And You Are Probably Asking If All Probiotics Are The Same
The answer is NO. A probiotic is characterized by belonging to a genus and a species and, finally, by a specific strain . That way, probiotics are given specific properties and benefits, although each one has its own unique characteristics and health benefits.
Most Lactobacillus help maintain the health of the gastrointestinal tract, and some Lactobacilli strainsLactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricusin association with Streptococcus thermophilus help with lactose digestion.
And what about bifidobacteria? Most bifidobacteria help prevent and reduce diarrhea associated with antibiotic treatment or viral infections. Furthermore, specific strains have been shown to strengthen the gut barrier or improve digestive symptoms.
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Will Probiotics Make Your Vitamins And Other Supplements Less Effective
You might be concerned that taking a probiotic supplement at the same time as your morning vitamins or supplements might make one of the two less effective. Fear not, in most cases, taking probiotics should not affect the effectiveness of other supplements, such as your daily multivitamin or vice versa.
In fact, according to gut health expert and gastroenterologist Will Bulsiewicz, M.D., MSCI, “There is some evidence that when probiotics are consumed with omega-3 fatty acids, it may actually improve the delivery of the probiotic.”* This means taking your probiotic at the same time as say, a fish oil supplement, could make your probiotic more effective, not less.* So, if the only way you’ll remember to take both is to take them together, then go for it.
To be clear, while the terms vitamins and supplements are often used interchangeably, here we are broadly using vitamins to refer to any supplements you might be taking, whether or not they are specifically a vitamin. So whether it’s vitamin D or a targeted nr supplement, you are in the clear on taking it with your probiotic supplement, in most cases.
When to take your vitamins really depends on the kind of vitamin. Multivitamins are generally designed to be best taken first thing in the morningperfect for pairing with a pre-breakfast probiotic. Fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K and some minerals, including iron and magnesium, are best taken with food. Otherwise, they might cause an upset stomach.
Probiotics Decrease Whole Gut Transit Time
Research into taking probiotics for constipation have found that they improve the time food takes to pass through the gastrointestinal tract. This is known as whole gut transit time or bowel transit time.
Research published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology found that probiotics decrease whole gut transit time. The study found that the B. lactis HN019 strain of probiotics helped to reduce whole gut transit time and improve gastrointestinal issues in adults.5
The study found that the probiotic, B. lactis HN019 is safe for human consumption and there were no reported side effects.
Ok What About Antibiotics And Other Medications
Antibiotics can wreak havoc on your gut microbiome because they can kill off the good bacteria right along with the bad bacteria. So, it’s best to have a strategy in place to be sure your gut health is maintained if you need to take an antibiotic. Enter: probiotics. Research has shown that pairing a probiotic with an antibiotic helps maintain gut health and prevents antibiotic-associated diarrhea .*
But won’t taking an antibiotic at the same time as a probiotic just render the probiotic ineffective, killing the good bacteria too?
As gut health expert Vincent Pedre, M.D., points out, “When taking a probiotic on an antibiotic regimen, timing is very important to maximize effectiveness.” He suggests taking a probiotic “at least four hours after the morning antibiotic dose or before bedtime, at least three to four hours after the evening antibiotic dose.” This will allow enough time between your antibiotic and probiotic to ensure they both do what they came to your gut to do.
Take a probiotic supplement throughout the course of your antibiotic treatment to maintain your gut microbiome.*
Is It Okay To Take A Probiotic Every Day
Since probiotics are typically sold as supplements and not drugs, the FDA does not have to regulate the health claims. However, research shows that daily use of probiotics is safe.
While there are usually not many side effects associated with using a probiotic, people may feel occasional bloating/gas or differences in bowel movements when they first start taking a probiotic, Del Borrello says. It usually goes away with time.
It is also important to get the correct dosage of probiotics for full effectiveness. Probiotic dosages are given in colony-forming units or CFUs. Children are recommended to take 5-10 billion CFUs a day and adults are recommended to take 10-20 billion CFUs per day.
When starting probiotics, it is possible that you will develop loose stool for the first few days. Because probiotics are live bacteria, it is important to check the sell by date on the supplement.
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Temporarily Increase Gas Bloating And May Cause Stomach Pain
You may find that as well as helping to relieve constipation symptoms, probiotics may temporarily increase certain digestive conditions.
When you start taking probiotics, you may find that you have more gas, bloating and occasional stomach cramping. It is not known why probiotics cause gas or may result in stomach pain. However, these side effects of probiotics are only experienced by a few people.
