Our gut is home to trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms. This living ecosystem inside the gut is known as a microbiome. These microorganisms are also called intestinal flora and can be divided into two categories: good intestinal flora and bad intestinal flora.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics affect gut health. The health of the intestinal microflora affects the whole body, from the digestive system to the brain and mood. This is where these probiotics come in!
Probiotic supplements are well-packed capsules of good bacteria that are similar to those bacteria already in your body or the same. Damaged intestinal bacteria can be supplemented and supported with suitable probiotics.
How To Know If Probiotics Are Working For You?
The natural balance of healthy bacteria keeps your gut and digestive system in order. So, if you take them as a supplement to your diet, you will experience various benefits. So, if you've turned to supplements to help you solve your digestive problems or other health issues, you're probably on the right track. Since each person's microbiome is different, it's hard to know exactly how your body will react when starting a new probiotic supplement.
But are there any specific signs to find out that probiotics are working for you? Here, experts explain the changes you may notice when bacteria do their job.
1. More Energy
A probiotic that works will also help increase energy. They achieve this through several aspects. First, probiotics help absorb vitamins and nutrients from food.
Unhealthy or damaged gut microbiota can actually reduce the digestive tract's ability to get these important nutrients from the diet, which means fewer macronutrients and less energy. Furthermore, a healthy intestinal flora also helps in the production of other B vitamins, necessary for the production of energy in the body.
Since the main roles of good bacteria are to obtain nutrients from the foods you eat, you may notice that you have increased energy levels while absorbing more vitamins and minerals from your foods.
2. Improved Bowel Movements
Gastrointestinal diseases are incredibly widespread all over the world, like here in the United States. Since 2017 there have been more than 22 million visits to doctors' offices and 8 million visits to the emergency room where the primary diagnosis was diseases of the digestive system, as per the statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control.
Simply put, digestive conditions are another increasing concern for the growing population these days. Probiotics will help you digest food and absorb nutrients. Proper digestion leads to perfect poop and reduces discomfort and inflammation in the digestive tract.
3. No More Cravings
This probiotic side effect may just sound too good to be true, but it's definitely one of the things you might notice if your probiotic works!
Many people can suffer from dysbiosis - the imbalance of bacteria in the gut caused by poor nutrition - which then leads to a craving for sweet foods and drinks. Why?
Our gut microorganisms are able to manipulate our behavior and appetite to get more substrates that they thrive on. The poor intestinal flora feeds on sugars as a source of energy for reproduction. The food source for good gut flora is prebiotic fiber (from fruits and vegetables!), So when the gut is in balance, the appetite for sugar disappears.
4. Shedding Pounds
Healthy gut bacteria have been shown to play a role in healthy weight control, as have almost everything else in the body. Health studies of normal and overweight individuals found a drastic difference that caused the intestinal flower to have a lot to do with weight gain, weight loss, and management.
Good bacteria improve absorption of food, regulate our hunger and satiety hormones, reduce inflammation and balance blood sugar levels - all essential for sustainable weight loss! In addition, probiotics, which increase healthy intestinal flora, play an important role in satiety by releasing the saturation hormone (appetite reduction) GLP-1, which causes you to eat less and burn calories and fat.
5. Protection from Cold or Flu
A strong immune system works as a barrier to keep you protected from cold and flu throughout the year. Not only is it important to fight a cold or the flu, but the immune system has to fight several other organisms to keep you healthy. This is why it is made up of various organs, cells, and proteins throughout the body. Basically, if something goes wrong with your immune system, your whole body is affected.
80% of your immune system is found in the digestive tract. Good intestinal flora connects with immune cells to strengthen their overall defense against pathogens and toxins to which we are exposed on a daily basis.
6. Reduced Stress and Anxiety
The gut-brain axis is what gut microbes use to relay messages to the brain and vice versa. Research shows that increasing beneficial gut flora reduces anxiety symptoms.
People with anxiety symptoms can help take steps to control microorganisms in their gut with probiotic and non-probiotic foods and supplements. The specific mechanism is still under study. But the researchers found that the gut microbiota - trillions of microorganisms in the gut that perform important functions for our metabolism to function properly by producing nutrients and vitamins and releasing inflammatory mediators - can help regulate brain function through what is called the intestinal cerebral axis.
7. Good Mood
One of the most surprising recent discoveries regarding gut health and overall health is the connection between the gut and your mind. These studies showed evidence for the gut-brain connection, which proves the links between anxiety, chronic stress, and depression and the healthy state of gut bacteria.
It's not hard to believe there is a connection because we all have experienced that the gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion. With intense emotional reactions like anger, anxiety, sadness, joy – we all feel different movements or symptoms in our intestine, just like butterflies in the stomach.
Did you know that the microbes in the gut make up about 90% of the serotonin in the body (our neurotransmitter for feeling good )? When the gut has the right amount of healthy organisms, it is best equipped to regulate mood and positive feelings.
8. No Allergies
The right balance of beneficial gut flora makes your immune system stronger. This is why it is always prepared to fight allergies.
9. Flawless Skin
Healthy intestinal flora reduces inflammation and facilitates proper waste excretion. Since your skin is one of your detox organs, a healthy gut means clean skin!
10. Better Focus and Concentration
While it can increase your knowledge, you should also feel less brain fog. Well, brain fog is not a medical condition in itself, but it is actually a type of cognitive dysfunction, which includes memory problems, a lack of mental clarity, poor concentration, and an inability to concentrate.
You have most likely experienced some sort of brain fog.
Several recent studies have linked gut health to mental health, which basically links your gut health to your brain health and function. By using a real, high-quality probiotic, you can find a reduced amount of brain fog because probiotics can help by synthesizing neurotransmitters, reducing cortisol (your body's stress hormone), and promoting a healthy response to inflammation.
