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.
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 .
Probiotics may help protect the heart by reducing bad LDL cholesterol levels and modestly lowering blood pressure.
What About Kijimea And Saccharomyces Boulardii
Kijimea is a popular IBS probiotic pill in the US.
It contains a strain of bacteria called Bifidobacterium bifidum MIMB75 and is the only product with this strain.
Theres been one clinical trial using this strain, which included 122 patients. After 4 weeks, 47% of those taking B. bifidum MIMB75 reported significant improvements in pain, bloating, urgency and digestive disorders . Whereas 11% of patients taking the placebo pill reported benefits .
So Kijimea certainly shows some potential, but the science supporting it is thin. The popularity likely comes from the fact it is easily and has great user reviews.
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Bacteria And Your Gut
The human GI tract is inhabited by trillions of bacteria. In fact, our bodies contain more bacterial cells than human cells! All bacteria are not created equal, however. While some cause illness, many other types are beneficialeven essentialfor good health.
Along with housing all those bacteria , the GI tract serves as the body’s largest reservoir of immune cells, making it one of the most important lines of defense against infection. This makes sense when you think about the number of bacteria that enter our bodies through our mouths.
And when we consider all the things that babies and children put into their mouths, you can begin to see why the GI tract plays such a big role in fighting off infection.
Good bacteria, such as those found in probiotics, are the workhorses of the gut, maintaining a healthy environment for your immune cells so that they can function effectively to keep you from getting sick.
Regularly eating foods or taking supplements that contain probiotics is one way to help increase the numbers of good bacteria so that they out-compete the bad bacteria.
Excellent gut health, which is closely linked to the health of your immune system, is achieved by striking a balance between the good and the bad bacteria. Both will always be present in your GI tract. Your job is to feed the good bacteria so that they can outnumber the bad guys.
The Recommended Dosage For Probiotics
There is no specific recommended dosage for taking probiotics as they have varying strains and CFUs, which influence their body effectiveness.
In general, Probiotic contain between 1 to 100 billion Colony Forming Units in a single serving with 2 to 15 strains of bacteria in these servings. The probiotics come with their own recommended dose, which you can follow to get your purchase results.
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Where Do You Find Probiotics
Fermented or cultured dairy products are a major source of probiotics. Other sources of probiotics include
- fermented milk.
The bacteria either occur naturally in these foods or have been added during preparation. Probiotics are also available as dietary supplements in capsule, tablet or powder-form.
Here are the most common strains of probiotics:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Enterococcus faecium
- Saccharomyces boulardii.
Bifidus regularis, a name created for marketing purposes by Dannon, is also known as Bifidobacterium animalis DN-173 010. This strain of probiotics is used exclusively in Dannon’s popular Activia products, which Dannon claims promote regularity.
Keep in mind that in order for a yogurt to be considered probiotic, it must contain one of the strains listed above. All yogurts are required to be treated with the strains Lactobacillus bulgaricusand Streptococcus thermophilus.
Food marketers have found a new niche with probiotic-containing foods, which include
- Probiotic cereal
- infant formula.
However, their claims may be based only on preliminary scientific findings.
More research is needed to see whether probiotic bacterias’ beneficial effects are the same when they’re treated or added to food products. Dried probiotics may survive a trip through the intestines if prepared and stored properly. Heat often kills live active cultures.
Prevent And Manage Diarrhea
Treating diarrhea is another major benefit of L. acidophilus. Its been shown to both prevent and reduce the frequency of diarrhea-related illnesses, especially in children. One study showed that L. acidophilus helped to reduce diarrhea in over 300 children with gastroenteritis. Its also been used to treat diarrhea associated with antibiotic use and even cancer treatment.
For those with Travelers diarrhea, L. acidophilus is a must for restoring normal bowel function. Its also advised to supplement with Lactobacillus;acidophilus before travel, in order to reduce the risk of travelers diarrhea. This is even more effective when used in combination with another probiotic.;
The immunoprotective properties of L. acidophilus also extend to the respiratory system. It helps you to ward infections of the respiratory tract such as bronchitis and sinusitis.
Here are a few key benefits of our probiotic:
- Time-release tablets that deliver 15 times more bacteria past stomach acid, when compared to regular probiotic;capsules.
- Probiotic bacteria are released slowly over 8-10 hours.
