Your gut microbiome contains several bacteria, including probiotics, that live in your gastrointestinal tract. Probiotics, also known as good bacteria, play a big role in creating a healthy gut barrier and improving digestion. With bacterial imbalances in your gut, you would start experiencing fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, or other stomach-related issues.
Stomach troubles are one of the most common issues in the human body, and everyone experiences them. If this sounds like you, you’ve probably heard about probiotics and their effectiveness again these issues.
Many people wonder what does probiotics do? Well, probiotics are potent supplements that aid the gut-healing process. However, gut health can be confusing, and you might not even know if you’re fixing the problem. Even professionals confirm that it is hard to tell if probiotics are making a difference. With that said, some signs may tell you that your probiotics are working. So, if you’ve noticed any of the following improvements, it’s likely your probiotics have done the trick.
1. More Frequent Bowel Movements
One of the top signs that your probiotics are working is healthy and frequent bowel movements. Without good gut bacteria in your system, you will experience all sorts of gastric issues. These include irritable bowel syndrome, stomach aches, diarrhea, and constipation.
Probiotics can aid in regulating bowel movement and gut mobility. So, they can help with intestines movements and empty the bowel, making you visit the toilet more often. Therefore, you will experience relief from abdominal pain and other stomach issues. When this happens, it tells you that the probiotics are working. Remember that bowel movement may vary based on your diet, but your gut health improves as long as it becomes more regular.
2. Reduced Gas and Bloating
Probiotics help by restoring good gut bacteria. After doing so, they help reduce the production of excess gas and distention (internal swelling) of the bowel. Therefore, you should see improvements in your digestion and digestive tract. This improvement in your digestive tract could help reduce or remove symptoms like irregular bowel movements and gas. By alleviating these problems, bloating should reduce. If you regularly feel bloated, it could indicate that your probiotics are not working.
3. Better Mood and Sleep
Your microbiome doesn’t just affect your gut health but your overall health, so problems affecting your gut tend to impact other parts of your body.
The gut and brain communicate continuously through several messenger signals, one of which includes neurotransmitters. This is called the gut-brain axis. Your gut bacteria play a major role in your system. They have the ability to influence the metabolism of certain brain chemicals in the body. Fascinatingly, your gut can produce similar neurotransmitters as your brain, such as the happiness hormone serotonin.
When your gut bacteria are not balanced(possibly from excess bad bacteria), and there’s inflammation, your gut cannot produce an adequate amount of serotonin. Unfortunately, this reduced amount negatively affects your mood. Furthermore, your gut produces other chemicals that aid in reducing depression and anxiety, and without proper bacteria balance, it cannot do its job efficiently.
In addition, your gut plays a role in the production of certain hormones that regulate sleep and mood. Therefore, if your gut is not performing well, you might have trouble sleeping or experience constant mood swings, which lead to fatigue and stress. However, with probiotics, your gut should be able to produce these hormones, leading to a regulated mood and better night rests.
4. Better Immune System
Have you ever noticed that you tend to get sicker with gastro problems? That’s because when your gut microbiome is out of order, your immune system does not function properly, reducing your immune health. You are more susceptible to disease when your immune system is not working correctly. However, your immune system should improve as your gut health improves after using probiotics. So, you might notice that you get fewer colds and seasonal illnesses, meaning your probiotics work.
Furthermore, your gut helps absorb essential nutrients, such as zinc and vitamin C, which are vital for your immune system. Therefore, if your gut microbiome is out of whack, nutrient absorption becomes harder, and your immune function gets compromised. Moreover, this imbalance can also lead to leaky gut inflammation. A leaky gut can cause large food particles and toxins to enter your bloodstream. As these particles become invasive, they release toxins and become poisonous. So, you would see improved immunity with probiotics and a healthy gut environment.
5. Clearer Skin
Probiotics also affect bacteria outside your gut, including bacteria on your skin. A healthy skin microbiome makes you less susceptible to skin issues like eczema, acne, and inflammation. One of the major signs probiotics are working is better skin.
6. Reduced Yeast Infections
Probiotics also influence vaginal health. Yeast infections occur when there’s too much yeast around your vaginal area. With probiotics, your system should be able to balance the yeast, thereby leading to fewer infections.