For example, a study from 2015 found that, although most people benefit from probiotics, a few people noticed excessive flatulence and bloating. However, after a week or so, your digestion should adjust to the probiotics and you should no longer have side effects from taking probiotics.17
Why You Need Probiotics
You need probiotics to keep your body balanced.
When you get sick, good bacteria fight off the increased amount of bad bacteria to keep your levels as close to neutral as possible.
One of the most significant benefits of probiotics is that they ease symptoms of digestive issues, such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Here are seven foods high in probiotics:
Yogurt is made by culturing milk with bacteria that produce lactic acid, such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, although more strains can also be added. If yogurt is heat-treated, it loses its probiotic contents.
Several different fermented dairy products are referred to as buttermilk, but the only kind that contains live probiotic cultures is the liquid that remains after butter is produced. Many types of buttermilk you would find in the grocery store do not actually contain live probiotics, so make sure to read the label closely.
3. Sourdough Bread
This kind of bread is traditionally made with fermented flour that contains healthy bacteria. However, not all brands use this method .
4. Cottage Cheese
Because cottage cheese is not aged or heated, it maintains a high amount of probiotics. Other cheeses that often contain probiotics include:
Tempeh is a soy-based food that provides numerous health benefits. In addition to probiotics, tempeh provides an excellent source of fiber, protein, and iron.
7. Miso Soup
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Probiotics Help To Relieve Constipation And Its Symptoms
Apart from helping to soften stool and increase the number of times a week that you poop, probiotics can help with the complications of constipation.
Suffering from infrequent bowel movements can make going to the bathroom very difficult and it can cause varying accompanying symptoms. However, regularly taking high-quality probiotics can help to ease the pain while passing stool and resolve stomach bloating, gas, and stomach spasms .
The journal Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica reported that probiotics helped patients to pass stool more frequently in the week. In addition, taking probiotics also helped to reduce bloating, abdominal cramping, and the sensation of incomplete emptying. The study found that probiotics with L. casei Shirota bacteria were the most beneficial for helping constipation.8
Research into easing constipation symptoms in the elderly has also shown that probiotics can treat constipation. The Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics published a systematic review of 9 studies into probiotics for treating constipation symptoms in older people.
The study concluded that probiotics improved constipation in elderly people by 1040% compared to placebo controls in which no probiotic was used.9
Lentils Are Another Legume With Lots Of Iron
Another legume worth an honorable mention in the iron department is lentils. Cooked lentils offer an excellent source of the mineral with about 6.59 mg per cup, per the USDA. And they offer 15.6 g of fiber per cup, too, making them a rich source. Fiber may help lower cholesterol and stabilize your blood sugar, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Lentils are also an extremely versatile ingredient in the kitchen they’re a great addition to everything from soups and salads to burgers and chili.
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What Has Science Shown About The Effectiveness Of Probiotics For Health Conditions
A great deal of research has been done on probiotics, but much remains to be learned about whether theyâre helpful and safe for various health conditions.
Probiotics have shown promise for a variety of health purposes, including prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea , prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis and in premature infants, treatment of infant colic, treatment of periodontal disease, and induction or maintenance of remission in ulcerative colitis.
However, in most instances, we still donât know which probiotics are helpful and which are not. We also donât know how much of the probiotic people would have to take or who would be most likely to benefit. Even for the conditions that have been studied the most, researchers are still working toward finding the answers to these questions.
The following sections summarize the research on probiotics for some of the conditions for which theyâve been studied.
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.
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Probiotics Can Help Reduce Symptoms Of Certain Digestive Disorders
Over one million people in the US suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease .
Certain types of probiotics from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains have improved symptoms in people with mild ulcerative colitis .
Surprisingly, one study found that supplementing with the probiotic E. coli Nissle was just as effective as drugs in maintaining remission in people with ulcerative colitis (
Nevertheless, probiotics may have benefits for other bowel disorders. Early research suggests they may help with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome .
They have also been shown to reduce the risk of severe necrotizing enterocolitis by 50%. This is a fatal bowel condition that occurs in premature infants .
Probiotics may help reduce the symptoms of bowel disorders like ulcerative colitis, IBS and necrotizing enterocolitis.
What Exactly Is Probiotic Water
Chances are youve seen probiotic water all around you, without realizing that thats what youre looking at! It is also regularly known as vitamin water and is a popular addition to celebrity diets. The likes of Beyoncé and Gwyneth Paltrow are all drinking this type of water to put their bodies first.
There are various brands sharing their own types of vitamin water. Some are even branded Vitamin Water! You cant miss it once you know what youre looking for. Of course, there are others that youll just need to look at the fine print to make sure it really is the best option for you.
