Feeling gassy, bloated, or have loose stools after taking antibiotics? This could be a sign you may benefit from taking probiotics. When the digestive system is not working right, it affects many areas of your health and quality of life.
Digestive disorders like chronic constipation, IBS, and other gastrointestinal diseases can have negative impacts on your emotions as well. A study published in the National Library of Medicine found that individuals with digestive issues are also at higher risk for emotional problems such as the ones listed below.
- Major depression
- Suicidal ideas
- Panic attack
- Social phobia
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder.
The correlation between your digestive system and how your body works together does not even consider how it affects your physical health.
What are probiotics?
According to the National Center For Complementary and integrated health, probiotics are live microorganisms with health benefits. These are found most frequently in fermented foods such as yogurts, dietary supplements, and beauty products.
Registered Dietitian Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LDN, CLEC, CPT, by her own practice says “It is important for an individual to make sure that any probiotics that you buy contains the strains your body needs and in the right quantities”
Most people believe that bacteria are harmful and our bodies are supposed to kill them off. There are also types of bacteria found in our body that are healthy and allows our body to function optimally. Bacteria found in probiotics help us digest our food and help with the digestive system.
According to Manaker, probiotic supplements needs to be third-party verified to make sure that you are getting all the necessary strains that you’re looking for.
Probiotics exist as many microorganisms, stimulating the growth of healthy bacteria, help to discourage harmful growth, reducing inflation in the gut, and modulating the immune system. Once the beneficial bacteria enters your body, it travels to your stomach then enters your digestive tract. Once there, they will start breaking down, helping healthy bacteria grow in your lower and upper intestines.
What are probiotic supplements benefits?
There are a vast number of benefits when you take probiotics. Health digestive systems are well balanced. The gut can be easily thrown off balance for many reasons. Some reasons include illnesses, prolonged use of antibiotics, or even higher ratios of harmful bacteria. A study publishes in the National Library of Medicine published an article supporting probiotics help bring your digestive tract back to a healthy balance.
To get the best benefits, some people recommend taking probiotics and prebiotics together, also known as synbiotics. Synbiotics is defined as the way probiotics and prebiotics work together in your digestive tract. An article published in the National Library of Medicine stated that studies have shown that when they are taken together, they maximize the positive effects. Although there has been quite a bit of research on probiotics in humans, more research is needed to determine how well probiotics work in conjunction with prebiotics.
What to Look for When Buying in a Probiotic Supplement
“Does Soil Contribute to the Human Gut Microbe?” An article published in the National Library of Medicine found that soil-based microbiota influxes the quality and storage of good bacteria in our digestive system. With our lifestyle and environmental changes, we do not get the same quality of probiotics from the soil that our parents and grandparents did growing up. People who live in cities might be consuming even less essential nutrients and minerals as well.
Soil-based probiotics are naturally found in soil and naturally flowing water you find in wells and streams. Now that our food goes through food processing and sterilizing techniques, the soil-based organisms can be largely reduced when we consume them. This is why soil-based ingredients are essential when choosing a supplement.
- Bacillus coagulans, also known as B. coagulans, produce lactic acid, which supports digestive health.
- Bacillus Subtilis reduces inflammation, helps reduce fat deposits, and restores your bowel regularity.
- Bacillus calusii helps to change nitrate contained in the soil to nitrite. This is important because nitrate is more stable and can be converted back to nitrate when oxygen is needed. This bacteria helps reduce nasal congestion and reduces the overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine.
Many Bacillus strains are found in the soil that helps regulate the digestive tract and benefit health in other ways. You can learn more about the different strains in the article titled Identification of Bacillus species: Implication on the quality of probiotic formulations—a peer-reviewed research article published in PLOS ONE.
Length of shelf Life
Expired probiotics: What is really in your cabinet? An article published in the Oxford Academic answers the question of how well-expired probiotics work. They did this by evaluating 33 expired products to see if the microbial cell viability went below the recommended dose. While some still worked, they were way lower than what is recommended for the probiotic to function.
