Are There Side Effects of Probiotics? (and which type is best)

Advertisements for probiotic supplements are all over the place. It seems that you can’t turn on your television or browse the Internet without seeing one. But there’s a good reason: Millions of people have taken these products, and for many different reasons.

Of course, some want to address a digestive issue. Others are looking for something that will help their overall health.

But whatever your reason, it’s important that you know as much as possible about how probiotics can actually help you before you make your purchase, including are there side effects of probiotics?

So, check out the info and tips below. These will help you discover the right types of probiotics for you and your family.

What is a Probiotic Supplement?

Let’s start with the word probiotic. Simply, it means to promote life.

And probiotics are actually alive. In fact, they’re the beneficial bacteria and other microbes in your “gut” or gastrointestinal tract.

Turns out, there are trillions of little microscopic organisms inside of you. And many of them are good for you, but some of them are quite harmful.

However, when there’s a good balance between good and bad microbes, your digestive system will typically work properly. But if the bad bacteria outnumber the good, it can lead to digestive problems.1

Now, a probiotic supplement is a product that’s designed to provide reinforcements to your supply of good bacteria.

Of course, you can find beneficial microbes in many kinds of foods. These are mainly fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and sourdough bread. But it can be extremely hard to ensure you have enough beneficial bacteria in your gut through diet alone.

That’s why lots of people turn to supplements.

The Benefits of Probiotics

What does science have to say about how probiotics can improve your health? Here are a few reported benefits, backed by solid scientific evidence.

· Respiratory issues – Research shows that probiotic use could help reduce the risk of certain kinds of respiratory concerns… including catching a cold.2 In fact, in one study children were divided into two groups: One group received milk enriched with probiotics and the other received regular milk.
According to the results, the children who drank the regular milk were 17 percent more likely to suffer an upper respiratory infection than the group who drank the probiotic enhanced milk.3

· Constipation – Probiotics can benefit bowel function as well. In one study, people suffering from constipation received two servings of yogurt with probiotic bacteria daily for several weeks. At the end of the study, the participants reported they not only had increased bowel movements but also a reduction in bloating.4

· Feminine problems– Good and bad bacteria not only fight for control of the gut, but also the female reproductive system. When some women take antibiotics or birth control pills, they often develop yeast and urinary tract infections.A probiotic supplement can inhibit some of the bad bacteria that can cause these problems.5

· Diarrhea – Antibiotics can really help nurse you back to health once in a great while, but they can also seriously deplete the number of good bacteria in your gut that results in loose stool. And this condition actually has a name: antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD). The lactobacillus group of bacteria found in many types of probiotic supplements have been shown to help relieve many of the symptoms associated with AAD.6

side effects | Probiotic America

· Oral health – Finally, the health of your mouth can actually have a significant impact on your general health—just as there is good and bad bacteria in your gut, there’s also the same in your mouth. That’s why it’s important to support your mouth’s good bacteria with good oral care. Low birth weight and blood sugar issues are just two health problems that have been associated with poor oral hygiene. The Lactobacillus reuteri bacterium has been shown to help strengthen oral health and reduce tooth decay.7

So, now that you know how probiotics can help you, you just need to…

Find the Right Probiotic Product

Now, you probably already know there are thousands of probiotic supplements on the market. It can be difficult to narrow down your choices and find the supplement that’s right for you.

That’s why it’s so important you carefully look at the labels of the products you’re considering. They provide key clues that can give you a good idea of whether or not you’re getting your money’s worth.

You want to make sure the label provides information about the viability of the bacteria contained in each specific product.

Viability simply means whether or not the microbes will be alive when you ingest them. If the label says the bacteria were viable at the time of manufacture, that really doesn’t tell you anything. You have no idea whether or not they’re still alive.

You need to make sure your product labels say something like, “viable until expiration date”.

If you see that phrase or something like it, chances are you’re about to purchase a truly helpful probiotic. Thing is, the microbes inside need to be alive to do their job in your gut. As long as you follow the storage instructions, the product should work.8

Furthermore, you’ll want to check on the number of good bacteria per serving.

This number will be measured in colony forming units, or CFUs. This is the amount of bacteria in a supplement that have the ability to divide and form colonies.

Now, here you’ll probably see a wide range of numbers. Some products offer 100s of millions of CFUs per serving, while others have CFUs in the trillions. Most products will provide anywhere from 15-30 billion.

The next thing you need to know when you’re looking at probiotic labels…

Bacterial Strains

Of course, it’s super important to know the strains of good bacteria in the probiotic products you’re considering. Here are just a few that should be in whatever you eventually purchase.

· Bifidobacterium longum (B. longum)

This is one of the first strains of bacteria that develop in the body. It’s really important when it comes to helping your gut stay healthy and it’s a great strain for helping you metabolize carbohydrates.9,10

· Lactobacillus acidophilus

L. acidophilus is a very important strain of good bacteria. It plays a vital role in inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. Also, it helps ensure that there is the right balance between beneficial and harmful microbes in the gut.11

· Lactobacillus reuteri

This is another bacterial strain that inhibits the growth of harmful microbes. It’s called L. reuteri and it also helps strengthen your immune system. Of course, this can help provide protection against several different kinds of serious illnesses and health issues.12

side effects | Probiotic America

Are Probiotic Supplements Safe?

