From gum with gut-healthy bacteria to sports drinks boasting probiotics inside, the wellness world latched onto the gut-health trend pretty quickly.
Today, it seems like everyone takes a probiotic supplement and can tell you all that it does for their digestion, mood and even their skin.
Unfortunately, just like every food trend, probiotics are now so popular that their real purpose has gotten lost in the mix. These bacteria aren’t meant to survive in every medium—so, finding proper sources of these tiny particles is half the battle.
What are they?
Essentially, the term “probiotics” refers to a wide variety of bacteria that is said to help support your gut health. If you’ve heard of the term “microbiome,” this is where it comes into play.
Indeed, a lot of researchers are looking further into the inner workings of the “gut-brain” which refers to the idea that your digestive system has a direct impact on your mental health.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the gut-brain controls your digestive system, signaling when it’s time to release various enzymes while working with nutrient absorption. By supplying your gut with probiotics from a supplement, many believe that it helps regulate the system that, in turn, impacts other important biological processes and even your mental state.
Since your digestive system obviously controls waste removal, supporting it with bacteria like these can support your overall health. As undigested food sits in the digestive tract, your body can reabsorb the toxins, leading to breakouts, irritability, hormonal issues and more.
Taking probiotic supplements helps keep your digestive system regular, according to daily users. However, you may need more than a once-a-day supplement to keep your digestion running smoothly. Similar to the way that you need more than a stroll around the block once a week to maintain your cardiovascular health, your stomach likely needs more support than an occasional capsule.
If you’re looking to try a probiotic supplement, start with a lower strain—between one and three billion bacteria. Check the bottle to find the amount the product in question contains and do some research around which strain is best for you.
According to Mindbodygreen, general strains include Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Saccharomyces boulardi.
To start, consider finding a general strain with a low dosage and then finding a specific type of bacteria if you need more specialized support. As your body responds to the supplement, you can adjust the strain size and type.
However, steer clear of sugary drinks and other products that claim to contain gut-healthy bacteria. These strains of bacteria can be extremely delicate, so stick with a supplement that’s been rigorously tested for efficacy and safety.
To find the right concoction for your needs, you can also work with a holistic health provider that can give you a probiotic formulated for your gut. If you’re struggling with issues like IBS and severe bloating, this may be the best option for you. Otherwise, a daily probiotic can be a great place to start on your journey to supporting your gut microbiome.