Shelf stability is basically how long the bacteria in the probiotic continue to have the desired effect. There are ways that companies have found to lengthen the life stability, such as adding spore-forming bacteria to them. These types of bacteria are stable at room temperature and don’t have to be refrigerated. Another way to help extend the expiration date is by putting extra amounts of bacteria into the supplements to help them survive.
Bacteria are sensitive to heat, oxygen, light and water. Companies use these methods to extend shelf life:
- Temperature stability
- Increasing CFU numbers
- Testing to determine how temperature affects the potency
Content of CFU
CFUs (colony forming units), are the number of live and active microorganisms in each serving. According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, CFUs (colony forming units) is the number of viable cells. This is what is written on the label. They can hold up to 50 billion strains or as little as 10 billion. An interesting fact is that while the numbers are significant, they do not always report the product’s benefits. The manufacturers have to indicate the number of viable cells, but the number of CFUs on the label consists of both alive and dead. To be effective, the bacteria have to be taken while still alive.
Different Types of Strains in the Probiotic
Make sure the supplement you chose has at a minimum of ten different types of strains. Below is a list of the seven most essential ingredients that they must include. It needs to be stressed that these strains can go by different names, so look up any component you’re unsure of.
The main seven strains that should be included in the probiotic dietary supplement you are considering are
What to Avoid When Buying Probiotic Supplements
When taken correctly, probiotic supplements can make a huge difference in your health. The keyword here is correct. When buying supplements, there are some things you need to consider. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time and money.
Pass on the veggie capsules
This may sound odd because you hear the word vegetable and automatically think good. Want to know why this isn’t the best choice? Your stomach is highly acidic, resulting in vegetable capsules to break down quickly. When this happens, the healthy bacteria are broken down there, never reaching your intestines.
Make sure the probiotic doesn’t contain harmful contaminants or allergens
Hard to believe, but some supplements may contain harmful ingredients such as food colorings, preservatives, and sweeteners. Preservatives are often added to extend the shelf life of the probiotic, although upping the amount of CFUs can do the same thing. Artificial colorings and sweeteners can help make the supplants more flavorful and taste better.
Common Mistakes People Make When Taking Probiotic Supplements
- Not following instructions to refrigerate.
- Not being consistent for over a month to see desired benefits.
- Low dose or not following the dosage directions.
- Choosing the wrong strain for your needs.
- Take multiple probiotic supplements.
- Putting probiotics in a pillbox. Probiotics degrade quicker than other medications, especially when exposed to air, moisture, light, and temperature changes.
- Taking expired supplements.
- Not eating a well-balanced diet. Healthy choices with whole fruits and vegetables help feed good bacteria to proliferate and grow.
Summary of our Best Picks
Best for general health: Grundy MD Bio Complete 3
Best for digestive health: 1MD Probiotics Platinum
Best for weight loss: Grundy MD Energy Renew
Best for immune health: Multi-GI 5
Best for women’s health: 1MD Complete Probiotics Platinum
Best personalized probiotic: 1MD BalanceMD
7 Dietitian Recommended Probiotics
This Probiotic is manufactured by Unify Health Labs and was founded by Randy Jackson after he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The company has health experts and advisors lead by Dr. Melina Jampolis, a board-certified physician.
Multi-GI 5 is a combination of 3 blends that helps to support the digestive system. First, the Prebiotic blend gives you the nutrients your body needs to digest the probiotics. Then the GI health blend gives your body the nutrients it needs and soothes your gut while improving your intestinal lining. Finally, the probiotic blend that your intestines healthy bacteria.
This supplement contains ingredients that are high quality and clinically proven to work.
- 200mg of Fermented L-Glutamine – An article published in the National Library of Medicine states this ingredient helps with Irritable bowel syndrome.
- Lactobacillus gasseri 100 billion cfr/g, 7.13 mg – A recent study showed this ingredient helps the body drop body fat and decrease the hip circumference.
