Best Probiotic Supplement
In today's world, we're obsessed more than ever with trying to limit the spread of pathogens and discourage them from our homes and bodies. But, what about beneficial microorganisms? Yes, there's such a thing as beneficial microorganisms, and the best way to consume them is through probiotic supplements.
What are probiotics?
Before we can fully understand what probiotics, supplements are, let's explore the concept of probiotics. Probiotics are live organisms such as live bacteria and yeast that help you and your digestive system. They are seen as beneficial bacteria as they restore and maintain good gut health, restoring the flora and help your brain. You can find probiotics in many types of food but also in supplement form.
How do probiotics work?
Probiotics enter through your mouth, travel down your esophagus, stomach, and then into your gut. Before they reach your disembowel, they get released into your small intestines, where some strains will remain for a short period, whereas others will carry on towards the large intestine (bowel). Probiotics choose to reach different areas of your body based on the internal conditions you have. Once they've chosen where to reside, probiotics start to divide rapidly into large amounts crowding out the harmful bacteria in your body. This makes it easier for the beneficial microorganism to compete for food sources and making it hard for bacteria to survive. They also release some acids that discourage pathogens which helps restores an equal balance of healthy bacteria. You can either take probiotics in food form or supplement form.
Conditions that can be treated
The best probiotic supplements can help the following:
- Acute infectious diarrhea: A type of diarrhea that lasts up to 14 days and is often caused by food intolerance.
- Antibiotic-associated diarrhea: A form of diarrhea that occurs due to an imbalance of bacteria in the gut from taking antibiotics.
- Ulcerative colitis: This is where your colon (large intestine) and rectum can become inflamed. Small ulcers and pus can develop on the small intestine, and probiotics can help treat this.
- Irritable bowel syndrome: A condition that causes disturbance to the digestive system. Typical symptoms are stomach cramps, diarrhea, bloating, and constipation. Probiotics can help aid such symptoms.
- Necrotizing colitis: This is where your intestines become inflamed and can be seriously painful to have. Necrotizing colitis is highly common in babies.
These are just a few conditions out of many that can be treated with probiotic supplements. Before knowing more about the main conditions, please check out our top 10 best probiotic supplement list.
Types of probiotic supplements
Good probiotic supplements often contain a combination of several strains of probiotic bacteria, which are:
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG comes from an enzyme known as lactase. This enzyme is known for breaking down lactose (sugar) commonly found in dairy products into lactase. They also help colonize the walls of your intestine with beneficial microorganisms. This microorganism is combined with other probiotic strains, and in a standard capsule, you can find up to 10 billion live Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG bacteria! Usually, it's recommended for adults to take 1 capsule a day and for children 0.5-1 capsule a day. However, always consult a dietician first before taking them, as they will give you better guidance.
Typically, you can find lactobacillus in your mouth, vagina, or intestine. However, this bacteria is found in supplements designed to treat diarrhea. Between 3-4 split doses of Lactobacillus acidophilus, you can find 1-10 billion types of bacteria. This type of strain is found in different types of supplements in tablet, liquid, capsule, powder form, and vaginal suppository.
Lactobacillus bulgaricus is commonly used to relieve constipation. Regarding the dosage for this supplement, it can vary based on the manufacturer and the type of person who is taking this. This is commonly found in supplements that are in capsule form.
Best food sources
Often, the best natural probiotic supplements can be obtained from food! All you need to know is the right foods that contain them and add them to your diet. The best probiotic food sources are:
- Yogurt: Out of the many natural probiotic sources, yogurt is often one of the best foods to consume. Yogurt consists of milk fermented from friendly bacteria, lactic acid bacteria, and bifidobacteria. Together they can contribute to better bone health and blood pressure. However, do note that not all yogurts contain probiotics; therefore, you must make sure you select yogurts that contain active and live cultures.
- Tempeh: If you're not familiar with tempeh, it's a product made from fermented soybeans. This product together makes a firm patty that has a nutty taste and often tastes similar to mushrooms. It's a great form of protein for vegetarians and contains B12 and large amounts of phytic acid.
- Kimchi: This is fermented and spicy cabbage, commonly found in Korean restaurants as a side dish. Kimchi can also be created using other vegetables combined with different seasonings like salt, garlic, ginger, and chili. Kimchi contains the probiotic strain Lactobacillus kimchii that can help digestive health. It's also high in other vitamins and minerals.
- Pickles: Pickles are commonly known as cucumbers or gherkins, preserved in water and a salt solution. Their fermentation process is unique because they have natural lactic acid bacteria, which helps do this. Do note; if you purchase pickles that contain vinegar, you will not be consuming live probiotics.
