they could be dangerous if you have a weakened immune system. Your doctor can help determine which probiotics will help you.
Sometimes it takes time to find a probiotic that is right for you. If you dont experience any benefits from using one product after a few weeks, try something different. Different probiotic products will carry different strains of bacteria, and theyll interact with your body in different ways. Its about finding whats best for you.
Some probiotics can cause gas and bloating and changes to your bowel movements. Those can all be signs that its working, but if you have concerns, dont hesitate to contact your doctor.
Should I Eat Prebiotics If Ive Got Ibs Or Am On The Low Fodmap Diet
Youre right. A lot of foods that are especially high in prebiotics are also especially high in FODMAPs and therefore likely to make you bloated or cause other symptoms. Thats no coincidence, and there is a LOT of overlap between prebiotics and FODMAPs. Prebiotics, as we said, are foods that are fermentable by bacteria in the colon. FODMAP stands for stands for Fermentable, Oligo, Di, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. Find out more about the low FODMAP diet here.
Notice the word fermentable in both of those definitions?! Its the fermentation of these foods by your gut bacteria that leads to gas. In normal people that doesnt cause any problems. However, in people with IBS, they can trigger symptoms because the nerves that line our intestines are overactive. So, normal things like this gas production causes the intestines contents to expand and the wall to stretch. This triggers pain and bloating for us with IBS, as well as changes in gut movements and bowel habits, constipation, diarrhoea or a mix. So, the main premise of the the low FODMAP diet for IBS is limiting fermentable foods.
So, if you have IBS and you start eating lots of prebiotic foods, youre likely to get gas, bloating and lots of digestive problems, because of the FODMAPs. This makes it very confusing and may leave you wondering whether you should be eating prebiotics at all
Dr Jane Varney Dr Ck Yao & Lyndal Collins
People often view probiotics as natural and safe therapeutic agents, but how helpful are they in IBS?
Probiotics are defined as live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. In Australia, there are 100s of varieties available that range in form, from capsules, powders, liquids, and those added to food products, such as yoghurts, fermented milk drinks and fermented foods.
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Which Probiotics Are Best For Ibs
Not sure which probiotic is best for your form of IBS? If you are unsure which type of IBS you have and what probiotic would be best for you, then it would be a good idea to opt for a high-quality daily product containing probiotics supported with clinical trials. My personal favourite strain for IBS is Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 which has been shown to help with:
- Abdominal discomfort
- Loose stools
- Bowel regularity
As you can see the clinical trial shows this is a great all-rounder and would be helpful to support all types of IBS, so ideally you would choose a daily product that has Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 in it.
Healthcare professionals can learn more about Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 on the Probiotics Database.
So, to summarise, the probiotic strains you may wish to consider:
- For IBS-D & post-infectious IBS – Saccharomyces boulardii
- For IBS-C – Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12®
- For IBS-A – Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM®
- For IBS-U – Bifidobacterium lactis HN019
Please note: if you are struggling with IBS, we advise you to seek advice and assistance from your healthcare practitioner in all instances.
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Which Probiotic To Take
In the highly variable world of IBS symptoms, what helps one person may have no effect for another. While researchers are very focused on this aspect of gut health, what we dont know is still far more than what we do know.
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How To Get Started With Probiotics
While these research studies show promise, please do not start any dietary supplements before first speaking with your healthcare team. Probiotic supplements are not appropriate for everyone with IBS and, like all supplements, should be used with caution. If you want to give probiotics a try, your healthcare provider can help you navigate the variety of options out there and ensure you are making the right choice for your health!
How Much Will Probiotics Help My Ibs
Probiotics are promising for symptom relief in IBS, however, its important to remember that IBS is multi-faceted and therefore not all people will have the same results. Like all things, take time to consider the cost versus benefit. If probiotic supplementation does not provide any symptom relief, further supplementation is not warranted.
The bottom line on probiotic supplementation is that they are not a cure. Instead, they should be used alongside IBS management strategies, like diet changes, sleep, medication, exercise and stress management. Working with a dietitian or physician trained in IBS can help determine which management strategies will be best for you!
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Choosing The Best Probiotics For Ibs
Probiotic manufacturing is not highly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and some label claims do not stand up to scrutiny. In one study of 26 commercial probiotics, none fully supported their label claims, and some of them contained unacceptable microorganisms.
You dont need to purchase the most expensive probiotic supplements, but you should be wary of quality. Here are some tips for choosing high-quality probiotic supplements.
Choose Probiotic Supplements With:
- A clearly stated list of species
- A clearly stated number of colony-forming units in the billions
- A manufacture date and/or expiration date
- Labeled free of common allergens and other substances you may wish to avoid
- Good Manufacturing Practices certification
- Lab-verified for probiotic species and potency by third-party analysis
Nhs Recommends Probiotics For Ibs
The NHS includes the use of probiotics as part of tips recommended to help relieve IBS symptoms23.
This is a big milestone in the world of probiotics because, although probiotics are routinely prescribed in many European hospitals, it wasnt always part of the NHS recommendations. The NICE guidelines , which provides evidence-based guidelines/framework that many medical and health care professionals work within, now recommends that probiotics can be used for at least 4 weeks for managing IBS related symptoms24.
The NHS website states that: “Probiotics may help reduce bloating and flatulence in some people with IBS.”
The inclusion of probiotics for IBS relief was due to the result of a systematic review by Moayyedi et al., published in 2010, which concluded that probiotics were effective in the management of IBS25.
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Side Effects And Safety
Probiotic products may worsen or cause symptoms in some people, whether they have IBS or not. Temporary gas and bloating are sometimes reported in the first few weeks people try taking a probiotic. Depending on the ingredients, probiotics may cause symptoms, side effects, or reactions in people with other medical conditions or food allergies.
While there’s no guarantee they will help, most people don’t experience any serious side effects from taking probiotics. However, if you’re concerned about the safety of a product, you’ll need to check with the manufacturer.
Companies usually test their products for safety and effectiveness before they hit store shelves, but probiotic supplements aren’t consistently regulated in the United States.
A lack of regulation means that probiotic products don’t need to be approved by the FDA before they can be sold, while others do .
Probiotic supplements may not cause side effects for most healthy people, but that doesn’t mean they’re suitable for everyone. If you have certain health conditions, food allergies, or a weakened immune system, your healthcare provider might advise against taking probiotics.
Probiotics And Ibs Symptoms: What You Should Know
If you have irritable bowel syndrome , you probably have to deal with friends, family, and even complete strangers constantly sharing the latest IBS cure they saw on the internet. While their advice is usually well-meaning, theres a good chance that the cleanse being touted by Influencer X is utterly useless or even dangerous. This is why its so important to proceed with caution when it comes to natural remedies for digestive conditions.
One area of natural medicine thats particularly difficult to navigate is dietary supplements. Its essential to discuss your options with your healthcare team before starting any supplements. You should also consider working with a practitioner who has experience with dietary supplements, such as a registered dietitian.
While there are many digestive support supplements that could be beneficial for those with IBS, probiotic supplements are the most widely-researched and are going to be the focus of this article.
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Saccharomyces Boulardii And Saccharomyces Cerevisiae
Saccharomyces is a type of non-pathogenic yeast.
The two main species used as probiotics are Saccharomyces boulardii and Saccharomyces cerevisiae .
Research indicates that Saccharomyces boulardii is an effective treatment for antibiotic-associated diarrhea and travellers diarrhea. However, the evidence for its use in IBS or IBD treatment is still in its infancy and is not recommended over the strains mentioned above .
I only found one human clinical trial investigating Saccharomyces cerevisiae on IBS patients.
In this study 86 patients took Saccharomyces cerevisiae for 8 weeks while the other 93 patients took a placebo pill. Results showed that 63% of the probiotic group reported an improvement in abdominal pain vs 47% in the placebo group in the last 4 weeks of treatment. Not exactly an overwhelming result .
There were no other differences between the groups, indicating that Saccharomyces cerevisiae is not very effective.
Summary: Kijimea is a popular probiotic supplement that is easily available on Amazon. Only one human trial has found it to be effective compared to placebo pills. Saccharomyces boulardii appears effective for treating certain types of diarrhea, but not so much for IBS. Saccharomyces cerevisiae does not seem very useful for IBS.
The 3 Best Probiotics For Ibs
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Before adding anything new to your supplement routine you should check with your healthcare professional. But if your doctor decides that probiotics are right for you, the best probiotics for IBS could help alleviate uncomfortable symptoms that you may be struggling with.
Along with a “probiotic rich-diet,” Dr. Smith explains, probiotics can help alleviate several uncomfortable IBS symptoms, like gas, bloating, and constipation as, “Probiotics appear to help rebalance the gut’s bacterial environment or microflora which can alleviate some of the symptoms.â
Dr. Smith’s recommendation is a probiotic supplement with eight or more strains where Dr. Pedre advises looking for a multi-strain probiotic with upwards of five strains though he qualifies this isn’t a requirement for probiotics to relieve or resolve IBS symptoms.
Probiotics can be a great dietary supplement since they support beneficial gut bacteria growth, but again you should always consult medical advice before introducing any supplement into your diet or IBS management regimen, as their effects on IBS symptoms may vary.
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Do Probiotics Help With Constipation
A study using two different multi-strain probiotics – one containing L. acidophilus and L. reuteri, and another containing L. plantarum, L rhamnosus, and L. lactis – found that they improved the main symptoms of IBS-C:
- Abdominal cramps
Other studies indicate that lactic acid bacteria, which include probiotic species and strains of Lactobacillus, may alleviate constipation, but the results of 42 trials reporting positive results were inconsistent.