In general, probiotic supplements are safe for the vast majority of people. In select cases, some people report minor issues like bloating or gas, but that’s about it.

But, no matter what your health may be like, talk to your doctor before taking any sort of probiotic product. They will have a good idea of how ingesting beneficial bacteria could affect your gut.

But your doctor will know something even more important – whether or not a probiotic will interact with any medications you might be taking. So, definitely check in with your healthcare professional.

And remember, when you take a probiotic, you’ll be adding billions of good bacteria to your digestive system. While this is a good thing, you’ll still be affecting the balance of microbes in your gut. It might take a few days for your system to adjust. It’s during this time that you might experience minor bloating and gas.14 But those effects usually subside quickly.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, taking a probiotic supplement can provide many different health benefits. And the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages for the majority of people.

However, you should still talk with your doctor first to make sure it will be safe for you to start a probiotic regimen.

Again, you want to pay close attention to what your body is telling you. If, for example, you’re experiencing side effects after three or four days, talk to your doctor to see if you might need to stop your probiotic regimen.

More ways to add probiotics to your diet:

Cheese Can Improve Gut Health! (find out which types to eat)

Sources
1 https://www.medicinenet.com/probiotics/article.htm
2 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD006895.pub2/abstract
3 http://www.bmj.com/content/322/7298/1327
4 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2007.03362.x/full
5 http://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics
6 http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.904.1374&rep=rep1&type=pdf
7 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168160504001552
8 https://isappscience.org/probiotics
9 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10831430
10 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3145055/
11 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1988.tb09312.x/abstract
12 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3871281/
13 https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm
14 https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/07/probiotics_n_5563618.html

Everything You Need to Know About Probiotics (a complete guide)

Advertisements for probiotics supplements are all over the place. It seems that you can’t turn on your television or browse the Internet without seeing one. But there’s a good reason –

Millions of people have taken these products, and for many different reasons.

Of course, some want to address a digestive issue. Others are looking for something that will help their overall health.

But whatever your reason, it’s important that you know as much as possible about how probiotics can actually help you before you make your purchase.

So, check out our simple probiotics guide with info and tips below. It’ll help you discover the right types of probiotics for you and your family.

What is a Probiotic Supplement?

Let’s start with the word probiotic. Simply, it means to promote life.

And probiotics are actually alive. In fact, they’re the beneficial bacteria and other microbes in your “gut” or gastrointestinal tract.

Turns out, there are trillions of little microscopic organisms inside of you. And many of them are good for you, but some of them are quite harmful.

However, when there’s a good balance between good and bad microbes, your digestive system will typically work properly. But if the bad bacteria outnumber the good, it can lead to digestive problems.1

Now, a probiotic supplement is a product that’s designed to provide reinforcements to your supply of good bacteria.

Of course, you can find beneficial microbes in many kinds of foods. These are mainly fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and sourdough bread. But it can be extremely hard to ensure you have enough beneficial bacteria in your gut through diet alone.

That’s why lots of people turn to supplements.

The Benefits of Probiotics

probiotics benefits

What does science have to say about how probiotics can improve your health? Here are a few reported benefits, backed by solid scientific evidence.

Respiratory issues – Research shows that probiotic use could help reduce the risk of certain kinds of respiratory concerns… including catching a cold.2 In fact, in one study children were divided into two groups: One group received milk enriched with probiotics and the other received regular milk. According to the results, the children who drank the regular milk were 17 percent more likely to suffer an upper respiratory infection than the group who drank the probiotic enhanced milk.3

Constipation – Probiotics can benefit bowel function as well. In one study, people suffering from constipation received two servings of yogurt with probiotic bacteria daily for several weeks. At the end of the study, the participants reported they not only had increased bowel movements but also a reduction in bloating.4

Feminine problems – Good and bad bacteria not only fight for control of the gut, but also the female reproductive system. When some women take antibiotics or birth control pills, they often develop yeast and urinary tract infections.A probiotic supplement can inhibit some of the bad bacteria that can cause these problems.5

Diarrhea – Antibiotics can really help nurse you back to health once in a great while, but they can also seriously deplete the number of good bacteria in your gut that results in loose stool. And this condition actually has a name: antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD). The lactobacillus group of bacteria found in many types of probiotic supplements have been shown to help relieve many of the symptoms associated with AAD.6

Oral health – Finally, the health of your mouth can actually have a significant impact on your general health—just as there is good and bad bacteria in your gut, there’s also the same in your mouth. That’s why it’s important to support your mouth’s good bacteria with good oral care. Low birth weight and blood sugar issues are just two health problems that have been associated with poor oral hygiene. The Lactobacillus reuteri bacterium has been shown to help strengthen oral health and reduce tooth decay.7

So, now that you know how probiotics can help you, you just need to…

Find the Right Probiotic Product

Now, you probably already know there are thousands of probiotic supplements on the market. It can be difficult to narrow down your choices and find the supplement that’s right for you.

