Should You Be Popping Probiotic Supplements?

Should You Be Popping Probiotic Supplements

Everyone wants to know the answer to this one, whether it is required or safe to take probiotic supplements every day. There may be some exceptions to this rule, but the answer is yes. It’s safe and recommended by some nutritionists to take them daily.

Probiotic supplements are filled with good bacteria and they are not a medicine.

They can be beneficial in:

Fermented foods have been part of the traditional diets of many ethnic groups for centuries.

Foods rich in natural probiotics are:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha

It has only been recently that we have been able to consume them in an easy-to-take capsule form.

Why take Probiotic Supplements on an Ongoing Basis?

Many people choose to take probiotics every day, periodically or whenever they feel that they need a little support. You can find what works best for you. It is worth remembering that many factors can negatively affect the probiotic colonies in our gut.

You might think that once you have established good gut flora, it can then be left on its own. That’s not the case. In reality, our lifestyles are now so challenging for our gut that many of us need to nurture it on an ongoing basis.

Most people know that antibiotics can’t figure out the good bacteria from the bad one in our guts. So they leave a negative impact on our good probiotic bacteria colony. When we are exposed to antibiotics they kill a large amount of the good bacteria along with the bad ones.  In order to get the good bacteria back in our gut we need to take probiotic supplements. We can take them in supplement form or from the foods that are enriched with good bacteria.

In addition, we are often exposed to chemicals such as chlorine in our drinking water. Chlorine is a strong anti-microbial agent. It helps to keep undesirable bacteria out of our water supply. At the same time, it also damages our delicate gut flora.

Other factors that damage our flora include:

  • Over-consumption of sugar
  • Contraceptive pills
  • HRT medication
  • Stress

With all of these things in mind it is easy to see why a daily top-up of probiotics might be a good idea for many people.

What Does the Research Say?

In the majority of studies that investigate the effects of taking probiotics, researchers gave a daily dose to participants.  These studies showed an advantage to taking them every day.

In another, small study a group of women were allocated to either a probiotic or placebo group. This study was carried out to investigate whether Lactobacillus Bacteria, a kind of probiotic could colonize in the vagina. The volunteers took the probiotic supplement orally for 2 weeks. The results after 2 weeks found that the strains of the bacteria given to them were able to colonize in the vaginal region after a week. But once the probiotic supplements intake stopped after 2 weeks, neither strain was detected after in the third week.

These findings indicate the need to take a probiotic supplement daily in order for them to colonize and show their health benefits. If you stop taking them, the good bacteria or probiotic will leave your body.

Many studies support the idea that once probiotic consumption is stopped, the probiotics are unlikely to remain in the gut for more than a week.

Can We Overdose or Become ‘Dependent’ on Probiotic Supplements?

This is a major concern for many people whether their digestive system will become ‘lazy’ if they take probiotics every day. But, you don’t need to worry, probiotics are not thought to be like laxatives. Laxatives can cause the gut to become ‘lazy’ and reliant on them in order to function. Up till now, no research has shown that the body will become dependent on probiotics.

When it comes to overdosing, even when taken on a daily basis and at high doses it is extremely difficult to overdose on probiotics.

When NOT to Take Probiotics Supplements?

Probiotics are some of the safest natural supplements available and have very few contraindications. A few groups of people who are recommended to exercise with caution, should consider supplementation with live cultures. For example, people who have low immunity, taking immunity suppressing medication and people with dark blood in their stools. Under these circumstances, it would be wise to seek the advice of a GP before considering probiotic supplementation. Whenever you are in doubt, always consult with your doctor before taking any supplements.

With regard to medications and natural remedies, there are no known contraindications. The only point to take into account here is, if a supplement has antibacterial or anti-fungal properties. If that’s your case, then take the probiotic at least a couple of hours apart from the other supplement. Doing so will not damage the bacteria in the probiotic. Take Probiotics alongside natural remedies and medication without any problem.

In Conclusion

Probiotics give some people that extra bit of confidence and health boost. An unhealthy lifestyle is the leading cause of damage to our gut flora. We should refresh our probiotic colony on an ongoing basis. All of this suggests that we should take a probiotic pill everyday.