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 .
When Should I Take A Probiotic
Because supplements like probiotics arent regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, each probiotic supplement may come with different directions on dosing and timing. The most important advice is to choose a time youll actually stick to, especially if you have trouble remembering to take pills in the first place. Consistency is the key with taking probiotics if one wants to reap the potential benefits, Dr. Asike says.
While the time of day is ultimately up to you, this expert suggests that probiotics may be most effective if you plan to take them about 30 minutes before a mealand most effective if you take your supplement before breakfast. Probiotics will have a greater effect in your small intestine if you take them before you eat: During a fast or prior to eating, the stomach wont be as acidic and this will allow the probiotic capsule or tablet to be able to make its way into the intestine, he explains.
Adding a probiotic into your routine first thing in the A.M., then, will likely keep your stomach from sabotaging your efforts. Breakfast is usually eaten around the same time daily, and tends to be smaller and more easily digested, Dr. Asike says.
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Benefits Of Taking Probiotics
Not all probiotics are the same. Different strains of the bacteria have different effects. For example, one strain may fight against cavity-causing organisms in our mouths and don’t need to survive a trip through our guts.
Research has been promising for these friendly critters. Potential benefits of probiotics have been seen in the treatment or prevention of
- H. pylori
- vaginal infections
- infection of the digestive tract caused by
- eczema in children.
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Reduce Digestive Disorder Symptoms
Probiotics are a powerful way to support your gut if you have a digestive disorder. Many digestive disorders, such as IBS and leaky gut, go along with a change in your gut microbiome and inflammation in the gut. In many instances, the number of bacteria and the diversity of bacterial species goes down drastically in individuals with digestive disorders.
Probiotic Foods And Drinks Vs Supplements
You can introduce probiotics to your daily regimen by opting for probiotic rich foods and drinks, as well as by taking a probiotic supplement.
There are benefits to adding probiotic foods and drinks to your diet, but more so there are potential issues to consider.
If youre looking for a truly effective digestive and gut health, its best to reach for a multispecies and multistrain, specifically combined probiotic supplement that is tailored to your needs and manufactured in a way that can prevail through the harsh GI tract.
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Can You Take Prebiotics And Probiotics Together
You can eat prebiotic and probiotic foods together or separately, as long as youre eating a variety of both to reap all the benefits.
But combining probiotic foods and prebiotic foods may be the best way to get all the synergistic effects of these beneficial components. The combination is called synbiotic a word that was first coined for use in supplements but is also used for food.
For example, to achieve synbiotic eating, you might eat:
- Beans and pickled veggies
- Jerusalem artichokes with miso
Should You Take Probiotic Supplements
Do you need to take supplements to get all the probiotics your need?
Food Revolution expert Dr. Joel Fuhrman says: If you are in good health and are consuming a healthful plant-based diet you dont necessarily need to take probiotics.
So, if youre eating prebiotic and probiotic foods every day that are good for gut health you may not need a supplement.
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Daily Probiotic Use Is Advantageous
If youre still skeptical long-term probiotic use is helpful, then consider this study2 on the effects of probiotics on womens vaginal health. In the trial, female subjects either consumed the probiotics Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus or consumed a placebo for 14 days. Results indicated that women who consumed the probiotics had higher traces of the two probiotic strains colonizing their vaginal wall. However, seven days after discontinuing the probiotics, the strains were no longer present when swab samples were taken.
This study further lends credence that long-term and daily probiotic use is not only safe but recommended for sustained health. Probiotics, like any other supplement, isnt something you can take once or twice and be hunky dory for life.
How Often You Should Take Probiotics Is Not Clear
Gilmore says there’s no daily recommended dose of probiotics largely because “not all probiotics are the same and there isn’t yet consensus on how much or how often probiotics should be consumed from diet or supplements.”
Similarly, in its guidelines on probiotics and prebiotics, the World Gastroenterology Organisation states: “The dose needed for probiotics varies greatly depending on the strain and product. Although many over-the-counter products deliver in the range of 1-10 billion CFU/dose, some products have been shown to be efficacious at lower levels, while some require substantially more.”
How Popular Are Probiotics
The 2012 National Health Interview Survey showed that about 4 million U.S. adults had used probiotics or prebiotics in the past 30 days. Among adults, probiotics or prebiotics were the third most commonly used dietary supplement other than vitamins and minerals. The use of probiotics by adults quadrupled between 2007 and 2012. The 2012 NHIS also showed that 300,000 children age 4 to 17 had used probiotics or prebiotics in the 30 days before the survey.
More Research Is Needed To Clearly Understand Probiotics
Though researchers dont have the full picture yet, the National Institute of Health says there is evidence to suggest probiotics might be helpful for certain health conditions.
For example, in a review published in Antibiotics, across multiple studies, researchers found that probiotics can help relieve diarrhea caused by taking antibiotics. On average 8% of people who took a probiotic experienced antibiotic-associated diarrhea compared to almost 18% of people who did not take a probiotic.
Two stand-out strains that the researchers found helped were L. rhamnosus GG and S. boulardii.The dosage, however, varied among the different studies ranging anywhere from as little as 106 colony forming units to 1010 CFU taken one to two times a day for one to two weeks straight.
And another review, published in 2014 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that probiotics helped ease constipation in adults, including upping stool frequency and decreasing bloating. When it came to boosting stool frequency, for example, the B. lactis strain seemed to be the most effective, resulting in an additional 1.5 gos weekly.
While this difference was statistically significant, it is a very small effect, if you think about it. And it may be that some people respond better than others, though researchers dont yet know how to identify them.
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Do Probiotics Affect Your Thyroid
In general, the use of probiotics may cause a need to reduce your thyroid medication dosage.
A clinical trial showed that the benefit of probiotics might mean that your thyroid is performing better .
In this study, they compared two groups of around 40 people. For around two months, one group was taking a probiotic, whereas the other was not .
Those on the probiotic group lowered their dosage by four times. The other group, though, had to raise their medication several times.
This is pretty shocking stuff, and encompassed a pretty short timeframe to see such a large shift in each of the patients needs5.
Another clinical trial tracked those who were defined as hypothyroid, tracked for a couple months, and what they found were significant changes in their scores6.
The average changes included:
- Higher fT3
- Lower dose of LT4
Again, this is all pretty promising stuff for those with thyroid disease. Another study showed that probiotics may lower the risk of constipation in those with hypothyroidism7.
There have also been animal studies showing that probiotics can act as immunostimulants. While it may not be a concern, we do see certain versions that can skew lab results8,9.
What Positive Effects To Expect From Giving Probiotics To My Cat
The positive effects you can expect your cat to benefit from the probiotics is a balanced population of gut bacteria that matches the 85:15 friendly vs. bad bacteria ratio.
The right probiotics for cats can help alleviate any intestinal complications such as acute diarrhea and stress-related diarrhea. It may even work to improve diarrhea associated with antibiotics, which pose a risk for cats that already have an unstable gut.
Long-term administration may beneficially improve the immune system, which can tackle chronic diseases.
As you move forward with your choice, your cat will experience fewer clinical signs of digestive upset, such as having a decreased appetite, vomiting, potential of experiencing undesirable stool changes or the development of diarrhea.
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The Abc Of Probiotics
There are a few different strains of beneficial probiotic bacteriathe main ones being Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces boulardii. Lactobacillus can help improve digestive health while Bifidobacterium has been found to reduce inflammation. Saccharomyces boulardii can also help reduce digestive issues and issues associated with antibiotics.
Not every probiotic strain is a quick fix for everything. Its important to talk with your healthcare provider about which particular strain can help with your specific symptoms.
This is because not all probiotics are created equal. In fact, far from it. According to the National Institutes of Health, Probiotics are not all alike. For example, if a specific kind of Lactobacillus helps prevent an illness, that doesnt necessarily mean that another kind of Lactobacillus would have the same effect or that any of the Bifidobacterium probiotics would do the same thing.
The NIH also states, We still dont know which probiotics are helpful and which are not. We also dont know how much of the probiotic people would have to take or who would most likely benefit from taking probiotics. Even for the conditions that have been studied the most, researchers are still working toward finding the answers to these questions.
Other bad bacteria that are linked to diseases include Blastocystis hominis , Giardia , H. pylori , and Proteus mirabilis , among many others.
Probiotics May Help Promote Healthy Weight Loss
For women who want to maintain a healthy weight, probiotics can help. According to a 2016 study published in Nutrition & Metabolism, there are many strains of probiotics that can help suppress body weight gain and support anti-obesity effects. These include the strains Lactobacillus curvatus HY7601, Lactobacillus curvatus HY7601 in combination with Lactobacillus plantarum KY1032 and Pediococcus pentosaceus LP28, among others.
Additionally, the same study found promising effects of probiotics in improving liver function, fat metabolism and insulin resistance in patients with obesity related non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
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How To Take Probiotics
While probiotics are generally considered safe for daily use, its important to read product labels for the appropriate daily dose and follow your healthcare providers recommendation. Remember that more isnt always better and can actually trigger symptoms rather than relieve them.
It is recommended to take probiotics with a meal, as the food you eat also provides the bacteria with the food they need to thrive and reproduce. In addition, having some food can provide a bit of a buffer against stomach acid, helping increase the chances of survival of the live bacteria as it passes through your GI tract.
