One of the common supplements that we receive questions about here at BioGains is the simple probiotic. The most common question is ‘how long should I take probiotics?’ While probiotics have become increasingly popular over the years, some people still wonder if they’re actually useful or if they’re just another marketing gimmick. In this quick article, we take a look at what probiotics are, whether or not your body needs them, and answer that common question – how long you should take them.
What Are Probiotics, Exactly?
Probiotics are the super-supplement that aids your body in maintaining a healthy level of ‘good’ bacteria. In recent years, probiotics have become increasingly popular as their benefits are becoming increasingly known. And while probiotics might not be vital for someone who maintains a well-balanced diet… the truth is that fewer and fewer people are maintaining a well-balanced diet and probiotics are becoming increasingly necessary. In this article, we take a quick look at what priobiotics are and answer common questions like ‘how long should you take probiotics?’
Here’s Why Your Body Needs Probiotics
Let’s take a quick look at why your body needs probiotics before we dive into how many probiotics you actually need.
Probiotics specifically target the colon, which plays host to trillions of different bacteria. Most of these bacteria are completely harmless and aid in keeping the digestive system running smoothly without any type of infection. However, things like poor nutrition, stress and illness can deplete the healthy bacteria in your gut which can cause a huge problem for your colon.
When this happens, probiotics offer a substitute for the healthy bacteria that your body typically maintains when its not under the negative effects of stress or illness. To me, probiotics aren’t exactly a medicine per-say, but more of a preventative measure that is necessary when your body is faced with a hiccup.
So, How Long Should You Take Probiotics?
Most research has indicated that it is best to take probiotics daily and indefinitely and liken probiotics to a multi-vitamin. Taking probiotics daily ensures that the body is able to maintain healthy, effective amounts of good bacteria. And while it is highly recommended to take a probiotic supplement daily, it’s also important to note that no conclusive recommendation exists for probiotic usage.
How to Take Probiotics
Commonly, probiotics are assumed to be capsulated pills that you can pick up at the convenience or grocery store. But, the truth is that probiotics are likely already being added to the foods and drinks that you consume regularly. Foods with probiotics typically reference ‘live or active cultures’ which indicates that probiotics have been added to the product. This is very common among juice beverages and refrigerated goods because probiotics tend to die in high temperatures.
As a side note, this is one of the reasons we would recommend that you consume probiotics in refrigerated goods and whole foods as opposed to supplement form. When you order probiotics online from a store you don’t know or even from a storefront such as Wal-Mart, it’s impossible to know how the probiotics were handled as far as shipping. Most companies likely won’t go the lengths to refrigerate and transport their probiotics in a way that ensures the product keeps maintains its integrity.
Are Probiotics Vegan?
Vegans shouldn’t suffer from the digestive issues such as bloating, gas, cramps, constipation or fatigue – right? Right! So, rest assured that there are in fact vegan-friendly probiotics and other vegan-friendly supplements out there to aid your digestion. While not all probiotics are vegan-friendly, some definitely are. Since many sources of probiotics contain animal products.You have to be mindful of what foods you consume – just as any good vegan is.
But, vegans must not only pay attention to food sources of probiotics. They must also be mindful of the contents in the supplements that they consume. Many probiotics contain dairy and animal-products. And even the capsule of some supplements contain animal-products from pigs.
There are actually many non-animal sources of food that contain probiotics. These foods include picks, miso, tempeh and fermented rice. But, if you’re looking for a probiotic supplement, then most vegan-friendly products will be clearly marked on their packaging.
I don’t want to recommend a particular probiotic supplement in this post because certain probiotics have certain benefits. It’s best to identify your issues and then find the probiotic that will work best for you. This is a great article to help you find the best probiotic for you.
Final Thoughts on Probiotics
As I stated earlier, probiotics aren’t designed to cure or treat diseases. If you believe you have a medical problem, it is always best to seek the advise of a physician. However, if you don’t typically consume a well-balanced diet made up of mostly home-cooked meals and whole foods, probiotics may be a necessary supplement for you to maintain a healthy gut. Hopefully this article gave you an overview of what probiotics are, why your body needs them and answered that burning question ‘how long should you take probiotics?’