So What Are Prebiotics
Prebiotics are compounds that help beneficial gut microorganisms grow and survive.
Prebiotic foods contain complex carbohydrates that cant be digested and dietary fibres that resist digestive processes in the stomach and small intestine.
They pass undigested into the large bowel where they are fermented by the healthy good bacteria.
To be called a prebiotic, they need to undergo the processes above, and be shown in clinical trials to selectively improve the microorganism composition in the gut.
Not all dietary fibres are prebiotic. Common ones include complex carbohydrates called fructo-oligosaccharides, inulin and resistant starch.
You can find foods at the supermarket with added prebiotics, but non-digestible carbohydrates occur naturally in many everyday foods, including:
grains: barley, rye bread, rye crackers, pasta, gnocchi, couscous, wheat bran, wheat bread, oats
legumes: chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, baked beans, soybeans
vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, chicory, fennel bulb, garlic, green peas, leek, onion, shallots, spring onion, snow peas, sweetcorn, savoy cabbage
fruit: nectarines, white peaches, persimmon, tamarillo, watermelon, rambutan, grapefruit, pomegranate, dates, figs
nuts: cashews, pistachios.
Additional sources of resistant starch include under-ripe bananas, cooked and cooled rice, cornflour, cooked and cooled potatoes.
For babies, breast milk is naturally rich in oligosaccharides.
Mistake #: You Store Probiotics In Your Medicine Cabinet
The bathroom medicine cabinet can have fluctuating temperature changes, which will affect moisture in the air, and can compromise the quality of your probiotics.
Its important to note that there are a few ways to take probiotics. While one is in food , you can also take probiotic supplements. They are available in refrigerated or dry formulas. The latter can be kept at room temperatures. Foods and refrigerated supplements must be kept in a cool fridge to keep the bacteria alive. For dry probiotic supplements, check the packaging on how to store them, but generally they must be kept in a dry, dark place thats free of moisture. However, some probiotic capsules are better kept in the fridge, says BioK scientific director Mathieu Millette, PhD, Mcb. A., RMCCM. Check the instructions on the package to ensure youre storing them properly.
Looking At Yogurt Benefits
Yogurt has plenty of benefits. For one, it’s a good source of protein. In the case of Greek yogurt that’s been strained so it’s thicker, USDA data shows one cup of nonfat plain contains 23 grams of protein, compared to just 13 in regular yogurt.
Additionally, probiotic blends may benefit digestive health. Most yogurt has been pasteurized with heat to kill bacteria, but this kills the good bacteria, too. To make sure you’re getting probiotics, look at the label for “live, active cultures.”
While it’s tempting to say all yogurt is healthy, the reality is many yogurt benefits are lost once it has been flavored with artificial ingredients or has a ton of sugar added to it. Your best bet is to stick with plain flavors, adding your own fruit for sweetness and flavor. Pay close attention to the nutrition facts because each brand may have its own sugar content, even in plain flavors.
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There Is No Way To Know What Dose You Are Taking
The probiotic supplement market is relatively unregulated, so it’s hard to know how many CFUs we actually are consuming when we take probiotics in pill form. Moreover, it’s difficult to know if the organisms in those probiotics are even still alive and capable of doing their job, or if they’re dead and useless. Even if the bacteria are alive, there’s a question about whether they can survive once inside your gut.
If you are getting your probiotics from foods like store-bought yogurt, there are also very few ways to be sure that you are consuming a significant dose of good bacteria. The conditions that the yogurt is stored in down the supply-chain, the temperature of your refrigerator, and the strain of probiotic that the yogurt contains all have a significant effect on the dosage of CFU. Many of the beneficial microbes could have perished before you consume the yogurt.
Can I Take Or Eat Something To Increase The Good Probiotics In My Body
You can increase the amount of good microbes in your body through foods, drinks and supplements. You may already have certain foods in your daily diet that contain probiotics. Fermented foods in particular are home to a host of good bacteria that benefit your body. There are also fermented drinks like kombucha or kefir that introduce extra probiotics into your diet.
Apart from food, you can add probiotics to your diet through dietary supplements. These arent drugs, so they do not need to be approved by the Federal Drug Administration . Its important that you always talk to your healthcare provider before starting any kind of supplement or major change to your diet.
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Mistake #: You Put Your Probiotics Into A Personalized Pill Box
Sure, organizing your daily pills and supplements in a handy pill box will help you to remember to take them, but it could compromise how effective your probiotics are. Like crackers, probiotic capsules will expire more quickly when exposed , says Millette. And Nielsen agrees. She says to keep your probiotics in sealed individual doses away from bright light and heat.
Use Probiotics To Your Benefit
By now you should be more aware of the potential side effects of overdosing on probiotics and how to eliminate or minimize those side effects. If you continue to have discomfort while taking probiotics, I recommend you stop taking that particular brand.
Because of the differences in dose, diversity, and delivery mechanisms, not all probiotics are created equal. One probiotic will not have the same benefits or side effects as another.
For example, a probiotic using one strain of Lactobacillus acidophilus may help your digestive health, but another using a different Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain may not have the same effect. It may take some experimenting to determine the right brand for you.
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Could Your Probiotic Be Making You Sicker
A spread of colorful pills.
Mindy D. had suffered from constipation for years when her gastroenterologist advised her, at 38, to take a popular over-the-counter probiotic. Over the next two years, she experimented with different dosages, sometimes taking it three times a day. But she kept getting sickersometimes so ill she couldn’t work.
“We shouldn’t just presume probiotics are safe.”
Her symptoms improved only after she traveled from Long Island to Georgia to see Satish S. C. Rao, a gastroenterologist at Augusta University. “The key thing was taking her off probiotics and treating her with antibiotics,” he says.
That solution sounds bizarre, if, like many, you believe that antibiotics are bad and probiotics good. Millions of Americans take probioticslive bacteria deemed usefulassuming there can be only positive effects. The truth is that you really don’t know how any probiotic will affect you. To quote the American Gastroenterological Association Center for Gut Microbiome Research and Education, “It remains unclear what strains of bacteria at what dose by what route of administration are safe and effective for which patients.”
It’s fineunless it isn’t. “Probiotics are capable of altering the microbiome in unpredictable ways,” explains Leo Galland, an internist in New York who specializes in difficult digestions. “I’ve had patients who got gas and bloating, constipation or diarrhea from probiotics.”
Your Microbiome Is Unique
Should You Take Probiotics If You Have Ibs
Despite some promising research, it is too early to make general recommendations about the use of probiotics for IBS.
While some strains have been shown to have benefits for one or two symptoms, the majority of probiotics are unlikely to cause improvements.
However, probiotics are safe, and a relatively cheap potential treatment option for IBS. Also, they have worked for some people, particularly for those with specific symptoms.
If you are interested in trying a probiotic, there is an .
Here are some key tips when making your selection:
- Choose an evidence-based probiotic: Select a probiotic that has research supporting it
- Select a probiotic according to your symptoms: Choose strains that work for your issues
- Take the right dose: Use the dosage recommended by the manufacturer
- Stick with one type: Try one variety for at least four weeks and monitor your symptoms
Keep in mind that some probiotic supplements contain ingredients that could make your symptoms worse. These include oats, inulin, lactose, fructose, sorbitol and xylitol. If your symptoms are triggered by any of these, look for a probiotic that does not contain them.
Even if you dont experience significant improvements, probiotics still offer other great health benefits and can be a valuable component of a healthy lifestyle.
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Prebiotics And Bloating: Why It Happens And How To Avoid It
Prebiotics, which are the fiber that probiotics eat, have been around for millenia, but theyve only come into our collective consciousness in the last decade or so. Prebiotics are vital to our gut health, but they can have the unpleasant side effects of gas and bloating. Heres everything you need to know about taking them.
It Used To Be That When You Had A Stomachache Youd Reach For The Pepto Or Maybe A Cup Of Peppermint Tea Today You Might Consider Popping A Probiotic
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The growing popularity of probiotics speaks to their potential both to treat tummy troubles and prevent them in the first place. But how are they best used, and are they for everyone?
Probiotics may be beneficial for those with poor diets, stress, older age, and who are taking medicationssuch as antibioticsthat alter the microorganisms in our bodies, says Kelley Wilson, MS, RD, CD, clinical nutritionist at the Digestive Health Center at UW Health in Madison, Wis.
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Most Common Side Effects Of Probiotics
Despite their proven health benefits , for those who dont tolerate them, the most common side effects of probiotics we see in our clients are: > Gas > Looser stools > Abdominal pain
I really want to emphasize that the vast majority of these side effects of probiotics are experienced only temporarily and/or by those with a chronic gut infection or severe dysbiosis, and heres why…
If the side effects of probiotics you are experiencing are actually the result of die-off during a protocol, weve written an entire blog post HERE explaining the mechanism and ways to manage these detox reactions.
Mistake #: Youre Not Taking The Right Dose
Like mentioned previously, the dose must be proven effective to make a claim on package in Canada. A dose is measured in colony-forming units . Look for a product with at least 10 billion CFU, because that appears to be a minimum dosage across the scientific literature, and take as directed, says Nielsen.
The best way to ensure youre getting the most out of your probiotics, experts say, is to follow a balanced high-fibre food plan, understand the type of probiotic youre taking, review its clinical research, take the appropriate dose and store them according to the package directions. And if you have any concerns talk to your health care provider. Then youll have no worries that your probiotics are failing you.
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Can Probiotics Help Your Upset Stomach
Probiotics are microorganisms that are helpful to improve the digestive system. Probiotics are typically found in different foods and supplements. These microorganisms maintain the balance of the microbial flora in the intestines. It promotes the growth of good bacteria, and inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria in the digestive system. One of the species of probiotic microorganism that is commonly known as the lactic acid bacteria, is called lactobacillus acidophilus. Certain strains of bacteria and yeast are also known to be useful to benefit the digestive system.
Probiotics are recommended to treat a number of medical conditions, like diarrhea, gas, and cramping. People who have antibiotics for specific infections often develop digestive problems, like diarrhea, as the medication kills the harmless bacteria along with the disease-causing organisms. The loss of good bacteria from the intestines can lead to urinary tract infections and yeast infections. Probiotics help to replace the beneficial bacteria in the intestine. Probiotics are also used to control inflammation for inflammatory bowel disease. It is also being studied for its ability to prevent colon cancer, skin infections, and irritable bowel syndrome.
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Probiotics are effective in treating different conditions like:
Could You Benefit From A Probiotic Supplement
While there are several potential benefits of probiotics, its important to get educated before you increase your probiotic intake.
When you go to the grocery store, youre likely to see a number of items containing probiotics, these friendly microorganisms that are most commonly bacteria and sometimes a type of yeast.
And thanks to their popularity, you can find everything from probiotic smoothies, chocolate, and granola bars to probiotic supplements and powders.
Though theyve become more prominent over the last two decades, Probiotics have actually been consumed by humans in one form or another for more than 100 years, says Susan Lucak, MD, a gastroenterologist in New York City and a special lecturer at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University.
The two most common types of probiotics found on the market are species of good bacteria called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. While their manufacturers claim that probiotics have a number of overall and digestive health benefits, supplement dosing and the included strains vary widely, and not everyone needs one.
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Probiotics For Upset Stomachs
Whether you’re experiencing stomach discomfort at home, due to food poisoning or a viral infection, or in a hostel in Mumbai, due to travellers diarrhoea you are now aware that certain strains of probiotics may help to ease associated symptoms.
As well as helping to manage the symptoms of these types of stomach upsets, probiotics can also offer a level of protection against developing them. Maintaining a healthy microbiome through regular use of a high-quality, daily probiotic supplement adds another layer of support for the gut, and may reduce the severity or duration of symptoms from any of the above types of stomach upset.
The NHS8 has even reported on this topic on their website, examining a review which looked at a number of clinical studies on probiotics and stomach upsets, and concluding that they “reduced the duration of diarrhoea by about 25 hours compared with no treatment”.
How To Tell When Probiotics Are Working
Good health starts in the gut, and its best to address any presenting digestive symptoms regardless of which health condition youre trying to support. If people are generally well or have good digestion, they may not initially notice a drastic change when they take a probiotic supplement. But so many different things can affect the gut microbiome, such as medications, stress, and poor diet, that its always good to keep the gut microbiome well supported by taking probiotics and eating fermented foods. Also, over a longer period of time they may notice positive changes, such as less frequent colds or skin breakouts. For others, when they are taking a probiotic supplement for a specific condition, they may notice a specific improvement in that area. However, having a healthy microbiome is just one consideration when supporting any health condition for a fully holistic protocol a doctor should be consulted, and a health professional such as a nutritional therapist, who can also advise on diet and lifestyle.
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Diet And Probiotics: Fermented Foods And Other Probiotic Foods
The benefits of probiotics are well documented. Theyâre designed to help support your health and well-being.
If you want to increase your supply of probiotics through food, great sources include sauerkraut, yogurt, and kombucha .8
Its likely that you wont consume enough of these good bacteria through food alone. If youâre looking to get more probiotics into your diet ask your doctor if taking a supplement is right for you.
Types Of Probiotics: Lactobacillus Rhamnosus Saccharomyces Boulardii And More
There are a lot of different types of probiotic products, as you learned earlier. The different types of probiotic strains are just as numerous.
Hereâs a brief look at some of the most important strains of probiotics.
Saccharomyces boulardiiâ This is actually a type of yeast that can help support normal bowel movements.5Lactobacillus helveticusâ This strain has been shown to help support healthy blood pressure levels.9Lactobacillus rhamnosusâ This is a strain youâll find in a lot of probiotic products. This important member of the Lactobacillus family helps support digestive health.6Bifidobacteriumâ This family of bacteria has several different members, including the powerful bifidobacterium lactis strain. These bacteria may help with bloating and other digestive issues.7
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Common Side Effects Of Probiotics In Dogs
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Probiotics are live bacteria presented in capsule or liquid form that provide numerous benefits to a dogs overall health. Bacteria species found in most canine probiotics include Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and S. thermophilus, all gram-positive bacteria that colonize within a dogs gastrointestinal system, eliminate harmful bacteria and restore optimal levels of good gut microbiota.
Probiotics Contain Good Gut Bacteria
Probiotics are foods, typically yoghurts and yoghurt drinks, that contain good gut bacteria: live microorganisms that can recolonise the gut or improve your gut health.
To be called a probiotic, they must be able to resist stomach acid and digestive processes, and then be able adhere to the gut walls and grow, while not causing any issues for the gut wall. They must also be tested for safety and efficacy in controlled trials.
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To be called a probiotic, the dose of microorganisms needs to be sufficient to help restore the good bacteria, by elbowing out the bad bacteria.
Most yoghurts contain good bacteria but not all can survive the acidity of the stomach acid or the bacteria wont grow in the bowel, so there is no probiotic benefit.
For probiotics to exert these beneficial effects, they not only have to make it to the large bowel, but once there they need the right fuel to help them grow well. Thats where prebiotics come into play but more on them shortly.
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