Everyone you talk to these days seems to be taking a probiotic. Should you be taking one too?
Probiotics are certainly a hot topic and there is plenty of ongoing research looking into their benefits. Here are some reasons why you might want to consider taking a probiotic.
Taking antibiotics kills off the bad bacteria causing your infection, but it may also kill off the good bacteria in your gut, which may lead to diarrhea in some people. If you’ve recently taken antibiotics, probiotics may help to replenish some of the good bacteria that may have been killed off by your medication.
Probiotics may help you flush your tummy troubles away.
There’s nothing worse than being sidelined with diarrhea. If you are suffering from a bout of diarrhea caused by an infection, probiotics may help you get better faster and lessen the severity of your symptoms.
Irritated by IBS? Probiotics can help.
Irritable bowel syndrome or “IBS” is a condition that affects the digestive system, causing significant pain and problems with constipation, diarrhea, or alternating bouts of both. It affects about 10% to 15% of the population. Research is showing that bacteria may play an important role in this condition. Probiotics have shown promise in improving symptoms in IBS sufferers, especially for those who experience diarrhea more often.
Going on a trip? Consider packing some probiotics.
We all want to focus on fun activities, local food and sight-seeing while on vacation, so there’s nothing worse than having your trip ruined by unexpected traveller’s diarrhea. Luckily, there’s lots of ongoing research into probiotics for traveller’s diarrhea. Probiotics containing specific strains of bacteria and yeast have shown some promise for this issue. If you are going to take a probiotic on a trip, remember to choose one that does not need to be refrigerated. Ask your pharmacist for help selecting a product if you’re not sure.
Research into probiotics is a huge field. Here are some of the other potentially promising uses of probiotics:
- Probiotics may play a role in managing allergic conditions such as allergic rhinitis, asthma, and dermatitis.
- Probiotic supplements may help to reduce inflammation caused by Crohn's disease.
- Probiotic drops containing Lactobacillus reuteri have been found to soothe colicky babies.
- Certain probiotic strains may help reduce symptoms caused by lactose intolerance.
So will keeping your gut healthy keep you healthy?
Gut balance plays an important role in your overall health. Every day we learn more about probiotics, and the evidence supporting their benefits continues to grow. If you’re looking to add some probiotics into your life, speak to your pharmacist or health care professional about choosing the best product for you.
- Wald A. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome in adults. UpToDate. Last updated August 29, 2019. Accessed November 13, 2019.
- Harper A, Naghibi MM, Garcha D. The Role of Bacteria, Probiotics and Diet in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Foods. 2018 Jan 26;7(2). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5848117. Accessed November 13, 2019.
- Bae J. Prophylactic efficacy of probiotics on travelers’ diarrhea: an adaptive meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Epidemiol Health. 2018; 40: e2018043. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6232657. Accessed November 13, 2019.
- Caring for Your Gut While Travelling Abroad. GI Society. Canadian Society of Intestinal Research. Available at: https://badgut.org/information-centre/a-z-digestive-topics/caring-for-your-gut-while-travelling-abroad. Accessed November 13, 2019.
- Probitics and Prebiotics. World Gastorenterology Organisation Global Guidleines. February 2017. Available at: https://www.worldgastroenterology.org/guidelines/global-guidelines/probiotics-and-prebiotics. Accessed November 13, 2019.
- Probiotics: What You Need to Know. National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health. Updated August 2019. Available at: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm. Accessed November 13, 2019.