Probiotics have become popular in recent years to bolster immunity and stimulate a healthy digestive system. These are, however, not the only benefit of probiotics to the human body.
Probiotics are responsible for maintaining bacterial balance in your body. Today, many researchers suggest that there are probiotics that can also help in weight loss.
Before taking probiotics, it is essential to understand what they are.
What are Probiotics?
You have more bacteria in your body than you have cells. For every one cell in your body are ten bacteria. Most of the bacteria are in your gut, and most of them are harmless.
Probiotics are living bacteria and yeast that are good for your body, most specifically in your digestive system. It is a common belief that germs in the body cause diseases. However, your body has both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are what we call good bacteria because they help contribute to making your gut healthy.
A healthy gut has numerous health benefits, including good digestion, healthier skin, improved immune system, reduced risks of contracting many diseases, and even weight loss.
Probiotics often come in the form of supplements. When taken as a supplement, probiotics control your gut microorganisms that can boost your health. Some foods such as yogurts, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, and other foods prepared through bacterial fermentation also contain probiotics. Doctors often prescribe probiotics to patients whose digestive system problems.
When you have problems with your gut balance, you may feel bloated, have diarrhea, feel constipated, or experience many digestive disorders. Taking probiotics can reset your gut balance and improve your digestive system.
Probiotics are good bacteria similar to the good bacteria you already have in your body. There are a lot of different probiotics. However, there are two main groups that you need to know about.
These are “friendly” bacteria found in the digestive, genital, and urinary systems. They do not cause any disease. They are found in dietary supplements and such fermented foods like yogurt.
Lactobacillus is often taken to prevent and treat diarrhea, including diarrhea caused by antibiotics and infectious diarrhea. They are also taken to treat irritable bowel syndrome, general digestion problems, inflammation of the colon, inflammatory bowel disease, and colic in babies, constipation, and stomach pain.
- Bifidobacterium. Found in dairy products
These are y-shaped bacteria in the intestines and are essential to health. There are about 50 species of this bacteria, and each is said to have different health functions and benefits. An adult gut microbiome consists of about 10% of this type of bacteria.
Bifidobacterium works to digest complex carbohydrates and fiber that your body cannot self-digest. Easy digestion of fiber as aided by Bifidobacterium may help lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and reduce weight gain.
Bifidobacterium produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) when they digest fiber. These compounds support gut health and help control hunger. These bacteria also produce healthy fatty acids and B vitamins.
Probiotics, in short, replace good bacteria that your body may lose. It also helps balance the good and bad bacteria in your gut.
The Importance of Probiotics for Your Body
The word probiotics are derived from the Greek word “pro,” which means promoting and “biotic, which means life. Probiotics were discovered by Elie Metchnikoff, referred to as the “father of probiotics.” He observed that Bulgaria’s rural inhabitants had a long lifespan despite living in harsh climate and poverty.
Metchnikoff theorized that toxic bacteria in the gut cause aging, and taking lactic acid could prolong life. In his book, Prolongation of Life: Optimistic Studies, he discussed the life-lengthening properties of lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. Bulgaricus). He also said the reason Bulgarian peasants lived long was because of their regular consumption of yogurt.
Many people may not be able to comprehend how bacteria can be beneficial to the body. Antibiotics are taken to kill the bacterial infection. Antibacterial lotions and soaps are used to protect the body. Remember this – there are harmful bacteria and there are good bacteria.
Probiotics can help treat and even prevent many illnesses because they are good bacteria. You can get your supply of probiotics from the food you eat, beverages, from taking food supplements.
How can probiotics protect you?
- Probiotics can improve the function of your digestive system.
The digestive system needs to have a good balance of good and bad gut bacteria. An unhealthy lifestyle because of wrong food choices, lack of sleep, too much stress, overuse of antibiotics, and other environmental influences can cause the body to have more of the harmful bacteria.
Taking probiotics can help with diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, abdominal pain, flatulence, and Crohn’s disease. Taking probiotics increases cytokine-producing cells and immunoglobulin cells in the intestine to increase good bacteria in the gut to aid digestion.
- Probiotics help improve your immune system.