7. Improved Cognitive Function
Gut bacteria help regulate numerous body functions, and researchers believe microbes can enhance cognitive function. Numerous studies have shown that probiotics positively impact people with cognitive issues such as Alzheimer’s disease and bipolar syndrome. You might notice better cognitive function if you keep using probiotics for at least four weeks. Probiotics help improve attention, mental processing speed, and memory. So, if you see that your focus and memory are getting better and processing information quicker, then you know your probiotics are working.
8. Lower Anxiety and Improved Response to Stress
Your brain and gut work together to handle how your body responds to stress, and stress can be as harmful to your gut as junk food. Likewise, a study has shown intestinal infections can increase your tendency to develop an anxiety disorder in subsequent years.
Without good bacteria in your gut, the parts of your brain that deal with anxiety might not function properly. Probiotics help heal your gut, restoring your body’s ability to respond to stress and reduce anxiety.
Therefore, pay attention to your stress levels once you start taking probiotics. You might see a massive improvement in this area, which could be related to better gut health.
9. Elevated Energy
Probiotics help absorb nutrients and vitamins from the food you ingest. So, without them and more harmful bacteria, you will be unable to absorb valuable nutrients, making you feel tired.
However, a healthy gut flora helps produce B vitamins, which work to energize your body. Abnormalities in your digestive system can increase harmful bacteria in your gut, expending your body’s energy to produce immune cells. So, probiotics might improve the healthy bacteria barrier and reduce unhealthy gut bacteria, resulting in more energy.
10. Increased Weight Loss
Research has shown that gut flora works differently in people who are overweight or obese. Therefore, by using probiotics, you are also improving your body’s fat metabolism, which leads to weight loss.
In addition, your gut can help regulate your appetite because it can tell your brain when to stop eating. Probiotics work by helping to release a hormone known as GLP-1, which helps to reduce hunger. With this hormone, you will likely eat less and burn more calories. This hormone also helps to increase ANGPTL4 protein levels, thereby reducing fat storage.
Furthermore, probiotics may help reduce dietary fat absorption, which increases the amount of fat you burn, leading to weight loss.
11. Reduced Bowel Inflammation
Harmful bacteria can cause several chronic digestive issues. Therefore, probiotics help maintain a healthy gut microbiome. You might notice relief from bowel inflammation or other inflammatory immune response after using probiotics.
Remember that while these changes point that your probiotic supplement is working, not everyone will experience them the same way. Probiotics’ effects on bowel inflammation basis on the individual and their gut flora.
12. Lesser Sugar Cravings
If you want to reduce sugar cravings, adding probiotics to your diet might be the way to go. A poor diet can cause fewer good bacteria in your gut microbiota, which affects the healthy balance in your gut, called dysbiosis. This imbalance leads to increased cravings for food and drinks high in sugar.
Specific microbes in your system prefer sugar, producing increased sweet receptors. Hence, your craving for sugary food and drinks increases. When you succumb to this craving and take more sugar, you create more harmful bacteria that crave sugar, which in turn causes increased sugar cravings.
One way you can break this vicious cycle is to take probiotics. These probiotics lead to diversity in your gut, thereby reducing the potency of specific unhealthy bacteria, such as the ones that crave sugar.
How Long Do Probiotics Take To Work?
Our guts differ, meaning everyone reacts to probiotics differently. Therefore, your response to probiotics depends on your condition, the bacterial strain of the probiotic, and your environment. There is no definite timing for the effectiveness of probiotics. Also, it depends on your body’s response to the supplement to regulate immune, gut, and mental health. This response, in turn, leads to optimal health.
For some people, probiotics start to work in a few days, while for others, it could take up to several months. Therefore, you should take probiotics for at least one month before you decide they are not working for you.
Additionally, you should check in with your doctor a month or two after you start taking these supplements so that they can reassess your symptoms and confirm any improvement.
Reasons Your Probiotics May Not Work or Take Long to Work
There are several reasons your probiotics may not work or take longer than they should. We append some of them below:
By taking the wrong dosage of probiotics, you might see results later than you expect or not at all. Therefore, you must look at the probiotic intake instructions before taking them. Remember that these instructions differ by brand, so if you plan on changing them, ensure to read the instructions on the new product.