- 12 probiotic strains chosen for their effect on gut health and immunity.
- 15 billion CFUs of probiotic bacteria.
- 60 tablets per bottle .
- Free of nuts, dairy, gluten, soy. Non-GMO and vegan. Made in the USA.
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The Benefits Of Probiotics Bacteria
In a society of anti-bacterial warfare, who would have thought that anyone would tout the benefits of bacteria? Living microorganisms found in yogurt and other cultured foods may help improve your body’s bacterial environment inside and out. They’re called probiotics, a name that means “for life.”
More and more people are using probiotic products to treat or improve illnesses or to maintain overall well-being. In fact, a 2017 report estimated annual global sales of probiotic supplements at $3.7 billion in 2016, and that is expected to rise to $17.4 billion by 2027.
How To Take Lactobacillus Acidophilus
Lactobacillus acidophilus can already be found in healthy digestive systems and other parts of the body.
However, you can top up or maintain your levels by eating foods that contain it or by taking a supplement.
Some of the best food sources of lactobacillus acidophilus include:
- Kefir: this drink is made of bacteria and yeast grains which are added to milk or water to make the famous fermented drink. It commonly contains lactobacillus acidophilus, amongst other probiotics
- Yoghurt: bacteria is essential for making yoghurt, and lactobacillus acidophilus is perfect for the job!
- Miso: this paste is made using fermented soybeans and comes from Japan. Lactobacillus acidophilus is sometimes used to make it.
- Cheese: lactobacillus acidophilus is not often used in the cheese making process, but is sometimes added as a probiotic
- Tempeh: another product make from fermented soybeans, tempeh is an Indonesian dish that commonly contains lactobacillus acidophilus
- Sauerkraut: this fermented cabbage dish commonly contains lactobacillus, including lactobacillus acidophilus
As well as lactobacillus acidophilus-rich foods, you can also turn to taking probiotic supplements. You can take it on its own or take a product with multiple strains of probiotics.
We suggest always starting slow with probiotics in any form and increasing your dose little by little to help ease you in.
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Scientific Evidence Of Probiotics
Probiotics have existed for centuries as naturally occurring in yogurt, cheese, and other fermented dairy products. With technology improving, scientists and medical experts started making these probiotics’ cultures using bacterial strains to develop supplements. These cultures are nurtured in a modern laboratory using friendly bacteria that are safe for human consumption.
Probiotic dosages are referred to as Colony Forming Units, mostly termed as CFUs. The higher the CFU, the longer the shelf life and the higher the quality of the probiotic. However, the mode of delivery affects a probiotic’s effectiveness regardless of the CFUs. A well-coated probiotic with fewer CFUs may do more work than a poorly coated probiotic with more CFUs.
According to the National Health Interview Survey in 2012, at least 4million adults in the US had used Probiotic within the past 30days during the survey. Over the years, the number has increased immensely as more people discover these probiotics and new companies are developed more rapidly as technology improves.
Most digestive tract issue such as diarrhea, indigestion, bloating gas, stomach discomfort may be due to poorly balanced bacteria in the stomach. Antibiotics destroy both useful and harmful bacteria when taken; that’s why most doctors recommend taking a probiotic after a complete antibiotic dosage.
Benefits of probiotic supplements according to a National Health Interview Survey Review are as follows:
May Help Support The Immune System
A healthy gut is essential for a healthy immune system, which we need to help reduce the risk of viral infections, like the common cold.
Some studies have shown that probiotics could help improve or prevent symptoms of the common cold.22,23
One study followed 326 children taking lactobacillus acidophilus daily for 6 months. They found that it reduced fever by 53%, coughing by 41% and days off sick from school by 32%.24
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Can You Use Probiotics For Dog Diarrhea
Yes, probiotics can be used to improve dog diarrhea caused by:
Stress colitis from boarding, moving, or any disruption in routine
Sudden changes to your dogs diet, like eating a new or unusual food
A bacterial imbalance from long-term antibiotic use
Infections that cause a bacterial overgrowth may clear with probiotic use as well.
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They Contribute To Feeling Full Which In Turn Can Make You Eat Less
Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, LDN, nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition stresses that this link is in an indirect way, but “foods that contain probiotics as well as nutrients, such as protein and fiber, can help you feel satiated and therefore eat less and lead to weight loss,” she says, adding that foods like kefir and yogurt offer protein and probiotics whereas foods like kimchi and pickled vegetables are good options for probiotics coupled with fiber.