Probiotics improve the gut mucosal immune system to maintain homeostasis and for protection against infections. They prevent the growth of harmful gut bacteria that may affect your immune system.
Some probiotics also enhance the production of natural antibodies. They may also reduce (low incidence) when a person can suffer from respiratory infections or even reduce their severity and frequency. Probiotics can also reduce the occurrence of urinary tract infections in women.
- Probiotics help prevent wrinkles.
Probiotics increase good bacteria in the gut. They eliminate toxins that can cause the appearance of the wrinkles or early signs of aging. The early appearance of wrinkles can be prevented by taking probiotics because they rid the body of free radicals that cause wrinkles.
- Probiotics help improve skin conditions.
Probiotics improve the gut microbiome reducing inflammation and skin conditions. A damaged gut causes other parts of the body to be toxic and break down. Probiotics make your gut healthier and, thus, causes the disappearance of your skin problems.
- Probiotics improve the physical condition of your body.
Probiotics allow your body to absorb nutrients efficiently.
- Probiotics may help you lose weight.
Probiotics may help you lose weight in many different ways. Probiotics may help you be fuller longer, store less fat (the fat you take is excreted as feces and do not get stored in your body), and burn more calories.
When to take Probiotics
Probiotics are one of the top wellness trends. They are available in supplement form. They can also be found in some foods, including chips, and even in bottled water as friendly microbes.
Probiotics come in different strains, so you need to talk to your doctor to determine the strain ideal for the condition you are dealing with. There is a particular probiotic strain for every ailment.
Here are some tips on how to choose the right probiotics:
- Choose a strain that will work for your symptoms.
- Try a type of probiotic for at least four weeks. Check your symptoms. When it seems to be working, stick to it.
- Use the dose recommended on the label.
- Choose a probiotic that has been proven effective by research.
Taking probiotics keeps your gut and entire body healthy. However, taking them at the right time will allow you to reap all of its benefits.
It does not matter whether you take probiotics during the day or night as long as you take them with an empty stomach. Research shows that probiotics have more chances of survival when taken 30 minutes before a meal rather than 30 minutes after a meal when the digestion process is full.
The timing on when to take probiotics matter a lot because they do not survive long in your gut. Probiotics need to survive the gut acids in your body to allow good bacteria to reach your stomach. They also need to survive your gut acids to get to your GI tracts.
Your stomach produces large quantities of acid during the digestive process. Probiotics survive in an environment when your stomach is the least acidic. This is often 30 minutes before a meal.
Taking your probiotics before eating will ensure they can easily pass to your gut. When probiotics get to your gut, you can reap all its benefits.
Probiotics and your Gut Health
It used to be that the digestive system was referred to as a simple body system consisting of the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) or digestive tract, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.
The GI tract or your gut consists of hollow organs (mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestines, large intestines) joined by a tube that runs from the mouth to the anus. It is in the digestive system where food passes through is absorbed and excreted (anus).
Gut health pertains to the right microorganism balance in your digestive tract. Maintaining gut health is essential to your mental and physical health, immunity, and overall health. Gut health is also linked to your mood, mental health, immune system, skin conditions, endocrine disorders, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and help fight obesity.
Good bacteria in your gut microbiome help with digestion and balances bad bacteria. Good bacteria multiply quickly, so there will be no space for harmful bacteria to grow. Equilibrium occurs when there is a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.
An unhealthy balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut microbiome can cause:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
You can ensure gut health by taking probiotics. Probiotics are living good bacteria that will ensure the equilibrium of good and bad bacteria in your gut microbiome. Probiotics come in the form of supplement form (capsules).
There are also natural sources of probiotics (fermented foods) such as:
- Fermented vegetables
Probiotics in food or in supplement form can improve the health of your gut.
How Gut Bacteria Affect Weight Regulation
Trillions of bacteria inhabit your body, and most of them are in your intestines. Gut bacteria play a significant role in your overall health, including producing some vitamins and interacting with your immune system.
Your gut bacteria also dictate how you digest different foods. They also affect the production of chemicals that give you the feeling of fullness. All these can affect the regulation of your weight.
Did you know that gut bacteria may be the solution to your weight loss problems?
