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
Probiotics Can Help Restore Good Gut Bacteria
There are times when its necessary to use antibiotics. Antibiotics can help to kill the bad bacteria that cause illness or infection. The only problem is that antibiotics dont know how to target those bacteria specifically. Instead, theyll destroy any bacteria they find regardless of the role those bacteria play in your overall health. This includes the good bacteria your gut needs to function properly.
Probiotic supplementation or probiotic products can help counteract the bulldozer effect antibiotics have on healthy bacteria. Replenishing what youve lost makes you less likely to experience the digestive side effects that antibiotics often cause.
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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.
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How Much Fermented Food Should You Take To Get Your Recommended Dosage Of Probiotics Per Day
Luckily for you, there is already some research out there that has quantified the number of probiotics found in foods that we eat daily.
Several studies have found that commercial yogurts do contain enough probiotics to confer potential health benefits.15, 16 These amounts, of course, differ between brands. Similar numbers of good bacteria could also be found in frozen yogurts.17
For example, the commercial brand Activia® contained between 107 and 108 CFU/ml.18This means that we would need to eat around 100 g of yogurt a day in order to meet the recommended dose of 109 – 1010 CFU/day. These numbers are pretty easy to achieve since usually there is already 125g in an individual yogurt container.
Microbial counts for sauerkraut generally range from 103 to 108 CFU/g, while Korean kimchi often contains 107 to 108 CFU/g of probiotics. Other fermented foods were found to contain somewhere between 106 and 109 CFU/g or mL.19
This means that in general, taking 100 g/mL would be sufficient to meet the recommended dose of probiotics.
How Often Should You Take Probiotics
If you take supplements, you have probably seen the acronym RDA or Recommended Daily Allowance on the label. According to the National Institutes of Health Office for Dietary Supplements, this means average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all healthy people. You might also see Percent Daily Value on the label, which tells you how much of that nutrient is in a single serving. For probiotics, its different. Currently, there is no official recommended dose because researchers are still trying to understand how many probiotics are beneficial on a daily basis.
If youre thinking, that doesnt answer my question, theres more to it! The National Center for Complementary and integrative Health states that probiotics have a long history of safety. The National Institutes of Health Office for Dietary Supplements probiotics fact sheet also references two studies where daily probiotic use was beneficial. And the Harvard Medical School states that probiotics can be taken once per day. Experts also agree that when taking probiotics or any other supplements, you should consult your physician first to make sure it is the right fit for you.
So the answer is probiotics are likely safe for daily use, but because human health is so unique from person to person, it is always best to consult your physician first.
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Can I Get Probiotics From Food
You can absolutely increase beneficial microbes in your body from the foods you eat. Certain foods have probiotics in them and can benefit the health of your microbiome.
These foods can be introduced into your diet at any point of the day. You may even be regularly eating them now and not realize that they contain probiotics. You will want to check the food label for live and active cultures. A few suggestions for just some of the probiotic-rich foods you can add to your diet and some times to try them include:
For breakfast, try:
Probiotic supplements may be combined with a prebiotic. Prebiotics are complex carbohydrates that feed the microorganisms in your gut. Basically, prebiotics are the food source for the good bacteria. They help feed the good bacteria and keep it healthy. Prebiotics include inulin, pectin and resistant starches.
When you have a supplement that combines a probiotic and prebiotic, its called a synbiotic.
How Much Probiotic Can A Kid Have Per Day
Probiotics are measured in CFU or colony forming units. This refers to the total amount of good bacteria in a probiotic supplement. It takes a lot of bacteria to make a significant difference, and it might seem overwhelming to see that theyre measured in the billions.
Most probiotic supplements have somewhere between 5 billion and 15 billion CFU. This amount is generally recognized as a safe daily amount for people of all ages, including children. Probiotics arent like vitamins or minerals. There is no recommended daily value of probiotics per day for people of any age. Probiotics are used as a supplement by people who enjoy their benefits, and there isnt a magic target youre trying to hit.
