How Long Do You Need Probiotics For Them To Take Effect
In past decades, nobody would have guessed that eating bacteria would be anything but dangerous. When they were first discovered as the source of many diseases, bacteria were automatically tagged as harmful, and many people maintain the same notion, especially if they dont know much about probiotics.
We can find healthy bacteria in the skin and mucosa of the entire body, and they do not harm us in any way. Healthy bacteria are often known as microbiota, and theres a distinct microbiota in the gut, the oral cavity, the urethra, the vagina, and other body parts in direct contact with the outside.
Healthy bacteria protect us against pathogenic bacteria. They compete for a place in the gut, and do not allow bad microbe colonization. For that purpose, we need a constant influx of good bacteria to maintain a proper balance and prevent gastrointestinal disease. However, how much time do we need to use probiotics to start seeing the benefit? The answer to that question depends on our state of health and our goals and motivations to use probiotics in the first place.
Eat A Healthy Diet That Includes Plenty Of Gut
Prebiotic foods, like garlic, onion, and artichoke help feed probiotics, allowing them to grow and thrive. On the other hand, sugars and processed foods feed yeast, which can overtake good bacteria and cause infection. Make sure your diet includes plenty of fiber-rich vegetables and fermented foods, which are naturally rich in probiotics.
How To Monitor Theeffectiveness Of Your Probiotic Supplements
When improvements to your well-being are gradual theyare sometimes easy to overlook. Keeping a written record of symptoms can bevery helpful.
Heres an approach that will help you to be as objective aspossible in monitoring the effects of probiotics during your trial:
1st Take stock of your symptoms
They might be fatigue and depression, or bloating, or joint pain, or constipation, or insomnia, or an unstable dose of thyroid medication. Whatever they are, take stock of how often and how severe your symptoms are.
2nd Reevaluate symptoms after 3-4 week on the probioticprotocol
Are you improving? If so, keep on the probiotic protocol. You are not looking for a complete resolution. If so, that is great. But dont expect everything to be fixed completely at the 3-4 week mark. You are looking for a clear trend of improvement. If so, great, we are on the right track. Keep going.
3rd Look for when you hit your peakimprovement
Once you peak or plateau, great. This is another milestone. Keep this constant for another four weeks, soyour body can integrate and you can lock in this new level of good health.
After four weeks
Finally Try to gradually find the minimaleffective dose
Technically, you dont have to do this but I find less ismore with supplements. I like people tocut their dose of probiotic supplements in half, then reevaluate after 3-4weeks. If this goes well try coming offyour probioticscompletely.
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Do I Need To Take Probiotics After I Take Antibiotics
Antibiotic medications are often needed to fight an infection. However, while antibiotics are killing the bad bacteria, they are also knocking out the good bacteria in your body. Some people develop conditions like diarrhea after taking an antibiotic. In other people, this may allow for really bad bacteria to take over and populate the gut, such as with C. diff. Some research has shown a positive connection between taking probiotics after an antibiotic and relief from diarrhea. This hasnt been proven yet and doesnt work for everyone.
The thought behind adding probiotics back into your body after taking an antibiotic is that it can repopulate the good bacteria that was destroyed by the antibiotics and re-boot your system. The extra good bacteria helps repopulate your gut and fight off any remaining bad bacteria. Many people feel that adding in probiotics wont hurt, might help you feel better a little faster and prevent diarrhea.
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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What Is The Rationale Behind Taking Probiotics With Antibiotics
Taking an antibiotic for an infection can kill beneficial bacteria that live in your gut.
Probiotics may be taken orally to restore any imbalance in the normal intestinal or urogenital flora. This is the rationale behind taking probiotics with antibiotics. Severe antibiotic-induced diarrhea can also lead to an infection with Clostridium difficile, also known as C. difficile, a bacteria which can cause dangerous inflammation in your colon .
Experts have hypothesized that If you suffer from stomach cramping, gas or diarrhea when you take antibiotics, adding a probiotic may help to lessen, or even prevent, these symptoms. The addition of a probiotic will also reintroduce helpful bacteria into your digestive tract that have been killed or had their numbers reduced by the antibiotic.
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 .
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So What Is The Conclusion
Probiotics almost never act instantaneously. They always need some time to reach the gastrointestinal tract, populate the gut, and start their metabolic processes. However, we do have short-term and long-term effects of probiotics.
