Understanding The Digestive System
The digestive system has several organs, including the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Within the network, the average person has about 300-500 different species of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The bacteria totals in the billions, with hundreds more species recently discovered by researchers. This is known as the gut microbiome. Some are helpful probiotics, and some are harmful to a personís overall health. Creating a balance between the two types of bacteria is vital for digestive health.
Why You Should Try Probiotics
âGive it a try and see how you feel, because I think once you start taking a probiotic, youâre not going to want to stop.â – Catherine, an Align user
âBecause of Align, I can go anywhere and do whatever I want, without having to worry in the back of mind that Iâm going to have an issue later on.â â Cody, an Align user
âI keep reading more and more about the microbiome, so to me itâs worth it to take a product like Align, because I think I’m doing something good for my gut.â â Julie, an Align user
âItâs emotional to explain because I want to push this out there on people who might be scared to speak up. Whatever you have to do throughout your day to get through, and you have any restrictions holding you back, donât pretend itâs not there.â â Nick, an Align user
The Benefits Of Probiotics
In every healthy digestive system, there is a balance. Probiotics help to keep the digestive system in balance. There are many reasons a digestive system becomes unbalanced. These include illness, taking antibiotics, a poor diet, or an overgrowth of bad bacteria. Gastrointestinal problems can result from such an imbalance.
More research on probiotics is needed. However, there is evidence that:
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Conditions Related To Allergy
- A review of 23 studies in which probiotics were tested for treating allergic rhinitis found some evidence that they may be helpful for improving symptoms and quality of life. However, because the studies tested different probiotics and measured different effects, no recommendations about the use of probiotics could be made. Few side effects of probiotics were reported in these studies.
- A review of 11 studies of probiotics for asthma in children had inconclusive results.
- Atopic dermatitis is an itchy chronic skin disorder thatâs associated with allergies but not caused by them. Itâs most common in infants and may start as early as age 2 to 6 months. Many people outgrow it by early adulthood. Atopic dermatitis is one of several types of eczema.
- A 2017 review of 13 studies of probiotics for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in infants and children did not find consistent evidence of a beneficial effect. A review of 9 studies in adults provided preliminary evidence that some strains of probiotics might be beneficial for symptoms of atopic dermatitis.
Prevention of Allergies
How Probiotics Might Be Bad For You
Because these good bacteria already exist in the body, theyâre considered safe for most people. But there are some things to consider.
They can trigger an allergic reaction. They might cause mild stomach problems, especially the first few days you start taking them. You might have stomach upset, gas, diarrhea, or bloating. Those symptoms usually go away after your body gets used to them.
If you have an immune system problem or another serious health condition, you may have a greater chance of issues. Some reports have linked probiotics to serious infections and other side effects. The people most likely to have trouble are those with immune system problems, people who’ve had surgery, and others who are critically ill. Don’t take probiotics if you have any of those issues.
Always talk to your pediatrician before giving probiotic supplements to your child. If you’re pregnant or nursing, you should also talk to your doctor before you try one.
Most probiotics in the U.S. are sold as dietary supplements. That means the companies that make them don’t have to test their products and show that they work or that they are safe. More research is needed to confirm that probiotics are safe and effective.
Ask your doctor which probiotics are the right ones for you. Be sure to stop taking them if you have any problems.
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Enteric Coating And Timed
Some probiotic manufacturers use a type of technology such as Bio-tract®, which is a time-release technology thought to protect their bacteria from the low pH in the stomach. Whilst this may well be of benefit for some strains of probiotic bacteria, it is really not necessary if the strains themselves display excellent natural survivability in acid conditions, as ours do.
Enteric coating, can also help probiotics to survive transit through the harsh stomach environment. Enteric coating is a special coating for capsules, which is intended to remain intact in the stomach but to dissolve in the small intestine, and provides another option for ensuring probiotics survive to reach the gut alive. However, critics of enteric coating have pointed out that it can involve the use of synthetic chemicals, as well as highlighting some doubts over whether the capsules eventually break down in the lower GI tract to release the probiotics, or if they pass through the intestines intact with their beneficial probiotic cargo still on board.
Therefore, it may be better to simply use hardy strains of bacteria that do not require other types of ‘manufactured’ protection to survive transit through the stomach.
Probiotics For Viral Gastroenteritis/stomach Flu
In the previous section we learnt that Saccharomyces boulardii can be used to cleanse the pathogens involved in food poisoning from the gut. However, this amazing probiotic strain has even proven to be effective against certain viruses including rotavirus3, one of the viruses often implicated in stomach flu. So it seems that whether symptoms were bought on by eating contaminated food, or simply through contact with a person suffering with a stomach virus, Saccharomyces boulardii is the best probiotic for upset stomach.
