As a Personal Trainer in Mississauga, I get asked a lot of questions about probiotics. Here are some answers to those questions.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live cultures of bacteria consumed through food or supplementation that are similar in function to the bacteria found naturally in our gut. The addition of probiotics to your body is to maintain the natural microorganisms (Microflora) found in our gut to proper levels. This will guarantee the proper digestion and absorption of food as well as inhibition of overpopulation of harmful bacteria.
When Should I Start Taking Probiotics?
It is important to take them after being on antibiotics. Most antibiotics are considered “Broad Spectrum Antibiotics”, which means that they are so potent that they even kill the necessary bacterial in the intestines. In some instances, the loss of beneficial bacteria during treatment with antibiotics leads to a blow to our digestive and immune systems and subsequently our overall well-being. Therefore, the next step after being on antibiotics is to restore the healthy bacterial balance is adding probiotics into our diet. This is will rebuild the natural microflora to a proper balance.
Why Should I Start Taking Probiotics?
As a Personal Trainer in Mississauga, I would say that antibiotics are not the only reason to take probiotics. Lifestyle habits, poor health, stress, exposure to chemicals through diet, water and the air are all examples of factors that can cause disturbance to the microflora in the intestines. The bacterial mix in the digestive tract is highly sensitive and any change, minor or major, can have everlasting or devastating effects on the equilibrium of the intestinal flora. Beyond the restoration of a depleted system, probiotics are essential for maintenance and prevention of possible digestive issues. When the bacterial mix in your gut is compromised, the overall health is subsequently put at risk.
What is the recommended Dosage?
As a personal trainer in Mississauga, the different brands of probiotics that I recommend can contain anywhere from one to 10 billion colony forming units or CFUS. Research has shown that a daily dose of 1 billion to 10 or 15 billion organisms can constitute a good dose. However, the exact amount is based on the following situations:
- Individuals who are taking antibiotics or have just completed antibiotic treatment, should take at least 10 to 15 billion CFUs daily to ensure the proper and swift transition to a healthy tract.
- People who have minor gastrointestinal problems, or unusual bowel movements should consider taking around 8 to 10 billion CFUs a day.
- Those that have moderately healthy digestive system, and don’t suffer from any particular ailment will do just fine on one billion CFUs a day.
For supplementation, quality is important so look for bands that contain one or more of the following bacteria:
1. bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum (BB536)
2. bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum (R175)
3. bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis (M-63)
4. lactobacillus helveticus (HA-052)
5. lactobacillus acidophilus (LAC 361)
If you give your intestines more CFUs than it needs, you may experience side effects such as gas, bloating, abdominal tenderness or even pain. However, there are no prolonged and major side effects, but when this happens, I recommend to stop taking probiotics and begin reintroducing them in smaller doses. It is also recommended to start with a smaller dose and you can work your way up and reach a specific comfort threshold where the supplement and your body works in complete harmony for your general well-being.
At what point in the day should I be taking probiotics?
The best time to take probiotics is with your meal. I like to recommend taking it with breakfast to get it taken care of right at the beginning of the day. If morning doesn’t work, then taking it right before or just after any meal is best for getting the most out of our probiotics. So why with food? The reason is that there are powerful acids in the stomach meant to break down food that enter the stomach. If enough acid overcomes the enteric coating of a probiotic capsule it could kill the delicate strains and render your supplement completely useless since the probiotic is not delivered to its appropriate destination – the intestine.
By consuming your probiotic with food you provide a buffering system for the supplement and ensure its safe passage through the digestive tract. The food also provides the bacteria in your probiotic the nourishment to ensure it survives, grows and multiplies in your gut.