Want to learn even more about how probiotics can help you in addition to weight loss? There are also five surprising benefits of probiotics.
It May Help Reduce Cholesterol
High cholesterol levels may increase the risk of heart disease. This is especially true for bad LDL cholesterol.
Fortunately, studies suggest that certain probiotics can help reduce cholesterol levels and that L. acidophilus may be more effective than other types of probiotics (
This suggests that L. acidophilus not another ingredient in the yogurt was responsible for the beneficial effect.
L. acidophilus consumed on its own, in milk or yogurt or in combination with prebiotics may help lower cholesterol.
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Which Probiotics Species Are Best
Its difficult for IBS researchers to pinpoint just how effective probiotics are.
This is due to differences in study design, patient populations, probiotics strains and dosages used of previous clinical trials.
Generally speaking, there is emerging evidence that probiotics help to improve overall symptom response and quality of life compared to taking a dummy pill over an 8-10 week period. This goes for all type of IBS .
At the 2015 Yale University workshop, two particular probiotic varieties were identified as the best options for IBS :
- Bifantis : a group of bacteria that normally live in the intestines, but specifically the strain 35624. Its reported many people are missing this strain from their gut
- VSL#3: a probiotic mixture of eight strains ;.
As you can see in the the table here, the strains Lactobacillus plantarum 299V and Bifidobacterium animalis ;were also rated, although not as highly.
A list of probiotic strains rated for effectiveness in IBS at the 2011 and 2015 Yale University Workshops. Click to enlarge.
Note that recommendations are given as A, B or C ratings. None of the probiotic recommendations for IBS are rated A because more studies are needed first.
Summary: In 2011 Yale university rated Bifidobacterium infantis and VSL#3 as the best probiotics for IBS. Lactobacillus plantarum and;Bifidobacterium animalis may also be useful.
Risks And Considerations Of Probiotics For Cats
Adverse effects of probiotics are rare in cats. Frey, however, warns that cat owners should choose their probiotic brands wisely. The supplement industry is loosely regulated and there isn’t a governing agency that requires a company to prove its label claims for amounts and strains.;Companies only have to respond to complaints, she explains. Human supplement manufacturers are required to have more oversight than veterinary ones.;There is, however a veterinary organization called National Animal Supplement Council that does provide some oversight. Frey recommends giving cats a veterinary product that has the NASC label or a product from a company that also produces human supplements and foods whenever possible.
But at the end of the day, it all comes down to what works the best for your specific pet. We know so little about probiotic and normal flora populations in animals.;There is much to learn, says Frey. No one product works for every animal so trying different probiotics and watching for results is a good common sense approach.
Optimum cat health starts with proper nutrition. Find out what human foods are dangerous for cats and avoid feeding them to your feline friend.
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The Best Probiotics For Ibs: A Double
It certainly appears probiotics can help manage IBS, but only particular strains and mixtures.
Just keep in mind that they should not be used as a sole therapy.
Also note that they can be a double-edged sword what works fantastic for some may only make symptoms worse in others. It likely depends on your existing gut bacteria environment.
For this reason you should be willing to experiment with different strains and different brands. Where one type doesnt help, maybe another will.
The most clinically proven and recommended brands among gastrointestinal specialists are VSL#3, Symprove and Alflorex/Align, in no specific order. But as always, speak with your doctor before trying anything new.
About Joe Leech, Dietitian
Joe Leech is a university-qualified dietitian from Australia.
He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in exercise science, followed by a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2011.
Learn more about him on the About page.;
Joe Leech, Dietitian
Count The Colony Forming Units
This tells you how much bacteria you’re getting in each dose. How much you need varies with different types and what you want to treat. There’s no general rule to follow. Most doses range from 1 to 10 billion CFUs that you take once or twice a day.
If you don’t get enough CFUs, you might not get the results you want. But more isn’t always better. It could just be a waste of money. To find out what you might need, ask your doctor.
On the label, some makers list CFUs “at time of manufacture.” But it’s important for the CFU count to tell you how much you’re getting when you use the probiotic before it expires. If you’re not sure what the count tells you, get in touch with the maker.
Keep in mind that the CFU listed is usually the total for all probiotic types in the product. If you can find one that lists it for each type, that’s even better.
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