There are no known serious adverse effects related to taking too much of a probiotic, but you should still be mindful. Some people can react to excessive probiotic intake by experiencing abdominal discomfort and gas. The amount it will take to cause gas can vary from person to person. Stick to a maximum of 15 billion CFU daily unless your childs pediatrician recommends a different amount.
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Should I Take Probiotics In The Morning Or At Night
Probiotics are most effective when they have been taken on an empty stomach to make sure the good bacteria makes it to the gut as quickly as possible. The best time to take a probiotic is either first thing in the morning before eating breakfast or before going to sleep at night.
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Probiotics Support Digestive Health
Many people use probiotic bacteria in the lactobacillus family to support digestive health. Lactobacillus bacteria make it easier for the body to digest food and process nutrients. Many people find that probiotics help with digestive irregularity.
Issues like bloating, constipation, and diarrhea need to be medically addressed. In many cases, incorporating probiotics into a comprehensive treatment plan can help to support digestive relief. Probiotics should be used in conjunction with other common-sense best practices, like drinking enough water, avoiding foods youre allergic or intolerant to, and eating a diet with an adequate amount of fiber.
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Some Ingredients May Cause Adverse Reactions
People with allergies or intolerances should read the labels of probiotic supplements carefully, since they might contain ingredients they could react to.
For example, some of the supplements contain allergens such as dairy, egg or soy.
These ingredients should be avoided by anyone who is allergic, as they may trigger an allergic reaction. If necessary, read labels carefully to avoid these ingredients .
Similarly, yeast-based probiotics should not be taken by those with yeast allergies. Instead, a bacteria-based probiotic should be used .
Milk sugar, or lactose, is also used in many probiotic supplements .
While studies suggest that most people with lactose intolerance can tolerate up to 400 mg of lactose in medications or supplements, there have been case reports of adverse effects from probiotics (
Some people experience gas and bloating when consuming synbiotics. Those who experience these side effects may want to select a supplement that does not contain prebiotics .
Probiotic supplements can contain allergens, lactose or prebiotic fibers that may cause adverse reactions in some people. These ingredients can be avoided by reading labels.
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Probiotics Dosage With Antibiotics And After Taking Antibiotics
Antibiotics when ingested target to kill the harmful bacteria in the body. Unfortunately, this also leads to the death of the good bacteria.
When this happens, the ratio of the good to bad bacteria is tilted and can result in diarrhea. You may use probiotics to aid in the restoration of the bacteria in the gut.
However, this needs some caution. For instance, there is need to take the probiotics at least 2 hours after ingesting the antibacterial.
Secondly, you need to follow the manufacturers advice on the number of capsules for instance to take per day so as to lead to a good gut re-colonization.
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How Often Should You Take Probiotics When Taking Antibiotics
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.
How Many Probiotics Should You Take
The first thing to know about probiotics is that they come in far larger doses than most other supplements or nutrients.
While dosage can vary, American Family Physician recommends children take 5 to 10 billion colony-forming units of probiotics per day, and suggests adults consume 10 to 20 billion.
Additionally, some research shows theres potential value in consuming multiple strands of probiotics daily rather than just one.
These findings suggest that probiotic-rich foods, like Cleveland Kitchen sauerkraut, pack multiple strands of beneficial bacteria that can be more valuable than probiotic supplements with far fewer strands.
So, instead of opting for a single supplement with one billion CFU, try a few tablespoons of sauerkraut, or other fermented veggies, for up to 100 million CFU in a more diverse and flavorful package.
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Benefits For The Whole Dog
Advertisements touting the benefits of probiotics are plentiful claim that they are a cornerstone of preventative care. Probiotics boost the healthy gut bacteria that help digest food. They are a well-known therapy for diarrhea and gastrointestinal upset. More recently, theyve been found to counter urinary tract infections, immune system disorders and even anxiety.
In fact, mental health is one of the most exciting revelations about probiotics. Your dogs gastrointestinal tract and brain are in constant contact, and proper microorganisms in the intestines can help with mental and emotional regulation.