Wrong Probiotic Strains
Probiotic bacteria come in different strains, and each strain performs a specific function in tour gut. Therefore, different probiotics have varying effects on your body. Hence, if you do not see improvement in your condition after taking your probiotics for a long time, you might be taking supplements with the wrong bacterial strains.
If unsure about the right strain to take, you can consult a qualified healthcare giver for advice. These professionals have experience with gut health and will be able to give you medical advice on the right probiotics for your condition. Keep in mind that you should not pick up any probiotic supplement and start taking it. Ensure it is suited for the condition you are currently experiencing.
Different probiotic supplements require varying storage procedures. Some supplements require you to store them in the fridge to ensure the bacteria survive. In cases like this, you should always store the probiotics in the fridge. If you leave these probiotics unrefrigerated for long periods and exposed to excess heat, the good bacteria in these supplements will die off and lose their effectiveness.
There are numerous probiotics on the market; unfortunately, their quality differs. Furthermore, it is hard to determine the quality of these probiotics, which can lead to you buying one that is not effective.
Luckily, there are factors you can look out for to ensure you get the right supplements. Pay attention to:
- The science behind the product.
- The manufacturing process
- The source of the bacterial strains
- The quality of the bacteria strains
- The ingredients in the product
These factors can either make or break the quality of the product, which in turn, affects the success of these supplements in your system.
Not taking the right doses may affect how quickly you see results, and taking too little might slow down the speed or results. However, taking too much can have adverse effects. Therefore, check the label of the product and ensure you are taking the appropriate dosage.
How to Choose the Right Probiotic For You
Nowadays, you will find different types of probiotics supplements on the market. Choosing the right probiotic might be overwhelming, especially when using these supplements for the first time. Therefore, these are some features you should pay attention to before you purchase a supplement. Always ensure you purchase a high-quality probiotic.
Multi-strain and Multispecies Probiotics
Your gut’s microbiome contains diverse bacteria that work differently to ensure there is a natural balance in your body. If there is an excess of a certain strain of bacteria, your body will not function optimally. Hence, the product you choose to buy should contain different species and strains of bacteria to promote diversity in your system and improve your overall health.
Different digestive problems call for different strains of probiotics. Thus, to get the best results for your condition, you should look for a probiotic tailored to treat what you are experiencing. If you do not know the right strain for you, you can consult a doctor, and they will know how best to go about your condition.
Proof of Clinical Studies
All probiotic brands on the market make claims about the results of their products. However, not all of them are true, and they might be out to make a quick buck. Hence, it would be best if you looked for brands that make accurate claims, and these claims should be backed by clinical studies. This ensures you are purchasing a product that has been studied and has proven to have positive effects.
Also, look out for products that have certification from authorized organizations. Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements. However, other bodies offer certifications, so look out for them.
Human Bacterial Strains
There are different bacterial strains from varying sources, but only human strains can survive and reproduce in your cut. Other bacteria you find in fermented foods, such as soil-based probiotics and yogurt, cannot work and last in your body. Instead, they pass through your digestive system in a few days. Therefore, if you want long-lasting positive effects, you should opt for human strains that can last in your body without leading your system.
Some probiotics come with unnecessary fillers manufacturers include increasing the quantity of their product. However, this increased quantity reduces the quality of the products. Thus, it would be best if you avoided them.
Furthermore, steer clear of allergens, animal proteins, soy, gluten, and yeast. These are unnecessary substances that do nothing for your gut. Also, you shouldn’t be ingesting some of these substances if you are vegan.
When you take probiotics, the beneficial bacteria journey through the tough, acidic environment in your stomach before they reach your small intestine and large intestine. You can get probiotics in capsules or powder forms.
Capsules contain freeze-dried bacteria. Once these capsule dissolves and the bacteria touches your stomach acid before any other liquid, they would soak up the stomach acid and die due to the acidity. Therefore, taking the capsules might not be the correct delivery mechanism. With that said, not all capsules contain freeze-dried bacteria, so you might have some success using capsules.
Alternatively, you can take probiotics in powder form. Powdered probiotics are more effective because they are designed to be activated with water before you take them. You can choose either supplement form based on what you prefer.
Additionally, it would help if you opted for probiotics with prebiotics in them. Your gut’s beneficial microorganisms feed on prebiotics, which makes them last longer and works better. Keep in mind that probiotics that require refrigeration might not be the best option because you can never tell the health condition of these bacteria before you store them in your fridge. However, you might be lucky and end up with a “fresh” batch.