Another probiotic strain which is good at giving the bowels a good shift in IBS-C is Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12. According to a 2015 clinical trial, makes stools less hard and lumpy, easier to pass, and supports good general gut health.
TIPIf you want to find out the composition of your own gut microbiome, you need an Atlas Biomed Microbiome Test
Species Of Bacteria In Probiotics
The type of probiotic youre consuming is just as important, if not more important, than the way in which youre consuming it. There are two main species of bacteria found in most healthy probiotics and a few less common species. Each species consists of several strains of bacteria that have different benefits. The two essential bacteria species most commonly consumed are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Lactobacillus Lactobacillus is the predominant bacteria located in the small intestine. The Lactobacillus bacteria produce an enzyme called lactase, which is necessary for breaking down lactose, the sugar found in milk and milk products. These beneficial bacteria also produce lactic acid which helps to control the growth of potentially harmful bacteria.
Lactic acid is made by the process of fermenting carbohydrates in the digestive tract. This process creates an environment that is slightly acidic, discouraging the growth of bacteria that prefers alkaline environments. The presence of lactic acid in the digestive system also helps the body to absorb essential nutrients like calcium and iron and provides support for strong muscles.
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Benefits Of Probiotics For Ibs
There are currently no officially approved health claims for probiotics to date. This means that official guidelines for IBS management are currently unable to make recommendations on specific probiotics.
This does not mean that you definitely wont benefit from one the research is there. It just isnt considered strong enough by some organisations to make sweeping recommendations .
The current British Society of Gastroenterology guidelines 2021 recommend that probiotics can be trialled as a first line management for IBS .
But you need to be cautious when choosing a probiotic as not every probiotic will be specific to what you need for your symptoms.
Probiotics have been shown to reduce the following symptoms of IBS:
- Pain and discomfort
Another interesting use of probiotics for IBS is on the low FODMAP diet. This diet has been shown to reduce levels of bifidobacteria but the use of probiotics prevents this .
Probiotics can also be used when taking a course of antibiotics to prevent antibiotic-related diarrhoea . This decreases the risk of post-infectious IBS.
How Probiotics For Ibs Can Fight Digestive Problems
Probiotics can effectively treat the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome unless you also suffer from small intestine bacterial overgrowth . If you have SIBO, probiotics may worsen your digestive discomfort.
If you test negative for SIBO, probiotics are an excellent treatment option for IBS. Probiotics repopulate the colonies of beneficial bacteria in your lower digestive system and lead to a healthier microbiome.
Which probiotics should I take for IBS?Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the best probiotic strains to take for IBS. Look for a probiotic brand made in the United States if possible, as the regulations are more stringent.
Read on to find out how probiotics can help treat IBS, what health benefits probiotics possess, and when not to take probiotics.
Find more help on our IBS page, where we talk about red flags, long-term complications, and patient success stories.
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How Change In The Gut Flora Aggravates Ibs Symptoms
The symptoms of IBS have been linked to specific changes in the gut flora. For instance, people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome have lower amounts of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus in their guts, as well as having higher levels of harmful Clostridium, E.coli, and Streptococcus.
Furthermore, up to 84 percent of Irritable Bowel Syndrome patients experience the overgrowth of bacteria in their small intestines, which can cause a lot of common IBS symptoms.
Nevertheless, whether or not Irritable Bowel Syndrome is responsible for this change or a result of it is unknown. Moreover, there are certain medications that are used to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms that can damage the healthy bacteria that lives in the gut.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms can be influenced by changes in the gut flora through changing digestive mobility, lowering immune function, increasing sensitivity to gas in the intestine, and increasing inflammation some of which can be countered with probiotics.It is important though to read the labels, look into the ingredients and probiotic strains used and then make a decision on the type of probiotic that is best suited to the IBS symptoms you experience.
How Do Probiotics Help With Bloating
Gut bacteria play a key role in the digestion of fibre, releasing gases as they do so. This can leave you feeling bloated and in pain and discomfort.
Probiotics therefore may help relieve your bloating due to restoring the good bacteria in your gut microbiome. This can result in changes such as changes in the fermentation and those listed above .
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Probiotics In Irritable Bowel Syndrome: An Up
1Centre for Nutrition, Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Bergen, 5009 Bergen, Norway
2Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, 5021 Bergen, Norway
3National Centre of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, Haukeland University Hospital, 5021 Bergen, Norway
What To Look For
While the evidence is limited, studies have indicated that certain strains of bacteria may influence IBS symptoms in some people with the condition.
Researchers don’t yet know which strains are the most helpful for IBS, therefore probiotic supplements often combine more than one. These products may also include fiber and prebiotics .
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