What Has Science Shown About The Effectiveness Of Probiotics For Health Conditions
A great deal of research has been done on probiotics, but much remains to be learned about whether theyâre helpful and safe for various health conditions.
Probiotics have shown promise for a variety of health purposes, including prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea , prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis and in premature infants, treatment of infant colic, treatment of periodontal disease, and induction or maintenance of remission in ulcerative colitis.
However, in most instances, we still donât know which probiotics are helpful and which are not. We also donât know how much of the probiotic people would have to take or who would be most likely to benefit. Even for the conditions that have been studied the most, researchers are still working toward finding the answers to these questions.
The following sections summarize the research on probiotics for some of the conditions for which theyâve been studied.
Mushroom Probiotics For Women And Men
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Medicinal mushrooms Turkey Tail, Maitake and Shiitake mushrooms are also rich in probiotic fibres and provide anti-microbial, antifungal properties making them bacteriostaticpreventing the overgrowth of dysbiotic bacteria and yeasts.
Mushroom prebiotics feeds the beneficial microbes in our gut, which in turn create nutrients such as Vitamin K and SCFA that repair enterocytes and fuel cellular energy production.
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Mushroom Probiotics benefit men and women by nourishing the existing microbiome and growth of beneficial strains, whilst modulating dysbiotic and unfriendly bacterial strains – helping to support a diverse microbiome alongside a diverse healthy diet.
This potent formula works to balance your gut microbiome, support digestive function, reduce gas and bloating, increase energy levels, boost immunity, lower stress and anxiety, elevate mood and nourish skin healthall in an easy-to-consume daily probiotic powder.
You may also be interested in the gut-supportive benefits of Lion’s Mane mushroom.
Why Probiotics Matter So Much
After dissecting and inspecting the various key strains that may be in your probiotic supplements, it is easy to see why they, particularly those discussed above, are helpful in supporting your overall health.
Their long list of health benefits doesnt stop there. The inclusion of prebiotics on a probiotic supplement plays helpful roles in almost every system in the body to support and promote health.
1. Balancing the good and bad bacteria in your gut helps support proper digestion and nutrient absorption.
2. Nourishing good bacteria that may be overwhelmed by occasional oxidative stress.
3. Promoting proper food movement through your gut and breaking down food into nutrients your body can use for energy, cell repair, and growth.
4. Promoting mineral absorption from the foods you eat, particularly iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and other minerals that support bone health.
5. Helping to metabolize occasional everyday toxins for removal from your body.
6. Supporting immune cell activity to protect against environmental and seasonal threats and promoting the production of natural antibodies in the body for healthy immune responses.
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Can Probiotics Be Harmful
- Probiotics have an extensive history of apparently safe use, particularly in healthy people. However, few studies have looked at the safety of probiotics in detail, so thereâs a lack of solid information on the frequency and severity of side effects.
- The risk of harmful effects from probiotics is greater in people with severe illnesses or compromised immune systems. When probiotics are being considered for high-risk individuals, such as premature infants or seriously ill hospital patients, the potential risks of probiotics should be carefully weighed against their benefits.
- Possible harmful effects of probiotics include infections, production of harmful substances by the probiotic microorganisms, and transfer of antibiotic resistance genes from probiotic microorganisms to other microorganisms in the digestive tract.
- Some probiotic products have been reported to contain microorganisms other than those listed on the label. In some instances, these contaminants may pose serious health risks.
They Don’t Hang Out In Your Gut For Very Long
When you nosh or swallow a probiotic, it doesn’t take up permanent residence in your intestinal ecosystem with the bacteria that’s there already, says Hutkins. It might help crowd out a microorganism that’s making you sick , but it eventually just passes through the gut. That’s why it’s impossible to take too many you’ll just poop them out. This in-and-out nature also means that if you’re aiming for a health benefit, you need to ingest them almost daily.
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Benefits Of Taking Probiotics
Not all probiotics are the same. Different strains of the bacteria have different effects. For example, one strain may fight against cavity-causing organisms in our mouths and don’t need to survive a trip through our guts.
Research has been promising for these friendly critters. Potential benefits of probiotics have been seen in the treatment or prevention of
- H. pylori
- vaginal infections
- infection of the digestive tract caused by
- eczema in children.
Probiotics May Help With Gas And Bloating
Gas and bloating can be perfectly normal if this happens occasionally, but sometimes they are a sign that your digestive system isnt working as smoothly as it should. This can happen for several reasons, such as food sensitivities and stress.
