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What Does Probiotics Do For Your Body

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Why You Need Probiotics for a Healthy Immune System
  • ulcerative colitis and Crohnâs disease
  • tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontitis
  • eczema

The secret to keeping the bodyâs natural probiotics healthy is, among other things, ample prebiotics. Prebiotics are basically probiotic food: specific organic compounds, like carbs or insulin, that sustain your bodyâs probiotics and help them proliferate.

This is why youâll often hear about foods, drinks, or supplements that boost your probiotic health by providing extra prebiotics, probiotics, or both.

Certain Probiotic Strains Can Help Keep Your Heart Healthy

Probiotics may help keep your heart healthy by lowering LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.

Certain lactic acid-producing bacteria may reduce cholesterol by breaking down bile in the gut .

Bile, a naturally occurring fluid mostly made of cholesterol, helps digestion.

A review of 5 studies found that eating a probiotic yogurt for 28 weeks reduced total cholesterol by 4% and LDL cholesterol by 5% .

Another study conducted over 6 months found no changes in total or LDL cholesterol. However, the researchers did find a small increase in HDL cholesterol .

Consuming probiotics may also lower blood pressure. A review of 9 studies found that probiotic supplements reduce blood pressure, but only modestly .

In order to experience any benefits related to blood pressure, supplementation had to exceed 8 weeks and 10 million colony-forming units daily .

Bottom Line:

Probiotics may help protect the heart by reducing bad LDL cholesterol levels and modestly lowering blood pressure.

Should You Take A Daily Probiotic Supplement

Probiotics are good for your gut, but the source matters.

Theres a lot of buzz around probiotics. Theyre endorsed by celebrities and fill grocery stores aisles.

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that promote a healthy gut. Scientists believe they could unlock a deeper understanding of our health. Probiotics are found in some foods and drinks, like yogurt or fermented tea.

Just like vitamins, probiotics are available as supplements. Manufacturers make steep claims about their benefits. They include digestive health, strengthened immune system, weight loss and reduced cancer risk. But can a supplement really do all that?

To learn more about probiotic supplements, we spoke with Carrie Daniel- MacDougall, Ph.D., M.P.H., a nutritional epidemiologist at MD Anderson who studies diet and the microbiome.

Heres what you should know about probiotic supplements.

Its always better to get nutrients from food. That includes probiotics.

More research needs to be done on probiotics in general and probiotic supplements, but its always better to get your nutrients from food rather than supplements, Daniel-MacDougall says. They just dont deliver the same benefits as food.

One reason is because supplements arent regulated as closely as medications. So the quality and ingredients can vary greatly from product to product.

Unless your doctor is prescribing probiotics for a specific purpose, stick to getting them from foods like yogurt that may have other nutrients, like calcium.

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Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Probiotics

I dont like fermented foods. Whats another way to get probiotics?

A diet high in fiber, which is a prebiotic, may promote probiotic growth in the gut. You can also take a probiotic supplement with clearance from your healthcare team.

Is it just as good to take probiotic supplements as it is to eat foods with probiotics?

In general, the body benefits most from consuming probiotics via food, which often also contains beneficial nutrients. But if youre using probiotics to treat a disease or illness, a supplement that contains a higher number of strains may be more effective, noted a paper published in September 2017 the journal Biochemistry & Pharmacology.

If I take a probiotic supplement, is it best to take it before, during, or after a meal?

Youll reap the most benefits from probiotics if you take them 30 minutes before a meal or while eating. Also important: taking them with a food or drink that contains some amount of fat, because probiotics are fat soluble, meaning fat helps the body properly absorb them.

Can a person take in too many probiotics?

What is the best probiotic for your health?

Simply put, researchers havent identified one yet. Most of the studies surround bacterial strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium and the yeast strain Saccharomyces boulardii. Its also likely that various strains are best for different conditions.

Is it better to choose probiotic supplements that are refrigerated?

Should I always take probiotics when on an antibiotic?

What Happens To Your Body When You Start Taking Probiotics

What Do Probiotics Do For Your Body? Do They Really Keep ...

Whether you know it or not, there are trillions of little critters living in your gutand consuming a solid amount of “good” bacteria to balance out the bad is key to your overall health. But what happens to your body when you start taking probiotics? The short answer is: a lot. These living microscopic organisms can improve digestion, keep your immune system in tip-top shape, control inflammation, help breakdown and absorb certain medications, and even positively affect your mood. But we’ll get into all the nitty-gritty details below.