The bacterium called bifidobacterium longum, commonly known as BL999, is at the forefront of this discovery. Dr. Ragen T.S. McGowan, a pet behavior researcher for Nestlé Purina, reported that dogs who took BL999 were less likely to bark, jump, spin or pace in situations that normally caused them distress. They were also more likely to explore a new environment.
Make Sure Any Supplements You Buy Are Coated
Some probiotic strains canât survive the acidity of your gut. So if youâre taking a supplement, make sure itâs coated the outer shell will help it reach your intestines intact. If you can find only an uncoated version, take it with food to help protect it from the aggressive environment.
This article originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Womens Health. For more intel on how to live a happier, healthier life, pick up an issue on newsstands now.
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What Dose Should I Take
A push towards using natural methods to maintain digestive health in recent years has led to an increased interest in probioticslive microorganisms which confer health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts, often for immune and digestive health.1 Probiotics are thought to exert beneficial effects by supporting protective barriers, enhancing immune responses, and rebalancing the microbial community by displacing potentially pathogenic bacteria.24
Upon learning of probiotic benefits, people often want to know what constitutes as an adequate amount? However, because there are so many different probiotic organisms and variables to consider when making recommendations it is difficult to generalize one optimal dose as adequate for providing probiotic effects for everyone.5,6
Consequently, the answer to what dose should I take? will ultimately depend on an individuals purpose for taking probiotics.
How Often Should You Take A Probiotic Supplement
Research is still emerging about the gut microbiome, but it is safe to consume sources of probiotics each day. Taking most probiotics once per day can offer many different health benefits, while some probiotic strains have specific dose recommendations.
Probiotics are good bacteria that, when taken in adequate amounts, help balance your digestive system, which is home to hundreds of thousands of bacteria already. Some of those pre-existing bacteria are beneficial, while others can be harmful and may make you sick.
There are several bacterial strains commonly found in the human gut, yet each persons gut flora is unique, made up of different strains and amounts of bacteria. The bacteria in your intestines have different roles, such as producing fatty acids or defending against pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Each probiotic strain also has different effects on the body. Because of this, there isnt a standard recommendation for how much and how often to take probiotic supplements, but evidence shows that use of probiotics can provide numerous health benefits.
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Which Probiotics Should You Take With Antibiotics
Your pharmacy probably has shelves filled with different bottles of probiotics. How do you choose the right probiotics to take with your antibiotics? Dr. Bryan Tran, cofounder of DrFormulas, recommends looking for probiotics that have the three Ds:
Dose: The amount of active micro-organisms in a probiotic is measured in colony-forming units, or CFUs. You want a dose with 10 billion CFUs or higher, Dr. Tran says. This dose may appear on the product label as 1 x 1010. And while you may see probiotics with 100 billion or more CFUs, according to Dr. Hoberman, you generally stop reaping added benefits after about 20 billion.
Diversity: The label on a bottle of probiotics will also tell you which bacteria strains the capsules contain. Look for probiotics that have five to 10 unique strains. Studies that compare single-strain probiotics to multi-strain probiotics have found that a variety of strains is more effective at reducing diarrhea, Dr. Tran says.
Delayed-release mechanism: Finally, look for probiotics that use delayed-release capsules. When you take probiotics orally, you expose them to your stomach acid and that reduces the effective dosage that makes it to the gut, Dr. Tran says. Probiotics with delayed-release mechanisms wont release the microorganisms until they go past the stomach.
How Many Billion Probiotics Should I Take
Probiotics are measured by Colony Forming Units , which essentially indicate the number of viable cells. A probiotic supplement should have around 10 billion CFUs as this is the dose required to reduce the duration of diarrhea in children.
Not only is dose important but delivery as well. Many probiotic products do not protect the probiotics inside from stomach acid which kills many of the probiotics inside before they make it to the gut.
Look for probiotics with an enteric coating or some kind of delayed-release mechanisms to maximize the effective probiotic dose you are getting.
In addition to the dose, you need to consider the diversity of your probiotics. Many probiotics have one, two or just a couple strains or types of probiotics.
Studies have shown that more diverse formulations of probiotics with multiple strains of probiotics is more helpful than single strain probiotics.
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