How To Choose The Best Probiotic Supplement: Health Facts Check!

Hey readers, nowadays people are very much concerned about Probiotics and How To Choose The Best Probiotic Supplement also. With health being everyone’s priority in the times of the ongoing pandemic, along with multivitamin supplements, probiotics have also attracted people’s attention.

How To Choose The Best Probiotic Supplement: Detailed Analysis!

Probiotics are living organisms that are said to provide multiple health benefits. However, it is important to choose the right probiotic supplement to get specific health-related results.

How To Choose The Best Probiotic Supplement

Understanding Probiotics

Since birth, our guts have acquired bacteria in a process referred to as colonization. Some of these bacteria are considered “good bacteria”, which helps in the conversion of fiber into short-chain fatty acids, strengthening the immune system and harmonizing vitamins. Thus, taking probiotic supplements can promote these friendly bacteria. 

Specific Probiotics

Our gut flora is made up of a huge variety of bacteria with over five hundred different species and the exact composition of these bacteria is unique to every individual. Some common probiotics with known health benefits include strains of Saccharomyces, Lactobacillus, and Bifidobacterium.

However, research has proved that some strains seem to be more effective in treating certain specific conditions than others, which is why choosing the right probiotic supplement becomes vital for achieving specific health goals.    

Mentioned below are probiotic recommendations that address specific health concerns :

Probiotics to Relieve Constipation

Constipation is a condition where bowel movements become irregular and hard to pass. While it is normal to be constipated once in a while, for some people, this condition becomes chronic. While this condition is most common amongst the elderly, it can also affect adults and children. 

Apart from the conventional treatments like laxatives, probiotic supplements along with dietary modifications have also come to the fore lately as successful treatments for this condition.

Studies have also confirmed that certain strains of probiotics can improve constipation in both adults as well as children.

In one of the studies that compared prebiotics and probiotics in children with IBS, B. lactis showed significant relief in the condition. It proved to help ease bloating, abdominal fullness, and belching as well.

Other probiotics for constipation:

  • B. longum
  • S. cerevisiae
  • Combination of B. animalis, L. rhamnosus, L. plantarum, L. reuteri and L. acidophilus.

So, certain strains of probiotics can be taken alone or in combination with others for constipation relief.

Probiotics for Diarrhea

Opposite to constipation, diarrhea is a condition that causes frequent, loose/liquid bowel movements.

While more often than not it occurs sometimes, in some people it can become a chronic condition.

Probiotics have been shown to lower the frequency of motions in infection caused diarrhea occurring as a result of gastroenteritis or food poisoning/stomach flu.

According to a review, probiotics have proved to bring down the risk of diarrhea by 34%.

Effective probiotics for treating diarrhea:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • B. coagulans
  • S. boulardii 
  • Combination of various strains of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus

One of the other leading causes of diarrhea includes antibiotic use. While antibiotics are meant to kill harmful bacteria in the gut that cause infections, they also end up killing the good bacteria, which causes an imbalance in the gut flora, leading to inflammation and diarrhea.

Multiple studies have concluded that supplementing with probiotics can bring down the risk of diarrhea caused by antibiotics by 42%.

Probiotics for IBS Symptoms

It has been observed that not all individuals with IBS have stool-related symptoms. Some may even experience lower abdominal pain, bloating, nausea and gas regularly.

19 studies conducted to gauge the effectiveness of probiotics in IBS concluded that the results tend to vary from person to person, depending on their specific symptoms.

Probiotics for IBS related constipation 

  • S. cerevisiae

Probiotics for IBS related diarrhea

  • VSL#3, which is a combination of strains of Streptococcus, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.

Probiotics for IBS related bloating and abdominal pain

  • VSL#3, which is a combination of strains of Streptococcus, Bifidobacterium  and Lactobacillus, is believed to boost the production of a hormone called melatonin, which plays an important part in the digestive process.

Probiotics That Help with Weight loss

Of late, there has been significant evidence to prove that a harmonious and well-balanced gut microbe can potentially have a profound effect on body weight. 