Your body produces different hormones that impact your appetite. These hormones’ production is affected by your gut bacteria, giving you the feeling of fullness or hunger. The food you eat can impact your gut bacteria that can cause weight gain.
Gut bacteria can affect weight regulation in many ways.
- They can either impact your fullness or hunger.
- They alter the amount of energy you get from food. Inefficient gut bacteria make you waste a lot of food calories.
- They influence metabolic health and insulin sensitivity.
- They affect inflammation.
Healthy gut bacteria allow you to have an equally healthy weight.
Probiotics and IBS
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a degenerative disease characterized by changes in bowel habits, constipation, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, and bloating. You are suffering from IBS if you are experiencing abdominal pain at least once a week for three consecutive months and having pain during a bowel movement.
Symptoms of IBS have something to do with changes in the gut flora. People with IBS have higher levels of harmful bacteria Clostridium, E. coli, and Streptococcus and lower amounts of the bacteria Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus in their guts.
Taking probiotics can balance gut bacteria and relieve some of the symptoms of IBS through:
- Slowing down your bowel movements
- Suppress the growth of bacteria that can cause diseases
- Help fight inflammation
- Balance gut flora to reduce gas production
- Enhance barrier functions of the immune system
- Reduce the risk of gas buildup of the gut.
Probiotics are safe. They are also a cheap potential treatment for IBS. Remember, though, that some probiotic supplements have ingredients that can worsen your symptoms, including insulin, oats, fructose, xylitol, fructose, and lactose. If you think you have symptoms triggered by these ingredients, choose another probiotic without these ingredients.
Take extra care in choosing the right probiotics supplement to treat your IBS symptoms.
Probiotics and Candida
Candida is a fungus that usually lives in your gastrointestinal tract, throat, mouth, and vagina. Candida usually is present in the body in a healthy balance, and your immune system keeps it at bay.
The presence of candida yeast does not pose any problem when you have a robust immune system. However, nutritional deficiencies, high sugar levels, stress, exposure to toxins, and antibiotics, and other medications can knock out good bacteria. Good bacteria prevent the development of this fungal infection.
When your gut’s healthy bacteria cannot establish a balance of Candida yeast, there will be dysbiosis (microbial imbalance) that will cause you to have some uncomfortable symptoms. Some discomforts may include inflammation, gastrointestinal problems, itching, genital rash, and weakened immunity.
Probiotics restock the gut of your immune system with healthy or good bacteria. They can also stop the activities of commensal bacteria in the vaginal and alimentary tracts.
Probiotics and Sibo
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) occurs when there is a bacterial imbalance in the small intestine, and the growth of bacteria gets out of control. This occurs when healthy or good bacteria in the large intestine make their way to the small intestine. Sometimes there is just an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine.
Overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine can lead to certain diseases. The excess bacteria target undigested food in the small intestine, mostly carbs, and transform them into hydrogen gas. Some microbes in your gut ingest hydrogen gas and transform them into methane gas.
When your gut is full of excess methane, hydrogen, or both of these gases, you will experience painful bloating followed by constipation (due to excess methane) or diarrhea (due to excess hydrogen).
Signs of Sibo may include:
- Cramps in the abdomen
- Smelly and pale poop
- Stomach pain
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Intolerance to gluten or lactose
- Weakness and fatigue
- Chronic diseases such as diabetes
- Skin rashes
If you are experiencing any of these signs, you may have SIBO. Additionally, if you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or(irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you are most likely also to have SIBO. Those with IBD are more prone to have SIBO than those with IBD.
There are many remedies for SIBO or getting your digestive system back to normal. The right probiotics can recondition your gut. You need to be careful, though, because taking the wrong probiotics can worsen the symptoms of SIBO.
Therefore, you must choose probiotics that can survive the harsh environment in your digestive tract, reach the small intestine and the gut to rebuild your gut microbiome. Spore prebiotics can bring back the balance in your small intestine.
Probiotics & Weight Loss
Probiotics help maintain proper balance in the digestive tract. Probiotics can also benefit other parts of your body. Some probiotics can even help you lose weight. There are a couple of studies that show that probiotics in food or supplements can help you shed some extra pounds by regulating microbiome balance in the gut.