- Bacillus coagulans – An article in PLOS One stated this ingredient had been shown to help the bacteria survive the high levels of acid in the stomach so your intestines can get the benefits of the probiotics
If you have side effects when starting the supplements, such as bloating or gas, cut your dosage in half for the first week.
This dietary supplement contains a variety of polyphenols. What are these you ask? Polyphenols are superfoods such as gymnema sylvestre let, mulberry leaf, fennel, broccoli and foods high in this micronutrient. It is nearly impossible to get the right amounts of these nutrients unless you are eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. This product helps to boost your skins appearance, promote digestion and support health health.
Primal Plants is made up of four unique blends.
- Superfood Greens Blend
- Digestive Support Blend
- Metabolic Enhancing Blend
- Probiotic Blend
Each of these blends contain ingredients essential for a healthy digestive system; including the ones listed below.
- Bacillus Cogulans – there is a study cited earlier in the article that tells the importance of this bacteria in supporting digestive health.
- Cinnamon bark – US National Library of Medicine has published multiple articles singing the praises of cinnamon bark. Researchers have found that has many benefits as an anti-inflammatory and has beneficial effects in Parkinson’s, diabetes, and intestinal health.
- Pectin – National Library of Medicine published an article stating the pectins help to make sure that probiotics survive so they can reach they digestive system.
Another one of our favorites manufactured by Gundry MD is Bio Complete3. One of the reasons we are so impressed with hit products is that he is a former cardiac surgeon with years of experience and currently owns his clinic that focuses on investing in how dies affect health.
Bio Complete3 increases your immune system by making sure your gut is healthy. A healthy digestive system is essential to help fight off infections and other viruses. This supplement does this with a unique formula of prebiotics, probiotics, and posts biotic. You may be wondering how exactly he does this. Read below to find out the answer.
The key ingredients in this probiotic are Tributyrin, sunfiber, and bacillus coagulans. Each one is scientifically proven to keep your gut healthy, help control your appetite and give you energy.
- Tributyrin (corebiome) is suitable for the immune system, decreasing the amount of oxidative stress. Another benefit of it is that it helps digest proteins assisting in the grown of microbiota.
- Bacillus Coagulans – this ingredient has a long history of treating various digestive issues such as IBS, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal disorders. It does this by mailing homeostasis of the microbiota. ScienceDirect published a study from January 2020 backing up the claims that the spores that Bacillus coagulans product helps the body to digest the probiotic.
- Sunfiber – a study published in 2015 in the Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology states that guar gum relieves systems of constipation and has prebiotic properties. Another study published in nutrition insight further says that sunfiber may help with those displaying metabolic syndromes.
The manufactures of this product consist of 5 board-certified physicians who are specialists in the fields of
- Allergy and immunology
1MD Complete Probiotics Platinum guarantees
- 51 billion of CFUs,
- 11 proteins strains,
- delayed-release capsules
One of the primary things needed in a probiotic is that it survives to stomach acids to get into the intestines ignorer to do its job. The main issue with many of these supplements is that they are not time delaying and may be destroyed in the stomach.
This product is full of unusual ingredients.
- 7 strains of Lactobacillus – US National Library of Medicine published an article stating the many benefits of various lactobacillus strains. They are well known for treatments of diseases, help with immunity, improve lactose intolerance and reduce UTIs. In addition to these well-known benefits, there have been hundreds of articles published proving their benefits for gut health.
- 3 strains of Bifidobacterium – a study by Frontiers in Microbiology published an article in 2016 stating that bifidobacterium was one of the first microbes found to have positive benefits in the digestive system. The microbe has to have specific properties to survive the acids found in the gut. This is one of the reasons why a time-delayed capsule is an excellent idea.
- lactospore – This ingredient is also known as bacillus coagulan. The dietary ingredient helps with both IBS and diarrhea. The results of the study published in 2016 are that symptoms such as bloating, vomiting, abdominal pain, and stool frequency decrease, and the quality of life increases.
This dietary supplement is believed to reduce discomfort caused by foods that are not digested correctly. It does this by combining plant-based digestive enzymes and probiotics that support digestive health.