Finally, trial probiotics for a minimum of 4 weeks, as it can take some time to see benefits.
Alternatives To Probiotics For Aad
If you experience mild to moderate diarrhea while on antibiotics, try changing your eating habits until the symptoms pass. Experts recommend avoiding any fatty or fried foods, which can further loosen your stool. Increase your intake of clear fluids, preferably drinking eight to 10 glasses of water daily, to combat dehydration. As a short-term solution, doctors often suggest the BRAT diet, which stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. Eating more soluble fiber or taking a fiber supplement, such as Metamucil, may be recommended to help bulk up your stool. Be careful to add the fiber slowly or you may also experience gas and bloating from adding too much, too soon.
The obvious alternative to probiotic supplements is fermented foods that contain healthy bacteria. Ballal recommends yogurt with live and active cultures to her pediatric patients. Surawicz recommends kefir, a fermented milk product that contains live bacteria and yeast, to her adult patients. Kefir may cause constipation and cramping, and is not recommended for use in children younger than 1 year of age.
Another good post-antibiotic move: up your intake of foods that naturally contain probiotics, such as the previously mentioned kefir, but also craft-made sauerkraut, kombucha, tempeh and kimchi. In short, make a point to invite lots of the good guys to your gut.
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Are There Any Risks Related To Probiotics
Probiotics are generally considered safe. However, there are some risks linked to the supplements. These risks are increased if you have a medical condition that weakens your immune system, have recently had surgery or have other serious medical conditions.
Unlikely, but possible, risks can include:
- Developing an infection.
- Developing a resistance to antibiotics.
- Developing harmful byproducts from the probiotic supplement.
How To Get The Most From Your Probiotic Supplement
You should know that probiotic supplements dont always work.
In fact, the vast majority of probiotic bacteria are active and effective in the lower portions of the gastrointestinal tract, which means these bacteria must survive your highly acidic stomach environment. So how can you keep the probiotics intact?
In a 2011 study in Beneficial Microbes, researchers looked at whether probiotic supplements were better when swallowed on an empty stomach or with a meal.
The researchers found that probiotic bacteria had the highest rates of survival when taken within 30 minutes before or simultaneously with a meal or drink that contained some fat.
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Should You Take Probiotics
The “good bacteria” may help healthy people but aren’t formally recommended.
Probiotics are “good” bacteria touted to help maintain digestive health and boost the immune system. You can take them in a dietary supplement or get them from food sources, such as yogurt. But should you? They can be helpful in some cases, but we still need more studies to tell us if and when they are safe and effective for older adults.
When Will You Feel Benefits
This varies depending on each persons state of health and the quality of the probiotic supplement. Generally speaking, if you are taking a high-quality probiotic supplement, you will likely feel a positive impact on your digestion in the first few days of taking it. The additional health benefits should become apparent after a few weeks or months.
That said, given the external stressors we are confronted with on a daily basis, it is highly beneficial to add a probiotic supplement to your long term, daily wellness routine. This will rebuild and then maintain your health and vitality from your core.
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Which Are The Best Probiotic Supplements You Can Take Daily
Whats most important here is that youre choosing probiotic strains that are clinically validated you can choose a probiotic with infinite CFUs, and if the strains are generic, theyre not proven to work. And that is what we call a big waste of money. We would also advise looking for probiotics that contain Lactobacillus, Saccharomyces boulardii, or Bifidobacterium, as these are three of the most researched probiotics.
Should Children Eat Probiotic Foods
Some studies suggest that probiotics may be good for children. One study found that children who were given probiotics every day for 3 months were less likely to have respiratory problems and diarrhea than children who were given a placebo.
And while more research is needed, probiotics may reduce childrens risk of developing certain conditions like autoimmune diseases, allergies and asthma.
On the other hand, some researchers note that probiotics may not have much effect on children. Because their microbiome isnt fully developed, probiotics may simply be passed as normal waste.
Probiotics are considered safe for kids with some exceptions, notes Dr. Drass. You should avoid giving your child probiotics if they have a compromised immune system or cancer, or if they are a premature infant. In these cases, probiotics can put them at risk for infections.
In general, its better for kids to get probiotics through foods instead of supplements unless their pediatrician recommends otherwise. Talk to your childs doctor if youre thinking about using probiotics to help your childs digestion because keeping your child safe and healthy is their prime concern.
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Probiotics Can Help Restore The Bodys Bacteria After Antibiotic Use
Antibiotics can wreak havoc on the body, as they destroy bacteria that protects the vagina, as well as other systems. After using antibiotics to treat an illness , lots of women also develop a vaginal yeast infectionwhich is frustrating, itchy, and inconvenient. If this is the case for you, probiotics can help by restoring the good bacteria your body needs.