If you are having digestive issues such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, or diarrhea, there are several ways you can combat these problems. Staying hydrated and improve your eating habits are some of the solutions that medical experts recommend.
Another common method we’ll dwell on in this article is taking probiotics. Usually, probiotics are a combination of live bacteria and yeast that occur naturally in fermented milk, yoghurts, and supplements.
If you are wondering how the best probiotics can improve digestive health, this article is for you. Here’s what you need to know about them.
What probiotics are
When someone mentions the word ‘bacteria,’ people often become afraid if they only know bacteria as microorganisms that cause diseases and illnesses.
Nonetheless, medical experts reveal that your body has good and bad bacteria. While the bad bacteria cause you to be ill, the good ones help the white blood cells fight off the bad bacteria. In other words, they prevent bad bacteria from multiplying and causing you to be off-balance.
Now probiotics provide the extra ‘good’ bacteria that your body needs to fight the bad bacteria in your body. Although the bacteria are useful in different parts of your body – such as your brain and reproductive systems – they also greatly impact your digestive system.
Where do probiotics live in your digestive system?
Although experts are yet to define how probiotics work clearly, it’s evident that they have clear benefits for your digestive system.
Upon ingesting the probiotic – whether as a supplement or fermented food, it’ll go straight to the stomach. The bacteria’s ability to survive in the gut will depend on how well they can withstand the acidic nature in your gut, oxygen levels, and the amount of bacteria present.
When the microbiomes reach the stomach, they move to the intestines. They can go to the large or small intestines depending on how well they can survive in that environment. For instance, if the bacteria need little oxygen to survive, the bacteria will go to the large intestines where there’s little or no oxygen.
Additionally, large intestines have a lower pH than small intestines. Therefore, the probiotics go to a favourable environment to function.
What they can do to your digestive system
- Once probiotics find an ideal environment to survive in the gut, they occupy space and consume pathogens, which makes it difficult for the bad bacteria – or pathogens – to survive.
- Probiotics also release acid, short-fatty acids, and vitamins that inhibit the growth of pathogens.
- Reduction of pathogens in your gut system enhances well-being and improves digestion
- These probiotics play a significant role in dealing with certain digestive issues, such as:
- Diarrhoea: The bacteria helps to deal with acute and antibiotic-related diarrhoea since it slows gastrointestinal contractions
- Constipation: Older adults who struggle with this can deal with this problem by taking probiotics. They make the stool soft and easy to pass
- Crohn’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Lactose intolerance
Also, if you are taking antibiotics and experiencing diarrhea, you should consider taking probiotics during and after you finish the dose. Usually, these drugs kill both good and bad bacteria in the gut. Hence, taking both antibiotics together with probiotics can reduce any type of diarrhea brought about by this.
When should you take probiotics?
If you are new to taking probiotics, knowing when and how much of it you should take is not easy. The best way to solve this problem is to consult a medical expert.
Numerous studies suggest that people who have digestive issues should consider taking
probiotics before or when taking your meal. Avoid taking it after.
Besides that, you should consume it daily. If possible, use natural foods first before including supplements in your diet. For beginners, start with consuming a small amount first. That way, it’ll be easy to track side effects that may come along. Because remember, each digestive system is different from the other.
If you experience any side effects – like abdominal pain – reduce your intake. Also, don’t make the mistake of substituting your medications for probiotics. That can be disastrous, especially if your illness is serious.
Ensure that you consult your pediatrician before you give your child any probiotics. Also, if you have a chronic illness, ask your doctor for advice before you take any strains or supplements available on the market.
There you have it. As you can see, probiotics greatly impact your digestive system. Therefore, it’s safe to consume them if you have digestive issues.