Today, over $40 billion probiotics induced food and drugs are sold globally. This number is expected to increase exponentially in the coming years. You might be planning to include it in your diet but not sure how long you will have to use it to see any positive effects.
With a wide range of probiotics available in the market, it is very difficult to choose the right one. The major concern among the fitness enthusiasts to find reliable brands to use and
how do you know if probiotics are working?
The answer to the latter question is dependent on the type, quality and quantity you are taking.
The gut contains billions of good bacteria and other microorganisms. These support the important functions in the body such as digestion, nutrient absorption and improving the immune system. These are known as a gut microbiome.
The bacteria living in the gut gets disturbed due to the consumption of processed foods, medications and stress. This causes the digestive disorder, irregular bowel movements, frequent illness and allergic reactions.
Probiotics are live bacteria or yeast that is beneficial for health if taken in the appropriate amount. It has become one of the most popular dietary supplements that add good bacteria to the body and provide the balance to the gut microbiome. Continuous usage improves digestion, gut health and overall well-being.
How to choose the best probiotics for poor digestion?
It is very important to find the right probiotic for the body to help with poor digestion. Buying the cheapest or trendiest one might not work for your body as the probiotics might not be of the utmost quality.
Before buying the best probiotic for poor digestion, follow below advice-
- Reason for taking probiotics
Most of the people take probiotics to treat digestive disorders, anxiety, depression or unhealthy gut bacteria. While probiotics can work as a remedy for the above issues, it is always recommended to consult a doctor before taking probiotics to understand if there will be any side effects on your body.
- Do the research
There is a wide range of probiotics claiming to be the provider of good bacteria. Check the reviews online, talk to the nutritionist or a doctor to find out the best for your body and specific health goal.
It is important to take an appropriate amount of probiotics. Too little might not give desired results and too high might do more harm than good.
- Choose a reputable brand
With the so many brands available, it’s quite possible that few of them might be fake or not of the utmost quality. Check the company’s goal and research on who is leading the helm. Many doctors, personal trainers, celebrities and large conglomerates have built their brands, so this will help you in shortlisting the one you like.
Check whether the brand is certified in terms of organic, non-GMO and vegan. Usually, all companies claim to be certified, but it’s important to check from your end as well
After shortlisting the best probiotic that can aid in poor digestion, start using it in optimum quantity as prescribed by your doctor.
Once you start using it, you might wonder what the signs are shows that probiotics are working. Every human body is different and tends to react differently to the probiotics. It might have an instant effect on some and might take a while on others.
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Below signs can help you understand whether probiotics are working for you-
- Makes the mood better
Just like the brain, the gut also produces the same neurotransmitters. There could be a partnership between the gut and the brain known as the gut-brain axis.
The body responses in a flight or fight way wherein the brain sends a signal to the gut of posing danger. This can result in digestive disorders such as upset nervous or stomach.
Most of the people with digestive disorders also experience depression or anxiety. As per the research, the digestive system produces 90% serotonin in the body. Due to this, the gut affects the brain or vice versa. Serotonin is known as the happy chemical that provides happiness and a sense of well-being.
The gut releases dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid that helps in regulating the mood. If the gut is happy, then you will also be happy, indicating a positive impact of probiotics on your body.
- Increases cognitive function
Cognitive function is responsible for the overall health and well-being. It manages the brain-related functions and the mental abilities including- learning, thinking, reasoning, remembering, problem-solving, decision making and attention.
Probiotics boost the cognition by improving memory, attention and psychomotor processing speed. Thus, changes in gut bacteria composition after 4-5 weeks of supplementation leads to the increases cognitive function.
If your memory gets sharper, decision-skills improves and can focus for a longer period, then this is one of the signs that shows probiotics are working.
- Boosts the energy
Probiotics help in boosting energy. It helps in absorbing the vitamins and nutrients from food. Unhealthy or damaged gut microbiota decreases digestion ability. There is less energy as fewer macronutrients as not able to get vital nutrients from the diet.
A healthy gut will help in the production of vitamin B which is necessary for producing energy in the body.
- Strengthens the immune system
The immune system is comprised of various organs, cells and proteins. If anyone of them goes wrong, the whole body becomes weak. A strong immune system helps in fighting the cold or flu and maintains good health.
At least 70-80% of the immune system is located within the digestive tract. The digestive tract is comprised of gut microbiota combined with immune cells. These boost the resistance against harmful bacteria and toxins. The functioning of the immune system fails if the gut microbiota isn’t up to the mark.
Probiotic help in getting rid of the sickness, heal the wounds and reduces the bloating.
- Reduces sugar cravings
Most of the people suffer from dysbiosis which means an imbalance of bacteria in the gut. This is caused by the poor diet that leads to a craving for sugary foods and drinks.
The reason is certain microbes in the gut want sugar that causes an increase in the number of sweet receptors. This increases the desire for sugary foods and drinks.
Probiotics increase the diversity and health of the gut and reduce the influence of the species of bacteria that favors sugar. This will help in fighting off the sugar cravings.
- Helps in losing weight
Healthy bacteria are responsible for managing weight and everything in the body. The gut flora is different in normal-weight people as compared to overweight people.
Improving the gut health helps in getting rid of the excess weight through biochemical modulation of fat metabolism which in turn helps in regulating appetite. Probiotics inhibit the absorption of dietary fat by increasing the amount of fat excreted.
Gut flora is important for releasing the appetite-reducing hormone. This sends signals to the brain when to stop eating and thus, burns more calories and fat. Probiotics help in maintaining overall health by reducing weight.
Probiotics have some side effects also.
One of the major concerns among health-conscious people is whether probiotics make you do poop a lot.
Probiotics can make you poop a lot if you are suffering from constipation caused due to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is not laxatives and the purpose is not to stimulate the bowels.
Probiotics regulate the bowel movements by enhancing gut microbiome or the collection of good bacteria in the digestive tract. To get the maximum benefits of probiotic, take regularly for 4-8 weeks.
Probiotics take 30-60 minutes to work. Use of high-quality, potent probiotic supplement with billions of microorganisms and a high colony forming unit (CFU) helps in surviving the extreme acidic conditions of the stomach. A person can also feel the therapeutic effects just after an hour of taking them.
The 2 common probiotic bacteria- Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium have a very short generation time. These are the few signs that show that probiotics are working.
Stress, poor diet, medications and illnesses worsen the microbiome. Probiotic supplements prevent the effect of gut imbalance rather than permanently colonizing the gut. Even if you see the improvements immediately in the symptoms, don’t stop taking probiotics and continue as per your doctor’s recommendation.
harvard University Article: Health benefits of taking probiotics