Your favorite Sunday morning – pancakes for breakfast with sweet blueberry syrup. Tasty! Suddenly your gut is knocking. Tummy problem? Well, maybe probiotic can help? And if you are wondering why to take probiotic, keep reading.
It is a topic of this post where we will step around each corner, dispel the “probiotics” mystery and answer a few simple but sometimes confusing questions:
- Why probiotics are important?
- How probiotics help your gut?
- Probiotics and health benefits
- Probiotics and prebiotics
- How do probiotics help your immune system?
- Who needs to take probiotics?
- When and how to take probiotics?
I am delighted to share with you my findings.
Let’s pop all balloons with questions one-by-one.
1. Probiotics and Your Gut
First, probiotic comes from the Greek “for life.” Yes, probiotic support your health and your life. You don’t believe me? Suit yourself.
Want your digestion in tip-top shape?
It is logical that before we connect gut and probiotics, we should know what does the gut does. Right?
I have covered this in my prior post “Is the Gut a Second Brain?”
In summary, gut bacteria—or gut flora—“lives” everywhere in your gut and has #1 job to DIGEST FOOD.(1)
And if any gut issues, you might not absorb all nutrients – vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, and, of course, water. (2)
If so, where will you get energy?
Or maybe disbalance between good and bad bacteria is a problem? How about taking medications or antibiotics which cause you to lose some good bacteria?
Well, what to do?
PROBIOTICS to the rescue!
These good live microorganisms help to restore the optimal gut flora. How?
They reduce headcounts of bad guys and kick-off the growth of beneficial bacteria. (3)
Now your gut and you are in concert, aren’t you?
Want to know who makes the best probiotic? CLICK HERE.
Life is beautiful!
2. Probiotics Basics – What You Should Know
But wait. It’s not so simple!
Let’s deep dive into the basics of probiotics and try to sink in what you should know.
It’s not a secret that a healthy body begins with a healthy gut. Excellent digestion helps everyone relax and feel comfortable. Right?
So, how is your digestion? Bloating or constipating sometimes?
Well, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, constipation is the most widely spread among all ages in the United States. Are you one of them?
If yes, you will be happy to know that probiotics might positively affect gut bacteria, improve digestion, and ease up constipation. (4)
Probiotic and Prebiotic
Do you know the difference between probiotics and prebiotics?
While writing this post, I have surveyed approximately 50-60 people asking this question. Guess what? To my surprise, no one could explain!
PROBIOTIC is a good bacteria culture. PREBIOTIC is a carbohydrate fiber-type food for good bacteria.
Do you eat foods like garlic, onions, dandelion greens or asparagus? Or some other fruits and veggies rich in prebiotic fiber?
If not, you might need a prebiotic supplement! Or, do you want to starve your gut friends?
Ideally, we need both–probiotic and prebiotic.
I have covered in detail the topic of the gut-brain connection.
More and more studies show that probiotics might have a beneficial effect on a person’s cognitive activity and cognitive reactions, and even improve a person’s mood! (5)
That is a FANTASTIC NEWS showing the impactful relationship between gut and mental health. Of course, more research is needed. (6)
3. How Do Probiotics Help Your Immune System?
Do you know that almost 80% of your entire immune system is in your gut? (7)
No wonder that if your gut is not “happy,” it might open the door to threatening health issues!
Well, there is a powerful connection between probiotics and your immune system, especially because of potential probiotics anti-inflammatory effects.
Those cells are connected with all organs in your body!
Should you care?
It’s like your home: you spend more than half of your life within those walls, so does it make sense to keep your house clean? Or will it be messy?
Same here. If your gut is a home for almost three-quarters of all your immune cells, would you keep it neat?
If not, what is the danger? INFLAMMATION!
More on chronic gut inflammation – click here.
When you eat “whatever”—corn syrup or processed food, for example—it might “inflate” your gut cells. And as we remember, signals go to your brain.
Well, here you have a terrible domino effect!
So, if probiotics can help to balance your gut bacteria and possibly ease up the inflammation, would you take it?
4. What are the Different Types of Probiotics?
You might say, “Well, I eat yogurt. Isn’t it enough?”
But do you know that some essential bacterial cultures like Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus in yogurt are often destroyed in your stomach? So, what’s the point? (8)
I guess you’d better check your yogurt!
The critical question is, “If there are hundreds of bacteria ‘families’ or strains, which ones to get? And WHO ARE THE MAIN PLAYERS?”
