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Do Probiotics Really Work?

Unless you’ve been entirely disconnected from society, you’ve probably heard a lot about probiotics at this point. If you go into any supermarket, you’ll see a slew of “probiotic” items filled with potentially helpful bacteria. Indeed, these microorganisms have risen in popularity over the years to the point that companies have used these good bacteria in skincare.

More importantly, do they truly work? And if so, when can you expect to see results? But first, let’s take a look at probiotics and how it works.

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are helpful microorganisms that aid in keeping a healthy gut and provide additional health advantages. They are available as supplements and present in several fermented dairy products.

Fun fact: According to current studies, only fermented dairy products, like yogurt and kefir, may be termed probiotics. 

Other fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut are not considered probiotics since they do not include the kinds of bacteria that meet the criteria of a probiotic. Also, pickled foods don’t fall within the criterion (sorry!), but they are surely delectable. However, these types of food are also helpful for the gut.

Moreover, probiotics come in a plethora of strains. They mostly have lengthy, complex names that are difficult to recall and even more to spell correctly. We’ll discuss a couple of them in this blog, not to confuse you, but because certain health advantages are strain-dependent.

How Do Probiotics Work?

Consider probiotics as tiny friends in your digestive system that strive to keep your gut flora in balance. Good bacteria in the stomach outnumber and fight off harmful pathogens.

To put it another way, the good bacteria and yeasts included in probiotics are actively working to keep your digestive system healthy. When you’re sleep-deprived, anxious, or eat many processed foods, your digestive system might become out of balance.

Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that enter the digestive tract. They help improve your gut ecosystem and battle microbial imbalance by providing a variety of nutrient-rich types of bacteria. 

But how precisely does this happen? Probiotics have the effect of evicting any undesirable inhabitants of the gut. The beneficial bacteria penetrate their area and rob them of food and nutrients, producing an environment in which unwanted species cannot exist. Eventually, those bacteria perish while the probiotics survive and multiply. 

When Is It A Good Idea To Take A Probiotic Supplement?

There is no probiotic product that acts like a multi-cooker, simultaneously resolving several different issues. On the other hand, probiotics operate more like a rice cooker with a tricky on/off switch. They specialize in one thing, and they specialize in that thing exclusively, well, maybe sometimes.

Probiotic supplements are strain- and population-specific in nature. So, there is no need to take them in the same manner as a multivitamin. 

You must be taking the appropriate strain for the work. And there must be proof that the strain can perform that function. Even then, there is no assurance that a probiotic would assist in resolving the issue.

Thus, a good starting point in determining which probiotic to take is to answer this question:

Why am I interested in taking a probiotic?

Because, based on existing knowledge, probiotics is very beneficial. Taking a probiotic supplement may be beneficial in the following situations:

You’re Taking Antibiotics

Antibiotics eliminate some of the bacteria in your gut, resulting in a state called dysbiosis. Remember, dysbiosis occurs when your gut ecosystem lacks diversity. This kind of imbalance promotes the growth and spread of pathogenic microorganisms (the baddies that make you ill). This is why some patients get diarrhea as a side effect of antibiotic treatment.

Now, I’m gonna mention a complex strain name, so bear with me. Clostridium difficile (often referred to as C. Diff) is typically found in the stomach. However, it has no adverse effect on your health since the rest of the microorganisms in your gut hold it in control. Except that when you’re on antibiotics, C. Diff may flourish, making you quite ill.

Therefore, if you are required to take antibiotics, supplementing with probiotics may help lower the risk of antibiotic side effects in your gut.

You Want To Avoid Traveller’s Diarrhea

Drinking water from unfamiliar sources may be a bad idea while on a trip. The greatest effective defense, however, will come from healthy gut microbiota. So, how do you strengthen your gut? Look for probiotic strains that have been shown to populate the gut and, once there, kill infections that are present in the gut ecosystem.

You Want To Absorb Nutrients Faster

If your health is a priority, you’ve probably already begun making sensible food decisions at the grocery. However, even the healthiest food won’t help your body function correctly if your stomach can’t effectively absorb the nutrients. You can help your body absorb nutrients more efficiently by supporting the growth of healthy bacteria in your digestive tract with a proven probiotic supplement.

You Want To Better Skin

Because your skin is the biggest organ in your body, any indicators of physiological imbalance will manifest first on it. When your body has optimal numbers of helpful bacteria, you are better equipped to generate a balanced inflammatory reaction and boost the immune system’s detoxification function. This aids in cleansing your skin, providing the foundations for a blemish-free, bright glow.

You Need Restorative Sleep

If you can’t sleep at night, wake up irritable, and feel less than invigorated in the morning, the fix may be in your stomach. Your body requires a precise ratio of particular hormones and neurotransmitters to smoothly go through the five sleep phases. And many of the essential neurotransmitters are generated or regulated by the good bacteria – probiotics – found in the gut.

You Want To Boost Your Mood

Serotonin is an essential hormone that helps us maintain a stable mood and promotes well-being. It’s why it’s referred to as the “happy chemical.” This hormone has an effect on the whole body because it enables interaction between the brain and the entire body.

Given that up to 95% of your serotonin is created in the gut, it’s safe to assume that maintaining excellent gut health is the quickest way to feeling your best.

Are Probiotics Safe?

Probiotics are usually considered safe to consume. Numerous probiotic microorganisms are already present in the gut or proved to be harmless in food, making them unlikely to cause damage.

However, as mentioned earlier, probiotics often include a variety of strains, each of which has a unique impact on the body. That’s why the best course of action is to choose a formulation tailored to your specific health demands.

Always check with your healthcare practitioner before adding a new supplement to your regimen to be on the safe side.

Are probiotics worth taking?

The quick answer is yes, but it’s worth noting that probiotics are not a miracle cure. While the gut is key to general health, other things contribute to its health, such as eating a nutrient-dense diet, getting adequate sleep, and regulating stress levels.

Probiotics may be among the most effective supplements available if the appropriate strains are chosen, enough time is allowed, and combined with other positive lifestyle choices. 

How To Choose The Right Probiotic Supplement?

Choosing the proper probiotic requires careful consideration of many factors. For best results, look for a supplement that includes enough living bacteria to impact your gut.

As a general guideline, choose a probiotic that contains between 5 and 100 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) and a variety of strains geared to your unique health requirements.

Although refrigerated probiotics were formerly considered the holy grail, there are now many shelf-stable choices, so this is no longer a decisive factor.

Bottom Line

To answer the question: yes, probiotics work. However, gut health is always the starting point. Feeling well is rooted in the health of your gut ecosystem. When your gut flora is in balance, you will feel better and have a lower chance of developing numerous chronic health disorders. 

Probiotics are a powerful tool for restoring and maintaining healthy gut flora. And when your stomach is in good working order, the rest of your body follows suit.

If you have more questions on prebiotics and gut health, don’t hesitate to contact our team. Our team is committed to providing individuals with a new way of maintaining their health.  

Hi! I’m Dr. E, The NP with a PHD. Several years ago, my wife was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and the only options given to us were heavy duty medications.

We KNEW there had to be a better way. After a long search, we discovered functional medicine.

With functional medicine we found alternative ways we were able to manage her disease and get her back to feeling like her old self.

We discovered that this way of life not only helps people with various issues, including autoimmune, chronic issues and “I-don’t-feel-good-itis.”

Functional medicine drastically changed our lives and using it I developed The KNEW Method to help others who are suffering or not feeling optimal.

Let’s work together to get you to feeling like your old self again.

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