Have you recently taken an antibiotic, and the doctor or pharmacist said you should also take a probiotic? You may be wondering what a probiotic is used for and why you would want to take one. We’re here to break down for you what probiotics are, how they affect your health, and much more.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your digestive system. Our GI tract has an entire ecosystem composed of billions of microorganisms, known as the microbiome. Usually this system is balanced, but antibiotics, stress, poor diet, and many medical conditions can unbalance it.
Probiotics are most often used to repopulate your GI tract during or following an antibiotic, but they also have other uses. They can improve symptoms of IBS, help reduce inflammation and allergies, and can boost our immune system. There is even research showing that our gut health can influence our mood and our productivity, so using probiotics to balance your gut flora is important.
Where can I get probiotics?
You can get probiotics from food such as yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut. Just make sure you look at the labels on these products for wording, such as live active cultures. If they don’t, they have likely been cooked off, and you won’t get the effect your body needs.
There are plenty of over the counter probiotics available. People that come into our pharmacy will ask if all of these products are the same, and they are not. Every manufacturer puts different strains, amounts, and different release mechanisms in their products. The different strains of bacteria have different uses, and you can get different effects from each type.
Probiotics We Recommend
So if you aren’t a fan of the foods filled with probiotics, you probably will want to take an over the counter option. Here are our top recommendations:
Acidophilus - This probiotic is the most affordable option. However, it only contains 1 strain, and your gut flourishes when you have several types of probiotics.
Florajen - It has 4 strains with 6 billion live cultures, and they do make a kids version that can be opened and sprinkled onto food or put in formula. You need to keep Florajen in the fridge.
Ortho Biotic - This supplement contains 6 strains along with a probiotic yeast. It’s shelf stable, so no refrigeration is needed. And the manufacturer, Ortho Molecular, has a no questions asked return policy. So if you don’t like it, you can bring it back and get your money back.
Flora Bites - This brand is also made by Ortho Molecular. It’s a great chewable probiotic for kids. It tastes great, so you don’t have to fight with them.
Superior Probiotic - This is our go-to recommendation for anyone who needs a probiotic. It does do better in the fridge, but it is shelf stable for up to 30 days. It contains 7 different strains with 30 billion live cultures.
When will I see results?
Regardless of what kind of probiotic you use, you’re probably wondering how long it will take to see the effects. It often takes a couple of weeks to repopulate your gut lining, so don’t expect results in the first couple of days. Start with a low dose to avoid an upset stomach and increase gradually, especially if your stomach is already unsettled.
How should I take a probiotic supplement?
It’s best to take 30 minutes before a meal or right at meal time. Don’t wait 30 minutes after because it won’t work as well. If taking them with antibiotics, space them out an hour or two.
Now you know what probiotics are and how they can help your gut health. Do you still have questions about how they can help you or what kind you should take? Reach out to us, and we will be happy to answer any questions you have regarding probiotics!