What Probiotics Are Good For Gut Health

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Optimize Gut Function By Balancing The Bacteria In Your Digestive System

What Is the Best Probiotic for Your Gut Health?

Keeping the gut microbiome balanced allows for normal gut function, while some changes to the gut bacteria can lead to problems. Probiotics can help maintain the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut and help repopulate with healthy bacteria after conditions that disturbed the microbiome.

For example, taking antibiotics kills off many of your good gut bacteria. This leaves room for bad bacteria, viruses, and fungi to overgrow. Taking a probiotic during and after antibiotics is a must for sustained health.

Importance Of Microorganisms For Your Gut

The complex community of microorganisms in your gut is called the gut flora, gut microbiota, or gut microbiome .

The gut microbiota includes bacteria, viruses, fungi, archaea, and helminths with bacteria comprising the vast majority. Your gut is home to a complex eco-system of 300500 bacterial species .

Most of the gut flora is found in your colon, or large intestine, which is the last part of your digestive tract.

Surprisingly, the metabolic activities of your gut flora resemble those of an organ. For this reason, some scientists refer to the gut flora as the forgotten organ .

Your gut flora performs many important health functions. It manufactures vitamins, including vitamin K and some of the B vitamins .

It also turns fibers into short-chain fats like butyrate, propionate, and acetate, which feed your gut wall and perform many metabolic functions (

Probiotics and prebiotic fibers can help correct this balance, ensuring that your forgotten organ is functioning optimally .

Summary

Your gut flora consists of hundreds of types of microorganisms. These microorganisms perform numerous important bodily functions.

Probiotics are widely researched for their effects on digestive health .

Evidence suggests that probiotic supplements can help cure antibiotic-associated diarrhea .

When people take antibiotics, especially for long periods of time, they often experience diarrhea even long after the infection has been eradicated.

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Summary

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What Is The Gut Microbiome

The gut microbiome is a vast ecosystem of complex organisms that live in our digestive tract. Its responsible for helping us get the most out of our food, ensuring that its properly digested and nutrients are absorbed.

Its also home to 70% of our immune system, as well as trillions of microbes that have an effect on our health more generally, including mental health, heart health, kidney health and more besides.

Probiotic good bacteria occur naturally in your gut and play a crucial role in this microscopic world. However, they can be disrupted by a range of factors, including poor diet, stress or taking a course of antibiotics.

Probiotic foods and supplements contain similar bacteria that are meant to be beneficial to your gut microbiome, while prebiotics supply essential nutrients that stimulate the growth of the good bacteria that already exist in your gut.

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Probiotics And Prebiotics: What’s The Difference

Probiotics

These are live microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts and fungi which in adequate amounts may have health benefits.

Studies have shown they can improve digestion, help protect against disease and enhance immune function. Strains of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium bacteria are the most commonly used probiotics as they can survive the passage to the gut.

Probiotics are most widely available as dietary supplements in tablet, capsule and powder forms or as a component in yoghurts and fermented dairy drinks.

Prebiotics

These are non-digestible food ingredients that can increase the activity of select “good” bacteria.

Prebiotics naturally occur in bananas, asparagus, leeks, onions, garlic, chicory and wholegrains like wheat, rye, barley and oats.

Savvy marketers spruik their benefits in foods including breads and infant formulas.

What about synbiotics?

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What Are The Benefits Of Probiotics

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Gut bacteria is the key to understanding probiotics and health. The purpose of probiotics is to promote the growth of positive bacteria in the gut, resulting in potential health benefits.

As with gut health in general, research is ongoing in this area as well. Nevertheless, probiotics have been shown to improve health. Here are some examples:

  • Diabetes may benefit from probiotics as improved glycemic control and improvement in HbA1c levels have been reported.
  • Another benefit of probiotics is that they can reduce migraine headaches.
  • Taking probiotics at the same time as antibiotics may also help to prevent and treat the diarrhea that antibiotics commonly cause.
  • As well, probiotics can help treat inflammatory bowel diseases and may help fight cancers.

Research hasnt always agreed, however. Studies have found inconsistent results in relation to anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and HbA1c effects, which underscores the need for more research.

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In addition, there are numerous other potential interactions that have not yet been thoroughly studied.

These patterns strongly suggest that probiotics can promote health, even though we dont yet know all the mechanisms involved. Furthermore, many probiotics are already beneficial, especially the ones found in food.

Are Probiotics Good for You? Are They Really That Great?

Mental health and probiotics

Mental health and probiotics Are Probiotics Good for You

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Gut Health Products: The Facts

Under EU regulations, food and drink products arent allowed to claim to treat or cure a health issue. Many manufacturers get around this by using vague marketing buzzwords which dont have any objective scientific meaning.

There are more than 250 non-authorised claims for probiotic products on the EU Register for nutrition and health claims, a few common ones include:

  • Promoting gut health
  • Gut-friendly/gut-loving/beneficial bacteria

Read on to find out about the different gut friendly products youll encounter from probiotic and prebiotic supplements to cultured products like kombucha and kefir. We’ve examined the evidence for each, and explain what to look out for before giving them a go.

Best Probiotics For Women Of 2022 For Gut Health

Our best overall pick is Garden of Lifes Dr. Formulated Probiotics for Women

Antibiotics, poor diet, or traveling can compromise the innate bacteria living inside us. But supplemental probiotics, consumed naturally or in supplement form, can help restore a healthy gut microbiome.

Overall, the Garden of Lifes Dr. Formulated Probiotics for Women is our top choice in probiotics for women. Each pill is formulated with 16 diverse probiotic strains to help boost immune, digestive, and vaginal health. For a more affordable pick, consider Culturelles Daily Probiotic, which contains a potent, evidence-backed strain of good bacteria to improve gut health.

A 2018 study published by the National Institutes of Health indicates probiotics support immune function, digestion, and nutrition absorption. Another 2018 NIH study notes that probiotics can decrease the risk or duration of common infections, including those of the respiratory tract and gut.

Ahead, find the best probiotics for women to add to your daily routine.

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Understanding The Health Benefits Of Taking Probiotics

What are the benefits of taking probiotics? Bacteria have a reputation for causing disease, so the idea of tossing down a few billion a day for your health might seem literally and figuratively hard to swallow. But a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that you can treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria. Northern Europeans consume a lot of these beneficial microorganisms, called probiotics , because of their tradition of eating foods fermented with bacteria, such as yogurt. Probiotic-laced beverages are also big business in Japan.

Some digestive disease specialists are recommending probiotic supplements for disorders that frustrate conventional medicine, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Since the mid-1990s, clinical studies suggest that probiotic therapy can help treat several gastrointestinal ills, delay the development of allergies in children, and treat and prevent vaginal and urinary infections in women.

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What Are The Benefits Of Taking Probiotics

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There are a number of different benefits that have been associated with taking probiotics. Some of these benefits include improved digestion, reduced risk of gastrointestinal issues, and improved immunity.

Probiotics have also been shown to help with weight loss, and they may even reduce the risk of some types of cancer. If you are looking for a way to improve your overall health, taking probiotics is a great place to start.

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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.

Bottom Line:

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

Who Should Not Take Probiotic Supplements

People with compromised immune systems should not take probiotics as they are at higher risk of infection. These people include children and adults with severe illnesses and those who have recently undergone surgery.

If you have allergies, always check the ingredients of a product before consuming it. Even if the product does not contain allergens, the manufacturer may have used a facility that processes things like dairy, wheat, or eggs.

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What Does Cfu Mean

The type and amount of all microbes should be listed. There are three names given to a bacterial ingredient the genera or genus is the first name given , sometimes these are shortened to just the first letter of the genus name. Then it should state the species and finally the strain, such as PXN 35 or PXN 21.

Their count should be listed as CFU . Ensure that the CFU count is viable throughout the shelf-life of the product rather than simply at time of manufacture, as this provides a better estimation of how much bacteria is still viable when consuming the product.

There are no standard specifications when it comes to the recommended CFUs. Probiotic supplements tend to contain anywhere from one to 10 billion CFU per serving, with some up to 100 billion.

But according to the National Institute of Health , higher CFU counts are not necessarily better.

At this point in time, there is limited evidence to confirm a dose-response relationship, therefore firm conclusions cannot yet be made as to which CFU of supplement is ideal, agrees Plaza. The efficacy of a product therefore needs to be evidenced by adequately powered clinical trials and this may not always mean that the supplement should be more than a certain CFU number, she advises.

Tips For Success From The Rd

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Yes, you should feel empowered to use an antibiotic supplement to reach peak health. I’ve seen the way that probiotics have helped my own clients push past the misery of digestive issues. However, a high-quality supplement is still no replacement for a proper diet. I stress the importance of eating tons of leafy greens, lean protein sources, healthy dairy sources, and fresh fruits.

I also remind my clients that being stressed, not sleeping properly, and skipping exercise can all help bad bacteria to gain a foothold in your gut. Let a good probiotic supplement be the launching point for getting serious about taking care of gut health for life!

And, as always, be sure to consult with your physician / doctor before taking any supplement.

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What Is Bio Fit

BIO FIT is a weight loss supplement made up of probiotics, enzymes and antioxidants. Biofit claims that this combination helps in weight loss by increasing calorie burn, improving gut health and boosting the immune system. However, many reviews online claim that BIO FIT does not work as advertised. Some people have reported negative effects like bloating, constipation and nausea. So, before you spend your money on this product, be sure to do your research first.

Side Effects And Risks

Probiotics are considered safe for most people. Studies dont report major risks involved with taking them.

The most commonly reported side effects of probiotics are gas and bloating. If you have severe reactions, including abdominal pain, reduce your daily CFU intake and slowly increase again over time.

Always talk with your doctor before beginning a new health supplement. Before giving probiotic supplements to your child, talk to their pediatrician. Premature infants shouldnt take some probiotics.

Probiotics might not be recommended for people with chronic illness or a weakened immune system. Dont use probiotics to replace prescription medications without first consulting your doctor.

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How Popular Are Probiotics

The 2012 National Health Interview Survey showed that about 4 million U.S. adults had used probiotics or prebiotics in the past 30 days. Among adults, probiotics or prebiotics were the third most commonly used dietary supplement other than vitamins and minerals. The use of probiotics by adults quadrupled between 2007 and 2012. The 2012 NHIS also showed that 300,000 children age 4 to 17 had used probiotics or prebiotics in the 30 days before the survey.

How Probiotics Can Help Digestion

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Although researchers are still learning about how probiotics work and at what doses they are effective, probiotics appear to help keep the digestive system in balance and help the body get back on track after a bout with bad bacteria, according to the NCCIH. We know probiotics have a lot of benefits, says Strealy. These include improved digestion of lactose reduced digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, pain, diarrhea, and constipation and aiding in carbohydrate digestion and production of certain vitamins.

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Future Hopes For Heart Health

Pluznick foresees a future in which heart-healthy measures may well involve considerations of gut health and also include optimal guidelines for both the administration of antibiotics, which can adversely affect gut bacteria, and the ingestion of probiotics. But we arent there yet.

Were some way from being able to tell you exactly which yogurt to eat to try to promote lower blood pressure, but I think that being able to provide that sort of information is the long-term hopegather all of the puzzle pieces, and put them together, Pluznick says.

Using Probiotics To Reduce Skin Problems Like Eczema

Probiotics may also be helpful in reducing skin problems like eczema and acne. One study showed that participants who took a probiotic supplement had a significant reduction in eczema symptoms after eight weeks. Another study showed that acne patients who took a probiotic supplement had decreased inflammation and sebum production after eight weeks .

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Reduce The Severity Of Certain Allergies And Eczema

The gut houses the majority of the immune system, which is directly related to allergies. Keeping the digestive tract healthy has been of interest in helping relieve allergies and skin conditions like eczema.

In many studies that used the probiotic strains of Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium among adults, positive effects have been shown, including reductions in symptoms and in the prevalence of eczema.

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These Are the 18 Best Probiotics for Gut Health

It likely doesnt matter how many supplements or specialized diets you try if your lifestyle isnt congruent with improving your overall wellness. Our step-by-step plan, outlined in my book, Healthy Gut, Healthy You, will help guide you on your journey to better health.

This plan highlights the fundamental components that are necessary for healthy living. It can also help guide you on when it may be best to introduce probiotics and where to turn when nothing seems to be alleviating your symptoms.

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How Can I Eat With This In Mind

If you want to incorporate probiotics in your diet, choose probiotic-rich foods, such as yoghurts. Make sure they say contains live or active cultures on the package.

Other fermented foods, such as kefir and kombucha, may also contain beneficial microorganisms. Be aware that these are not considered probiotics due to lack of scientific evidence regarding their health benefits.

If you are healthy, it is unlikely a probiotic supplement will be beneficial. If you suffer from a gut condition and want to try a probiotic, speak to your dietitian. They will advise you on the product with the best scientific evidence to improve your symptoms.

Always store probiotic foods or supplements as per the recommended conditions listed on the package. This may affect the number of live probiotics the product will contain when you consume it.

Microorganisms And Our Health

While the term microorganism refers to all types of microbes, we are going to focus primarily on bacteria. When we think about the bacteria that colonize, or live in, our intestinal tract, we typically sort them into two categories: beneficial strains of bacteria , including those in the genera Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, and potential disease-causing strains of bacteria , including enteropathogenic and enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, Shigella, and Clostridioides difficile. While its much more complex than this, it is an easy way to sort which bacteria will generally improve our health or harm us. Beneficial bacteria keep pathogens in check and offer many health benefits. Disease-causing bacteria release proteins and toxic by-products that can cause inflammation and harmful symptoms such as diarrhea. Some, such as Helicobacter pylori, can be both beneficial in certain quantities and harmful in other quantities.

The balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria is important for maintaining health. The diversity, or different types of microorganisms, of our gut microbiome is critical greater diversity allows our gut to be resilient and bounce back from any disturbances to the balance. Several factors can upset this balance, including diet, stress, hygiene, and medications, particularly antibiotics. Dysbiosis occurs when there are shifts in the balance of the microbiota.

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