How to Ensure the Effectiveness of Probiotics
To ensure your probiotics are working efficiently, follow the instructions for recommended use on the product’s label. Furthermore, the process for taking your probiotic might differ based on the delivery method. For instance, you need to dissolve some probiotics in a liquid before ingesting them, while others require that you take them on an empty stomach.
Some medications, like antibiotics, do not mix well with your probiotic supplementation and good bacteria in your gut, leading to negative effects. Thus, it would be best to stay away from certain medications when taking probiotics. If you are uncertain about the medications that counteract probiotics, you can confirm this information from your doctor or a local pharmacist. In some cases, you might not be able to take probiotic supplements because they might not work well with the medication you need to take daily.
Be sure to check the label on your probiotic supplement for storage instructions. Storing your probiotics the right way can lead to them working efficiently for as long as you take them. However, improper storage can lead to your supplements not working properly.
Finally, be sure to look for the expiration date on your probiotic supplement to ascertain it has not expired. We suggest you check the expiration date before you purchase a product. If it is expiring soon, we suggest you do not buy it because you might not be able to finish it before it expires. Also, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t buy it if it has expired.
In addition, be sure to check the expiration date frequently in case you forget because expired probiotics do nothing for your gut.
Signs Your Probiotics Are Not Effective
Just as you have signs verifying probiotics restore your health, there are also signs telling you they are not working as they should. Here are some signs that prove your probiotics are not working, and you might need to stop taking them or switch products.
No Signs of Improvement
If you take probiotics for a minimum of one month and you do not see digestion improvements or relief from gastric issues you are experiencing, then chances are the product is not working and won’t work. In a case like this, you can opt for a different product or consult your doctor to devise a plan.
Adverse Side Effects
Like with most medications and supplements, probiotics can cause side effects for certain individuals. Some individuals may experience side effects, such as flatulence, excessively regular bowel movements, or bloating. However, these symptoms should only last a few days after starting a new probiotic.
The reason for these symptoms is your body adapting to the new probiotics and possibly cleaning harmful substances, such as pathogens and harmful bacteria. With that said, if you experience these side effects are one week of ingesting the probiotic, you should stop taking the supplement and reach out to a physician.
Additionally, you might experience more severe side effects, such as dizziness, difficulty breathing, allergic reactions, or swelling. If that is the case, stop using the product and seek medical help as soon as possible. You might be reacting to a specific strain of bacteria, and if your physician can identify the cause of these side effects, they might be able to recommend a new brand without these bacteria.
What You Should Do if Your Probiotic Isn’t Working
If your probiotics are not working, that’s fine; you are not the only one. Luckily, there are steps you can take to figure out what the problem is and other things you can do to ensure they work. Here are some of these steps.
Read the Label Again
If you experience side effects, such as gas or nausea, you might be having an allergic reaction. Therefore, you should check the label of your product and confirm that there aren’t any ingredients you are allergic to.
Several probiotics contain lactose, a substance that can cause irritation in your gut, particularly in adults. Also, lactose intolerant and vegan individuals would find this information important as they do not ingest lactose.
Opt for a Different Product
Probiotics come in various forms, compositions, and qualities. There is a chance that the probiotic supplement you currently take is not strong enough or does not contain the appropriate strains you need to improve your condition. In such a case, you can opt to look for a high-quality probiotic supplement. Furthermore, ensure to check for multi-strain and multispecies probiotics that match your needs.
Seek Help From a Qualified Healthcare Provider
If you have tried several products and all else fails, it might be time to visit your doctor. Your doctor should be able to confirm what is affecting your gut health and figure out the next course of action.
Takeaway: How Do You Know Your probiotics Are Working?
Probiotics go a long way in improving your health. They help improve your digestive system, but these gut bacteria also have other benefits, such as improved skin and fewer sugar cravings. They also help to get rid of bad bacteria and improve bacterial imbalances. All these lead to a healthy life.
Therefore, purchasing a supplement is not a bad idea. However, finding signs that probiotics are working for you can be challenging. Hopefully, you can use our article to confirm how well they work for you and learn all the tips you need to buy one that works for you.