How are probiotics able to help with your weight loss goals?
- Reduces Appetite
If you feel hungry all the time, probiotics can help you feel full longer and thus help you lose weight. Some probiotics can influence your fullness because they can regulate how your body reacts to leptin (a hormone).
Fat cells produce leptin. This hormone signals your brain that there is enough energy. The brain then signals your body that you are still full and, therefore, reduces your appetite. The British Journal of Nutrition says that probiotics help leptin send signals to the brain that you are full. You will, therefore, eat less and help you lose weight.
- Eliminates Fats
Probiotics allow dietary fats to be quickly released by the body through feces. When you eat a healthy diet, you still tend to accumulate excess fat that makes you gain weight. Probiotics help inhibit excess fat accumulation. This makes you lose weight.
- Reduces Body Fats
Probiotics help reduce body fat stored in your body. Storage of body fat in the body starts in the gut. When good bacteria in the intestine are increased through the intake of probiotics, they change the way your body uses food for energy. This brings about a decrease in the body around the organs contributing to weight loss.
- Decreases the Storage of Fat
Some probiotics allow the release of fats out of the body through feces. This can, however, cause some problems. While some probiotics may reduce excess fats stored in your body, this only relates to excess food intake.
Therefore, probiotics may reduce the number of fats consumed that get stored in your body through a balanced microbiome in the gut due to the intake of probiotics.
- Increased Metabolism
Probiotics allow your body’s effective function because it brings good bacteria in the digestive tract into equilibrium. Since probiotics also reduce the amount of stored fat in your body, they also increase your metabolism.
A healthy metabolism continues to burn calories even without exercise. Taking probiotics also uses macronutrients (good bacteria) that can help burn fats for fuel rather than store them in your muscles. A healthy diet, exercise, and taking probiotics allow you to burn more calories even during inactive times.
Which Probiotic Strains is best for Weight Loss?
Probiotics can help in weight loss goals. There are many strains of probiotics, and choosing the right strain can help you lose weight.
As mentioned, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are the most common probiotics. Each of these consists of different bacteria. However, no one type of Probioticthat is better than the other in helping you lose weight.
There is an ongoing battle between good and bad bacteria. Harmful bacteria thrive in your body when you eat certain foods such as high-fat or processed food. On the other hand, overuse of antibiotics can kill good bacteria and contribute to the imbalance of good and bad bacteria.
The balance between good and bad bacteria affects your weight. There are strains of Lactobacillus that have been proven to reduce belly and aid in weight loss. You can try to take a probiotic supplement with Lactobacillus strains and lose weight.
How Long Do You Need To Take Probiotics To Start Losing Weight?
Many Americans have shifted to taking probiotics to lose weight. Some are in the understanding that a probiotics supplement that promotes good bacteria in the gut can help them lose weight.
The real question is: how long do you need to take probiotics to start losing weight? The typical answer is – it depends on such factors as the type of probiotic, the strains you will take, and your health, to name a few.
There are, however, a few guidelines in taking probiotics for weight loss. The typical timeline will take about 12 weeks of taking probiotics before you notice favorable effects with visceral fat. It could take about 24 weeks of taking probiotics combined with a diet low in calories to notice some weight loss.
Some people who have taken or been taking probiotics for weight loss say they have started to lose weight between 2 to 6 weeks. If you have been taking probiotics for some time but are not seeing weight loss results, make sure you chose the right probiotic strain.
Best Probiotics for Women
While continuous research is still being done on probiotics, many medical practitioners believe your body will benefit in many ways from taking probiotics. Some probiotics have formulations that aim to improve your digestive tract—some work on targeting your urinary tract, vagina, and immunity.
When choosing the right probiotics for women looking for the type that will target your specific needs or one that will improve many aspects of your health.
Here is a simple guide on how to choose the right probiotics for women.
There are many probiotics for women, but it is essential to consider your health concerns and then choose the right probiotic product to address your particular health concern. There are probiotics products for women that can target metabolism, memory and brain function, vaginal health, weight loss, and other women’s health issues.
While some foods contain probiotics, they are usually taken as a supplement. Probiotic supplements are available in capsules, powders, and chewable.
