How Probiotics Can Improve Your Gut Health in 2023

You must have heard the word “gut health“The internet is buzzing. It’s a big topic in the health world — and one thing that’s almost always part of that conversation is probiotics, Take a walk through any health store or pharmacy and you’re likely to see rows of probiotic supplements. Improve digestion and your overall health, And they don’t come cheap, often costing $20 or more per bottle. So big is the probiotic push, in fact, that the market is expected to reach $73.8 billion by 2024.

What are probiotics?

Simply put, probiotics contain live bacteria that are meant to help populate the “good” bacteria in your gut microbiome. The idea behind probiotics is that a healthy gut microbiome may be conducive to better overall health and may help with specific conditions such as: irritable bowel syndrome Or even vaginal yeast infection. But the science behind these insects is still controversial and many studies are underway to fully understand how they work.

To shed some light on the topic, I asked a gastroenterologist and gut health expert, Dr. Will Bulsiewicz to explain how probiotics work and help you figure out if they’re right for you.

What do probiotics do?

When it comes to probiotics, it’s important to understand that there are many different strains of probiotics that can potentially have different effects on your body. So even though it’s difficult to explain exactly how each strain works, the concept behind popular probiotics on the market is the same — to replenish the healthy bacteria in your gut.

“The theory with probiotics is that they mimic the effects of our intact microbiota. In other words, like our healthy gut microbes, these probiotics should optimize our immune system, reduce inflammation, protect against pathogenic bacteria, and reduce inflammation.” Should stop growth, heal and restore leaky gut. Gut barrier integrity, reestablish intestinal motility, even improve mood,” Dr. Bulsiewicz said.

You can buy probiotics in supplement form, but they’re also found naturally in food — especially fermented foods. Examples of probiotic-rich foods include yogurt, kefir, kombucha and cabbage.

Since you can get probiotics from food, you may be curious about why you would want to take a supplement. Aside from the convenience factor, one benefit from probiotic supplements is that you can choose products with targeted strains for certain issues with the supplement. On the other hand, you can still get probiotics if you eat fermented foods, but you may not know exactly which strain or how much.

So if you are looking for probiotics for a specific reason (eg, ibs or constipation) then you may benefit from looking at specific strains of bacteria that may help. For example, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is a probiotic strain that researchers have found to be particularly helpful for diarrhea. Another point to note is that probiotic supplements do not have to be approved by the FDA before they can be sold. Otherwise, for general benefits, eating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt every day may do the trick.

Who Should or Shouldn’t Take Probiotics?

Although technically anyone can take them, there are certain groups of people who may benefit most from probiotics. For example, they have been studied for their ability to help with a variety of ailments like diarrhea and urinary tract infections, just to name a couple. And they are considered relatively safe for most people.

“Probiotics have been widely used by the general population for decades, and the safety record has been excellent in both health and disease,” Dr. Bulsiewicz said.

Fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi are natural sources of probiotics.

Getty Images

There are also certain groups of people who may be predisposed to issues or complications from taking probiotics, which is why you should always consult your doctor before starting any supplement including probiotics. According to Dr. Bulsiewicz, some studies found an increased risk of complications for people with severe acute pancreatitis who took probiotics, and some people with motility disorders had issues with severe brain fog, gas, and bloating.

“It may sound scary, but consider the millions of people who have been taking probiotics on a daily basis for decades now, and these prospects are rare at best. To me, the main question with probiotics is not their safety. The main question is what probiotic The benefits are well worth the cost, which often runs $40 to $60 per month,” said Dr. Bulsiewicz.

Are Probiotics Worth the Money?

The science on probiotics is promising, but there’s a lot we don’t know. For example, scientists don’t know for sure which specific strains of probiotics are most helpful and exactly how much you need to take to see benefits. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, there aren’t many in-depth or detailed studies on probiotic safety.

According to Dr. Bulsiewicz, even though probiotic use is widespread and relatively safe, he is unsure that most supplements actually do what they claim.

“The bottom line is that you want and should expect results from your probiotic. Unfortunately, many do not get results, and are left confused and disappointed that they spent so much money. For, you should opt for strains and amounts that have been proven in studies to work for whatever medical condition you are trying to address,” Dr. Bulsiewicz said.

The best way to do this is to consult with your doctor or a dietician or nutritionist to find out which strains of bacteria may be beneficial for you. That way you’re not wasting precious time and money that are complementary Might not even target the issue you’re hoping to improve,

Probiotics Frequently Asked Questions

Do Probiotics Stop Diarrhea?

Yes, recent studies suggest that probiotics may help with diarrhea. Research also suggests that it may help stop diarrhea a day faster.

Do Probiotics Cause Acne?

Any medicine or supplement has side effects. One side effect of probiotics is acne. Research has found that probiotics can cause acne for some people but this is rare. Always talk to your doctor or dermatologist before starting probiotics.

Do Probiotics Help Infections?

Infections can disrupt the balance between the “good” and “bad” bacteria that live within our bodies. Probiotics can help balance these types of bacteria and in turn may help with certain infections. Yeast infections, for example, are sometimes treated with probiotics. Talk to your doctor to find out if probiotics are a good option for you.

Do Probiotics Cause Bloating?

While many may take probiotics to help with gas, indigestion and bloating, probiotics may aggravate these symptoms. Probiotics may cause bloating in some but this usually goes away within a few weeks of use.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider with respect to any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or health objectives.

Leave a Comment