On the short-term, probiotics can act in 1-3 days by reducing diarrhea and other alarming gastrointestinal symptoms, especially in the event of a pathogenic bacteria. On the long-term, probiotics may take a few weeks and even months to produce their effects, especially if youre planning to use them as a part of your prevention strategy.
What we recommend if youre considering probiotics for the first time is to start with a high dose for one or two days, especially if you have very annoying gastrointestinal symptoms. Reduce your dose to the standard when your symptoms are mild, and to the minimum when you dont have any symptoms at all.
Repeated use of probiotics when youre not sick is recommended, and it is a good way to prevent inflammatory disease in in the gastrointestinal tract. If you want to use probiotics this way, do not forget your daily supplement. The only way to replicate the effects reported by clinical trials is by not forgetting to take them every day for a given period of time.
Hempel, S., Newberry, S., Ruelaz, A., Wang, Z., Miles, J. N., Suttorp, M. J., & Smith, A. . Safety of probiotics used to reduce risk and prevent or treat disease. Evidence report/technology assessment, , 1.
How Can Probiotics Benefit The Rest Of The Body
While most famous for their immune-boosting properties, probiotics can also positively impact many other aspects of your health.
One way they achieve this is by boosting the efficacy of your gut and aiding the primary functions of your gastrointestinal system.
When you incorporate natural probiotics into a healthy, well-rounded diet, you can open up your body to:
Moving up to your brain, we find another significant, positive effect of proper probiotic consumption: improved function of the gut-brain axis.
The gut-brain axis is the system that connects our mind and microbiome through a complex series of communications, and its health can play a role in our cognitive and emotional success.
But Why Take Them On An Ongoing Basis
Many people choose to take probiotics every day, whilst some might just use them periodically or whenever they feel that they need a little support. Whichever way you find works best for you, it is worth remembering that many factors can negatively affect the probiotic colonies in our gut.
So, whilst you might think that once you have established good gut flora that it can then be left to its own devices, in reality our lifestyles are now so challenging for our microbiomethat many of us need to nurture it on an ongoing basis. If you would like to learn more, read our article on the gut microbiome – all you need to know.
Most people know that antibiotics do not differentiate between the good and bad bacteria in our guts, and therefore negatively impact on our probiotic colonies, but even if we don’t take them ourselves, it’s possible there may be other sources of antibiotics in our food chain, such as in meat and other animal products. These have a similarly negative impact on our gut flora.
In addition, we are often exposed to chemicals such as chlorine in our drinking water. Chlorine is a strong anti-microbial agent, and whilst it helps to keep undesirable bacteria out of our water supply, it also damages our delicate gut flora.
Exception #: Probiotics May Treat Acute Diarrhea In 1
Research shows that probiotics work in 1-5 days for acute diarrhea.
This is great news if you come down with a case of travelers diarrhea!
And of course, as with any supplements, there are some whoexperience great results sooner due to what is referred to as the Placeboeffect. In other words, by expecting and believing that the probioticwill work, they experience beneficial effects. Our thoughts are powerful.
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Antioxidant Effect Nutrient Absorption Intestinal Barrier Restoration
Other mechanisms by which probiotics may facilitate an immediate and noticeable effect in users include: oxidative stress reduction restoration of intestinal barriers and/or enhancement of nutrient absorption. Though these actions are not always immediate, they can occur rapidly and may explain why a subset of users derive seemingly-instant benefit from probiotic supplementation.
Oxidative stress reduction: High oxidative stress is implicated in many medical conditions and diseased states. Although oxidative stress is generally not the root cause of medical conditions and diseases, excessive oxidative stress may worsen preexisting symptoms.
Supplementation with probiotics has been shown to facilitate an antioxidant response within the body. Specifically, probiotics augment the scavenging of free radicals and may minimize production of reactive oxygen species generated by pathogenic microbes.
Restoration of intestinal barriers: If you have preexisting leaky gut syndrome or a damaged intestinal lining, you may find that the microbes delivered by probiotics begin immediately restoring intestinal barriers. In other words, the healthy microbes within probiotics may quickly repair open intercellular tight junctions. Assuming probiotics close some of the open intercellular tight junctions, this should decrease foreign antigens in systemic circulation and decrease downstream immune activation plus proinflammatory cytokine production.