That’s why it’s so important you carefully look at the labels of the products you’re considering. They provide key clues that can give you a good idea of whether or not you’re getting your money’s worth.

You want to make sure the label provides information about the viability of the bacteria contained in each specific product. Viability simply means whether or not the microbes will be alive when you ingest them. If the label says the bacteria were viable at the time of manufacture, that really doesn’t tell you anything. You have no idea whether or not they’re still alive.

You need to make sure your product labels say something like, “viable until expiration date”.

If you see that phrase or something like it, chances are you’re about to purchase a truly helpful probiotic. Thing is, the microbes inside need to be alive to do their job in your gut. As long as you follow the storage instructions, the product should work.8

Furthermore, you’ll want to check on the number of good bacteria per serving. This number will be measured in colony forming units, or CFUs. This is the amount of bacteria in a supplement that have the ability to divide and form colonies.

Now, here you’ll probably see a wide range of numbers. Some products offer 100s of millions of CFUs per serving, while others have CFUs in the trillions. Most products will provide anywhere from 15-30 billion.

The next thing you need to know when you’re looking at probiotic labels…

Popular Probiotic Strains

probiotic strains
Of course, it’s super important to know the strains of good bacteria in the probiotic products you’re considering. Here are just a few that should be in whatever you eventually purchase.

Bifidobacterium longum (B. longum) – This is one of the first strains of bacteria that develop in the body. It’s really important when it comes to helping your gut stay healthy and it’s a great strain for helping you metabolize carbohydrates.9,10

Lactobacillus acidophilus – L. acidophilus is a very important strain of good bacteria. It plays a vital role in inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. Also, it helps ensure that there is the right balance between beneficial and harmful microbes in the gut.11

Lactobacillus reuteri – This is another bacterial strain that inhibits the growth of harmful microbes. It’s called L. reuteri and it also helps strengthen your immune system. Of course, this can help provide protection against several different kinds of serious illnesses and health issues.12

Are Probiotic Supplements Safe?

In general, probiotic supplements are safe for the vast majority of people. In select cases, some people report minor issues like bloating or gas, but that’s about it.

But, no matter what your health may be like, talk to your doctor before taking any sort of probiotic product. They will have a good idea of how ingesting beneficial bacteria could affect your gut.

But your doctor will know something even more important – whether or not a probiotic will interact with any medications you might be taking. So, definitely check in with your healthcare professional.

And remember, when you take a probiotic, you’ll be adding billions of good bacteria to your digestive system. While this is a good thing, you’ll still be affecting the balance of microbes in your gut. It might take a few days for your system to adjust. It’s during this time that you might experience minor bloating and gas.14 But those effects usually subside quickly.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, taking a probiotic supplement can provide many different health benefits. And the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages for the majority of people.

However, you should still talk with your doctor first to make sure it will be safe for you to start a probiotic regimen.

Again, you want to pay close attention to what your body is telling you. If, for example, you’re experiencing side effects after three or four days, talk to your doctor to see if you might need to stop your probiotic regimen.

Sources
1. https://www.medicinenet.com/probiotics/article.htm
2. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD006895.pub2/abstract
3. http://www.bmj.com/content/322/7298/1327
4. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2007.03362.x/full
5. http://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics
6. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.904.1374&rep=rep1&type=pdf
7. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168160504001552
8. https://isappscience.org/probiotics
9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10831430
10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3145055/
11. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1988.tb09312.x/abstract
12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3871281/
13. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm
14. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/07/probiotics_n_5563618.html

12 Awesome Benefits of Lactobacillus Acidophilus (including weight loss!)

If you have done any research into probiotic supplements, you’ve likely run across a lot of long, Latin terms. They’re used to describe certain types of beneficial bacteria found in most probiotic products. One of the most important is Lactobacillus acidophilus. That’s a mouthful, to be sure, but this bacteria strain is offers a myriad of health benefits.

What is Acidophilus?

Lactobacillus acidophilus is a type of bacteria that feeds on sugars provided by the food you eat. You want to increase the amount of this strain in your “gut,” or gastrointestinal tract. Lactobacillus acidophilus and other “good” bacteria can help counteract “bad” bacteria. When there’s balance between good and bad microbes in the gut, your digestive tract will usually work as it should. But when the bad ones outnumber the good, you may be at risk for many types of digestive problems.1

Lactobacillus acidophilus is associated with many health benefits. Here are 12 ways this bacteria can benefit your health:

1. Helps With Feminine Infections

There is some scientific evidence that women who take suppositories containing Lactobacillus acidophilus may find relief from bacterial vaginosis. This is a relatively mild infection in most instances, but there are rare occurrences of more severe complications.2

2. Reduces Symptoms of Traveler’s Diarrhea

Everybody has to deal with the frustration of discomfort of diarrhea at one time or another. There is one particularly troublesome version of the condition. It’s known as “Montezuma’s revenge,” or traveler’s diarrhea. It often strikes people who visit underdeveloped countries. These countries often have contaminated water or food. Research indicates that Lactobacillus acidophilus could help reduce symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea.3

