Probiotics are found in some foods like yogurt and can also be taken as a supplement. They are thought to have many health benefits, including helping with diarrhea. Let’s see how probiotics help with diarrhea and the ways you can use them.
What are Probiotics?
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system.
We usually think of these as germs that cause diseases. But your body is full of both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.
You can find probiotics in supplements and some foods, like yogurt. But you don’t need to eat or drink them to get probiotics. Your body already has good bacteria living in your gut. Harvard Medical School has published that probiotics can help with digestion and improve gut health significantly.
Food Sources of Probiotics:
You can also get probiotics from eating fermented foods, such as:
Probiotics are also being added to some foods, like yogurt, cereal, and bread. They may be added to these foods during manufacturing or afterward as a topping or coating. You can usually find out if a food has been fortified with probiotics by reading the label.
Types of Probiotics:
While there are many different types of probiotics, they can generally be classified into two main categories: lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria.
Lactic acid bacteria
Lactic acid bacteria are the most common type of probiotic and can be found in fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir. They work by producing lactic acid, which creates an acidic environment that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria.
Bifidobacteria are another type of probiotic that can be found in some fermented foods and dietary supplements. Unlike lactic acid bacteria, bifidobacteria produce acetic acid and other compounds that have antimicrobial properties.
While both types of probiotics offer health benefits, lactic acid bacteria are more commonly used to treat and prevent gastrointestinal disorders while bifidobacteria are more often used to promote gut health and boost the immune system.
Research called Probiotics for treating acute infectious diarrhea suggests probiotics appear to be safe and have clear therapeutic benefits in decreasing the duration and lowering stool frequency in acute infectious diarrhea when used in conjunction with rehydration treatment.. They may also help with diarrhea related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Moreover, probiotics may also help reduce the risk of traveler’s diarrhea.
So, if you’re suffering from diarrhea, chances are good that probiotics can help. Some ways they can help if you have diarrhea are:
1. Restore Bacterial Balance in Gut:
Probiotics can help replenish good bacteria in the gut that may have been lost due to diarrhea. By doing this, your gut functions better and leads to improvement in bowel movements.
2. Reduce Severity and Duration of Diarrhea:
Probiotics may also help reduce the severity and duration of diarrhea by competing with harmful bacteria for space and nutrients in the gut.
3. Improve Immune Function:
Probiotics can also help improve immune function by stimulating the production of antibodies and white blood cells.
How to Use Probiotics for Diarrhea?
To use probiotics for diarrhea, it’s important to choose a product that contains live, active cultures. These are the microorganisms that can provide health benefits. The number of live cultures in a probiotic product can vary, so it’s important to read the label carefully.
According to research called Probiotics for Diarrhea, no adverse effects occur due to probiotic administration meaning probiotics are generally considered safe for most people.
However, there is a small risk of side effects, such as bloating, gas, or constipation. It’s also important to choose a reputable brand and follow the instructions on the label.
Overall studies suggest that there are many different probiotic strains, and they have different effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Some probiotics may help relieve diarrhea, while others may help with other digestive problems or boost the immune system.
If you’re interested in taking probiotics, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider first as they can help you choose the right type and dosage for your individual needs.
Should I take a probiotic if I have diarrhea?
If your diarrhea is caused by a bacterial infection, then taking a probiotic may help to restore the normal balance of bacteria in your gut and clear up the infection. However, if your diarrhea is due to a non-bacterial cause, then it might not work.
How long should I take probiotics for diarrhea?
If you’re taking probiotics for diarrhea, it’s generally recommended that you continue taking them for at least a few weeks. But, you should consult with a doctor first.
How long does it take for a probiotic to start working?
It’s generally recommended that you give probiotics a few weeks to start working. This allows your gut time to adjust to the new bacteria. Some people may notice improvements in their symptoms within a few days, but it may take longer for others.