If you experience gas and bloating often, theres a good chance you have already tried a number of medications and remedies. However, it could be a sign that youre simply dealing with an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. If ignored, this can lead to other issues over time like inflammation and even leaky gut.
Starting a probiotic will fight the overgrowth of pathogens and bring things back to balance. Taking a probiotic daily will maintain that balance and improve digestion. In other words, youll notice less bloating and better digestion.
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A Supplement Can Support Nutrient Absorption
While your microbiome does extend beyond and outside of your gut, it is a major hotspot. Along with your immune system, one of the primary reasons why that is true is because probiotics help your body maximize its ability to absorb the nutrients it needs from the healthy food that you eat.
No matter how many superfoods you eat, your body will not be able to fully benefit from them if your gut environment is not filled with healthy bacteria. The reason why is because enzymes and digestive bacteria help break down the food you eat into molecules that are then able to make their way into your bloodstream to nourish your body.
If your gut is populated in with an inadequate or unbalance amount of healthy microbes, you will not be able to absorb all you can from the food you eat. In fact, this can lead to malabsorption which can dramatically reduce your bodys ability to grow, stay healthy, and fight off infection.
A daily probiotic can help your body naturally absorb all of the goodness form your food so that you can make sure that you are getting the most out of all of your important attempts at staying healthy.
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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Health Benefits Of Probiotics
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Probiotics are live microorganisms that can be consumed through fermented foods or supplements .
More and more studies show that the balance or imbalance of bacteria in your digestive system is linked to overall health and disease.
Probiotics promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria and have been linked to a wide range of health benefits.
These include benefits for weight loss, digestive health, immune function and more (
This is an overview of the key health benefits linked to probiotics.
Get Healthy Bacteria From Food
If you eat a diet rich in plant-based and fermented foods, you will be ingesting a variety of microbes, says Mayer at UCLA. And the more you feed them, the greater their abundance and diversity in the gut. What do they eat? Fiber called prebiotics. Some good sources are artichokes, asparagus, garlic, onions, and whole grains.
But with a supplement, you consume the bacteria in isolation, Cresci says.
If you get your good bacteria in fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut, youll also get their beneficial byproducts, such as acids and enzymes.
Editors Note: This article also appeared in the January 2019 issue of Consumer Reports On Health.
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The Probiotic That Worked For Your Friend Might Not Work For You
Even with antibiotic-associated diarrhea, which has the best evidence, “you could have seven people take the same probiotic and only have one report a definite difference,” says gastroenterologist Matthew Ciorba, M.D., a medical professor who studies human gut microbiota at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. That’s because each person’s microbial makeup is as unique as a fingerprint, influenced by age, genetics, and gender. For example, animal research from the University of Texas at Austin found the microbes living in the guts of males and females react differently to the same diet. Scientists are now studying ways to harness a person’s own microbes to treat illnesses, rather than going for a mass approach.
So What Are The Issues With Probiotics
There is still the question of whether some probiotics stick around long enough in the body to do anything.
In a 2018 study published in Cell, a team of scientists gave Supherbs Bio-25, a mixture of 11 bacterial strains commercially available in Israel, to 10 healthy people for four weeks and found that the probiotics passed right through four of them.
This suggests that in some people, these strains will not have an effect, said Eran Segal,a computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and a co-author of the study.
Studies aside, though, the other major problem with probiotics is that they may not contain what they say they do. In the United States, the F.D.A. regulates most probiotics as dietary supplements, which means that their manufacturing and quality-control standards are far less stringent than standards for prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
In a 2016 study, researchers at the University of California-Davis and other institutions used DNA analysis to compare the bacterial strains listed on the labels of 16 commercially available probiotics with what the products actually had in them.
The researchers found that only one of the 16 products contained the strains listed on the label some had entirely different bacterial species. Good quality control matters: In 2014, a premature baby died from what was believed to be mold contamination in a probiotic supplement.
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Probiotics For Cognitive Health
The gut-brain axis or what is also known as enteric nervous system is a bidirectional communication in the body between the microbes in our gut and our neurons in our brain.
Science has revealed that 90% of serotonin, dopamine and 50% of noradrenaline, and the production of GABA is all manufactured in the gut. These important neurotransmitters and hormones directly influence cognition, thinking, memory and most importantly, mood elevation.
