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A lot of people at one time or another experience various digestive issues. Can probiotics improve digestive health in people who have a sensitive stomach?
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 and proton pump inhibitors. There are lots of things that can mess up our digestion and cause our stomach to become more sensitive to the foods we eat.
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.
Trying to find the right supplement can be a bit confusing, but there are certain strains of bacteria which have been scientifically proven to help us digest food better, as well as lower inflammation in the stomach, bowel, and colon.
I’ve done the research for you and found 4 great probiotics that shouldn’t give you any trouble!
In a rush?
Best probiotics and buyer’s guide for people with a sensitive stomach
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.
There have been a lot of clinical studies which have looked at different strains of probiotics and their efficacy in improving digestion.
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, reduce inflammation, improve hair growth, and improve mental health.
The most common type of probiotics used for human health include:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- L. casei
- L rhamousus
- L delbrueckii
- L. brevis
- and others
There are many probiotics which show short-term improvement, but not much evidence that gut flora is changed by them.
The probiotics below have been proven and shown to alter gut bacteria and provide clinical improvements for people suffering from digestive symptoms.
Probiotic strains were shown to significantly improve digestive health in humans and animals:
- Lactobacillus Reuteri – Significant improvements in digestion and lower symptom scores of constipation, gas, and bloating.
- Bacillus Coagulans – Found to improve symptoms in patients who have IBS in a randomized placebo-controlled trial.
- L. plantarum 299v – Improvement in flatulence compared to the placebo group.
Review of 4 probiotic supplements designed to be easy on the stomach
Below are the probiotics that I recommend based on the bacteria they include and studies which have been conducted to prove their efficacy in humans.
#1. Silver Fern Ultimate Probiotic
This probiotic was formulated to help people with multiple health issues like 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 powerful probiotic strains such as Saccharomyces Boulardii, Pediococcus Acidilactici, Bacillus Subtilis, Bacillus Coagulans, and Bacillus Clausii.
- Survivability – According to tests, this probiotic has 100% survivability compared to other types of probiotics which can range from 10% to 70% depending on the types of strains used.
- Potent strains – Clinical studies have shown that these strains are the most potent type of probiotics available but are also gentle on the stomach.
- Supported 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.
- Natural – 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. It’s also free from gluten and is non-GMO.
#2. 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 in 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.
- Clinically tested strains – Few if any supplements have 7 billion of L. Reuteri 30242. It’s a type of bacteria used in clinical studies and found to be highly effective in improving digestive health.
- 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.
- Low cost – Each bottle contains 56 servings, so it’s great value for how many days supply you get.
#3. Premium Grade LactoSpore probiotic for IBS management
It contains a highly effective probiotic strain called bacillus coagulans, which has been tested for improving symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, gas, and cramping.
Lactospore MTCC 5856 is also able to survive the harsh environment of the stomach and gets into the gut where it can thrive.
Another positive about this probiotic is that it’s completely vegan!
- Clinically tested strains – The strain of bacteria in this probiotic has been shown to be effective in clinical studies.
- Vegan – If you’re a vegan and have trouble finding a good probiotic, this one is a great choice!
- Targeted – As this supplement only contains one type of bacteria, it’s great for people who need a gentle probiotic.
#4. Ora Organic probiotic – designed to be easy on the stomach
It contains a blend of 6 different strains of bacteria, as well as organic Jerusalem artichoke inulin to help feed the bacteria and allow them to thrive in the gut.
The strains of bacteria in this probiotic have been shown to be effective at helping with improving the immune system, as well as improving overall digestive health.
The supplement is also completely organic and vegan-friendly!
- Clinically tested strains – It has 6 strains of bacteria, all of which have been clinically tested and proven to be effective as well as gentle on the stomach.
- Vegan – Ingredients are organic and ethically sourced.
- Prebiotics – Contains artichoke, which is a great prebiotic to feed the probiotic bacteria.
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 people’s diet. Most people just aren’t getting enough fiber or they’re eating the wrong foods which encourage the growth of bad bacteria and candida.
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 hospital-acquired infections from taking hold, such as Clostridium Dificile after the 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 and any disturbance to the microbiota can exacerbate diseases.
For me, using probiotics have been a massive help in preventing side effects from using antibiotics. Many years ago, I had to take antibiotics for a prolonged period of time, but by using probiotics with them, I never developed any of the usual stomach problems.
Are there any side effects to taking probiotic supplements?
As with supplement or medication, there is always a risk of side effects. But the 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 but things will normalize over time.
If you have any concerns about taking a probiotic, speak with your doctor!
1. 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.
2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Gut Microbiota, and Probiotics
3. The efficacy of a synbiotic containing Bacillus Coagulans in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.
4. The effects of probiotic, prebiotic and synbiotic diets containing Bacillus coagulans and inulin on rat intestinal microbiota
Article updated and reviewed: March 2019.