Stop Missing the Advantages of Probiotics for Gut Health

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Are you overlooking the advantages of probiotics? Don’t miss out on the potential power of these mighty microbes for your tummy, skin, mental health, and more.

Woman making a heart shape with her hands on her stomach.
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Probiotics have long been deemed a health essential by many healthcare experts. Maybe even your doctor or a loved one has recommended probiotics at one point or another. But what exactly are probiotics? And how can these live bacteria help us achieve better health?

Before we add anything to our diet, we must do our due diligence. So, in this guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of probiotics, their benefits, and how to choose the best probiotics for your health goals. 

Understanding Probiotics and How They Work

Probiotics could have important potential benefits for your overall well-being. Understanding how they may positively impact your digestive system, boost your immune health and even contribute to mental wellness is eye-opening.

From enhancing nutrient absorption to aiding in weight management, these beneficial bacteria offer a range of perks that may surprise you. Let’s dive into the world of probiotics and discover how they might benefit you.

Sources of Probiotics

First, where do probiotics come from? From natural probiotic foods to supplements, there are a few places to find probiotic strains. Here are some you might be familiar with:

  • Yogurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Kombucha
  • Probiotic-fortified foods
  • Buttermilk
  • Kefir
  • Green olives
  • Kimchi
  • Supplements in pill, capsule or liquid form

“Getting in your probiotics doesn’t have to mean taking a supplement — there are a lot of real food sources of probiotics. It may sound intimidating, but learning how to ferment vegetables at home is not as hard as it seems.”

— Anne Mauney, MPH, RD, fANNEtastic food

It’s important to note that while consuming probiotics is generally safe, their health benefits are still being studied, and their effects can vary from person to person. It’s always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

Woman smiling while eating yogurt.
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

5 Advantages of Probiotics You Shouldn’t Miss Out On

What is the role of probiotics in your health? And why are they worth adding to your diet? Here are five compelling perks that everyone should know about.

Nutrient Absorption

According to Judkins’ 2020 study on probiotics and the small intestine, strain-specific therapy could improve nutrient absorption by restoring intestinal barrier integrity and reducing disease-related pathology. These specific strains are classified as nutribiotics due to their potential to improve people’s nutritional status.

Certain probiotics promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which is essential for overall human health. They enhance digestion by aiding nutrient absorption and supporting an optimal environment within the digestive tract.

Digestive Health

Furthermore, probiotics have been found to alleviate symptoms associated with inflammatory bowel syndrome, or IBS, and other gastrointestinal disorders. A randomized controlled trial concludes probiotic supplements can help reduce abdominal pain, bloating and discomfort in females with IBS. 

Probiotics are also known to aid in managing diarrhea caused by infections. When harmful bacteria upset the balance within the gastrointestinal tract, leading to diarrhea, introducing friendly bacteria through probiotics seems to help mitigate its severity. 

Similarly, a 2007 study from the British Medical Journal suggests that probiotics may also be used to prevent loose bowels associated with antibiotic use. By supporting a healthy gut environment and combating harmful microorganisms, probiotics assist in maintaining optimal digestive function.

Immune System

Certain probiotic strains have been found to improve the body’s immune response. For example, clinical studies show that probiotics can support the production of natural antibodies in the body, which are essential for fighting off harmful pathogens.

Mauney from fANNEtastic food emphasizes, “The community of bacteria living in your gut is crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system. Therefore, consuming probiotics is one way to improve gut health and overall health.”

Individuals can potentially reduce their susceptibility to respiratory infections and illnesses by consuming foods or supplements containing beneficial microbes. This is particularly significant for people with a higher risk of respiratory diseases, such as the elderly and individuals with genetic predispositions.

Mental Health

The growing area of psychobiotic research explores the gut-brain connection, depositing the idea that specific probiotics could produce neurohormones and neurotransmitters that alleviate depression and anxiety symptoms. 

Weight Management

A study in the British Journal of Nutrition explores the potential of supplementation with the probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus to aid in weight loss and maintenance among obese individuals, with a focus on the modulation of the gut microbiota. Their conclusion states the formulation “helps obese women to achieve sustainable weight loss.”

Furthermore, another study focusing on weight-reducing programs highlights the impact of probiotic supplementation on appetite sensations and eating behaviors. The observations support the hypothesis that the gut-brain axis may impact appetite control and related behaviors in obesity and weight management.