If you’re not getting enough probiotics in your own diet from fermented foods such as kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, yogurt, tempeh, and kombucha, then taking a supplement is a super easy and effective way to stay healthy. Dr. Josh Axe, a clinical nutritionist, founder of Ancient Nutrition, and author of Ancient Remedies, recommends taking probiotic capsules on an empty stomach, either when you first wake up or right before bed , which will allow them to work faster while minimizing any potentially negative side effects.

Dr. Axe says that some of the particular groups who may benefit from taking probiotics are those with GI or nutrient absorption issues or poor blood sugar management. But the truth is, almost anyone can benefit from probiotics.

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How Might Probiotics Work

Probiotics may have a variety of effects in the body, and different probiotics may act in different ways.

Probiotics might:

  • Help your body maintain a healthy community of microorganisms or help your bodyâs community of microorganisms return to a healthy condition after being disturbed
  • Produce substances that have desirable effects
  • Influence your bodyâs immune response.

Weight Loss May Be Easier With The Help Of Probiotics

Another growing area of research on probiotics is weight loss.

For example, a study published in October 2017 in the journal Cell & Bioscience suggested that lowering inflammation helps combat insulin resistance, the hallmark of type 2 diabetes, and fat accumulation.

Also, a systematic review and meta-analysis published in March 2018 in the journal Genes found that using a probiotic was associated with decreases in body mass index , weight, and fat mass with a probiotic dose of at least 30 billion for greater than 12 weeks.

The authors stated that the amounts, type, and duration of the probiotics require further study, though, because these measures werent consistent across every study. Probiotics and prebiotics showed a significant decrease while synbiotics did not, more due to the lack of studies, and the large differences between those studies negatively impacted the analysis. Yet the authors concluded that these dietary agents are essential tools in treating obesity. More on how these differ later.

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Probiotics Prebiotics And Synbiotics: Theres A Difference

As mentioned, probiotics are supplements or foods containing live microorganisms in significant enough numbers to produce health benefits to the host beyond basic nutrition.

On the other hand, a prebiotic is a nondigestible food ingredient that promotes the growth or activity of bacteria in the colon. In other words, a prebiotic promotes the growth of a probiotic. Its easier to remember the difference when you think of the word prebiotic having the prefix pre, which means before. Dietary fibers are a prebiotic. Examples of prebiotics are inulin and fructooligosaccharides.

Synbiotics are simply products that contain both prebiotics and probiotics. The prefix syn is from the word synergy because the prebiotic works in a favorable way to produce the probiotic. One example would be Lactobacilli strains promoting the production of Bifidobacteria in the gut, which both have immune system benefits.

More Regular Bowel Movements

What Happens To Your Body When You Start Taking Probiotics? – How Probiotics Work

An imbalance in the composition of good bacteria in your intestine can contribute to irregular bowel movements. For example, frequent diarrhea can be a sign of pathogenic bacteria present in your intestines. A high-quality probiotic will help bring more good bacteria into your gut so that they crowd out the bad bacteria.

Constipation, on the other hand, can be due to low mucus production or low motility of your intestinal muscles. Certain probiotic bacterial strains are known to increase mucus production, which can regulate constipation.

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What Is The Best Probiotic

It is hard to say what the best probiotic is because the effects of probiotics are different for each person. Everyone has their own unique gut flora, so the probiotic that works best for you depends on the microbiome in your gut. There are up to 500 species of bacteria found within our large intestines.

For those wanting to treat irritable bowel syndrome and acute dermatitis, the most commonly used probiotic strains typically include Lactobacillus sp., Bifidobacterium sp., Streptococcus thermophilus, and Saccharomyces boulardii.

Overall, the most popular and best-researched strains of probiotics include: Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Saccharomyces. It is important to note that most probiotic products and supplements contain multiple strains of live bacteria.

While probiotic supplements and probiotic foods have both been found to have health benefits, probiotic foods have been found to be more effective carriers of probiotics. Overall, more research and clinical trials are needed to determine which strains are most effective and for what.

The Best Way To Benefit From Probiotics

You can get probiotics from a variety of foods or supplements.

If you want to buy a probiotic supplement, then there is an with thousands of customer reviews.

Live probiotic cultures are often found in fermented dairy products such as yogurts and milk drinks. Fermented foods like pickled vegetables, tempeh, miso, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and soy products may also contain some lactic acid bacteria.

You can also take probiotics as tablets, capsules and powders that contain the bacteria in dried form.

