How Often Should I Take Probiotics
The tricky thing about probiotics is that they don’t stay in your gut for very long. You poop them out, so in order for them to be effective, you need to take them daily until you feel better, says Tamara Freuman, RD, author of The Bloated Belly Whisperer. Any benefits from a probiotic only happen as it passes through your body, she says. Because of that, taking your probiotics at a certain time can actually make them more effective.
Signs You Need Probiotics
Thinking of loading up on kefir, yogurt, and kombucha?
While this is all well and dandy, chances are that one cup of yogurt a day wont be able to satisfy the concentrations you need.
Youll really have to supplement when your gut flora has been heavily compromised.
And how would you know that?
Well, heres a quick list for you to check out the signs that might indicate the need for a probiotic.
#1. If youve been suffering from a digestive tract issue
These can include diarrhea, IBS, gas, constipation, and indigestion.
#2. If youve skin conditions like eczema, acne, psoriasis, or rashes
These can indicate pre-existing gut issues.
Take note to check for hormonal issues for acne as well before you take probiotics.
#3. Youve daily stress, anxiety, and a depressive mood without any other known cause
Your brain behavior is most likely out of sorts due to unbalanced gut flora.
#4. If youre having a sweet tooth lately
The kind of food you crave might be a good indicator of the kind of bacteria youre hosting.
#5. If you were on antibiotic medication
Antibiotics do not discriminate good from bad bacteria. So, if youve just finished a round of antibiotics, think about rebalancing the gut flora with a probiotic.
#6. Your metabolism is out of whack
Interestingly, obese people are found to have a limited diversity of gut bacteria.
#7. Food poisoning
There can be two scenarios.
If you recently ate something that had gone bad. Or youve had an episode of food poisoning.
Why Are Probiotics Important
Lets back up for a second to talk about why youd want to take probiotics.
Our bodies are full of bacteria. And although that may sound like a bad thing, less than one percent of bacteria makes us sick. Other bacteria in our systems are considered good bacteria, since they are vital for our bodies to function and play a key role in keeping us healthy.
Probiotics ensure that our systems have enough good bacteria to function the way they are intended to.
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The Takeaway: How Long Does It Take For Probiotics To Work
The short answer: It takes most people 2 to 3 weeks to feel significant benefits when they start taking probiotics.
Thats because probiotics need time to accomplish their three key goals: increase your good bacteria count, decrease your bad bacteria count, and reduce inflammation.
Overthrowing the bad bacteria thats already in power, working to remove them, and reducing the inflammation that the bad bacteria had produced is a process.
Adding good bacteria in the form of probiotics is not a one-time thing — you need to consume them consistently to win the war thats going on down there.
Think of taking probiotics as adding more soldiers to the microbiome battlefield every day — and think of taking prebiotics as giving your soldiers supplies.
Expecting one dose of probiotics to fix your symptoms is like expecting to win a war in a single day. Sending one small wave of good soldiers to the battlefield — taking one probiotic pill — wont be enough to overthrow the king in power .
But sending a well-supplied group of soldiers to battle on a daily basis will eventually be enough to put your desired ruler back in power, so they can clean up the damage that bad bacteria has done .
Give your gut the soldiers, supplies, and time it needs to fix things up, and youll finally feel your best again.
Clinical Evidence Relating To The Efficacy Of Probiotics
Below is a partial list of published clinical trials to address specific health issues conducted on various probiotic strains. The list is far from complete as the publication of new studies continues at a rapid pace. For a more comprehensive review of the strains of probiotics, prebiotics, and their synbiotic actions to address various health disorders, visit the World Gastroenterology Organization Global Guidelines. Below are excerpts from the WGO report.
As clinical studies accelerate, probiotics have been shown to affect clinical outcomes outside the normal gastrointestinal disease realm. Emerging evidence suggests that the gut microbiome may affect non-gastrointestinal conditions, such as reducing the incidence and duration of upper respiratory tract infections. Ongoing clinical trials are testing probiotics to prevent some manifestations of metabolic syndrome, including excess weight and type-2 diabetes.
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What Does The Research Say About Daily Probiotic Use
In the majority of studies that investigate the effects of taking probiotics, researchers administer a daily dose to participants . This indicates an advantage to taking probiotics every day. Evidence for daily supplementation dates back to the 1990s2, and therefore this is now established best practice for probiotic use.
In a small study2, 10 women were allocated to either a probiotic or control group to investigate whether Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1® and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14® could colonise in the vagina. The women took either the probiotic or placebo supplement orally for 14 days, and follow-up faecal and vaginal swabs were collected on days 0, 7, 14 and 21. It was found that the strains were able to colonise in the vaginal region after day 7 and 14, but that once the probiotic intake stopped at day 14, neither strain was detected after a further week . These findings indicate the need to take a probiotic supplement daily in order for them to colonise and exert their health benefits, and that if you stop taking them, the probiotics will ‘exit’ the body within a week. Healthcare professionals can read more about Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1®and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14® on the Probiotics Database.
