Probiotics are becoming more and more popular, but out of all the available brands how do you choose the best probiotic supplement? Supplements ScoreCard is here with a comprehensive article detailing everything you need to know about probiotics.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live “good” bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial for your health as they help improve your digestive health by balancing out your intestinal flora. Our bodies contain both good and bad bacteria, but in order to have a healthy gut you need to have the right balance between those two types of bacteria. Probiotics help establish that ideal intestinal flora ratio of 80:20 between good and bad bacteria so that your digestive and immune system function properly.
How Do Probiotics Work?
In short, after taking probiotics, they work to restore the perfect 80:20 ratio between good and bad bacteria in your gut. Your GI tract has billions of units of both good and bat bacteria. When the harmful bacteria grows and starts to be more present than the beneficial bacteria, the balance is lost and you start developing digestive problems such as constipation, indigestion, gas, bloating and low energy levels. Probiotics work to counteract the bad bacteria in your GI tract and balance out the intestinal flora to promote a healthy digestive system.
Plenty of times, users start reporting noticeable results in just a few days, but it can take up to 3-4 weeks for the probiotics to fully balance out your gut bacteria. In the span of a few days you will experience having more regular bowel movements, reduced indigestion, improved energy levels and better sleep quality.
Can I Get Probiotics from Food?
There are several foods that can help you keep your digestive tract full of beneficial bacteria. Fermented dairy products such as yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese containing live cultures, or fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut all contain “good” bacteria that you can use to improve your digestive health. However, to get the same beneficial effects of probiotics from food as you get from supplements, you would have to consume a lot of those beneficial bacteria rich foods every day. It’s also worth noting that some say yogurt is not a great choice since the live bacteria in it are destroyed by the heat used to kill the bad bacteria while processing the dairy.
This is why a probiotics supplement is ideal – you only have to take one capsule per day, without having to always go out and shop for vegetables and dairy products. Also, the bacteria in probiotics is not killed like in yogurt or other foods.
Are Probiotics for You?
Your digestive track contains a bacterial landscape that is in a constant flowing state caused by factors such as stress, diet, medication and others – many of which we underestimate. This is why it is essential to maintain a healthy balance between good and bad bacteria in our guts to improve our health and quality of life.
As of recent times, when they have digestive problems, more and more people start turning to probiotics supplement to improve their digestive health and ease the discomfort. Even if you don’t display obvious health problems, helping to balance out your gut flora will be a worthwhile step to take in improving your overall health.
Besides improving your digestive system, these tiny and beneficial bacteria have other significant abilities that impact your immune system, improve blood sugar levels, help you make smarter food choices and influence leptin sensitivity – a hormone that regulates your appetite and metabolic rate.
Probiotics and Health
Probiotics bring a beneficial contribution to health problems such as constipation, gas, diarrhea, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, and inflammatory bowel disease. Medications, diseases, dieting or even the environment are things that can negatively affect your digestive health and probiotics help to maintain an ideal balance between good and bad bacteria in your gut.
Probiotics stimulate a healthy GI environment and support overall wellness and vitality, with plenty of users reporting an improvement in energy levels. These live bacteria have also been known to help with skin problems (eczema), urinary and vaginal health, colds, allergies and weight loss by boosting metabolism.
Delivering a considerable improvement in overall health after just 3-4 weeks of usage, it is easy to see why more and more people are taking probiotics.
Probiotics and Interaction with Antibiotics
Even if you don’t take probiotics on a daily basis, you should do so while taking antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bacteria that’s causing health concerns, but sometimes the good bacteria in your gut ends up being collateral damage. This is why a third of all people who take antibiotics end up suffering a case of diarrhea. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that probiotic supplementation can reduce the risk of developing diarrhea after antibiotic use by 42 per cent.
Are Probiotics Safe?
Yes, probiotics have been shown to be completely safe. If children under the age of 12 want to take probiotics, they should do it every other day, not every day, as the probiotics contain a large number of CFU.
The four leading brands of probiotics we have chosen to feature are gluten free, lactose free, vegetarian-friendly and contain no fillers. Probiotics are safe for consumption regardless of your dietary restrictions. The manufacturers of the products use the purest and highest quality ingredients without adding synthetic ingredients. To prove this, all four products are third-party tested to ensure potency, quality and purity.
Probiotics have no negative side effects and this info should be common sense, as these bacteria naturally occur in the body.
How to Choose the Best Probiotics Supplement?
When choosing the best probiotic supplement, it’s important to remember some key aspects
CFUs. A probiotic supplement’s potency is measured in CFUs – colony forming units. A common range is somewhere between 15 – 25 million units, but some supplements are more potent than that.
Strains. The number of unique strains counts – the higher, the better. Each strain in a probiotic supplement comes with unique properties that help improve your digestive health and even other health-related issues.
Read the label. Some probiotics require to be kept in a cool, dry place to preserve their integrity. Some require to be refrigerated. Make sure the product does not contain gluten or lactose.
Manufacturer. Check to see if the manufacturer offers a money back guarantee for its product. A plus is when a product is third-party tested by an independent lab and if the product is made in the USA.
Be consistent. When you choose a particular brand of probiotics, make sure you use it every day to ensure you are helping your digestive tract and its volatile environment.
What’s the Best Probiotic Supplement Brand?
In our review we have selected four leading probiotics brands that check all of the above criteria. Let’s take a look and see what each probiotics brand has to offer: