You hear that probiotics are good for you, especially when it comes to improving gut health. But you’re not 100% sure if they’re right for you.
You have a ton of questions, and that’s what this post is dedicated to—
Helping you answer: Should I be taking a probiotic?
In this post, we’ll get into:
- What probiotics are
- How to know if you need them
- The benefits of taking probiotics for both women and men
We’ll also address some common questions, such as if there are any side effects to probiotics and whether or not you should be taking them every day.
By the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll have everything you need to decide on taking a probiotic supplement!
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that supply your gut with beneficial bacteria. If you’re wondering what exactly probiotics do, you can think of them as a friendly fighting force that not only keeps your gut healthy and improves digestion but promotes better health overall.
For example, consider the fact that about 70% of your immune system can be found in the gut. That speaks to the significance gut health has on keeping your body’s defenses strong, preventing disease, and helping you recover when you get sick.
When you realize that 90% of serotonin gets made in your gut, it sheds some light on the link between gut health and mental health.
There’s a strong connection between gut health and energy. So if you’re constantly feeling sluggish, tired, or fatigued, it may be worth peeling popping the hood and taking a look at the health of your gut.
Skin conditions like acne and eczema, you guessed it. Research indicates gut health holds the key to clearing annoying issues like those up.
They’re for improving gut health, yes. But like the examples above show, probiotics have a ton more to offer to your overall health outside of your gut.
For the sake of this blog post, we’ll be talking about supplements, which are an easy and convenient way to get more probiotics in life. But just know that you can get probiotics from whole foods too. Some of the best high-probiotic foods include yogurt (with live or active cultures), kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and tempeh.
How Do I Know if I Need Probiotics?
When you think about the role that your gut plays in overall health, it’s safe to say that pretty much everyone can benefit from probiotics.
But there are some cases where a probiotic supplement may provide you with some much-needed relief from a health issue or condition you’re experiencing. If any of the following apply to you, then probiotics may be especially helpful:
- You have abdominal pain or digestive issues like excess gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea
- You suffer from a gut-related condition like IBS, SIBO, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or celiac disease (individuals taking immune suppressants should talk to their doctor)
- You’re abnormally tired, low on energy, or have trouble sleeping.
- You’ve noticed changes to your mood or suffer from mental health issues like anxiety or depression.
- You get sick often and have a hard time recovering (suggesting your immune system is suppressed or compromised)
- Nothing you do seems to help clear up skin issues like acne, eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea
Many people take probiotics for gut health, which has benefits that stretch far beyond your colon. Probiotics supply your body with a beneficial and diverse set of healthy bacteria that:
- Reduces inflammation in the GI tract
- Improves intestinal permeability (i.e. restore gut lining)
- Bolsters your body’s defenses against illness and disease
These positives of probiotics can provide relief and even prevent conditions like leaky gut, IBS, SIBO, IBD, and acid reflux. Probiotics can also help with managing food intolerances.
Even if you don’t have a specific condition, you can take probiotics for constipation (link back to post once posted), abdominal pain, diarrhea, gas, and bloating.
Benefits of probiotics for women
Probiotics for vaginal health: Around 50-60% of women will get a UTI in their lifetime. When it comes to preventing and reducing the likelihood of UTIs, probiotics have been shown to be extremely effective. Research demonstrates a pivotal link between the gut of healthy individuals and those who are more prone to getting UTIs.
Bacteria strains from the Lactobacillus family (considered the gold standard of bacteria strains, along with Bifidobacterium) are in abundance in the guts of healthy people vs. those who have a higher chance of getting a UTI.
Nella Gut Health Probiotics contains three proprietary strains of Lactobacillus bacteria:
Probiotics for yeast infections: Research shows that the bacteria strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus wipes out yeast and harmful bacteria in the vagina, as well as aids in more healthy bacteria in the urogenital flora. This can help with conditions like bacterial vaginosis, UTIs, and yeast vaginitis.
Probiotics for hormonal balance: An unhealthy gut can lead to an imbalanced estrobolome (which is a collection of microbes that maintain healthy estrogen levels). The end result is estrogen dominance, which includes symptoms like painful periods, PMS, bloating, tiredness, changes in mood, and weight gain, among other things.
Probiotics for clearer skin: Struggle with skin issues like acne or eczema? Research shows that probiotics can improve skin health.
Benefits of probiotics for men
Probiotics and testosterone: When you’re stressed, your body produces a hormone called cortisol, which lowers testosterone. The good thing about probiotics is that they’ve demonstrated an ability to reduce cortisol levels, which can preserve testosterone.
Probiotics for your immune system: Probiotics have been shown to bolster your body’s defenses and help it fight off various diseases and conditions. And as you know, a healthy immune system is key to optimal health.
Probiotics for energy: Two bacteria strains in particular, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, produce an abundance of B vitamins, which are crucial when it comes to providing the body with energy.
Probiotics for better sleep: Over the course of one 11-week study, students studying for an exam who took a probiotic supplement daily experienced higher-quality sleep than students in the placebo group.
Is There a Downside to Taking Probiotics?
There’s not really a downside to taking probiotics. In fact, many people don’t experience any side effects at all from taking probiotics. However, you might experience some mild, short-term side effects when just starting out, such as:
- Stomach discomfort
Side effects like those listed above are totally normal! And they should work their way out of your body within a week or two as you get used to the probiotics and your body adjusts. For many, the benefits in the long term are greater than any mild, short term symptoms.
Should You Take Probiotics Every Day?
Wondering when to take probiotics?
Most people start a regimen where they’re taking probiotics daily (although this isn’t necessarily a steadfast rule and there will be exceptions).
Big picture for most people: Taking probiotics daily is safe and daily consumption is generally recommended for the best results.
That’s because of the various outside influences that constantly try to disrupt the harmony of your gut. Every second of every day, you come into contact with harmful bacteria, toxins, and pathogens daily. And while you may get to a point where your gut health is in a good place and feel like you don’t need to worry about it anymore, try not to look at probiotics as this quick-fix pill you take once or for a certain amount of time.
Probiotics are like fitness. Once you get in shape, you need to maintain, or else you’ll lose everything you worked for. If you stopped working out, running, and eating healthy, would you expect to still be in good shape after a while? You wouldn’t!
So now, just apply that same principle to probiotics. For prime and sustained gut health, probiotics work best when you make them a part of your daily schedule.
If you really think about it, probiotics aren’t some new discovery. You’ve been eating them through probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, cheese, sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha, and kimchi your whole life. Probiotic supplements are a convenient alternative for getting more of them in your life.
Are Probiotics Right for You?
By now, you should have all the information you could ever need to make a decision on whether or not probiotics are right for you. We’ve gone over what they are, signs you may need them, and the benefits of probiotics for both women and men.
If you’ve decided that probiotics are right for you, be sure to check out Nella Probiotics by clicking on the picture below.
At Nella, we analyzed the gut profiles of some of the fittest people in the world—from Olympic champions to Ultra Marathon runners and Major League Soccer stars—to design a probiotic for optimal gut health and help you achieve your highest potential!
About the Author: Chad Richardson is a blog copywriter from Cincinnati, OH. When he’s not cooking up content, Chad enjoys jumping rope in his backyard, putting his Chef Boyardee hat on and trying new recipes, and hanging out with friends while rooting on his hometown sports teams.