However, be aware that some probiotics can be destroyed by stomach acid before they even reach the gut meaning that you get none of the intended benefits.

If you want to experience any of the health benefits discussed above, its important that you consume adequate amounts.

Most of the studies showing benefits used dosages of 1 billion to 100 billion live organisms or colony-forming units per day.

More about probiotics:

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So What Are Some Of The Benefits

a. Combat health conditions and improve regular digestion

Those who suffer from an imbalanced gut microbiome or those who suffer from GI disorders may find relief after consuming probiotics .

b. Support a healthy gut-brain axis

Weve discussed before how our brain and gut communicate with each other. Scientists previously thought there was a one-way communication between the brain and the gut, but now realize that its a two-way line. Basically, your gut, which is comprised of millions of neurons called the enteric nervous system, is also talking back to your brain.

On top of alerting your immune system to foreign invaders, digesting and absorbing nutrients, your gut also produces serotonin. In fact, about 90% of the serotonin in your body is produced by the cells in your gut.

c. Support immunity

The gut plays an integral role in protecting you against pathogens and viruses. Just as your skin protects you against foreign invaders on the outside, your gut lining protects you on the inside.

d. Enhance Athletic Performance

Athletes should pay special attention to their probiotic intake. To perform their best, athletes typically require higher nutrient absorption. Things like inflammation and immune-function may affect their day-to-day more than those who dont require their physical-prowess to be at tip-top shape.

To learn more about probiotics and athletic performance, theres an excellent article at that sums up the benefits.

e. Break down lactose

The Future Of Probiotics

Pin on Holistic Healing/Mediation/Vitality

Although probiotics research has exploded recently, some facts about their effectiveness remain unclear. For example, within the two main groups of probioticsBifidobacterium and Lactobacillusdoctors are still trying to pinpoint which strains are the most helpful and whats the optimal amount to take.

If youre a healthy adult, probiotic- and prebiotic-rich foods are safe to eat but if you want to try a supplement, talk to your doctor first about brand, strain and dose, especially if you have a compromised immune system.

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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.

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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Do Probiotics Have Any Side

Probiotics are generally thought to be safe and healthy for the human body, but there may be some side effects.

The most common symptom is gas, which can cause bloating or discomfort in the lower stomach area.

Its important to know that not everyone will experience these symptoms and theyre usually mild and short-lived.

However, if youre experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis or they seem severe, it may be time to stop taking probiotics for a while.

More serious cases could include blood in stools or fever with chills .

If you continue to experience persistent GI issues after stopping probiotic supplements, contact your healthcare provider!

What Are The Side Effects And Risks Of Probiotics

What is a Probiotic? How do Probiotics Work? … Well it Depends…

Supplements play an important role when the diet is not adequate to supply our needs. In the case of probiotics, one’s diet is the ideal source for probiotics. These are live bacteria and need to be carefully monitored, stored, and combined for the health benefits that one would be taking them for. At this time, probiotic supplements are not monitored in the U.S. the way that food or medication is. They fall under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 . This requires that the dietary supplement or dietary ingredient manufacturer be responsible for ensuring that a dietary supplement or ingredient is safe before it is marketed. The only time that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may get involved is if action is needed to be taken against a manufacturer after the supplement is marketed and then found to be unsafe. This means that as much as we may know about probiotics, we can’t be certain of the safety or content of the supplements available to us.

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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.

Not All Probiotics Are Evaluated As Medicinal And Not All Are The Same

According to a 2018 report in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, unless a company claims that their probiotic can, for instance, cure a specific illness, their pill is evaluated as a food in the United States. Regulation is focused on the legitimacy of any claims, rather than efficacy, safety, and quality, the report says. This means probiotics arent necessarily evaluated in terms of what they can do to restore your microbiomewhich is why people take them in the first place.

Dr. De Latour notes research has proven that most probiotics you can buy at your local drugstore are generally useless, explaining that we’re resistant to many of them. If you’re resistant to a pill you swallow, it won’t do anything beneficial to your body. Most of the things that are generically availablea lot of people are resistant to them. Its kind of a waste of money, she says.

Another fact about probiotics that you should keep in mind: Some probiotic properties are strain-specific. This means that the effects of one probiotic could be different than the effects of others. For example, Saccharomyces boulardii is a yeast that is marketed as able to treat diarrhea, while species that fall under the Bifidobacterium genus are said to be able to treat constipation. Both are considered to have probiotic properties.

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