How Long Should I Take Probiotics For Ibs
The answer to the question of how long should I take probiotics for IBS can be different for different people.
If your IBS is caused by a food allergy then you may need to take them longer, often for up to 6 months.
They work by changing the digestive system and making it easier for the bacteria in the intestines to move waste products out of the body.
If your IBS is caused by antibiotics, then they will have little effect, and you may only have to take them for a short period. Probiotics are generally available at health stores and most supermarkets.
Some people find that taking them for a long time is more effective than just once a day. It depends on the individual person, as some may take more or less than this. If you are pregnant, then consult your doctor.
Also, if you suffer from constipation, you may find that they are useful for treating your constipation and moving waste out of your body more easily.
You should discuss any health issues you have with your doctor before you start taking probiotics for IBS. There may be cases where you will need to wait to see whether they will have some beneficial effect.
You should also bear in mind that taking probiotics will not cure your IBS, but will provide you with a way to relieve your symptoms. They will also provide the bacteria needed to keep your immune system healthy.
This may improve your general health and well-being.
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What To Do If Your Symptoms Worsen With Probiotics
If you begin taking probiotics and your symptoms seem to be getting worse, you have several options:
- Push through a little longer. Sometimes symptoms get a little worse at first, then get significantly better a few days later, explains Strealy.
- Take half a dose. For example, take one capsule per day rather than one capsule twice a day.
- Switch the timing. For example, try taking the supplement at night before bedtime instead of during the day.
- Switch brands. Change to a different strain of bacteria, or switch to a yeast-based probiotic.
- Take a break and try again later. Some people just dont tolerate probiotics, Strealy says. You might consider trying again in a few months and see how it goes then.
If you have questions as you continue to take a probiotic supplement, your doctor or dietitian can give you further guidance to help you get the most benefit from probiotic supplements.
Sign 7 Fewer Sugar Cravings
Some experts consider adding probiotics into the diet to be one of the best ways toreduce sugar cravings.A poor diet leads to less diversity of gut bacteria, and having an imbalance of bacteria in your gut, called dysbiosis, leads to cravings for sugary foods and drinks.Certain microbes in the gut prefer sugar, causing an increase in the number ofsweet receptors. Thus you crave and consume more sugary foods and drinks,thereby creating a snowball effect where you feed and create more sugar-lovingbacteria in the gut, causing more sugar cravings. Its a vicious cycle that can be broken by taking a high-quality probiotic, which increases the diversity and health of the gut, thereby reducing the influence of any one species of bacteria, say the sugar loving one, on the body.
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Issues To Be Aware Of
If you’re considering trying probiotics, there are a few issues you need to be aware of.
Probiotics are generally classed as food rather than medicine, which means they don’t go through the rigorous testing medicines do.
Because of the way probiotics are regulated, we can’t always be sure that:
- the product actually contains the bacteria stated on the food label
- the product contains enough bacteria to have an effect
- the bacteria are able to survive long enough to reach your gut
There are many different types of probiotics that may have different effects on the body, and little is known about which types are best.
You may find a particular type of probiotic helps with one problem. But this doesn’t mean it’ll help other problems, or that other types of probiotic will work just as well.
And there’s likely to be a huge difference between the pharmaceutical-grade probiotics that show promise in clinical trials and the yoghurts and supplements sold in shops.
Page last reviewed: 27 November 2018 Next review due: 27 November 2021
Who Should And Shouldnt Take Probiotics
For most healthy people, probiotics are safe to consume, explains Niki Strealy, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian in private practice in Portland, Oregon, who specializes in digestive health. But before you increase your intake, there are a few things to know.
People commonly turn to probiotics to manage digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. But remember, a healthy gut starts with your diet, so its important to focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, proteins, and minimally processed whole grains, says Strealy.
In addition, those who have a compromised immune system, those undergoing cancer treatment, pregnant women, the elderly, and children should talk to a healthcare provider before taking probiotics, says Strealy.
Finally, people who have been diagnosed with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth , which is common in IBS, should be cautious with probiotics. According to a study published in June 2018 in Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology, probiotics might make symptoms like brain fogginess, gas, and bloating worse in people with SIBO but taking an antibiotic and stopping probiotics can help, in these cases.
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