Bacteria isn’t always harmful. You have good bacteria that helps you digest food, destroy disease and produce vitamins. Probiotics are good bacteria and yeasts that help you stay healthy. They mainly live in your digestive system.
The Human Microbiome Project studied the microorganisms that live on us and in us, trying to understand the normal bacteria in a healthy body. This project ran from 2007 to 2016 and was sponsored by the The National Institutes of Health. They then compared the links between changes in the microbiome to various diseases. This information is important for understanding how probiotics and beneficial bacteria work to keep us healthy.
Probiotics can be found in the gut, mouth, vagina, urinary tract, skin and lungs. Probiotics help maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in the body. Scientists have found that probiotics have a number of health benefits.
Some fermented foods, such as kimchi, kombucha, and yogurt, contain probiotics or bacteria that are beneficial to health.
Probiotics are often used to treat: irritable bowel sydrome, infectious diarrhea, diarrhea caused by antibiotics, eczema, urinary and vaginal health, prevention of colds and allergies, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Speak with your doctor before adding probiotics to your diet to ensure you are choosing the best option for you.
Some people may see an improvement in their overall health after taking probiotics, while others may only see an improvement in specific areas, such as digestive issues. The following are common indicators that they may be working for you.
How To Tell Your Probiotics Are Working:
1. Less Stomach Pain
Probiotics may help to ease stomach pain and cramps for some people.
Some probiotic supplements can help with abdominal pain for people with irregular bowel syndrome.
2. More Frequent Poops
If you are often troubled by digestive issues such as diarrhea or IBS, you may find that taking probiotics results in fewer episodes of irregular, loose bowel movements.
If you’re having regular, healthy bowel movements then your probiotics are probably working. Your gut health is directly linked to the presence of good bacteria in your system. If you don’t have enough good bacteria, you’ll experience gastric issues like bloating, constipation, diarrhea and more. Conditions that may be caused by a bad diet include irritable bowel syndrome, stomach aches, diarrhea, and constipation.
Probiotics can help regulate bowel movements and gut motility. In other words, they can help with bowel movements and emptying the bowel, making you go to the toilet more often. Probiotics reduce whole gut transit time and increase stool frequency.
This means that your stomach pain and other related issues will go away. If you experience this, it means the probiotics are effective. Make sure to keep track of your bowel movements so you can see how your diet affects your gut health.
3. Less Bloating
After starting some probiotics, you may see reduced bloating. Some strains of Lactobacillus are linked to reduced bloating.
However, some studies suggest that probiotics consumed in larger amounts may temporarily increase gut-related symptoms, particularly while your gut adjusts to the bacteria you’re consuming.
Probiotics may be effective for treating bloating caused by certain conditions.
The things that happen in your gut can have an impact on your brain, and the things that happen in your brain can also have an impact on your gut. This connection is called the gut-brain connection. The way your gut is working may affect your thinking skills, mental health, and how well you sleep.
Your gut microbiome and ability to absorb nutrients impact the production of certain chemicals, hormones, and neurotransmitters that play a significant role in your sleep habits. For example, serotonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep.
Probiotics may help:
- reduce sleep disturbances
- reduce anticipatory stress
- lower risk of sleep disorders
- optimize the sleep-wake cycle
However, much of this research is based on animal models, and more studies are needed to confirm if people would also experience these effects.
Your intestines produce important mood- and focus-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. Although research into how probiotics impact mental health and neurotransmitters is still fairly new, there has been some promising findings in this area. Still, some studies have linked probiotics with:
- fewer depression symptoms
- fewer depressive and anxious episodes
- calmer emotional processing
- changes to emotional decision-making
Even short-term use of probiotics can have interesting effects. Studies that observe the effects of social media on mental health often involve participants who already have mental health conditions, so the evidence of social media’s impact is limited.
It is uncertain if the same would happen to people who do not have these conditions. Studies have found that certain probiotics can improve memory and cognitive function in mice.
6. Fewer Vaginal Infections
The vagina is also prone to bacterial imbalances. Bacterial vaginosis is a common condition among women, and taking probiotics may help reduce the severity, frequency, and recurrence of symptoms.
Urinary tract infections often require a round of antibiotics for treatment. Probiotics may also help people who are taking antibiotics for an infection. Antibiotics kill good bacteria and bad bacteria that are causing infections. Antibiotics can also sometimes cause diarrhea or abdominal pain. Taking a probiotic supplement can help re-balance the healthy bacteria in your system.
7. Better Immune System
Do you ever find that you tend to get sick more often with stomach problems? Because an unhealthy gut microbiome can reduce your immune health by affecting how your immune system functions.
If your immune system isn’t working properly, you’re more likely to get sick. When you take probiotics, it will help improve your gut health and strengthen your immune system.
If you have fewer colds and seasonal illnesses, it may be a sign that your probiotics are working. Your gut also helps absorb essential nutrients, such as zinc and vitamin C, which are vital for your immune system.
This means that if the balance of microbes in your gut is disrupted, it becomes more difficult for your body to absorb nutrients and your immune system is weakened.
An imbalance in gut bacteria can lead to inflammation in the intestines, which can result in a “leaky gut.” If you have a leaky gut, it means that the barrier between your digestive system and your bloodstream is not working properly. This can cause food particles and toxins to enter your bloodstream, which can lead to health problems.
As these particles become invasive, they release toxins and become poisonous. This means that taking probiotics and maintaining a healthy gut environment would improve your immunity.
