(WellnessPursuits.com) – Taking probiotics can boost our gut health. But are those probiotics as active as you’d like them to be? You might accidentally be lowering their effectiveness, but it could be easy to fix. Here are four of the most important ways we can optimize the efficiency of our probiotics.
1. When We Take Our Probiotics Matters
Taking probiotics can significantly improve our overall gut health, but it does matter when we take them. To reduce gas and bloating, especially if you’re new to taking probiotics, take them at night on an empty stomach just before you go to bed.
Taking probiotics on an empty stomach may increase the number of bacteria that survive in your gut, especially Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Another common species of probiotic bacteria, Saccharomyces boulardii, don’t seem to care whether they are consumed on an empty stomach or with a meal.
By taking probiotics just before bed, when your digestive tract is less active, you are giving the bacteria the best possible chance of multiplying and integrating themselves into your gut biome.
2. Choose the Right Strains for Health Needs
Ideally, we want probiotics to make it to our large intestines. To do that, the best delivery systems are capsules, beads, tablets and yogurts because those forms tend to withstand stomach acids better.
Choosing the right bacteria to benefit your health can also be a consideration. These are the most common probiotic bacteria:
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG – benefits most people, but can specifically reduce the risk of antibiotic-induced diarrhea, other types of diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Bifidobacterium – benefits most people, can reduce the risk of diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Saccharomyces boulardii – can specifically reduce the risk of antibiotic-induced diarrhea, other types of diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- E. coli Nissle 1917 – may help treat ulcerative colitis
To obtain benefits from probiotics, we need between 100 million and 1 billion live cultures to reach our intestines. Look for products that guarantee at least 1 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) will reach your intestines.
3. Less Refined Sugar, More Fruit and Fiber
Natural sugars from fruit and other foods may actually promote probiotic growth in the gut. And fiber from fruits and vegetables provide valuable prebiotic nutrients to feed the probiotics in your intestines. Choosing raw honey, stevia, or maple syrup may be better choices when sweetness is needed.
4. The Gut-Brain Axis Is Bi-Directional
By maintaining a healthy intestinal microbiome, we’re not only helping our digestive health, but also our cognitive and emotional health. Surprisingly, it’s a two-way street! When we are calmer and more centered, happier and more fulfilled, the chemicals released by our brains are more conducive to better gut health, as well. We can positively reinforce our good behavior both ways!
We all want to feel healthy and well, and the gut plays an integral role in that goal. Having enough and the right types of gut bacteria can help our bodies function better and give us more energy. Probiotics are an excellent way to improve gut health, and optimizing their effectiveness may help us even more.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Pursuits!
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