You Will Be Surprised to Know How Probiotics Work
Probiotics don't work like most drugs that directly target symptoms. Instead, probiotics work by balancing the intestinal flora and reducing the load of pathogenic microorganisms.
As the bacteria in the intestinal tract become more balanced, the immune system calms down, and inflammation decreases. As intestinal bacteria are more balanced and digestive health improves, your overall well-being (energy, mood, cognition, hormonal balance) also increases.
The job of good bacteria or probiotics, as we call them, is to maintain a healthy balance in your body. Think about how to keep a neutral body. When you are sick, bad bacteria enter your body, and their numbers increase. This will cause your body to lose its balance. The good bacteria work against the bad bacteria and restore balance in the body to make you feel better.
Good bacteria keep you healthy by supporting your immune function and controlling inflammation. Some types of good bacteria can also:
- Helps the body digest food.
- Prevent bad bacteria from getting out of control and causing you to feel sick.
- Create vitamins.
- Helps support the cells that line your gut to prevent harmful bacteria you have consumed (by eating or drinking) from entering your blood.
- Disintegration and absorption of drugs.
This balance occurs naturally in your body at all times. In fact, you don't have to take probiotic supplements to make this happen. This process explains why probiotics take time to work. This sums up pretty well why probiotics have so many different health benefits and few side effects. The benefits of probiotics are backed by science for a wide range of medical conditions, including IBS, Crohn's disease and colitis, intestinal infections, mood, sleep, thyroid health, and more. Good bacteria are only a natural part of your body. Every day, a balanced, high-fiber diet helps keep the number of good bacteria at the right level.
How Long Does It Actually Take for a Probiotic to Start Working?
To keep it short, it depends. Several factors come into play, such as why you are taking a probiotic, your health status, and the strains you are taking when we talk about the action of probiotics.
Probiotics can show results as quickly as in 30-60 minutes if you use a high-quality probiotic supplement with billions of microorganisms and a high colony-forming unit (CFU) that has been shown to survive in the harsh acidic conditions of the stomach. In fact, it is possible to feel the therapeutic effects already one hour after their use.
Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, the two most commonly used strains, have a very short generation time, which means they can start working almost immediately.
However, it may take 4-8 weeks of regular dosing to get the most out of your probiotic.
Why Is It Taking Longer for Probiotics to Work?
Although scientists have studied several conditions, it ultimately depends on what is happening to you personally. Even if you don't see any changes in symptoms right away, probiotics would be playing their roles behind the scenes, so don't give up thinking it's too late, as maybe it's not. Another problem can be that many existing products are actually ineffective. They may contain dead or will not survive strains in the digestive tract, as the vast majority of probiotics die in contact with stomach acid.
Some things that can take longer for probiotics to work include Very unhealthy intestine, Chronic stress, Bad nutrition, Frequent use of antibiotics, Wrong probiotic strain, Incorrect dosage, Improper storage, or using expired probiotics.
How to Know if Your Probiotic Is Not Working?
No Improvement: If you don't see any improvement in digestion or digestive issues you're having, it's probably not the right product for you.
If the probiotic works for you, you should at least see an improvement in digestion within four weeks of taking the product.
Side Effects: Some individuals experience minor side effects during the first few days of taking a new probiotic, such as mild bloating, flatulence, or more frequent bowel movements.
This is your body, getting used to probiotics and potentially purifying harmful substances such as pathogens. However, if these side effects persist after the first week of taking the probiotic, stop taking medicine and consult your doctor. If you experience more serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, dizziness, swelling, or difficulty breathing, stop taking medicine and contact your doctor immediately.
If you are experiencing minor side effects like bloating, nausea, or gas, check the ingredients and make sure the label contains ingredients you may be allergic to. Many probiotics contain lactose, which can irritate the intestines, especially in adults. This is also important for lactose intolerant or vegan people.
Probiotics vary greatly in quality and composition. The probiotic you are taking may not be strong enough or may not contain specific strains to make you feel better. Consider finding a high-quality multi-species, multi-layered probiotic that suits your needs. If you've tried several probiotics and none of them work, it may be time to see a gut health doctor to help you determine the cause of your symptoms.
Safe Use Of Probiotics
There is little evidence to suggest that a person could overdose on probiotics. However, always read the label carefully and do not exceed the manufacturer's recommended dosage.
The optimal dose may vary depending on human health and the type of probiotic product. If the side effects of probiotics are severe and you have experienced one of them, consider reducing the dose or refraining from taking medicine.
Choosing the Right Probiotic for You
Choosing the right probiotic depends on why you are taking it. You can find probiotics in foods such as yogurt or in food supplements with various popular varieties.
Although there are many claims about probiotic products, there is now reliable support based on the evidence that some probiotics - such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium (bacteria), and Saccharomyces boulardii (yeast) - are generally safe and reliable under specific conditions.
The new review also found that probiotics are useful in healthy people for maintaining the health of the gut, vagina, and immune system.
The most important points to keep in mind for success are the 3 Rs:
- Right purpose: Probiotics don't work for all diseases, so it's important to regulate the strain symptom.
- Right microbe: It depends on the tension. (For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus versus Bifidobacterium longum) For best results, select based on the evidence supporting the symptom. Consult a physician before taking the supplement.
- Right quantity: The dose depends on the medical condition or symptom you are trying to control. On average, a dose of 5 billion CFU or higher was more effective than lower doses in treating gastrointestinal conditions. Dosages vary by brand. Many brands have more varieties, so read the label carefully. Doses also vary for children and adults.