Which is the best probiotic for digestive issues?
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 various commonly prescribed medications like antacids, proton pump inhibitors.
Sometimes the cause 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 for me have been a massive help in preventing any significant side effects from using antibiotics. At one point many years ago, I had to take probiotics for a prolonged period of time, but by using probiotics with them, I never developed any side effects from taking the antibiotic
Do probiotics help with digestive issues?
Many 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.
The evidence for probiotics helping with digestive issues has been accumulating over the past decade or more. There have been various clinical trials where doctors used probiotics to prevent nasty infections taking hold such as clostridium dificile after use of strong antibiotics in hospitals.
Whether the symptoms of digestive issues be minor or severe, probiotics have their place as a tool to improve gut health and overall well being.
How to choose a 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, 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 many clinical studies to look at different strains of probiotics and their efficacy in improving symptoms of various infections and health conditions.
Some probiotics help with gut health by improving transit time of food. Some strains of bacteria have significant effects on the immune system and reduce inflammation, so these tend to be used more for inflammatory bowel conditions and other inflammatory diseases. Probiotics can also have significant effects on mental health and improving anxiety and depression. Probiotics are great for a wide range of health conditions.
In this case, we want to find look at which is the most effective antibiotic 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 question to whether or not they survive long term and alter the gut in any significant way. However, these studies have been short in duration and more research is needed.
Much research has been done on probiotics on preventing side effects from antibiotics. And there has been no shortage of anecdotal evidence (even I have noticed benefits) from taking probiotics.
Probiotic strains that help improve digestive health
There are many probiotics which show short term improvement, but not much evidence that gut flora has changed nor any significant colonization of the bacterial.
Two 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 what probiotics to look for.
Below are a list of probiotics which you could choose from. Some may contains one or more of these probiotic bacteria:
Silver Fern ultimate probiotic
This probiotic contains a mix of strains including:
- Saccharomyces Boulardii
- Pediococcus Acidilactici
- Bacillus Subtilis
- Bacillus Coagulans
- Bacillus Clausii
The probiotic bacteria can survive the stomach so they can get to where they need to do their job.
They also mention that their probiotic has been clinically tested for its efficacy.
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 probiotic has also been found to improve cholesterol. Which is a great added bonus.
This one has less reviews, but overall the 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 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