3. ReDuCES IBS Symptoms

One of the most common diseases of the gut is irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. This condition can make life miserable, forcing sufferers to head for the nearest bathroom at a moment’s notice. Studies show that Lactobacillus acidophilus helps to ease inflammation in the gut. According to research, the strain helps to reduce the activation of blood platelets. A high blood platelet count is one of the indications of IBS.4

4. May Help Manage Cholesterol Levels

Studies show that Lactobacillus acidophilus may help lower “bad” cholesterol levels.5 In one study, people who took a probiotic containing the strain saw a major reduction in LDL, or bad, cholesterol levels.6 In another study, participants who ate yogurt containing 300 grams of Lactobacillus acidophilus also saw an improvement in their ratios of good vs. bad cholesterol.7

5. Inhibits Allergic Reactions

allergies | Probiotic AmericaThere is evidence that Lactobacillus acidophilus could help people suffering from allergic asthma. This is the most common form of asthma, affecting approximately 60 percent of the estimated 25 million people in the U.S. who have the condition. Allergic asthma occurs when an allergen triggers a reaction. Common allergens include mold, dust, pet dander, and pollen.8

One study suggests Lactobacillus acidophilus may help inhibit an allergen’s ability to trigger an asthma attack.9

6. Boosts Immunity

Your immune system is key to your health. It helps to protect you from infections, and it also helps you heal from an injury. According to research, taking Lactobacillus acidophilus regularly could help strengthen your immune system. In one study, researchers studied children who frequently suffered from the common cold. Those who ate food rich in Lactobacillus acidophilus for three months saw a reduction in their symptoms. According to the study’s results, the children developed colds less often.10

7. Improves Absorption of Nutrients

If your body can’t do a proper job of absorbing nutrients from the food you eat, that can lead to major health problems. Certain nutrients can be hard for us to get from food, such as rutin. However, rutin is in citrus fruits, apples, and black and green tea—which helps promote blood circulation. Research indicates that Lactobacillus acidophilus helps the body absorb rutin, to your benefit.11

8. Protects Against Gut Infections

There are indications that Lactobacillus acidophilus may help inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori. This is a harmful bacterium that can cause peptic ulcers. It’s unclear how H. pylori spreads. Researchers believe unclean water and food may be to blame.12-13

9. Eases Eczema / InHibits ECzema in NewBorns

If your skin becomes itchy, painful, and inflamed on a regular basis, you might have a condition known as eczema. One of the most common forms of eczema is atopic dermatitis. Lactobacillus acidophilus may help reduce the symptoms of this condition.14

In one study, researchers provided a mixture of Lactobacillus acidophilus and other beneficial bacteria to pregnant women. They gave the mixture to the women, as well as their infants, three months after delivery. According to the results, the children given the mixture were 22 percent less likely to develop eczema than those who did not receive it.15 In another study, researchers found that children who received Lactobacillus acidophilus in combination with standard medical treatment showed fewer symptoms of atopic dermatitis.16

10. Strengthens the Gut

The gut contains trillions of bacteria. Again, many of them are good, but many of them are harmful. Lactobacillus acidophilus helps bolster the number of beneficial gut bacteria. It also helps increase the amount of something called butyrate in the gut.17 Butyrate is a fatty acid that is very important for maintaining gut health.18

11. Reduces Lactose Intolerance Symptoms

Lactose intolerance can be a serious issue for some people. It can lead to a host of digestive problems, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting. It occurs due to an inability to digest lactose, which is a sugar found in many kinds of dairy products. According to a study, Lactobacillus acidophilus could help reduce these symptoms.19

12. Inhibits Acne

Lactobacillus Acidophilus | Probiotic America News

Lactobacillus acidophilus, and other beneficial bacteria in probiotics, might help clear up acne. These beneficial bacteria, according to research, may also help patients better tolerate antibiotics used for their condition. Studies suggest applying probiotics to the skin might help inhibit acne-causing bacteria.20

Other Important Lactobacillus Strains

Aside from Lactobacillus acidophilus , there are other strains of good bacteria that are important for your health. Here are a few strains you should look for in any probiotic supplement you’re considering:

· Lactobacillus rhamnosus –

This strain has also been shown to help reduce the symptoms of IBS.21 It might even play a role in helping to reduce the occurrence of seasonal allergy attacks, such as hay fever.22

· Lactobacillus brevis –

Lactobacillus brevis is found in many kinds of fermented foods. These include yogurt, pickles, and sauerkraut. This strain may help boost the immune system.23 It has also been shown to promote gum health.24

· Lactobacillus gasseri –

There hasn’t been as much research conducted on the benefits of Lactobacillus gasseri, compared to other strains. But, there is an indication that it could help you lose weight. In one study, obese adults taking supplements containing Lactobacillus gasseri lost almost 10 percent of their abdominal fat. They did so over a period of three months.25

How to Get More Lactobacillus Acidophilus Into Your Gut

Lactobacillus acidophilus and other beneficial bacteria are in many fermented foods. These include not only yogurt and sauerkraut, but also sourdough bread, and others. You can find milk enriched with Lactobacillus acidophilus in many grocery stores.

But you can’t get beneficial amounts of Lactobacillus acidophilus only from food. You’d have to eat them almost exclusively to get enough, and this would likely cause weight gain. So, it’s best to supplement your diet with probiotics that include this important strain.