8. Clearer Skin
The bacteria on your skin can also be affected by probiotics. The health of your skin microbiome has a direct correlation to skin issues such as eczema, acne, and inflammation. A healthy skin microbiome means you are less likely to experience these issues. One of the clearest indications that probiotics are having an effect is improved skin health.
9. Improved Cognitive Function
The bacteria in your gut play a role in regulating many different functions of the body, and scientists believe that these microbes can also improve cognitive function. Studies have shown that probiotics can have a positive impact on people suffering from cognitive issues such as Alzheimer’s disease and bipolar syndrome.
If you keep taking probiotics for at least four weeks, you may notice an improvement in your cognitive function. Probiotics help improve attention, mental processing speed, and memory.
This means that if you notice an improvement in your focus and memory, and you are able to process information more quickly, then the probiotics you are taking are effective.
10. Lower Anxiety and Improved Response to Stress
The brain and gut work together to handle how the body responds to stress, and stress can be just as harmful to the gut as junk food. A study has shown that if you have an intestinal infection, you are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder in the years to come.
You need good bacteria in your gut to help control anxiety levels. Probiotics help heal your gut, which in turn restores your body’s ability to respond to stress and reduce anxiety.
Keep an eye on your stress levels when you start taking probiotics. If you improve your gut health, you may see a significant improvement in other areas of your health as well.
11. Elevated Energy
Probiotics also help your body break down food more effectively. Probiotics can help your body absorb nutrients and vitamins more effectively, as well as help break down food. If you don’t have helpful bacteria, you won’t be able to absorb important nutrients, and you’ll feel tired.
A healthy gut flora helps produce B vitamins, which help energize your body. An abnormality in your digestive system can make it easier for harmful bacteria to grow in your gut, and your body has to use more energy to produce immune cells.
Probiotics could improve the number of healthy gut bacteria, which could lead to more energy.
12. Increased Weight Loss
The research shows that obese people have different gut flora than people who are not obese. You can improve your body’s fat metabolism and lose weight by taking probiotics.
Your gut can help regulate your appetite by sending signals to your brain to let it know when you’re full. Probiotics help reduce hunger by causing the release of the hormone GLP-1. This hormone will make you want to eat less and burn more calories. This hormone increases ANGPTL4 protein levels, which reduces fat storage.
Additionally, probiotics could help lower the amount of fat you absorb from food, which would increase the amount of fat you burn, resulting in weight loss.
13. Lesser Sugar Cravings
If you want to reduce sugar cravings, adding probiotics to your diet is a good way to do it. Probiotics are live microorganisms that are similar to the ones that naturally occur in your body. A poor diet can cause an imbalance in the healthy bacteria in your gut, called dysbiosis.
This imbalance leads to increased cravings for food and drinks high in sugar, which can lead to weight gain.
The specific microbes in your system prefer sugar, which then produces an increased sweet receptors. Hence, your craving for sugary food and drinks increases. By giving in to your sugar cravings, you’re creating more harmful bacteria that also crave sugar. This causes a vicious cycle of increased sugar cravings.
A way to break an unwanted cycle is to take probiotics. Probiotics help create a diverse gut environment, which in turn reduces the ability of harmful bacteria to thrive.
Reasons your Probiotics aren’t Working
1. Incorrect Dosage
The results you get from taking probiotics can be affected by taking the wrong dosage, including seeing results later than expected or not seeing any results.
Taking the incorrect doses of medication can hinder the speed of results, or taking too little might slow the progression of results. However, taking too much can have adverse effects.
Make sure to check the label on the product to ensure you’re taking the appropriate dosage.
2. Wrong Probiotic Choice
There are many different types of probiotic bacteria, and each one has a specific purpose in your gut. Therefore, different probiotics have varying effects on your body.
This means that if you haven’t seen an improvement in your condition after taking probiotics for a while, you might be taking supplements with the wrong types of bacteria.
Before you start taking a probiotic supplement, you should research which one is best for you. Not all probiotics are created equal.
3. Poor Storage
Different probiotic supplements require varying storage procedures. If you want the bacteria in your supplements to survive, you might need to store them in the fridge.
It is important to store your probiotic supplement as recommended on the product. These recommendations are there to maintain the quality and effectiveness.
4. Low-Quality Product
There are a lot of different probiotics available, but not all of them are good quality. It can be difficult to know whether the probiotic you are buying will be effective, as there is no easy way to determine the quality.
There are some things you can do to make sure you are getting the right supplements. Pay attention to:
- The science behind the product.
- The manufacturing process
- The source of the bacterial strains
- The quality of the bacteria strains
- The ingredients in the product
The quality of a product can be ruined by various factors, which in turn, affects how well the supplements work in your body.
Best Probiotics For You
The majority of supplements contain probiotic strains that can be easily manufactured. Although these foods are healthy, they may not be the best option for you specifically.
Probiotics-rich foods such as kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir, and some dairy products are excellent choices to include in your diet. Make sure the yogurt you’re eating has live probiotics in it. Pasteurized yogurt won’t have any live probiotics.
Eating a small amount of fermented foods everyday can be beneficial for your health.
A healthy gut isn’t just about consuming probiotics, though. A varied diet of colorful plants gives you important vitamins and minerals, as well as prebiotics which act as food for helpful gut bacteria.
There are some great prebiotic foods that you can eat including asparagus, leeks, garlic, chickpeas, and whole grains. These foods will help feed the good bacteria in your gut and keep your digestive system healthy.