Sign #: Recurrent Oral Thrush Or Vaginal Infections
A clear sign that you will benefit from probiotics is if you are prone to yeast infections on a recurrent basis. Without a good balance of healthy bacteria, yeast such as candida albicans flourish and grow uncontrollably.
Candida, in particular, is a very opportunistic microbe, which is known to cause infections in vagina, gut, and the mouth.
Besides thrush, recurrent urinary tract infections are also a sign that you have a severe probiotic deficiency and could benefit from a probiotic supplement. People with decreased Lactobacilli bacteria are more likely to suffer from UTIs.
These probiotics release lactic acid which acts a lot like antibiotics in making the area inhospitable for other microbes.
A 2010 study published in FEMS Microbiology Letters found that certain probiotic species, like S. boulardii are more effective than others in helping reduce candida and inflammation.
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Can Baby Probiotics Cause Gas
According to researchers, probiotics may actually help reduce gas in babies. Studies suggest babies the bacterial makeup is different in the stomachs of babies with colic, and researchers hypothesize that these differences may cause gas, bloating, and discomfort that leads to colic.
In a review of 12 studies to examine the effects of probiotics, researchers found that infants taking probiotics cried for about an hour less each daypossibly as a result of less gas pain.
A Solution Springs From Frustration
But sometimes women dont respond to the standard treatments and experience recurrent problems that leave them searching for solutions. Dr. Mitchell says that some women shes encountered are trying not only probiotic supplements, but also alternative treatments theyve found on the Internet. These include putting yogurt-soaked tampons, tea tree oil, and even garlic cloves into their vaginas in an effort to introduce beneficial bacteria. These solutions, she says, are not only ineffective but highly inadvisable.
Its true that a compound in garlic, allicin, has been shown to kill yeast in a laboratory. But you cannot put enough cloves of garlic in your vagina or take enough oral garlic capsules to achieve the same effect, says Dr. Mitchell. Tea tree oil also has no demonstrated benefit and can cause irritation. Yogurt-infused tampons dont work either. Many probiotic supplements and most yogurts do contain Lactobacillus bacteria, but its generally not the same type of Lactobacillus found in your vagina. L. crispatus and L. iners are the most common species found in the vagina. Most probiotics and yogurt contain other species, such as L. rhamnosus or L. acidophilus, which are more common in the gut.
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Bowtrol Probiotic Your First Line Of Defense Against Pathogens
The Bowtrol Probiotic Supplement contains more than 9 billion live probiotic cells.
This helps bring overall improvement in the digestive process.
In fact, it involves 5 times the live active cultures usually present in yogurt, without additional calories due to sugar or flavoring.
The product is designed to survive even in the worst acidic conditions in the digestive tract.
Should I Take Probiotics With Other Medication
Generally, it’s safe to take your probiotic with other supplements in the morning or at another hour of your choosing. Antibiotics, however, should be taken alone, and a doctor may instruct you to discontinue other supplements due to temporary illness. Dr. Asike maintains that probiotics are generally safe for most individuals, and the likeliest side effect may be some temporary bloating or extra gas, which usually sorts itself out over time.
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Conditions Related To Allergy
- A review of 23 studies in which probiotics were tested for treating allergic rhinitis found some evidence that they may be helpful for improving symptoms and quality of life. However, because the studies tested different probiotics and measured different effects, no recommendations about the use of probiotics could be made. Few side effects of probiotics were reported in these studies.
- A review of 11 studies of probiotics for asthma in children had inconclusive results.
- Atopic dermatitis is an itchy chronic skin disorder thatâs associated with allergies but not caused by them. Itâs most common in infants and may start as early as age 2 to 6 months. Many people outgrow it by early adulthood. Atopic dermatitis is one of several types of eczema.
- A 2017 review of 13 studies of probiotics for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in infants and children did not find consistent evidence of a beneficial effect. A review of 9 studies in adults provided preliminary evidence that some strains of probiotics might be beneficial for symptoms of atopic dermatitis.
Prevention of Allergies
How Effective Are Probiotics
Researchers are currently unsure how effective probiotic supplements are for treating conditions. Theres constant research on the topic. While many research studies have had positive results on the impact of probiotic supplements, more research is still needed.
Its also important to keep in mind that unlike medications, dietary supplements do not need to be approved by the FDA. This means that manufacturers can sell supplements simply with claims of safety and effectiveness.
Always talk with your healthcare provider before taking a supplement or giving one to your child. Supplements might interfere with medicines you may be taking. If you are pregnant or breast feeding, check with your provider before taking any supplement.
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Reduce Inflammation With Probiotics & Improve Digestive Symptoms
Here comes the big one – probiotics reduce inflammation within the gut .
Inflammation is particularly detrimental to proper digestion. It exaggerates intestinal permeability, interferes with insulin signaling, and can cause digestive symptoms .
Why does dysbiosis cause inflammation in the first place? Well, bad bacteria living within the gut have toxic molecules called lipopolysaccharides in their outer membrane, which trigger an immune and inflammatory response in the body. And that response is associated with digestive symptoms, among other health issues.
With less bad bacteria and LPS around, inflammation will go down.
