Probiotic supplements are among the most talked about ways of supporting better digestive health, with marketers promising everything from less gas, to a flatter tummy, and a better mood! There’s a reason for this, since gut health really does impact many things in our bodies. It seems like everyone is taking probiotics nowadays as part of their regular supplement routine. But, while it may be easy to find a probiotic in every grocery store, your local pharmacy or even at your local gas station in the form of a bubbly beverage, it doesn’t necessarily mean they all work.
Why? A huge part of this has to do with what kind of probiotic you are taking, as not all probiotics are created equal. In fact, some probiotics that are sitting on your grocery store shelves may be a complete waste of money and do little to nothing for your gut health.
So, if you want in on how to know if the probiotic you’ve been taking regularly is working, read on. This article will teach you how to pick the right type of probiotic so you can enjoy their amazing health benefits.
5 Ways to Know if Your Probiotic is Actually Working
#1 Less Bloating & Gas
Do you often find yourself really bloated and gassy after you eat certain types of food? This is a very common digestive issue, and a big reason why many people start probiotic supplementation. With the right probiotic, you’ll find that the gas and bloating subsides as your body starts to absorb nutrients better, and your intestinal inflammation starts to dissipate. Take notice if you no longer need to unbutton the top button of your jeans after eating because your belly no longer aches, and you are not gassy after meals. If you notice this change, your probiotic is probably doing its job.
#2 Regular Bowel Movements
Let’s face it, while it’s not a topic to bring up during your next family dinner, bowel movements play a huge role in your health, and they need to be regular. If you go too infrequently, you may be dealing with constipation. If your bowel movements occur too often, you may be dealing with a whole different set of digestive health issues. So, this is one big area to pay attention to when you start taking a probiotic. Over time, you want to notice a positive trend toward regular and healthy bowel movements. When your digestion is in tip-top shape and absorbing nutrients from all the healthy foods you are eating, you should be rewarded with effortless and regular bowel activity! If you go from being constipated or having diarrhea, to having more regular bowel habits, this can also be a sign that the probiotic is working and helping to reduce some inflammation in the GI tract. If things seem to get worse initially, hang in there. Often the first couple of weeks of an effective probiotic can make bowel movements worse, as toxins are flushed from your body.
#3 Fewer Sweet Cravings
If you find that your sugar cravings aren’t as severe as they used to be, that’s a very positive sign that your probiotics are working. This has to do with gut flora. The bad gut flora (that we want less of) feeds off sugar and the good bacteria feeds off prebiotics which are found in healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. So, when those cravings start to dissipate, it’s a great sign that your gut bacteria is starting to balance out.
#4 Better Skin Health
While probiotics are often discussed in terms of gut health and digestion, you may notice an improvement in your skin health as well! Again, this has to do with the bacteria in your gut. When there is less inflammation in the GI tract, your body can flush out toxins more efficiently, and with a lower toxic burden on the body comes better-looking skin. It’s a win-win! So, if your skin is clearing up, and you’re seeing fewer dark circles under the eyes, less puffiness, and less adult acne after starting your probiotic, that’s a good sign!
#5 Feel More Positive
If you suddenly find you are in a generally better mood each day, your probiotic may actually be helping. Did you know that 90% of the serotonin in our body is made in the gut? That’s right! How you feel and your immune health is greatly dependent on how healthy your gut is, so it’s no wonder that with a happy gut comes a more positive mood.
How to Choose a Probiotic That Will Actually Work
So, if you’re questioning whether or not your probiotic is doing much of anything at all for your overall health, it may be time to change it up. Since not all probiotics are created equal, we are here to share some tips on how you can choose a probiotic that will do what it claims to do.
Here are three things to keep in mind before choosing a probiotic.
Go for a higher-end brand
While it may come with a higher price tag, choose a quality probiotic from a reputable company, and skip the ones sitting in a box on your grocery store shelves. You want to make sure the probiotic you are taking still contains the active beneficial strains of bacteria, and a higher-end brand can guarantee this. Smarter Nutrition’sGut Health Formula for example is made with the addition of flaxseed oil, MCT oil, and prebiotics to help feed all those beneficial probiotic strains in the supplement. The probiotics used are all soil-based so they are truly shelf-stable, and don’t rely on refrigeration. Many other probiotics contain fragile strains that need to be refrigerated and don’t remain active long enough to be effective.
Look at the Added Ingredients
Be sure to check the added ingredients in any probiotic (or other supplement) you take. Unfortunately, many companies add binders, fillers, and allergens like dairy, wheat, and corn to their products. You will want to steer clear of these products and choose the one that is hypoallergenic without the use of additives. Look for a supplement that does not use milk, egg, fish, shellfish, peanuts, or wheat in the product, and does use healthy fats that help facilitate the transit of the probiotic through the stomach.
What Strains are in the Probiotic?
You will also want to check to see what strains of bacteria are used. Look for clinically tested soil-based probiotics. Those are the heartiest and most powerful. Using a supplement with more than one strain is also beneficial as opposed to just an inexpensive acidophilus probiotic.
The Bottom Line
Probiotics are some of the best tools to add to your supplement routine to support both gut and overall health, butquality is key. If you suspect that your probiotic isn’t working, it’s time to switch things up and try another one! Opt for a higher quality product, and be on the lookout for noticeable changes. When your skin and digestive health start to improve, then you know you’re on to something. When you make a switch, give your new probiotic enough time to notice results, but be consistent in taking it and stick to it. Using a probiotic supplement long-term can greatly benefit your overall health.