A lot of people at one time or another experience various digestive issues. But can probiotics prevent or even improve digestive health in some people?
Digestive health problems can be down to various causes such as a bad diet, viral or bacterial infection, antibiotic use, or even commonly prescribed medications like antacids, proton pump inhibitors. There are lots of things that can mess up our digestive health and cause our stomach to become more sensitive.
Sometimes the cause of these problems isn’t known, but even things like stress can have significant impacts and cause digestive issues. The mind and the gut have a strong connection and impact each other in profound ways. This is one of the reasons why it’s very important that our digestive system is working well and we look after it.
I can say for certain that probiotics have been a massive help in preventing any significant side effects from using antibiotics. At one point many years ago, I had to take antibiotics for a prolonged period of time, but by using probiotics with them, I never developed any side effects or stomach problems.
When it comes to choosing a good probiotic, it can be a bit confusing, but there are certain strains of bacteria which have been scientifically proven to help us digest food better, lower inflammation the stomach, bowel, and colon, and provide other health benefits.
I’ve listed below three high-quality probiotics which have been shown to improve gut health in humans due to their high concentration of certain types of good bacteria.
Best probiotics for people with a sensitive stomach
- Silver Fern Ultimate probiotic supplement – Premium grade probiotic containing many of the scientifically proven probiotics to improve stomach health in humans.
- Microbiome Plus probiotics with L.reuteri – Contains one of the most effective bacteria to resolve stomach issues.
- LactoSpore Probiotic – Premium grade probiotic for IBS management. Suitable for people with a sensitive stomach.
- Ora Organic Probiotic – Contains both prebiotics and probiotics and designed for people with a sensitive stomach and for vegans.
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Do probiotics help with digestive issues?
People use probiotics for various reasons, but one of the main ones is to improve digestive health and to prevent constipation. This is a massive issue faced by millions of people, and one big reason for that is diet. People just aren’t getting enough fiber in their diet or they’re eating the wrong foods which encourage the growth of bad bacteria.
The evidence for probiotics helping with digestive issues has been accumulating over the past decade or more. There have been clinical trials where doctors have used probiotics to prevent nasty infections from taking hold, such as Clostridium Dificile after use of strong antibiotics in hospitals.
Hippocrates said: “all disease starts within the gut”
There’s quite a lot of truth to that statement. While it’s not entirely true, it’s becoming more clear that all aspects of our health can be affected by our gut health or at least exacerbated.
And whether your digestive issues are minor or severe, probiotics definitely have their place for improving health and well-being.
How to choose a good probiotic
It’s easy to understand why people can be confused when trying to find a suitable probiotic for them. There are so many choices available, so how do you know which one is the best and find one which will work for your problem?
There are a few factors to consider when choosing a probiotic:
- The number of bacteria or colony forming units
- The type of bacteria and specific strains
- Whether or not the probiotic is resistant to stomach acid
- How virulent the strain is and whether or not they can compete in the gut
- How well they stick or adhere to the walls of the gut
As I mentioned earlier, there have been a lot of clinical studies which looked at different strains of probiotics and their efficacy in improving symptoms of infections and health conditions.
Some probiotics help with gut health by improving the transit time of food, while other strains of bacteria have significant effects on the immune system and reduce inflammation.
Probiotics can also have significant effects on mental health and improving anxiety and depression.
Probiotics are generally great for a wide range of health conditions.
In any case, we want to find look at which is the most effective probiotic for improving digestive health.
The most common type of probiotics used for human health include:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- L. casei
- L rhamousus
- L delbrueckii
- L. brevis
- and others
Researchers believe that although probiotics may have some benefit, there is a question as to whether or not they survive long-term and alter the gut microbiome in any significant way. The best way to really make an impact is with continued long-term use of probiotics.
That being said, there is a lot more research on using probiotics to prevent side effects from antibiotics. And there has been no shortage of anecdotal evidence (even I have noticed huge benefits) from taking probiotics.