In fact, some studies have even proved that taking a probiotic supplement can potentially boost the possibility of losing weight and maintaining ideal body composition.

Research has concluded that strains of certain bacteria can affect the number of calories and fats absorbed by your gut, thus boosting a healthy gut bacteria balance and losing belly fat and overall body weight. Besides, probiotics can also hinder weight gain while consuming high-fat foods.

Probiotics for weight loss

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • combination of strains of Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus gasseri.

A study on obese men who were supplemented with Lactobacillus gasseri for 12 weeks concluded a prominent reduction in body fat as well as body weight. Besides, an a8.5% reduction in belly fat was also observed.

A study on obese women who were supplemented with L. rhamnosus for 3 weeks showed twice the percentage of weight loss compared to those who were given a placebo.

Probiotics for Brain Health

The function of good bacteria in the colon of digestion and fermentation of fiber into short-chain fatty acids that provide nourishment to the gut has been shown to be beneficial for the nervous system and brain as well.

Multiple studies have concluded that supplementing with probiotics significantly improved symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, autism, poor memory, depression, and general as well as specific anxiety in humans.

Studies have also shown that probiotic supplementation for two weeks can lower levels of stress hormones in the blood and resultant anxiety by 48%.

Probiotics for brain function include strains of

  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus helveticus

Probiotics like B. bifidum, L. casei, and L. acidophilus showed a significant reduction in symptoms of severe depression in an eight-week study conducted on depression patients.

Probiotics for Heart Health

Taking probiotic supplements can potentially bring down the risk of heart ailments.

Many studies have concluded that specific bacteria in certain foods like yogurt and probiotic supplements could improve heart health markers, like a decrease in bad cholesterol (LDL) and an increase in good cholesterol (HDL).

Probiotics for heart function include strains of the below-mentioned bacteria that have been found to be effective in lowering cholesterol levels: 

  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus

Reviews of fourteen studies have concluded that probiotic supplements cause a reduction in LDL cholesterol and an increase in HDL cholesterol, besides also decreasing triglyceride levels.

Along with helping maintain cholesterol levels, probiotic supplements also help lower blood pressure levels with over 10 billion CFU doses per day taken regularly, thus improving overall heart health.

Probiotics for boosting Immunity

There have been studies claiming that harmonizing gut flora by taking a probiotic supplement can potentially increase the body’s fighting abilities against infections, allergies, and even cancer.

There are certain types of probiotic strains listed below that have the potential to bring down the risk of respiratory ailments, eczema in children, and UTI (Urinary tract infection), which is common in adult women.

  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Lactobacillus crispatus
  • Lactobacillus gasseri
  • Lactobacillus GG

Over and above these ailments, probiotics have also been proven to bring down inflammation, which is a well-known risk factor for multiple ailments. 

In the studies conducted on this subject, a group of older adults was made to consume a combination of Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus gasseri, and Bifidobacterium bifidum and another group placebo for a period of three weeks each. 

It was observed that the inflammation markers in women who took probiotic supplements had come down, the anti-inflammatory markers had gone up as well as their gut flora had become like that of young and healthy people compared to the placebo group.

Some probiotics might even be beneficial in dental health by preventing gum infection and gingivitis.

A study on adults who were supplemented with Lactobacillus Brevis while refraining from brushing and flossing versus those who were put on placebo found that gingivitis progressed much more rapidly in the placebo group, thus concluding that probiotics were helpful in fighting infection.

Probiotics for General Health

Probiotics can also prove to be useful in promoting overall general health besides being helpful in the treatment of specific ailments and chronic health conditions.

A study has proven that taking Bifidobacterium bifidum for one month helps encourage the production of short-chain fatty acids, which is beneficial for general health.

As discussed above in the article- How To Choose The Best Probiotic Supplement, by reducing inflammation in the body, probiotics promote a smooth aging process.

Although research is still in its initial stages, probiotics surely seem to be beneficial as a part of treatment in many specific ailments as discussed above as well as for general health, thus improving quality of life.

However, probiotics may not be recommended for people with critical ailments that cause a compromised immune system like AIDS or HIV.      

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