In the Know on Probiotics

 

Microscopic probiotics set. Good bacteria and microorganisms for human health.  Bacterial microflora vector design

There has been an increased buzz around the topic of probiotics for your gut health.  Probiotics are comprised of healthier bacteria that help you digest and absorb nutrients more efficiently.  If you don’t consume supplements or foods that have probiotics in them then you might develop a bacterial imbalance in your gut.  This imbalance has been shown to cause multiple health problems.  A few things you may be experiencing if you have poor gut health is:

  • Gas and Bloating
  • IBS
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Malabsorption
  • Food intolerances
  • Skin irritation

Probiotics can be consumed naturally in foods or by taking supplements. So if you are experiencing some of the symptoms above then you may need to add probiotics into your diet.

Foods that naturally have probiotics in them:

  • Yogurt made with probiotics
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Tempeh
  • Kimchi
  • Miso
  • Kombucha
  • Pickles

Strains of Probiotics:

There are a few main types of bacteria that is used in some probiotic foods and most probiotic supplements.

  • Lactobacillus
  • Bifidobacteria
  • Saccharomyces

How to Choose your Supplement:

I would recommend to get a supplement with a few different strains of bacteria in them.  The reason for this is that you want a variety of strains of bacteria to proliferate in your gut to get the most benefit.  It is also more beneficial to get live cultures which most commonly come from liquid supplements. Make sure to check expiration dates on all supplements because they can become ineffective after the expiration date.

Ways to ingest supplements:

There are two ways to buy your probiotic supplements, pill or liquid.  The liquid versions are usually found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store because they need to stay cool in order to keep the live strains of bacteria alive.  The pills are more convenient to carry with you and to store.  There is no evidence that shows liquid to be more effective then pills.

Side effects of taking probiotics:

You may experience worsening abdominal side effects when you start probiotics.  Such side effects are: constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating.  This is due to the changes happening to your microbiome and it could take multiple days for your gut to adjust. Please note that if you are experiencing these side effects for multiple days it may mean that you need to pick a different strain of bacteria or a different mix of bacteria.  Try a different type before stopping probiotics completely.

When not to take probiotics:

Probiotics are considered very safe for the majority of people to take. There are a few exceptions to this.

  • If you have a compromised immune system
  • If you have been diagnosed with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth because they can make symptoms worse
  • Consult with pediatrician before giving them to children

Just remember to always follow directions provided by each individual brand on the market.  Probiotics can be a good addition to your health regimen.  Look for more helpful information in our other blogs.