Within the past decade, we've made great strides in understanding the function of gut bacteria, probiotics, and prebiotics in human health and disease. It's likely that the word "probiotics" immediately makes you think of gut health. But what exactly are they?
The recent discovery of the Gut-Brain connection revolutionizes the link between your digestion, mood, sleep, and even how you think! You probably wonder how you can benefit from this, which probiotics you should be taking, and whether you should take them at any particular time?
In this article, get to know the benefits of probiotics and the best time to take probiotics. In addition, we will provide our recommendation on choosing the optimal probiotic supplements to get started on your journey to good gut health.
Probiotics are often seen as living microorganisms that offer a variety of health benefits and treat digestive issues. Probiotic bacteria can create a healthy balance within the body by helping to maintain normal intestinal flora while at the same time improving immune function and stomach upset.
Probiotics are the good and healthy bacteria that live in our gastrointestinal tract. They aid in digestion and nutrient absorption by producing enzymes that break down food into smaller pieces and fight off disease-causing microorganisms. As well as controlling our system of defense, these beneficial bacteria can also help with our hormone production.
Bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract work with other bacteria to help maintain a healthy balance. Probiotics can help digestion because they produce enzymes and vitamins that our bodies don't make. Therefore they speed up the digestive process to get nutrients into our bloodstream faster.
Probiotics can 'crowd out' any pathogenic bacteria that may have been able to take hold because of their rapid growth. The good bacteria compete with pathogens both for food sources and space to live, making it difficult for undesirable bacteria to survive. Furthermore, probiotics produce specific stomach acid that inhibits the growth of pathogens while improving the gut environment, both for their benefit and for other types of healthy bacteria that begin to grow.
The probiotics must pass through the harsh, acidic environment of your stomach. Your gut is designed to kill any bacteria and viruses that may enter your body through food or drink. Unfortunately, this is bad for probiotic bacteria since prolonged exposure to stomach acid eventually kills them. Therefore, it's essential to get the probiotics through your stomach acid as fast as possible. For this reason, some recommend taking probiotics on an empty stomach. However, such studies lack supportive evidence. It's best to take a larger probiotic count than needed to make sure many of them reach the gut
Due to its low pH nature, stomach acid can kill probiotics and reduce their efficacy in the gut. Thus, despite how beneficial probiotics can be for us, stomach acid frequently destroys non-micro-shielded probiotics. Or, at least this is the case with probiotics in pill form.
This is actually why it’s most beneficial to take probiotics in a form that already has a low pH, such as probiotic shots, or kefir. Due to their low pH nature, they pass straight through the stomach without encouraging the stomach to produce extra acid for digestion.
The seven core genera of microbial organisms most often used in probiotic products are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia, and Bacillus.
Two of the most well-known probiotic genera are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
The Bifidobacterium bacterial strains are often used in foods and supplements. This is because it helps the healthy immune system function, limits bad bacteria in the digestive system, and helps the body break down lactose into nutrients.
The Lactobacillus bacterial strains produce the enzyme lactase, which helps break down lactose or milk sugar. It also has lactic acid. As a result, it inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. Additionally, it acts as muscle fuel and increases the body's ability to absorb minerals.
There are up to 500 types of bacteria living in your gut. The microbial community in your gut is called gut flora. Most of it lives in the colon, or the large intestine, which is the last part of the digestive tract.
The metabolic activities of your gut flora are similar to those of an organ. This is why some scientists refer to the gut flora as the "forgotten organ."
Gut flora plays a crucial role in maintaining your health. The bacteria produce vitamins, such as vitamin K and some B vitamins. It also breaks fibers down into short-chain fats like butyrate, propionate, and acetate, which feed the gut wall and provide many metabolic functions.
Studies show that unbalanced gut flora is linked to several diseases. These diseases include obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and depression.
This imbalance can be corrected with probiotics and prebiotic fibers, resulting in a healthy "forgotten organ." Probiotics and prebiotics increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. They are known for their ability to reduce inflammation and support digestive health. In addition to enhancing the function of intestinal cells, probiotics can increase mucus production and prevent the death of these cells.
In addition, various studies have shown that probiotics can act as antimicrobial agents by inhibiting the growth and invasion of harmful pathogens. The natural environment for probiotic bacteria is the small and large intestine. They perform all of their goodness to strengthen your digestive tract and assist in many other critical functions.
In taking a probiotic supplement, we introduce new friendly bacteria to the gut and facilitate the growth of our indigenous friendly bacteria. Thus, a probiotic affects the health of our gut in a way that promotes the recovery and replenishment of our natural resident colonies of 'friendly' bacteria.
Probiotic bacteria are live organisms that colonize our gut. While we categorize them under one umbrella, there are different species among them. The main ones are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. The former is more effective during the AM, while the latter is in the PM.
Ultimately it all comes down to which strains are more valuable for your needs. In general, Lactobacillus is good for the immune system, digestion, and skin health. Bifidobacterium is good for enhancing mood, cognitive functions, and sleep.
Usually, people tend to lack Bifidobacterium more often than Lactobacillus. The reason is that probiotics and fermented foods on the market already contain Lactobacillus, whereas Bifidobacterium is rarer to find.
When the product contains both Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, timing of the day can customize the effectiveness according to your needs!
Most importantly, like anything in life - there is no one for all approach. Probiotics need to be part of your daily routine to achieve their renowned benefits. Hence, it is more important to be consistent than to suffer over details.
According to some manufacturers, the best time to take probiotics is 30 minutes before a meal or on an empty stomach, while others suggest taking them with food. Confusing, right? Let us deconstruct!
Some may believe that more probiotic bacteria will survive as part of the meals, yet such studies lack supporting evidence.
Consuming probiotics colonizes the gut microbiome regardless of whether they have been taken with food or without.
In addition, taking probiotics before a meal boosts digestion, promotes a healthy metabolism, and reduces the "after-lunch" energy drop.
Can I take probiotics before bed? Absolutely! Taking probiotics does not interfere with sleep in any way. Instead, it helps to regulate the mood and prepare for quality rest.
Probiotic supplements are made from good bacteria. Many of these good bacteria are beneficial to the body, including fighting off harmful bacteria.
By choosing a high quality probiotic supplement with a higher culture count, you can protect your probiotics against stomach acid and increase the number of good bacteria that reach your intestinal tract.
Taking probiotic supplements regularly is already proven to be very healthy and safe. Some people will notice an immediate change and improvement, whereas for others it might take a few days or weeks to see improvement. It's important to remember that every human body differs, so consult your doctor or physician before doing so.
It would be best if you took your probiotic supplement daily to achieve optimal health benefits. In addition, creating a routine surrounding your probiotic intake will make it easier to remember.
The natural environment for probiotic bacteria is the small and large intestine. They perform all of their goodness to strengthen your digestive tract and assist in many other critical functions.
Not all probiotic supplements on the market are created equal. While most products claim to be "probiotic," - only a few of them are equipped to resist stomach acid and live up to expectations.
Pills are more convenient to store, but they are very limited in their effectiveness. Consuming fresh, live, and active probiotics is always your best bet!
Kefir Lab Probiotics have the market's highest 100 Trillion CFU with a vast range of strains containing both Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. They are backed by a family generation of probiotic researchers and will elevate your immune system, gut, and brain health.
Want another reason to give Kefir Lab a shot? Use code SWANWICK at checkout to get 10% off your purchase.
While timing probiotics can have some added values - consistency is the key! In addition, knowing your needs and choosing the best probiotics that work for you is a bonus point!
While there are so many probiotic supplements and foods on the market - quality is everything, so choose wisely!