There is a growing body of evidence showing that probiotics help digestive symptoms. This evidence has anecdotal, clinical and research origins. But how do probiotics work?
One popular theory is that probiotics repopulate the gut. Scientific research has not currently proved this argument.
Another hypothesis is that probiotics help to rebalance the friendly bacteria by killing the harmful microbes.
Read on to learn about a recently published research study that shows how probiotics work for constipation and gas.
A recent study published in the PLOS One journal has shown that probiotics can help reduce gas and improve constipation by decreasing certain “unfriendly” bacteria in the gut. These unwanted bacteria included Citrobacter, Klebsiella and Methanobrevibacter.
The researchers recruited 21 healthy adults. Each adult took a probiotic mixture. The composition of the mix included five strains of Lactobacilli and two strains of Bifidobacteria. Each adult received the combination once a day for 60 days.
What the study found
At the end of the study, the researchers found that there was a significant reduction in the numbers of Citrobacter, Klebsiella and Methanobrevibacter bacteria. This decrease in bacteria coincided with a decline in gas and constipation.
More specifically the researchers were able to show that there was a direct association between the reduction in abundance of Methanobrevibacter, the decrease in flatulence (for all the adults) and a decline in constipation (for women only).
This finding is not a surprise as there is a close correlation between Methanobrevibacter species and constipation and the production of methane gas.
A frequently overlooked ability of probiotics is their antibacterial effect. Probiotics can produce antibacterial and antifungal peptides (chemicals) that help reduce bacterial overgrowth in the gut.
How Probiotics Work For Constipation and Gas
The researchers concluded that the probiotics work for constipation and gas through their antibacterial effect which led to the reduction in the unfriendly bacteria.
There have been many studies like this one that show that taking probiotics may help reduce digestive symptoms. These studies have used different types of probiotic species.
Does it matter which probiotics you use?
The simple answer is no, but it does matter which particular probiotic supplements you buy.
When choosing a probiotic supplement, you should consider the following:
- Make sure you purchase a high-quality scientifically tested product that is safe.
- Be wary of marketing that claims that a product can help with specific symptoms.
If you do decide to take a probiotic, then listen to how your body reacts and ignore any purported claims. If you don’t feel any improvement or your symptoms worsen, stop that supplement and move on to the next.
This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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