Adding in probiotics naturally supports the production of these neurotransmitters to the brain which benefits overall cognitive health.
We also know that neurodegenerative diseases are heavily linked to glucose imbalance and gut inflammation. Supporting a healthy gut may in turn prevent the evolution of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Better Understanding Of Bacteria
First of all, you have to keep in mind that you are dealing with bacteria here. Most of the time, you can already control the growth of bacteria in your body.
You will never get rid of all bacteria, so no matter what you do, you will always have to watch out for the growth of bad bacteria. This can easily happen if you are taking antibiotics to treat something else.
So before you start taking any supplements for your health, make sure that you know whether you should take them or not.
Usually, it is common for women to think about the answer to the question should you take a probiotic every day?
They would think that they should take one when they experience vaginal infections. The truth is that they should take more than one.
If you are trying to treat your candida overgrowth by taking pills, then you should always use a topical yeast infection treatment even if you are trying to avoid the intake of pills.
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How Do Probiotic Strains Work Together
Probiotics require fructooligosaccharides , a type of soluble fiber that is found in a variety of grains, fruits, and vegetables, to thrive. This type of fiber is commonly known as prebiotics. In simplest terms, prebiotics are food for probiotics, helping nourish them to keep them alive and active in the gut.
The combination of probiotics and prebiotic strains creates a synergistic effect that allows the body to thrive. By encouraging the growth of the good bacterial strains and crowding out the bad ones, you enjoy the benefits of good digestion, including more energy, better weight control, and making feeling good the new normal.
What Are The Benefits Of Probiotics
Studies suggest that certain probiotics can help in certain contexts. But you will need to do your research. We can help.
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Walk into a health food store, or even a drugstore, and youre likely to find an entire aisle, maybe two, dedicated to probiotics. Probiotics are live micro-organisms, usually bacteria, that provide health benefits when consumed at appropriate doses.
According to some surveys, approximately four million Americans take probiotics, which are available as pills, powders, foods and drinks. Probiotics are a huge industry at least a $40 billion dollar one, according to Zion Market Research and popular brands sell for 35 cents to $1 a dose, with a shelf life of several months.
Framed this way, probiotics may seem like a no-brainer. But before you reach for your wallet, keep in mind that while many scientists and doctors believe that probiotics have promise, they also say that a lot of products on the market dont live up to the hype.
The current evidence does not convince me to recommend probiotics for any of my healthy patients, said Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and an internist at Cambridge Health Alliance.
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How Safe Are Probiotics
Because microbes used as probiotics already exist naturally in your body, probiotic foods and supplements are generally considered safe. They may trigger allergic reactions, and may also cause mild stomach upset, diarrhea, or flatulence and bloating for the first few days after starting to take them.
There are certain people who need to use caution when using probiotic supplements. There is a risk of infection in some people. These people include those who have:
- A weakened immune system .
- A critical illness.
Caution should also be used when giving probiotics to very sick infants.
Always talk to your healthcare provider before starting a probiotic supplement.
Probiotics May Reduce The Severity Of Certain Allergies And Eczema
Certain probiotic strains may reduce the severity of eczema in children and infants.
One study found eczema symptoms improved for infants fed probiotic-supplemented milk, compared to infants fed milk without probiotics .
Another study followed children of women who took probiotics during pregnancy. Those children had an 83% lower risk of developing eczema in the first two years of life .
However, the link between probiotics and reduced eczema severity is still weak and more research needs to be done .
Some probiotics may also reduce inflammatory responses in people with milk or dairy allergies. However, the evidence is weak and further studies are needed .
Probiotics may reduce the risk and severity of certain allergies, such as eczema in infants. However, more research is needed.
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How Probiotics Are Good For You
They might lower the number of “bad” bacteria in your gut that can cause illness or inflammation. They can also replace those problem germs with good or helpful bacteria.
Researchers are studying when and how probiotics might best help. There’s more research for some illnesses than others. They might help people with:
- Diarrhea, especially when it’s linked to specific antibiotics. Probiotics also might help with infectious diarrhea, especially in children.
- Inflammatory bowel diseases including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Some probiotics might keep ulcerative colitis in remission and prevent Crohn’s disease from relapsing and getting worse.
- Irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics can sometimes help ease symptoms, including stomach pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
Probiotics also are being studied for many other conditions. There isnât as much research yet, but some people say that probiotics have helped them with:
- Decreasing inflammation, such as from rheumatoid arthritis