So lets connect the dots since probiotics may increase the amount of beneficial bacteria and reduce counts of bad bacteria in your gut, they may also reduce the amount of lipopolysaccharides in your body, which in turn lowers inflammation.
And lowering inflammation is key to improving your digestion, since inflammation is associated with digestive issues .
How Often Should You Take Probiotics What Researchers Know So Far
- There’s no daily recommended dose of probiotics because researchers are still studying which strains of probiotics help and how much you need.
- Many over-the-counter probiotic products contain a range of 1 to 10 billion colony forming units .
- The World Health Organization says some products are effective at levels below 1 billion CFU while others require substantially more than 10 billion CFU.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
There’s no simple answer to how often you should take probiotics. In fact, researchers are still figuring out whether taking probiotics is valuable for your health, in what situations they may help, and which bacteria should be given.
If, for example, you’re generally healthy and have a diverse, balanced diet, then you probably don’t need to focus on eating more probiotic foods or taking probiotic supplements, says Ashley Gilmore, MD, a gastroenterologist at Indiana University Health.
Moreover, if you eat poorly, it’s unclear if taking probiotic supplements or adding a lot of foods with probiotics to your diet will help you gain a healthier gut. Here’s what experts do know so far for when probiotics can help and how much it takes to make a difference.
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How Long Do Probiotics Take To Start Working
How long it takes for a probiotic to start working depends on several different factors: the current state of your gut microbiome, your age, weight, diet, and your overall lifestyle.
Basically, a probiotic is never really going to work for you if you continue doing all of the things that are causing your digestive issues in the first place.
Drinking lots of alcohol, consuming lots of red meat, and not eating any prebiotic fiber will ruin a gut microbiome regardless of how many probiotic bacteria strains you consume each day.
On the other hand, if you eat plenty of prebiotic fiber , drinking plenty of water, and lmiting alcohol intake, you will start to see benefits much sooner.
While the exact amount of time it takes for probiotics to work varies person to person, I can give you a general rule of thumb for judging whether or not probiotics are working for you at all. To do this, we need to turn to the available clinical trials.
In one study, it took 21 days before peoples bloating got considerably better. In another, it took eight weeks for probiotics to start working. In most cases, probiotics will take at least 3 weeks to really start working.
If your goal is optimizing gut health over the long term, then a prebiotic supplement might be a better option. The best prebiotics support the growth of your own healthy gut bacteria without introducing foreign bacteria to the body.
In summary: How fast do probiotics work?
Will Anything Else Work Instead Of Probiotics
Yes, you can eat fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, yoghurt, but the acid in your stomach will kill off much of the friendly lactobacillus bacteria in the food before it has chance to get into your gut, plus they are not to everyones palate. A probiotic capsule has a much better chance of getting into the gut and releasing the magical bacteria and there is no unpleasant taste.
My family and I have, for many years, taken live bacteriacapsules, not that we have any digestive or gut disorders we take them forthe overall benefits of friendly bacteria, including helping to properly digestfood, absorb nutrients, manufacture important vitamins and hormones ,crowd out pathogenic, disease-causing strains of bacteria, fungi and yeasts,reduce the risk of bowel infections like Clostridium difficile, positivelyenhance our immune system and reduce our risk of getting colo-rectal cancers.
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Probiotics: Proceed With Caution
Remember: Probiotics arent guaranteed to work. They may even be harmful in some cases. A 2018 review of several hundred trials found that researchers often neglected to report negative effects from using probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics.
The best way to know if you should take a probiotic is to chat with your doctor. They can determine if taking a probiotic will benefit you and which strain or brand is your best bet.
Probiotic Dosage & Bioavailability
The dosage and bioavailability of your probiotic supplement could determine how quickly you derive therapeutic or noticeable benefit from supplementation. Probiotic dosage generally refers to the number of colony forming units per tablet, capsule, bead, etc. A majority of probiotic supplements created for adults contain between 10 and 20 billion colony forming units per capsule.
Nevertheless, someone who takes a probiotic supplement with 20 billion CFUs per dose may report a noticeably a quicker onset of action than someone who takes a probiotic with just 5 billion CFUs per dose. The person using a probiotic with 20 billion CFUs per dose should end up with a greater number of healthy microbes that survive delivery to the gastrointestinal tract and that colonize within the gastrointestinal tract compared to the individual using a probiotic with just 5 billion CFUs per dose.
That said, CFUs per dose dont always determine the efficacy of probiotics and/or the rate at which they take effect. The bioavailability of the probiotic supplement, or the percentage of bacterial constituents that actually survive transport to the gut and exert an effect can also impact how long probiotics take to work.
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How Many Times In A Day Is It Recommended To Take A Probiotic
As mentioned, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to probiotics, so it is crucial to figure out what works for you. Luckily, there is a lot of research that you can draw upon to help make a more educated decision when taking probiotics. The efficacy of your probiotics depends heavily on the dosage of your probiotics.
For example, a study in the American Family Physician August 2017 issue indicated that a dosage of a minimum of five billion colony-forming units per day was more effective when compared with lower dosages . Research from Harvard Health Publishing encourages people to take this in one dose per day, rather than taking several smaller doses.