- Kombucha: Kombucha is fermented green or black tea. The fermentation process takes place due to the bacteria and yeast found in the drinks.
- Kefir: This is a type of probiotic drink created from cow or goat milk. The grains in kefir are from cultures of lactic acid bacteria and yeast. When consumed, it can contribute to better bone health, aid digestive problems, and help cover you for infections. In addition to this, kefir contains various friendly strains of bacteria and yeast, making it probiotic-rich in diversity.
- Miso: This type of Japanese seasoning is produced from the fermentation of soybeans from a fungus called Koji and a type of salt. Typically, soybeans are mixed using rice, barley, and rye. It's a seasoning to consume with natural probiotics and contains a lot of minerals and vitamins. There are just a few food sources you can find probiotics in; there are many more out there; just read the label to see if there are any live ingredients.
Probiotics are found to have a lot of benefits which are:
- It can help relieve constipation: Constipation happens when your bowel movements harden, and it becomes difficult to pass stool. Chronic constipation can also occur in adults and children, making the bathroom an infrequent and difficult experience. While there are stool softeners out there, a more modern-day solution to relieving constipation is using probiotic supplements. Several successful studies involve probiotics that are used to treat chronic constipation. A lot of results show that people experience less bloating, abdominal fluid, and fullness.
- Can help with diarrhea: In infection-related diarrhea such as gastroenteritis and stomach flu, probiotics have helped limit stool frequency. The most effective probiotic strains have not been revealed for this, but it's likely to be a combination of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus.
- It may help weight loss: There is a lot of up-and-coming research which shows a correlation between taking probiotics and losing weight in both animal and human studies. It's believed that specific bacterial strains can help lower the number of calories and fat in your gut. Therefore, providing a healthy balance of fat and bacteria in your gut.
- It could help brain health: There is a strong link between brain and gut health. For example, probiotics restore bacteria to your gut which digest and help fiber ferment into short-chain fatty acids. There is a lot of research that these fatty acids can benefit the brain and nervous system. Similarly, probiotics may help in lowering anxiety levels.
If you take probiotic supplements, you could be at risk of experiencing the following side effects:
- Digestive upset;
- Increased histamine levels;
- Increased infection risk;
- Stomach pain;
These are just a few side effects that can occur with probiotics. If you feel like you might be experiencing them, consult the advice of a physician first.
Precautions and warnings
If you have any allergies, you should inform your doctor or local pharmacist of them before taking probiotic supplements. Similarly, you should seek their advice if you've had diarrhea that has lasted longer than 2 days, weakened immunity, repeat vaginal and urinary infections. Plus, if you have diabetes, phenylketonuria (PKU), or any condition that requires you to be cautious of aspartame or sugar, then you should not take probiotic supplements. Unfortunately, a lot of these supplements often contain these, no matter the form they come in.
If you're pregnant, you should only take probiotic supplements if advised by a doctor, and the same goes for breastfeeding.
How long should I take it?
Probiotics vary a great deal, and the duration you take them depends on why you're taking them and the type of probiotic. To have a better idea, you should always consult your doctor first.
Interactions with medications
The following medications may cause some interactions:
If you're taking any of these, consult your doctor first before taking probiotic supplements.
Probiotics are great to have in your diet as they restore balance to your gut by providing healthy bacteria. You can get them from various food sources like yogurt, kimchi, tempeh, miso, and many more food items containing live ingredients. There are also supplements you can take which have a combination of probiotic strains in them. You should be careful taking probiotics if you have certain conditions which are sensitive to sugar and aspartame. This is because probiotic supplements often can contain them.
What is the best probiotic supplement for weight loss?
There are many types of probiotic strains which have proven effective for reducing weight and belly fat. However, out of them all, it's the Lactobacillus gasseri strain that appears to be one of the most effective.
What is the best probiotic supplement to take daily?
There is no specific best probiotic supplement to take daily, as they all have different benefits from the strains they provide. Similarly, the brand you choose for the probiotic supplement can vary, and therefore the best choice can be subjective.
How to find the best probiotics supplements?
To choose the best probiotic supplements, you should always read the packaging and look at the reviews. To help you choose the best one, you should always ensure you select supplements with 1 billion colony bacteria at a minimum.
What is the best time to take probiotic supplements?
You should always take probiotic supplements on an empty stomach to ensure the good bacteria gets to your stomach as quickly as possible. When it comes to timing, it's best you take it first thing in the morning before breakfast or before you go to sleep at night.
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