Probiotic capsules being poured from a bottle into an open hand.
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Choosing the Right Probiotic Supplement for Your Needs

Based on the research available today, probiotics can provide a lot of physical and mental health benefits. Still, don’t jump into probiotics as the next new wellness tip without proper consideration of several factors. Here’s what to keep in mind before selecting a probiotic supplement:

  1. Look at the strain diversity. Different strains of healthy bacteria offer various benefits, so choose a supplement with the correct strain for you.
  2. Check the potency and pick a product with adequate live cultures, enough to support your gut health effectively.
  3. Consider the viability of the probiotic. This refers to whether the bacteria can survive and thrive in your gut once consumed. Look for products that have been tested for viability or contain technologies ensuring survival through your digestive system.

Consulting a healthcare professional or gut health specialist is the best option when determining which probiotic is most suitable for your specific health goals. A healthcare provider can provide personalized recommendations based on your unique needs and history.

Best Probiotic Supplements You Should Consider

It’s always best to ask your doctor about the right probiotic supplements for you. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to get a jumpstart on your search for the best supplement. I’ve tried quite a few brands over the years, and here are the ones that worked best for me:

Dr. Formulated Raw Probiotics for Women

These probiotic supplements come with 100 billion CFUs (colony-forming units indicating the viable number of cells) and digestive enzymes. The female-specific formula is for women like me with digestive issue flare-ups from time to time. Plus, it can help women who have a higher risk of urinary tract problems.

Dr. Formulated Raw Probiotics for Women
$33.99 $25.00 ($0.42 / Count)

Buy Now
04/02/2024 09:53 pm GMT

NewRhythm Probiotics

The NewRhythm Probiotics is packed with 50 billion CFU from 20 strains, aiming to support digestive and immune health. It’s also bile-resistant, meaning the capsule will survive your stomach acid and reach your intestines effectively.

NewRhythm Probiotics
$27.99 $16.99 ($0.28 / Count)

Buy Now
04/02/2024 09:54 pm GMT

OLLY Probiotic + Prebiotic Gummy

If you prefer to take your supplements in the gummy form, I recommend these tasty OLLY Probiotic and Prebiotic gummies. They have about 500 million CFU designed to balance your gut flora and are suitable for both men and women. You can keep a bottle of these in your purse and take them on the go with no water!

OLLY Probiotic + Prebiotic Gummy
$14.99 $11.99 ($0.40 / Count)

Buy Now
04/02/2024 09:56 pm GMT

Safe Usage and Considerations for Probiotic Supplementation

Following recommended dosages and storage instructions when taking probiotics is imperative for optimal efficacy and minimizing potential side effects. Storing the supplements according to the manufacturer’s guidelines will help maintain their potency and effectiveness over time. 

Plus, be sure the product is labeled clearly. You wouldn’t want to mix up your supplement with the probiotic for your dog.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

I always recommend speaking with your healthcare provider before making any significant change to your diet. Remember that each one of us is different, and it’s best to get a professional opinion before you add probiotics to your daily routine. Here are potential questions to ask your doctor:

  • Should I add probiotics to my diet?
  • Should I eat probiotics through food or do I need supplements?
  • Are probiotics safe for my current condition? (e.g., if you have gut issues, are pregnant, etc.)
  • Can my child take probiotic supplements?
  • What changes can I expect if I start upping my probiotic intake?

In Conclusion

Now that you’ve gained an understanding of the advantages of probiotics, their effectiveness and how to choose the right supplement for your needs, you are better equipped to make the right choice. Not all probiotics are created equal, so having the proper knowledge is crucial.

Remember to prioritize strains targeting your specific health concerns and consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplementation. Be mindful of safe usage practices to maximize the benefits of probiotics.

Stay informed about the latest research and developments in this field as your health journey continues. Finally, keep seeking reliable sources of information as you consider what to add to your wellness routine for potential long-term benefits.

Portions of this article originally appeared on Food Drink Life

2 thoughts on “Stop Missing the Advantages of Probiotics for Gut Health”

  1. There are SO many probiotics to choose from and I’ve never known which are better than others or if they’re worth the money at all. Now I can return to my local health food store and make an informed decision.


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