8 Strategies to Maximize the Benefits of Probiotic Supplements

There are several benefits to taking a probiotic pill, including: According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), studies have shown promising results that probiotics can improve immunity, relieve diarrhea brought on by antibiotics, and control irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), among other health advantages.

Also popular are probiotics. According to a medical publication, 3.9 million Americans routinely use probiotic supplements, and the global probiotic business is thought to be worth $37 billion.

Who Should Take Probiotics, and Who Shouldn’t?
Probiotics are generally safe to eat for healthy individuals, according to Niki Strealy, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian with a focus on gut health who works in private practice in Portland, Oregon. However, it’s important to keep in mind that some studies indicate probiotics may not be all that useful for healthy individuals, and taking them as supplements may even interfere with the probiotics that people consume naturally via food.

Therefore, there are a few things to know about the most efficient ways to take probiotics before you increase your consumption.

Probiotics are frequently used by people to treat digestive issues such gas, bloating, diarrhea, and stomach discomfort. The key is to focus on eating lots of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, proteins, and minimally processed whole grains since, as Strealy points out, a healthy gut begins with your food.

Check the probiotic ingredient labels carefully before taking them if you have a history of gluten, soy, egg, or dairy allergy or intolerance.

Additionally, Strealy adds, “Before taking probiotics, persons with a damaged immune system, those receiving cancer treatment, pregnant women, the elderly, and youngsters should talk to a healthcare practitioner.

Finally, patients who have been diagnosed with SIBO, which is a common complication of IBS, should exercise caution when using probiotics. In those with SIBO, probiotics may exacerbate symptoms including brain fog, gas, and bloating; nevertheless, in certain situations, taking an antibiotic and ceasing probiotics can be beneficial.

Common Errors in the Administration of Probiotic Supplements
According to Strealy, there are a few typical mistakes that might keep you from benefiting the most from your probiotics. These may consist of:

When probiotics need to be refrigerated, leave them on the shelf.
not consuming a probiotic for adequate time. I advise using it for at least a month, adds Strealy.

not using a sufficient dosage. This could happen if your probiotic doesn’t include enough live cultures or if you don’t take it as prescribed, such as taking two doses in the morning rather than one in the morning and one at night.
selecting an untested probiotic strain to treat the symptoms you want to control.

if you have IBS, use a probiotic that also has prebiotics. FODMAPs, also known as fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, are some prebiotics that can make IBS sufferers experience gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. To start, Strealy advises choosing a probiotic that is free of prebiotics to treat IBS.

How to Get the Most Out of Supplemental Probiotics
Although probiotics are often easy to take, for optimum benefits it is still important to follow the guidelines as with other supplements. You may receive the maximum benefit from probiotics by following this advice for taking them:

Pick a probiotic that is appropriate for your situation. Strealy advises speaking with a nutritionist or gastroenterologist or going to the Alliance for Education on Probiotics (AEProbio).

Examine labels thoroughly. Colony-forming units (CFUs), a term used to describe the bacterial colonies present in a product, are used to gauge the potency of probiotics. “More CFUs aren’t always better,” explains Strealy. Depending on the ailment you’re trying to cure, the ideal CFU count will vary. You may determine the ideal quantity of CFUs for you with the assistance of your physician or dietician.
Verify if the product lives up to its claims. Pick a brand whose ingredients and CFU accuracy have been independently validated. Strealy advises seeking confirmation of a product’s claims before buying from a source like Consumer Lab or Labdoor.

Observe the label’s dosage instructions. Be sure to heed the dosage recommendations on the specific probiotic supplement you’re taking because they might differ significantly between products.
Pay heed to the recommended supplement intake schedule. Saccharomyces boulardii can be taken at any time, but probiotics with lactobacillus or bifidobacterial strains work best when taken 30 minutes or right before a meal. To get the most benefits from your probiotic supplement, discuss the best time to take it with your doctor.

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The supplement should be stored correctly. Pay attention to whether the probiotic has to be refrigerated or is shelf-stable, and keep it as instructed.
Allow enough time for the probiotic pill to work. Strealy advises trying probiotics for a full month before deciding whether to keep taking them.
Throw away probiotics beyond their expiration date. Taking outdated probiotics won’t harm you, but they might not contain enough live organisms to provide you with any discernible benefits.

What to Do If Probiotics Make Your Symptoms Worse
You have a few alternatives if after taking probiotics your symptoms seem to be getting worse:

Keep going a little while longer. According to Strealy, symptoms might occasionally first grow a bit worse before drastically improving a few days later.
Dose yourself a half. Take one capsule daily rather than twice daily, for instance.
Alternate the time. Try taking the supplement, for instance, at night before you go to bed rather than throughout the day.
Change brands. Switch to a different bacterial strain or a probiotic made of yeast.

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Later, try again after a pause. According to Strealy, “Some people just don’t tolerate probiotics.” You may think about giving it another shot in a few months and seeing how it goes.
In order to assist you receive the maximum benefit from probiotic supplements, your doctor or dietician can provide you with further advice if you have any concerns while you continue to take them.

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