- CFUs and Active Cultures
Each probiotic supplement contains different types of good or healthy bacteria. They are usually measured in terms of term colony-forming units (CFUs). Some manufacturers also measure bacteria levels in terms of active cultures.
A higher number of CEU usually means that the probiotic supplement is more potent. But then again, the right number of CEU for you depends on the health issue you want to target. The safest CFU, however, is about 20 to 50 billion CFUs.
Some probiotics for women require only one capsule a day, while some recommend up to 4 capsules. The dosage depends on the recommendation on how long to expect results for a specific health issue.
Probiotics for women are relatively safe. It is always best, though, to consult your doctor before taking any supplements. Your doctor will tell you of the possible side effects while your body is adjusting to the probiotic and how long to expect results.
Best probiotics for bloating
There are many buzzes that probiotics can help relieve the symptoms of bloating and improve your gut. Bloating occurs when there is a buildup of gas in your digestive system. When you are bloated, you may feel heavy after eating. You will also experience pain and discomfort. Some people feel bloated right after eating.
Taking Probiotics Daily
Each strain of probiotic has its own health benefits. The same probiotic strain will have different health benefits to an adult woman and a teenage girl. It is, therefore, vital to choose the right probiotic strain.
Another common question concerning probiotics is its safety when taken every day. It is relatively safe to take probiotics every day. Of course, there will be some exceptions, but it is usually recommended to be taken daily.
Probiotics are not medicines. They are a natural supplement. They are not a cure or a quick fix; instead, they are taken to promote general health and a healthy lifestyle. It is safe to take them every day but not without consulting your doctor.
Best Over-the-Counter Probiotics
Probiotic supplements are taken to address many health issues. While they are not medicines, they can relieve many symptoms. They are also able to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some of the best probiotic supplements and how they can be beneficial to your health.
Floraspring is a dietary supplement with a patented formula. It functions to curb fat cell formulation and promotes the loss of fats.
The manufacturers of Floraspring claim that this natural food supplement will improve your metabolism, increase energy, burn fats fast, and also increase concentration.
Many users of Floraspring said that they had experienced weight loss. They also love the fact that this supplement is made from natural ingredients. Many of them have in fact, referred to Floraspring as the best weight loss probiotic because it eliminates their unnecessary hunger pangs.
2. Align DualBiotic Prebiotic + Probiotic
Align DualBiotic Prebiotic aims to nourish your digestive tract with good bacteria (probiotics). It comes in a pack of great-tasting gummy with natural fruit flavors.
Some users with migraines say that taking this food supplement has helped balance them out.
3. Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Probiotics
Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Probiotics is a unique probiotic that only needs to be taken one a day to promote a healthy microbiome. Referred to as the “one capsule a day” supplement, it contains 30 billion CFU of good raw probiotics from 14 different kinds of strains.
This supplement contains strains that are resistant to bile and stomach acid for a good gut flora to support a healthy gastrointestinal system.
4. Nature’s Bounty Probiotics Dietary Supplement
Acidophilus is a good bacteria beneficial to the digestive system. Nature’s Bounty Probiotics Dietary Supplement contains more than 100 million active Lactobacillus Acidophilus. It also includes a metabolic product in Lactobacilli that can relieve bloating, gas, and constipation.
Nature’s Bounty Probiotics Dietary Supplement can boost the health of your intestinal system.
5. Nature’s Bounty Ultra Probiotic 10
Nature’s Bounty Ultra Probiotic 10 consists of 10 probiotic cultures that can help boost your body’s natural diversity. These organisms can aid in the digestive process. This probiotic food supplement contains 20 million live probiotic cultures per serving.
While maintaining digestive balance, Nature’s Bounty Ultra Probiotic 10 improves your immune system, too. It comes in a vegetarian and gluten-free formulation.
Most people’s current lifestyle, including what they eat, often results in some imbalances in the body. The body contains good and bad bacteria that need to be in equilibrium. Probiotics work to add good bacteria in your gut to maintain equilibrium.
Probiotics are found in many foods. A daily dose of probiotic food supplements though, takes care of many symptoms you may be experiencing and provides your body with many health benefits. Weight loss is one of the most common beneficial effects of taking probiotics.