EnzymeMD said to do the following.
- Act fast to elevate gas and bloating after eating
- It contains 18 enzymes that breakdown food after eating
- Has S. Boulrdii to improve your gut health
As we get older, our ability to break down foods decreases due to a significant decrease in energy. EnzymeMD believed to help increase power naturally and help the body to break down essential enzymes crucial to a healthy digestive system.
A few of the main ingredients in this probiotic are
- Bromelain – Studies have proven this enzyme to have anti-inflammatory properties and helps with the treatment of bronchitis, sinusitis, and other inflammatory disorders. It is a highly absorbable enzyme that is not easily broke down and helps with diarrhea and a variety of other gut issues.
- Peptidase – An article from 1984 published in Science that Inspires sings the praises of this plasma membrane. It aids in the breakdown of specific proteins and restores plasma membranes. It Is one of the best enzymes that aids in digestion.
- Invertase – ResearchGate published an article called Invertase, and it’s application in 2013, stating that this enzyme is essential for breaking down enzymes needed to boost the immune system.
BiomeMD contains 15 strains of probiotics, 62 billion CFUs, and a new type of prebiotic.
This digestive support supplement states that it improves digestion reduces oxidative stress. Good bacteria have a lot of benefits. Namely, it improves the digestive system and restores immune function. When harmful bacteria take over your digestive tract, it can put you at risk for many medical conditions, including obesity.
Active ingredients in this supplement
- HUM care4U HMO – This is human milk consumed in the first months of life for the healthy development of infants. It helps regulate and improve the immune system and positively impacts the growth of bacteria in the digestive system.
- Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 – A study published in the US National Library of Medicine stated that this bacteria helped to alleviate constipation and stomach pain. It was also found to reduce GI system disturbances in adults.
- Lactobacillus casei L30C – This compound is one of the most studied ingredients in probiotics. Frontiers in Microbiology states that this strain is one of the most used ingredients because it makes the gut bacteria stable and prevents many diseases and disorders.
By now, I’m sure all of you reading this know that probiotics are proven to help the digestive system and benefit your health in various other ways. Although to get the benefits, you need to take a close look at the ingredients. 1MD is consistently proven to use the best high-quality natural ingredients.
This probiotic contains 15 billion CFUs and many subs trains essential to ensuring the ingredients reach your digestive tract. 1MD BalanceMD is dairy-free making it an excellent choice for vegans.
According to Nature reviews, disease primers stated that candidiasis negatively affects the gastrointestinal barriers, which may cause tears in the intestine, increasing the chance of some invasive diseases. The good news is 1MD Balance has ingredients scientifically proven to get rid of this harmful bacteria.
- Herbal aids like oregano oil and caprylic acid inhibit the growth of fungus and yeast in the intestine. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institue of Health stated that oregano oils are widely used because of its antifungal properties. Caprylic acid studies have shown that it is highly effective in treating Crohn’s disease and short bowel syndrome.
- Digestive enzymes – protease and cellulase a study published by the current Drug Metabolism Bentham Science Publishers states that digestive enzymes break down proteins, carbs, and lipids aiding in gastrointestinal health. It also helps inhibit the growth of candida, a fungus proven to harm your intestines.
How We Select Supplements
We only select products with proven ingredients with scientific evidence to back them up.
- They have to be shelf stable – meaning that it doesn’t need refrigerated and has a shelf life of at least 2 years.
- High CFU count of at least 1 billion
- Strain diversity – Strains proven to assist in sustaining the growth of healthy bacteria.
- Prebiotics – in order for the probiotics to work and multiply there needs to be prebiotics as one of the ingredients. This can come in many forms so look at each ingredient to ensure there is some form of it. If you are unsure look up the ingredient.
- Verify accuracy of their labels
- Research ingredients
- Make sure they have high customer satisfaction
- Overall customer satisfaction
What a probiotic supplement can (and can’t) do for you
Although more research is needed, many benefits are associated with probiotics and reversing many health and some mental health issues.