Another probiotic strain which could be of note here is Lactobacillus paracasei CASEI 431®. This strain is known for its immune-modulatory properties: one 2012 study4 showed that after just 6 weeks of intervention with this probiotic strain, study participants saw an average 37% increase in IgG production versus the placebo group, and a significant increase in sIgA over placebo. The antibody IgG protects against both viral and bacterial infections in the host.
Lactobacillus paracasei CASEI 431® has not been researched specifically for gastric flu but has been researched and shown to be help with diarrhoea in children5, and is well-documented for immune support so may be another option to consider for those who often suffer from viral upset stomachs.
Read more about Lactobacillus paracasei CASEI 431® over at The Probiotics Database.
Lactobacillus paracasei CASEI 431® is found in Optibac Immune Support.
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Why Do Probiotics Make Me Bloated
Can probiotics make you bloated?
Probiotics are generally healthy… but can you have too much of a good thing?
Before we answer these questions
We need to understand the real causes of bloating and why its become a huge problem.
Bloating simply means your stomach or intestinal tract is filling up with gas.
With no immediate way of escape, the volume of gas builds up creating pressure in your abdomen.
That’s why you get that uncomfortable sensation of your stomach swelling up.
It usually isn’t painful, but it can be accompanied by stomach cramps.
Learning About The Microbiome
The community of microorganisms that lives on us and in us is called the âmicrobiome,â and itâs a hot topic for research. The Human Microbiome Project, supported by the National Institutes of Health from 2007 to 2016, played a key role in this research by mapping the normal bacteria that live in and on the healthy human body. With this understanding of a normal microbiome as the basis, researchers around the world, including many supported by NIH, are now exploring the links between changes in the microbiome and various diseases. Theyâre also developing new therapeutic approaches designed to modify the microbiome to treat disease and support health.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is among the many agencies funding research on the microbiome. Researchers supported by NCCIH are studying the interactions between components of food and microorganisms in the digestive tract. The focus is on the ways in which diet-microbiome interactions may lead to the production of substances with beneficial health effects.
Best Probiotics For Ibs
When it comes to which probiotics are most effective for treating the gas, bloating, abdominal pain and other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, the answer is that a number of different kinds may be effective. A review article by the GI Society looked at the results of a number of studies that examined the impact of probiotics on IBS symptoms, concluding that several types of probiotics showed benefits.
In particular, several strains of Lactobacillus bacteria seemed to help people with IBS symptoms. These included Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and a number of variants of Lactobacillus acidophilus. Other recently studied probiotics that proved effective, according to the GI Society, included Bifidobacterium longum, Propionibacterium freudenreichii, Bifidobacterium infantis 35624, Enterococcus faecalis DSM 16440 and even a strain of E. coli bacteria .
Though a number of probiotics were shown to be effective at relieving IBS symptoms, the experts noted that the treatments that combined more than one probiotic seemed to provide the most relief.
“My recommendation is to choose a multi-strain probiotic and take it for at least eight weeks,” Valles says. “You may want to choose a probiotic that, among the different strains, contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, which seems to be present in the studies that have shown beneficial effects.”
Is It Okay To Take A Probiotic Every Day
Since probiotics are typically sold as supplements and not drugs, the FDA does not have to regulate the health claims. However, research shows that daily use of probiotics is safe.
While there are usually not many side effects associated with using a probiotic, people may feel occasional bloating/gas or differences in bowel movements when they first start taking a probiotic, Del Borrello says. It usually goes away with time.
It is also important to get the correct dosage of probiotics for full effectiveness. Probiotic dosages are given in colony-forming units or CFUs. Children are recommended to take 5-10 billion CFUs a day and adults are recommended to take 10-20 billion CFUs per day.
When starting probiotics, it is possible that you will develop loose stool for the first few days. Because probiotics are live bacteria, it is important to check the sell by date on the supplement.
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Ways Probiotics May Be Able To Ease Your Stomach Pain
Nowadays, stomach pain seems to affect nearly every person in the United States.
For some, its just a passing bout of discomfort.
For others, stomach pain is a debilitating condition that makes life nearly unbearable.
Whichever camp you fall into, theres a bit of hope on the horizon in the form of probiotics.
More and more studies are showing that probiotics can treat many different causes of stomach pain.
Lets take a quick look at 7 common stomach ailments and how probiotics may provide relief
Probiotics May Improve Digestive Health
Using probiotics may help reduce diarrhea caused by things like antibiotic use, cancer therapy, and hospital infections. Bacteria strains of Streptococcus and Lactobacillus can help, but doctors also use yeast strains, such as various Saccharomyces boulardii, to help prevent diarrhea, according to a paper published in March 2016 in the International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences.