Sources
1 http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/lactobacillus-acidophilus
2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24299970
3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17311979
4 http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0075664
5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10702159
6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25954637
7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25197295
8 http://www.aafa.org/page/allergic-asthma.aspx
9 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2013/481651/

10 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22507276
11 http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0142376
12 http://www.clinicaladvisor.com/alternative-meds-update/lactobacillus-acidophilus-gastric-infections-autoimmune-conditions/article/463037/2/
13 https://medlineplus.gov/helicobacterpyloriinfections.html
14 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24954372
15 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19840300
16 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20861645
17 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23758634
18 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3070119/
19 http://www.gutmicrobiotaforhealth.com/en/specific-strain-lactobacillus-acidophilus-may-relieve-symptoms-lactose-intolerance/
20 https://www.livescience.com/46502-probiotics-hold-promise-skin-conditions.html
21 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2886445/
22 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25899251
23 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4285317/
24 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17577323
25 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23614897

12 Probiotic Foods to Help You Feel Great

Did you know your gut is brimming with bacteria? But it’s not all bad!

With all that bacteria in you digestive system, it must come as no surprise that some are good, and some are … less than desirable. When most of your gut bacteria are the good kind, you know it. Because you can feel it.

In fact, the good bacteria in your gut help you –

  • Process food properly
  • Keep your skin healthy and glowing
  • Eliminate yeast and fungal infections
  • Maintain a healthy weight or lose weight
  • Oust certain pathogens that cause illness 1

So, you need bacteria – the good kind – to keep your system up and running. And probiotics help you do just that! They give your immune system backup, so you can keep health issues at bay.

But when bad bacteria take over, it can get really hard to keep things running smoothly. Oftentimes, that’s when you start to pack on the pounds or crave sugar. And it’s a slippery slope, too, because more sugar leads to more fatigue, rashes, and colds, et cetera.

It’s no joke. When bad bacteria set up camp in your gut, you’ve got to take care of it. For many people, that means balancing your gut microbiome with probiotic foods.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are ‘live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”2 So, essentially, probiotics are living bacteria lining your digestive tract that can help your overall health.

It’s weird, because people normally associate bacteria with sickness – but probiotics replenish the good bacteria that keep you strong.

That’s one reason why they’ve become a profound way to support your immune system – as well as your overall physical, mental, and even emotional health. Lots of people choose to “reseed” their guts with probiotic supplements – and that’s a great way to get probiotics into your system. But, you can do even more to improve your health by adding probiotic foods – aka certain fermented foods – to your daily diet.

You see, before we had refrigerators, people fermented certain foods to preserve substantial amounts of it. They’d use lactic acid, alcohol, or alkaline fermentation to get rid of antinutrients or even reduce cooking time in an effort to hold onto their fuel supplies. And lots of those traditional foods they came up with have stayed popular – they’re an amazing natural source of probiotics.

Turns out, a just a dollop of some of these fermented foods can fill your gut with lots of good bacteria. The better your intestinal health, the better your general health. So, work these probiotic treats into your routine to boost your intestinal health.

10 foods that pack a healthy probiotic punch

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america
1. Yogurt

Yogurt’s a creamy, delicious treat made from fermented dairy. Not only is it a great source of protein, it’s also got magnesium, potassium, vitamin D, calcium, and certain beneficial enzymes. Made from goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, or cow’s milk, yogurt is one of the most popular fermented dairy products in the U.S.

When buying yogurt, make sure you see the words “live and active cultures” on the label – this way, you know for sure it’s probiotic. It’s yummy when added to smoothies, topped with nuts or fruit, or even used in chilis and soups.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

2. Homemade pickles

Now, not all pickles are probiotic. In fact, most store-bought pickles aren’t – they’re fermented in vinegar. Turns out, if they’re pasteurized, it’s likely the probiotic bacteria have been destroyed. So make sure you grab grandma’s pickles – or try making your own.

Pickling cucumbers is an awesome way to enjoy serious servings of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B5, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. And, they’re full of healthy polyphenols like lignans and other phytonutrients that boost cell development. Salt, water, and a few days in a jar are all you need to turn a cucumber into a crunchy, tasty, probiotic-rich pickle.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

3. Kombucha

Kombucha is a traditional, beneficial Chinese cocktail made by fermenting sweetened black tea. Once mixed with sugar, the colony of bacteria and yeast in kombucha become responsible for initiating fermentation. After fermentation, kombucha becomes carbonated. This healthy beverage is chock full of probiotics, b-vitamins, enzymes, and high concentrations of lactic acid – known for its ability to stimulate the immune system and its antioxidant properties.3

You can find kombucha in the refrigerated section of your local market or even order a home-brew kombucha kit online and brew it yourself.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

4. Kefir

Now, many people assume kefir and yogurt are the same things, but it’s simply not true. While they’re both cultured dairy products, kefir not only consists of probiotic bacteria, but it’s got about 10g of protein … per cup!

Another cool thing about kefir … it actually colonizes the intestinal tract. That’s because it consists of several strains of good bacteria, like Lactobacillus caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus.

It’s also full of beneficial yeasts which help destroy dangerous, disease-causing, pathogenic yeasts by penetrating the mucosal lining where the unhealthy yeasts wreak havoc. The beneficial yeasts then strengthen these areas of the intestines.
Have a cup of kefir as an on-the-go breakfast, or add it to your cereal instead of milk. Look for kefir in the dairy or natural-foods section of your grocery store; it’s available in plain and fruit flavors.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

5. Natto

Natto is a favorite Japanese dish – an odorous, fermented soybean often served for breakfast. Bacillus subtilis – a powerful probiotic – is what’s used to ferment the breakfast staple. And while the bean packs a probiotic punch, it also serves up a healthy dose of vitamin K – known to help your bones absorb calcium and even help heart health.4 It’s an odd dish for some due to its odor and gooey texture, but it’s certainly worth trying if probiotics are a priority.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

6. Ginger beer

Cheers! This next fizzy fermentation hails all the way from England and has been around for the last few centuries. Enjoyed all over the world, its taste is refreshing and it’s primary ingredient – ginger – has been known to help relieve nausea and fight inflammation.5

Ginger beer is a tasty, good-for-you summer treat that can be found in most grocery stores.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

7. Kimchi

This Korean low-fiber, high-fat, fermented cabbage condiment gets its heat from salt, chili peppers, vinegar, and garlic. The reddish fermented cabbage can be eaten alone or tossed into rice or noodles. Plus, kimchi is loaded with vitamins C, A, and B. But its biggest benefit is, of course, lactobacilli. This good bacteria aids digestion and may also help prevent yeast infections.6

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

8. Sauerkraut

A probiotic powerhouse, this favorite hot dog topper can actually help counter indigestion. Like kimchi, sauerkraut is fermented, shredded cabbage. When picking out your kraut, try to stay away from the pasteurized variety – instead, opt for raw, refrigerated varieties which are sure to give you the probiotic benefits you’re looking for.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

9. Tempeh

Like Natto, tempeh is also made from fermented soybeans, but it’s more like tofu in odor and texture, and its taste is more earthy than sour. An Indonesian favorite, tempeh comes as a firm, white cake and provides much-needed protein for vegans and vegetarians.

And because of the way tempeh is fermented, the whole bean is retained, allowing tempeh to hold onto its high protein content. It’s also a great source of dietary fiber and vitamins.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

10. Buttermilk

There are two main types of buttermilk: traditional and cultured.

After reading this far, you may be able to guess which one contains probiotics and which one does not. Traditional buttermilk is what’s left after making butter (hence the name) and contains probiotics. Cultured buttermilk, which can be found in most American supermarkets, does not contain probiotics.

Traditional buttermilk isn’t easily found in the U.S., so if you’re interested in incorporating it into your probiotic foods arsenal, you’ll probably end up learning how to make it yourself.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

11. Cheeses

When it comes to probiotics, not all cheese is created equal. Many of them are fermented, but that doesn’t mean those cheeses also contain probiotics.

If cheese is one of the probiotic foods you’d like to include in your diet, Cheddar and Gouda are two reliable choices.8 Probiotic cheeses contain a number of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria strains. Cheddar cheese also contains two Lb. paracasei strains, which can survive the digestive process due to the cheese’s low acidity and fat content.

Probiotic Foods | probiotic america

12. Miso

Miso is a traditional Japanese savory seasoning – a thick paste with a salty and tangy flavor. You can usually find it added to soups or as a poultry rub, fish rub, glaze, or sauce thickener.

Also produced by fermenting soybeans, this probiotic favorite differs from those mentioned above because of the presence of koji-kin – a mold grown on a steamed rice (koji) – cultivated and then incubated for about 45 hours.

You can usually find it in the refrigerated section of your local market. It’s so delicious. To get you started on a new probiotic recipe collection, we’ve added a super-simple, tasty miso soup recipe below!

Probiotic Miso Soup (4 servings)

What you need –

  • 1/3 cup miso
  • 4 cups water
  • 5 thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 tbsp nori seaweed
  • 4 oz silken tofu
What to do –

Start by sautéing the seaweed and green onions for approximately 6 minutes. Add water and stir for 30 seconds. Then add the miso and the tofu, and simmer on a low heat for 3 minutes. Do not let the soup reach a boil. Serve and enjoy!

The Takeaway

And there you have it. These probiotic foods will really help you to keep your gastrointestinal health in check and might even help you boost your immune system. Remember, the foods listed above are all natural sources of probiotics and when used regularly, they can help you improve your well-being.

Sources
1 NCCIH. (n.d.). Probiotics: In Depth. [online] [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
2 Mack, D. (2005). Probiotics. [online] [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
3 Nguyen, N., Dong, N., Nguyen, H. and Le, P. (2015). Lactic acid bacteria: promising supplements for enhancing the biological activities of kombucha. SpringerPlus, 4(1).
4 Schiffman, R. (2016). Are You Ready to Eat Your Natto?. [online] Well. Available at: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/08/02/are-you-ready-to-eat-your-natto/?_r=1 [Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
5 Bode, A. and Dong, Z. (n.d.). The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.[Accessed 20 Jul. 2017].
6 Park, K., Jeong, J., Lee, Y. and Daily, J. (2014). Health Benefits of Kimchi (Korean Fermented Vegetables) as a Probiotic Food. Journal of Medicinal Food, 17(1), pp.6-20.
7 Selhub, E., Logan, A. and Bested, A. (2014). Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health: ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatry. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 33(1), p.2.
8 Stanton, C., Gardiner, G., Lynch, P., Collins, J., Fitzgerald, G. and Ross, R. (1998). Probiotic Cheese. International Dairy Journal, 8(5-6), pp.491-496.

Can Probiotics Improve Symptoms of Autism? (what you need to know)

There is some research that suggests harmful microbes in the gut, or digestive system, can worsen some of the behavior issues associated with autism. There are also medical professionals who believe an unhealthy gut microbiome (the collection of microorganisms that make up the gastrointestinal tract) could contribute to the development of autism. Probiotics, or beneficial microbes, could play a role in helping reduce some of these issues.

Continue reading “Can Probiotics Improve Symptoms of Autism? (what you need to know)”

7 Amazing Probiotic Foods to Add to Your Diet

The bacteria found in your gut have a major impact on your digestive functioning and much more. They not only help bolster the immune system, they even have an effect on your behavior and other aspects of your overall health.1 In order to help make sure you have plenty of beneficial bacteria in your system, you need to eat as healthy as possible.

Continue reading “7 Amazing Probiotic Foods to Add to Your Diet”

Surprising Benefits of Probiotics for Dogs

If you’ve ever had to clean up after your pet had an diarrhea “accident” in the house— you never want to do it again. The good news is, there might be a way to prevent it from ever happening again. Give your pet probiotics. (Probiotics are beneficial bacteria and other microbes that help the digestive system.)

Supplementing your diet with good bacteria helps digestion, but can it really help dogs or cats?

Let’s take a closer look…

Dog-Specific Probiotics?

Probiotics for dogs come in different forms, including chews, capsules, and powders. They contain certain types of “good” bacteria that are typically found in the canine digestive system, such as:

· Bifidobacterium animalis
· Bifidobacterium lactis
· Enterococcus faecium
· Lactobacillus acidophilus
· Lactobacillus casei 1

When a pet is suffering from stomach problems, there is a chance that harmful microbes are outnumbering beneficial ones. Diarrhea, gas, and other problems are often the unpleasant results. When beneficial bacteria are destroyed or damaged, stomach problems and other health issues can result.2

How Can Probiotics Help Your Dog?

Some experts believe in pet probiotics wholeheartedly, while the jury is still out for others. Researchers in Ireland conducted a study in 2009 involving dogs suffering from diarrhea. The study consisted of 31 participants, including Labradors, golden retrievers and German shepherds. Of those, 13 of the dogs were given probiotics containing the Bifidobacterium animalis bacterial strain. The average duration of their diarrhea decreased from seven days to four.3

Advocates of dog probiotics claim these products can provide several benefits. These include:

· Protection against bad bacteria

Probiotics can keep harmful bacteria from accumulating in the gastrointestinal tract, or “gut.” It is believed they do this by reducing the pH of the intestines. They also help by nourishing the cells in the intestines.4

· Reducing diarrhea attacks

Bad microbes and parasites can contribute to diarrhea in dogs. Because probiotics inhibit the accumulation of harmful microbes in the gut, they create a healthy gut environment. They restore the balance between good and bad bacteria, helping to reduce the chances that diarrhea will strike.5

· Boosting the immune system

Researchers conducted a study to examine the effect that probiotics have on the canine immune system. They fed one group of puppies a regular diet, and gave the other group a diet that included a strain of good bacteria known as Enterococcus faecium.

They measured the amount of distemper virus antibodies in each puppy at the start of the study. (Antibodies are proteins that help protect the body from intruders known as antigens). After 20 weeks, the puppies given the traditional diet showed a decrease in the antibodies. The group fed the probiotic, on the other hand, did not.6

dog probiotics | Probiotic America

Should You Give Your Dog Yogurt?

Some pet owners give their pets yogurt when diarrhea or other intestinal problems strike. The benefits are negligible at best – and potentially even harmful.7

In order to be beneficial, a probiotic has to be strong enough to restore the proper balance between good and bad bacteria. But there are not enough bacterial cultures in yogurt to produce that balance in a dog’s system.

The reason is that the bacteria added to yogurt have almost no probiotic benefits. They are simply not strong enough to be much use to a dog’s digestive system. The types of bacteria that are most beneficial to dogs usually do not function well when added to yogurt.

In addition, yogurt, of course, is a dairy product that contains lactose. But dogs cannot produce as much lactase (the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose) as humans. This can create an issue with a dog’s digestive system – if you’ve ever given a dog yogurt, and he promptly threw it up, that’s likely why it happened. Yogurt also typically contains other ingredients that could be harmful to dogs with sensitive systems, such as sugars and calcium.8

Choosing the Right Probiotics for Dogs

It is extremely important that owners considering probiotics for dogs do their due diligence to help ensure they are purchasing the right product for their companions. Many brands either contain potentially harmful impurities, or they may not have high enough quantities of beneficial bacteria to do your dog any good.

Check the label of any dog probiotics you are considering to make sure exactly what bacteria are included. In general, the more strains of good bacteria that are included, the better the chances they will be able to protect your dog from harmful strains.9 Look for these “good” strains of bacteria in any probiotic product you’re considering:

· L. plantarum
· L. salivarius
· Lactic Streptococci
· Lactobacillus caucasicus
· Lactobacillus rhamnosus 10

The labeling should also provide information on the number of colony forming units (CFUs) per gram and per serving. CFU is a method of measuring the number of beneficial bacteria in a probiotic product. Each gram of the probiotic you purchase for your dog should at least have 20 million CFUs.11

If you can find a product with billions of CFUs, however, that would be better. The reason is that good bacteria have a very difficult time travelling through the stomach and small intestine to the large intestine, where they ultimately live. If a probiotic has a CFU number in the billions, that increases the chances enough bacteria will be able to survive the journey.

Dealing With Canine Diarrhea

Even if you give a dog probiotics on a regular basis, he still might have to deal with diarrhea. An attack can be a major headache for a dog owner. But it’s not exactly pleasant for the dog, either. Here’s some information on why it happens, and what you can do about it.

One of the most common causes of diarrhea in a dog is when he eats too much of something, or gets into something he shouldn’t. This could be garbage, or it could be rotten food. In some cases, a change in diet can lead to an attack. It can sometimes take a few days for your dog to adjust to his new food.

Whenever you change your dog’s diet, do it gradually. Start by mixing a small amount of new food with the old. Then increase to about a 50/50 split between new and old. After a few days, he should be eating the new food exclusively.12

Other common causes of diarrhea in dogs include parasites (such as hookworms and roundworms), allergies, or swallowing something that is indigestible.

This could be a sock, a toy, or just about anything else. Stress can cause canine diarrhea, as can medications, a bacterial infection, or a viral infection. In severe instances, a serious illness could be to blame.

There are a few remedies you can try in order to help deal with the problem without having to go to the vet. First, don’t feed your dog for 12-24 hours. Give him small amounts of water several times during the day. This could help clear up his upset stomach and settle his gastrointestinal tract. If your dog is a puppy or elderly, or if he’s a small dog, then you need to talk to your vet before withholding food.

Once his “mini-fast” is done, give him some food to help firm his stools. These include bland foods like white rice, boiled chicken (take off the skin first), and canned pumpkin.13

dog probiotics | Probiotic America

When to See Your Vet

If you try these remedies and your dog still has diarrhea, then you need to take him to the vet. This is especially important if there is blood in the diarrhea, or if your dog has a fever or is also vomiting. Be prepared to provide your vet with important information. This includes what your dog’s bowel movements look like, how many he’s had in the last couple of days, and when the diarrhea started.

Your vet will need to determine the cause of the problem. That way, they can decide on the best course of treatment. The vet will check your dog’s medical history, such as vaccinations and previous medications. They may then recommend a type of test known as a fecal flotation. This checks for the presence of worms, parasites, or harmful bacteria. Other types of tests may be needed if your vet suspects that a viral disease may be to blame.14

There are a lot of different treatment options for canine diarrhea. If the problem occurs regularly, then your vet might recommend a permanent change to your dog’s diet. If it appears that a worm is to blame, your vet will prescribe a medication to kill it. Worms can be very difficult to kill, so medications may be needed several times over the next few months. If the cause is a bacterial infection, your dog may receive antibiotics.

The Final Word

As with any decision involving the health of your dog, check with your vet before purchasing a pet probiotic. They will likely be able to recommend specific probiotics that will deliver the most benefits, and will also let your know if your dog will be able to tolerate whatever product you ultimately choose.

Keep reading for more about probiotic benefits:

NEWS: Probiotics May Provide Help with Allergies

Sources:
1.http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/vms3.17/full
2.http://www.akc.org/content/health/articles/probiotics-for-dogs/
3.https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/probiotics-for-dogs/
4.http://www.vetfolio.com/nutrition/clinical-nutrition-using-probiotics-to-optimize-intestinal-health
5.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9924285
6.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12672936
7.http://www.akc.org/content/health/articles/can-dogs-eat-yogurt/
8.http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/why-not-yoghurt/
9.http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.com/2012/05/how-to-choose-good-probiotic-supplement.html
10.http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/vms3.17/full
11.http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.com/2012/05/how-to-choose-good-probiotic-supplement.html
12.http://www.akc.org/content/health/articles/doggie-diarrhea/
13.http://www.akc.org/content/health/articles/doggie-diarrhea/
14.http://www.akc.org/content/health/articles/doggie-diarrhea/
15.http://www.vetstreet.com/care/fecal-flotation-and-giardia-test

Best Probiotic Foods to Improve Your Gut Health

There are a lot of foods that you can find at either your local grocery store or health food store that should be a staple of any probiotic diet. But it can be hard to get enough beneficial bacteria your system through food alone. Here are some of the foods that are rich in probiotics, and why you should also consider taking a supplement as part of your daily regimen.

Continue reading “Best Probiotic Foods to Improve Your Gut Health”