Some of these benefits include
- Help prevent and treat diarrhea
- It helps improve some mental health conditions
- Improve heart health
- Reduce the severity of allergies and eczema
- Reduce symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS and IBD
- Boost your immune system
- It May help reduce belly fat and lose weight
- Decrease inflammation
It’s important to remember while probiotics have many benefits, they are not a cure-all. You still need to eat healthily and have a well-rounded diet. There are also many different strains of them, so you have to find the one that works best for you.
Probiotics are not a cure all if you do not change your diet when taking them it is liley you will not get the full benefits. Foods that you eat can have a positive and negative effect on your health. Eating processed and fast foods everyday is going to reverse any benefits you get from the supplement.
Probiotics can aid you in losing some fat and weight but it is not going to cause you to lose a large amount of weight. The best way to lose weight is to make changes to your diet and incrase your activity. The main way that probiotics help in weight loss if they help to curb cravings for unhealthy foods, increase your energy, and help you to feel fuller.
While probiotics can help you manage diseases and prevent some from occuring it can not cure all diseases. It has a lot of anti-inflammatory properties which help with inflammation associated with many disorders such as arthritis. Because of the immunity properties of these supplements it can help your body fight off viruses but not prevent them all.
How to find the best probiotic supplement for You
With all of the probiotics available it’s hard to choose just one with the benefits you want. This best way to choose the best one for you is to look at the ingredients. You want one that contains at least 1 billion CFUs.
Look for name brands that have been studied and have proven ingredients. You need to pay close attention to the label to make sure that it fits your lifestyle. Meaning if you’re lactose intolerant read the label to make sure it contains no milk products.
Read the fine print and the additional ingredients. Make sure the probiotic can survive the acidic environment of your stomach in order to reach the intestines. Types of bacteria included in the probiotic. Realize it may take time to find the right one for you.
Q: Do probiotic supplements work?
A: In the right context probiotics combined with a nutritious diet can support a healthy gut microbiome. Probiotics are essential for maintaining the health of our total body wellness.
Q: What is the Optimal dosage for probiotics?
A: This varies depending on strain and product. The dosage can begin with suggested use on the bottle but can change depending on your clinicians recommendations. If you notice adverse side effects, cut the dosage in half for a few weeks then increase back to recommended dose.
Q: Who should avoid probiotics?
A: Children should not take probiotics. Individuals with severe health conditions or compromised immune systems should not take probiotics. Like any other supplement, you should always consult your physician before taking any new medication or supplement.
Q: Do Probiotic Supplements Have Side Effects?
A: In the first few weeks, you can experience side effects such as gas, bloating, and increased thirst. Some products have dairy ingredients, so it is essential for you to look at the label to see if it does or not, especially if you’re sensitive to lactose.
Q: What is the Best Time to Take a Probiotic Supplement?
A: Most of the time, there is no best time. Your best bet is to read the instructions on the label. Some will want you to take it in the morning with food, while others will just tell you to take them daily.
Q: Do Probiotic Supplements Survive Stomach Acid
A: Not all of them will. This is why it is important to look into products and their research for more answers.
Q: Why Should I Take Probiotic Supplements?
A: You will feel better, and your digestive system will work better. As stated earlier in the article, your digestive tract is what keeps your immune system working right to help prevent diseases and viruses.
Q: Are There Vegan Probiotic Supplements?
A: Yes. Just check the label, and it will let you know if it is.
Q: Do Probiotic Supplements Expire?
A: Yes. This is why it is so essential for you to check the expiration date before you buy them.
Q: What Happens if You Take Too Many Probiotic Supplements?
A: Common side effects of too many probiotics are bloating, gas, and nausea. People who have a weakened immune system or a severe illness should consult a physician before taking probiotics.
There is no doubt that probiotics have multiple benefits that are increasingly backed by science. However, it is essential to ensure the probiotic you choose has high quality ingredients, effective dosages, survive the GI transit to your lower GI, and comes from a trusted manufacturer. Each of the products are recommended by dietitians with evidence supporting their use.