If dairy gives you bad gas, you may have lactose intolerance, which is caused by a deficiency in the enzyme lactase. The good news is that probiotics seem to help with lactose digestion. Studies show that the probiotic used to make yogurt release lactase, which takes over the bodys usual responsibility of digesting lactose.
If your gassiness isnt due to lactose intolerance or associated with recurrent diarrhea from any of the aforementioned reasons, you may have a condition called irritable bowel syndrome . IBS is a default diagnosis that is used for unexplained digestive symptoms, such as gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. Some studies suggest probiotics can help relieve symptoms of IBS.
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What Should You Do If Probiotics Arent Working
Read the label: If you experience minor side effects like bloating, nausea or gas, check the ingredients to see whether the label contains any ingredients you might be allergic to. Many probiotics contain lactose, which can irritate the gut, especially in adults. This is also important for people who are lactose intolerant or vegan.
Try a different brand: Probiotics vary widely in quality and composition. Perhaps the probiotic you are taking just isnt strong enough or doesnt contain the specific strains to make you feel better. Consider looking for a high quality, multispecies and multistrain probiotic that fits your needs.
Seek out a qualified healthcare practitioner: If youve tried several probiotics and none are working, it might be time to seek out a healthcare practitioner with expertise in gut health to help you get to the root cause of your symptoms.
The Right Probiotics For Your Stomach Problems And More
You’ve probably heard that probioticsthe active cultures in some yogurts, for exampleare good for your health. But not all probiotics are created equal. Here’s what you need to know to boost immunity, soothe itchy skin, quell an upset stomach, and more.
Michelle Klawiter was nine days into a course of antibiotics for a sinus infection when the gut pain hit. Bloody diarrhea quickly followed. The 42-year-old secretary and mother of three in Chandler, Ariz., had developed a nasty intestinal infection, the kind that sometimes occurs when antibiotics kill your bodys good bacteria along with the bad and lower your defenses to other invaders.
Doctors prescribed a series of increasingly potent antibiotics to try to knock out the new bad bug, Clostridium difficile , but nothing worked. Her tummy troubles turned into antibiotic-associated colon inflammation.
And even after three months, sometimes the pain and cramping was so bad I thought I would pass out, Klawiter says. Having lost 20 pounds and feeling unable to cope at her job in a small office with two bathrooms, she quit. RELATED: The Best Foods for an Upset Stomach
The nightmare ended only after Klawiter tried a probiotic that her gastroenterologist had read was effective against C. diff. Klawiter found the over-the-counter product, called Florastor, at her drugstore. Within a week, she recalls, I was eating normally again.
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How Probiotics Are Good For You
They might lower the number of “bad” bacteria in your gut that can cause illness or inflammation. They can also replace those problem germs with good or helpful bacteria.
Researchers are studying when and how probiotics might best help. There’s more research for some illnesses than others. They might help people with:
- Diarrhea, especially when it’s linked to specific antibiotics. Probiotics also might help with infectious diarrhea, especially in children.
- Inflammatory bowel diseases including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Some probiotics might keep ulcerative colitis in remission and prevent Crohn’s disease from relapsing and getting worse.
- Irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics can sometimes help ease symptoms, including stomach pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
Probiotics also are being studied for many other conditions. There isnât as much research yet, but some people say that probiotics have helped them with:
- Decreasing inflammation, such as from rheumatoid arthritis
Can Probiotics Hurt Me
For most healthy people, probiotics dont cause any harm. They are generally considered safe and are often given a try to see if they could help with various medical conditions. Theres a lot of research around the topic of probiotics. Scientists are trying to determine when and how they should be used, as well as how effective they are. Talk to your healthcare provider before starting a probiotic supplement because there are some cases where you shouldnt be taking them. Its always best to have the conversation first before starting a new supplement.
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Its Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
Youve probably heard about the digestive health benefits of probiotics which became popular about a decade ago. But you may not fully understand what they are.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that help maintain the growth of bacteria in your body. Although you may equate bacteria with something harmful, Quratulain Aziz, MD, explains that many bacteria are useful, too, like the ones that live in your gut and help with food digestion. Probiotics also help destroy the source of harmful bacteria in your digestive tract, and in some instances they produce vitamins, she adds.
Its a balancing act that happens naturally in your body. When infection upsets your healthy community of bacteria, probiotics push the shift back to normal again.
Theres some evidence that probiotics may be helpful in preventing digestive disorders such as diarrhea caused by infections, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
Remarkably, some studies also show that probiotics may help with allergic disorders such as eczema and hay fever tooth decay, periodontal disease, and other oral health problems colic in infants and liver disease. Common side effects include gas and bloating.
Probiotics may be helpful in preventing digestive disorders such as diarrhea caused by infections, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.