The most potent and well-researched strains are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. And these two must-have! (9)
They will boost the growth of your good bacteria and help balance the bad. There are other microbe heroes working day and night keeping you healthy.
So, how many strains in your probiotics? Please have a look…
What else is critical to choosing types of probiotics?
The total quantity of microbes, composition, growth, strain robustness and diversity! (10)
Also – do you remember that there are good and bad bacteria?
Some people have intestines full of nasty Klebrislle and Citrobacter and yeast-like Candida albicans.
Do you eat processed food or sugary stuff? You probably have them. Is it dangerous? You better believe it!
So, does it make sense to have a balance between good and bad bacteria? And what is the ratio?
Even though you might see contradicting answers, the approximate ideal balance is 85% good and 15% “other.”
Is your gut flora balanced?
What type of probiotics are you taking?
5. Who Needs to Take Probiotics?
You might be wondering, “If I eat right, buy a lot of veggies and most organic produce, isn’t it enough to go without probiotic supplement?”
I am often puzzled with the same dilemma: TO TAKE OR NOT TO TAKE?
Let’s use me as a Ginnie pig. I buy organic, cook most of my meals, drink plenty of water, and make green shakes. Also, – I am not on medications, don’t eat sugary stuff or processed food, I am a calm, and enthusiastic person and I exercise!
So, what possibly can trigger occasional constipation or bloat?
How about I LIVE IN THE CITY with very polluted air? Or some stress at the office? Can we add not enough snooze? Did I forget medical history?
Well, all these are a monster challenge to your healthy gut and a robust immune system.
Here you have it: I guess I am taking probiotics!
How about you?
Do you eat processed, pasteurized or sterilized food? It is guaranteed to kick in the rear of your gut bacteria balance!
How about a recent illness, taking antibiotics or distress – emotional and physical?
- high fructose corn syrup
- GMO products
- artificial colors and flavors
- chlorinated water
All those factors might cause a disbalance between good and bad bacteria.
Cramping, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and other digestive issues.
I guess I rest my case. But!
Since we are all different, you should be cautious if you have a food sensitivity or in rare cases, bacteria-host interaction. Please consult your physician!
As for me, I am happy to take my probiotics.
Want a stronger effect?
6. When and How to Take Probiotics?
Since medical research sometimes show mixed results, it is not guaranteed that specific probiotics will work for you.
We all are different!
Gut microbes might differ from person to person. The best approach is to educate yourself about probiotics and try a few of the most promising. I did!
Pay special attention to how different probiotics make you feel. Consider everything – bowel movement, sleep, taste buds, mood, and energy level. Well, you will know if it’s working.
How to take probiotics?
There are different approaches, and I tried most of them—20 minutes after the food, first thing in the morning and right before bed. Taking probiotics right before bed works well for me. But since I have switched the brand, I might as well change a protocol.
My next try – 20 minutes before breakfast.
How long my probiotics will continue working for me? We shall see. But when they stop—as it happened with my prior option—I will switch to something else.
Should you keep probiotics in the refrigerator?
It all depends.
I used the shelf-stable options and the ones required refrigeration. Currently, I take probiotics needed to be refrigerated, and it’s no problem if I get the best benefits.
Word of warning though: if there is no proper temperature when transported, probiotic can lose its potency.
How fast can you see positive results on your gut flora?
It varies. A recent study by Harvard researcher Lawrence David shows that dietary changes might affect gut microbes in a matter of a few days. And it is excellent news for all of us!
What’s for Dinner? Remember Probiotics!
Well, do you want to harvest the benefits of probiotics?
Remember: to take or not to take – it’s up to you. What matters?
- sugar intake
- exercising or not
- snoozing hours
- exposure to chemicals
- medical history
If you have a problem with any of those, it can cause wreaking havoc on the gut bacteria and kick in the rear of your digestion. Result?
Weaken the immune system, systematic inflammation, and a cascade of terrible health issues!
Be aware of enemies at the gate! And the gate is your GUT.
So, what’s for dinner?
Maybe it’s time to replenish your flora and give it a boost?
To find out which probiotics to take, read my blog, “Gut and Health. Who Makes Best Probiotic.”
I guess we analyzed this: why to take probiotic, didn’t we?
Plus the word – PRONTO!
Happy Probiotic Time!
I invite you to enlighten us with your thoughts. Leave them below.
Founder of Detox Generation
Disclosure: The views and opinions expressed on this site are solely those of the author. All content, including text, images, and other formats, is for information purposes only. The author is not a medical professional, dietitian or integrative treatment
specialist. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health specialists with any questions you may have.