Probiotic strains that help improve digestive health for people with a sensitive stomach
There are many probiotics which show short-term improvement, but not much evidence that gut flora. The probiotics below have been proven and shown to alter gut bacteria and provide clinical improvements of digestive symptoms.
Probiotic strains which in studies are shown to significantly improve digestive health in humans and animals:
- Lactobacillus Reuteri – Improved in overall symptom score
- Bacillus Coagulans – Found to improve symptoms of patients with IBS in a randomized placebo-controlled trial
- L. plantarum 299v – Improved in flatulence compared to the placebo group
So now we know which bacteria help with digestive health, we know which probiotics to look for.
Below are the probiotics that I recommend based on the bacteria they include and the science which supports their use.
Silver Fern Ultimate Probiotic
This probiotic was formulated to help people with multiple health issues from bloating, constipation and diarrhea, as well as other digestive issues such as IBS and Candida overgrowth.
It also helps support mental well-being by improving symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The strains of bacteria in this probiotic also help improve immune function according to clinical trials.
It contains a mix of strains including:
- Saccharomyces Boulardii
- Pediococcus Acidilactici
- Bacillus Subtilis
- Bacillus Coagulans
- Bacillus Clausii
All of the probiotic bacteria found in this probiotic can survive the transit through the gut and get where they need to.
According to tests, this probiotic has 100% survivability compared to other types of probiotics which can range from 10% to 60-70% depending on the types of strains used.
There are many good reasons to go for this probiotic over any other brand.
- Survivability – Tested and confirmed 100% survivability of the probiotic bacteria.
- Potent strains – Clinical studies have shown that these strains are the most potent type of probiotics.
- Support by clinical studies – The dosages and types of bacteria included in the probiotics have been studied in clinical trials against inflammatory disorders, metabolic disorders and other chronic health problems, especially those related to intestinal permeability.
- Pharmaceutical grade – If you’re looking for the best, then pharmaceutical grade food supplements are what you should be after. They are the purest products which have a high standard of quality control. All strains included in the product are also DNA verified.
If you have a sensitive stomach, you’re probably slightly allergic or intolerant to certain ingredients which can be found in supplements. The great thing about this probiotic is that it’s free from many stomach irritants such a dairy, wheat, corn, soy, artificial colors, and flavors. Also free from gluten and is non-GMO.
Microbiome Plus Gastrointestinal probiotics with L Reuteri 30242
This probiotic contains 7 billion colony forming units of L. Reuteri, which has been proven in studies to significantly improve digestive health and improve symptoms of people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome.
The strain included in this probiotic also has been shown in clinical studies to have many other benefits!
They help improve the cardiovascular system, improve vitamin D levels, increases fat loss and boosts mood.
Although it only contains one type of bacteria, you are getting a large dose compared to many other supplements which tend to have multiple strains with lower amounts of each.
The good thing about this probiotic is that the strain of bacteria has been clinically tested and has shown to be effective for many health problems.
There are a few reasons why you might want to go for this probiotic.
- Clinically tested probiotic – Few if any supplements have 7 billion of L. Reuteri 30242, a type of bacteria used in clinical studies and found to be effective.
- Good for people who have allergies – If you want a supplement which is hypo-allergenic, then this is a good choice. It doesn’t contain any common allergens, like gluten.
- Low cost – Each bottle contains 56 servings, so it is great value for how many you get and the cost.
The probiotic has fewer reviews, but overall they are quite positive.
Are there any side effects to taking probiotic supplements?
As with supplement or medication, there is always a risk of side effects. Probiotic bacteria like the ones in these supplements have been shown to be safe for human use.
The most common side effects might be a change in bowel habits or movements and things will normalize over time.
If you have any concerns about taking a probiotic, speak with your doctor.
Improvement of digestive health and reduction in proteobacterial populations in the gut microbiota of cystic fibrosis patients using a Lactobacillus reuteri probiotic preparation: a double-blind prospective study.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Gut Microbiota, and Probiotics
The efficacy of a synbiotic containing Bacillus Coagulans in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.
The effects of probiotic, prebiotic and synbiotic diets containing Bacillus coagulans and inulin on rat intestinal microbiota