The term ‘probiotics’ is one of those ‘buzzwords’ that every health and wellness company seems to talk about. Even if you have no idea what they actually are, you’ve probably heard of them before. They are mentioned in every yoghurt advert and every time an expert talks about gut health. In fact, the probiotics industry is now worth ~$37 billion. The industry is only going to expand, with the sales of probiotic supplements is increasing year by year. And it’s also a growing part of the biohacking movement.
So, judging by these impressive numbers, there must be something special about them, right? In particular, there has been increasing interest in probiotics for women. This is likely because women tend to suffer more than men with their gut health. Women are more prone to bloating, acid reflux, changes in their gut pH balance, and problems with bowel movements. They can help reduce the severity of these problems.
The research into them is relatively new. It’s only in the past decade scientists have started to properly look into probiotics and how they impact gut health. Because of this, many people are still skeptical about taking them.
Do Probiotics Work?
Before we go into whether they work, we need to first identify what they actually are.
As odd as it might sounds, probiotics are microbes. They contain a variety of different bacteria that are beneficial to your gut. When you ingest probiotics, they affect the environment in your gut and help your good gut bacteria to thrive.
You can get them for IBS, digestive issues, bloating, constipation, and diarrhoea. They are promoted as being the perfect solution to all of your gut health problems.
The benefits of them don’t stop there! They may also reduce allergies, boost immunity, and aid in the management of chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, migraines, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Probiotics seem to help with pretty much every common problem that humans can face, but how is this possible? Because supplements can affect your gut’s environment (pH balance) and this can influence the different bacteria already in your gut.
There has been a range of studies linking the gut to almost every other part of your body. So, anything affecting your gut (such as probiotics) can impact your whole body! This is why the benefits of them are so widespread.
7 Things to Know Before You Take Probiotics Supplements
Despite all of the exciting new research about the benefits of probiotics and the various conditions that they can help to treat, you should always do your research before taking probiotics supplements. Here are some important things to know.
1. Not All Supplements Are Equal
Many brands use certain strains that are cheap and easy to add to their products. But these strains aren’t necessarily the best for your health.
This is where doing your research is key! The probiotics are only going to be effective if you shop from the right places. Learning which strains are the most beneficial will help you to find the best ones for your money.
If you’re looking for some high-quality probiotics, here are some recommends from GreenBox. Two of our most popular products are the Hello Day Bioharmony Balance and the Neat Nutrition Immune Support. Both of these products are packed full of beneficial bacterial strains to boost your gut health and immunity.
Our Hello Day Bioharmony Balance also contains prebiotics that helps to feed the bacteria in your gut. The Neat Nutrition Immune Support is packed full of additional nutrients, such as elderberry, Moringa leaf, vitamin C and D3, to maximise your overall well-being.
2. Choose the Right Strains
There are certain bacteria that are extremely beneficial to your health – Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Search for supplements that contain 50 to 100 billion combined CFUs (colony-forming units) of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. You might need to play around with the amount of CFUs you take until you find the perfect amount.
Probiotics for IBS, constipation, or diarrhoea may also contain bacterial species called Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, or Saccharomyces boulardii.
3. Probiotics Like Certain Temperatures
Bacteria are fussy. They will only grow in certain temperatures. Because of this, there might not be as many CFUs in your probiotics as you think.
During transit, your probiotics might heat up, especially if it’s a hot day. Even if you only live a short drive from the store where you bought them or the delivery driver stopped off at your house first thing in the morning, your probiotics supplements might lose some of their potency.
Be sure to check the label of your supplements. If it says you need to store them in the fridge, please do so!
4. Buy Coated Ones
Some strains of bacteria will not survive the low pH of your stomach.
Always buy coated supplements. The outer coating will protect the bacteria from your stomach acid until they reach the intestines. If you plan on taking uncoated options, take them with food to help with the pH balance through your digestive tract.
5. Everybody is Different
There is a wide range of different bacterial combinations in probiotics. You will need to try out a few different options to find the best product for your individual needs.
What works perfectly for your friend might not work for you. It all depends on your unique gut microbes, your health status, and your age. Your genetics even play a role in how you respond to probiotics supplements, hence why probiotics for women and men are often slightly different.
6. Probiotics Do not Last Forever
Since probiotics are ingested, they are subject to breakdown by your digestive system. They don’t live in your gut forever.
The supplements are ideal to solve temporary problems, such as diarrhoea or digestive troubles, but they aren’t a permanent solution to your health problems.
Luckily, this means that you can never ‘overdose’ on probiotics. If you take too many, they will be lost next time you take a trip to the toilet. Another reason This is also daily usage is important to experience the maximum benefits of probiotics.
7. It is More Than Just Your Gut
Women, listen up! If you’ve ever struggled with thrush or itchiness down there, it’s probably because the pH balance of your vagina has been disrupted.
Changes in your vaginal pH balance can change the microbes that reside in the area. This can lead to a range of symptoms, including itchiness, pain when urinating, and foul-smelling discharge.
If you’re experiencing any of the above, taking probiotics for women might help. In particular, supplements that contain Lactobacillus acidophilus are very beneficial.
When you’re looking for probiotics to improve your vaginal health, it’s often best to go with the most direct route. Most vaginal probiotics come in the form of a suppository that you insert directly into the vagina.
These suppositories contain between 2-5 CFUs. It’s recommended that your use these them every other day after your period has finished until your symptoms have lessened.
Probiotics offer an exciting new way of treating a range of health conditions. Although they aren’t a cure for these conditions, they can be effective in reducing the severity of symptoms and helping you to feel more comfortable on a day-to-day basis.
Although many scientists are still questioning if probiotics really work, the research is currently showing promising results. And there are other ways to support a natural and healthy lifestyle.
Remember to do your research before you commence any probiotics, especially if you have any existing medical health conditions and you already take regular medications. It might be worth consulting your doctor or a local dietitian to obtain their expert advice if you’re unsure which probiotics supplements are the best for your needs.