And you dont just need to look at the pure water. There are flavored waters, sodas, and even hot drinks that are promoted at probiotic options. Some of them you will need to add water to, and others are flavored water that you can heat up. People have even started to make their own.
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Probiotics And Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzymes refer to a group of proteins secreted by the glands in the body to support digestion processes. They are used to enhance the digestion of food over a specified period. However, for both adults and children, they are only allowed to use these enzymes when prescribed by your doctor in case there is evidence to prove the deficiency of digestive enzymes.
Do probiotics interact with digestive enzymes when we supplement them together? Both of them have an impact on the gut system with different mechanisms but the same benefit which is to promote gut functions, so, consuming them at the same time does not bring any adverse results. In fact, in some cases at present, to treat the gastrointestinal disorders, doctors often prescribe both of them for children who are insufficient, sometimes even combine with other medications.
However, it does not mean that taking probiotics and digestive enzymes will always be beneficial for people. Although it is undoubted about probiotics benefits, it should be utilized following the instruction of the doctor. Consuming too many probiotics without the indication could lead to the appearance of some adverse effects such as diarrhea, bloating, stomach upset or even more severe like the allergy reaction.
May Promote Heart Health
Sauerkraut may contribute to a healthier heart.
Thats because it contains a good amount of fiber and probiotics, both of which may help reduce cholesterol levels .
Probiotics such as those found in sauerkraut may also help lower blood pressure slightly in people with hypertension. People seem to achieve the best results when they take at least 10 million CFUs per day for longer than 8 weeks .
Moreover, sauerkraut is one of the rare plant sources of menaquinone, more commonly known as vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 is believed to help reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing calcium deposits from accumulating in the arteries .
In one study, regular intake of vitamin-K2-rich foods was linked to a 57% lower risk of dying from heart disease over the 710 year study period .
In another, women reduced their risk of heart disease by 9% for every 10 mcg of vitamin K2 they consumed per day (
This is thought to contribute to stronger, healthier bones. In fact, several studies have shown that vitamin K2 may benefit bone health.
For instance, a 3-year study in postmenopausal women observed that those taking vitamin K2 supplements experienced slower rates of age-related loss in bone mineral density .
Similarly, several other studies have reported that taking vitamin K2 supplements reduced the risk of spine, hip, and non-spine fractures by 6081% .
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Iron Metabolism: Implications In Health And Disease
Owing to its implication in metabolic processes, iron is essential for all organisms. Its most studied functions are those linked to transport and storage of oxygen, electron transfer, synthesis of hormones, DNA replication, cell cycle control, nitrogen fixation, and antioxidant properties . The amount of iron in the body of an adult human male is 3.54.0 g, with most of it being found in hemoglobin . Iron transport in the digestive system is controlled by several iron-binding proteins , among other functional agents present at several key sites. Generally, mucins bind to iron owing to the acidic conditions in the stomach, which helps in maintaining it in a soluble state for later uptake in the alkaline conditions of the duodenum. Mucin-bound iron can subsequently pass across the mucosal cell membrane. After entering inside the cells, mobilferrin, the cytoplasmic iron-binding protein, transports it to the basolateral side, where it is exported into the blood plasma. The mechanism of absorption of hem and non-hem iron in the intestinal mucosal cells involves various transport processes and regulatory proteins . It is at this stage that ferritin levels are considered as the most reliable markers of iron deficiency .
Overview of intestinal iron absorption and metabolism involving enterocytes, hepatocytes, macrophages, and erythroid marrowadapted from .
Anemia classification .
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.
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How To Shop For Sauerkraut
You can find sauerkraut easily in most supermarkets, but not all types youll come across will be the same.
To ensure you get the most out of store-bought sauerkraut, try to keep these simple tips in mind:
- Avoid pasteurized varieties. Off-the-shelf sauerkraut is typically pasteurized, a process that kills the beneficial probiotics. Refrigerated varieties are less likely to be pasteurized, but check the label to be sure.
- Avoid preservatives. Many store-bought sauerkraut brands contain preservatives, which may lower the probiotic count.
- Avoid added sugars. Sauerkraut should only contain two basic ingredients: cabbage and salt. Some varieties may also add extra vegetables, but avoid those that add sugar or anything else to the mix.
Alternatively, to make sure you get all the health benefits of sauerkraut, you can make it yourself.
You will get the most benefits out of store-bought sauerkraut by opting for non-pasteurized varieties that dont contain added sugars or preservatives.
Making sauerkraut is easy, simple and inexpensive. Heres how: