10 Frequently Asked Questions About Probiotics
Posted by Naturelova on 9th Mar 2023
10 Frequently Asked Questions About Probiotics
Probiotics are friendly bacteria that have been linked to a surfeit of health benefits. Different types of probiotics occur naturally in your digestive tract, but if you want to benefit even more from them, you can increase your intake of probiotics through food and natural supplements.
First, you need to learn all about probiotics and understand why this term is showing up on so many labels nowadays. From granola bars to yoghurts to fermented food, probiotics can now be found in a wide range of food.
Probiotics are recommended for travellers' diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, constipation, and to maintain a healthy digestive system. Continue reading to find out how probiotics can be helpful to you. Then, scour through the answers to these frequently asked questions to learn about the recommended dosage, probable side effects, sources, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions About Probiotics
How Do Probiotics Help Our Body?
What are the benefits of taking probiotics? Well, an increase in certain types of bacterial microorganisms can boost your health significantly. Often referred to as good bacteria, probiotics can promote efficient absorption of nutrients and also help fight various infections. However, you’ll be surprised to learn that the benefits of probiotics extend to much more than just promoting good digestive health.
In addition to treating gas, bloating, diarrhoea, and constipation, probiotics can relieve joint and muscle pain, along with infections and colds. What’s more, probiotics can help you overcome anxiety, mood swings, depression, exhaustion, insomnia, heart palpitations, and even frequent urination.
How Much Probiotics Should I Take Every Day?
After you understand the importance of taking probiotics, you must also find out about the correct dosage for yourself. This can vary depending on your gut microbiome, the specific strain(s) of probiotics you are taking, the reason you are taking them, and the formulation of the probiotic supplement. Generally, probiotics are safe to consume. The dosage for probiotic supplements is mentioned in colony-forming units (CFUs).
As a general guideline, most studies suggest that a daily intake of 1-10 billion CFUs of probiotics is beneficial for maintaining gut health. Note that taking more CFUs may not necessarily provide greater benefits. The amount of CFU in a supplement is difficult to determine as probiotics are live cultures that die over time. However, at least 50% of the CFUs in a supplement are expected to be alive at any given time before its expiration date.
Also, excessive probiotic intake can lead to side effects such as bloating, gas, and stomach upset. Additionally, taking multiple probiotic supplements or consuming large amounts of probiotic-rich foods may lead to an overgrowth of certain types of bacteria in your gut, which can also cause digestive issues.
Can I Overdose on Probiotics?
Will taking too much probiotics lead to an overdose? It is highly unlikely that taking too many CFUs of probiotics can harm you. Instead of worrying too much about the dosage, try to find a probiotic supplement that offers the benefits you are looking for. If you are unsure which one to choose for yourself, consider picking a supplement that provides multiple probiotic strains to serve various health needs.
Are Probiotics Suitable for Children?
No matter what your age, you can safely consume probiotics. A baby’s gut is sterile, and the immune system is immature before birth. Therefore, the microflora in a baby’s gut starts developing after birth. Consumption of probiotics with infant formula or breastfeeding can aid the healthy development of gut microflora.
The child’s diet will change with time, and the gut microflora will develop accordingly. However, most kids will have a stable intestinal balance by age two to three. Their immune system also matures considerably by this age. Taking a good portion of probiotics daily can improve newborns' and older children's immune and digestive functions.
Is Probiotics Safe for Pregnant Women?
It is normal to wonder whether pregnant women can take probiotics. In fact, taking probiotics can help mothers-to-be who often face digestive problems. Regular consumption of probiotics is considered not only safe but is also recommended to help prevent digestive issues and promote overall health. In addition, both the mother and the unborn baby can get immunity benefits from consuming probiotics. This is why doctors often advise expecting mothers to eat more probiotic-rich food.
How Long Do I Have to Wait To See Any Results Once I Start Taking Probiotics?
While probiotics are not magic pills, you can see some instant results like improved bowel movement and reduction in flatulence if you take good quality probiotics. However, you can gain other health benefits from these good bacteria in various areas, such as the gut, immune, respiratory, and vaginal functions which would take several weeks or even months to be noticed.
When you start seeing the results of consuming probiotics also vary from person to person depending on factors like health condition and age as well as the type of probiotics you are taking. Overall, if your immune system is compromised or weak, you might notice improvements in only a few days. On the other hand, if you are in good health, probiotics will more likely offer preventive benefits, which are less noticeable.
It's important to note that probiotics are not a quick fix and may require ongoing use to maintain any benefits. Additionally, it's essential to choose a high-quality probiotic supplement that contains a sufficient number of live and active cultures and to follow the manufacturer's recommended dosage and usage instructions.
Are Probiotic Supplements Effective?
Within food or as a pill - no matter how you consume it, probiotics are highly effective. You may be confused about whether to take probiotic supplements or increase the intake of food that contains probiotic bacteria. Well, both are effective. Instead of choosing between food and supplements, consider whether the option you have selected will offer enough efficacious probiotics as required by your body.
An advantage of choosing probiotic-rich food sources is that they offer other nutrition in addition to probiotic bacteria. On the other hand, supplements are a quick and convenient way to meet your daily requirement for probiotics. Here are the 11 best Probiotics & Digestives in Singapore that you can choose from.
What Should I Look For On the Label of Foods Containing Probiotics?
When you want to get your probiotic fix through food, you must know how to read the labels and identify the probiotic content of that food. You should look for the full probiotic name on the label. This includes the genus, the species, and the strain.
You might notice that most products list only the genus and the species on the label. For instance, a label might read “bifidobacterium lactis." In such situations, check the company website to find out which strain of probiotic bacteria is used in the product. Another thing you should check on the label is the number of probiotics you can get from eating one serving of the food.
Do Probiotics Have Any Side Effects?
It is not common to experience adverse effects from probiotics, but some cases of side effects may occur. For example, taking an abnormally large amount of probiotics can lead to gas, nausea, bloating, or diarrhoea. You may even experience some mild digestive discomfort when you start taking a new form of probiotics. Don’t worry; these symptoms will soon subside as your body balances gut flora and adjust by itself.
Some probiotics can produce biogenic amine, a high dose of which can lead to headaches. Certain bacterial strains may also increase histamine levels. Moreover, in some rare cases, probiotic intake can lead to an increased risk of infection.
Are Probiotics and Prebiotics the Same?
No, probiotics and prebiotics are different. As you already know, probiotics are beneficial bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics are basically food for probiotics. So, taking prebiotics can augment the growth of probiotic bacteria that are living in your body.
Prebiotics are dietary fibre and do not contain any bacteria. Even though humans cannot digest prebiotics, they play an essential role in enabling probiotics to balance your gut microflora.
Eating well-balanced meals is crucial for maintaining good health, and no diet is considered complete without probiotics. Yes, probiotics are believed to be the foundation of good health, and rightly so. The consumption of probiotics can help balance your gut microbiome, support respiratory health, and also boost your immune system.
If you are concerned about the effectiveness of probiotics, you do not need to worry. As long as you select the right types of bacterial strains and the proper dosage, probiotics will provide you with the ideal benefits. It is safe for everyone, including children and pregnant women. Apart from adding probiotic-rich foods to your diet, you can also consider taking natural probiotics and prebiotics supplements for optimal results.