HOW TO TAKE PROBIOTICS: A GUIDE FOR FIRST-TIME USERS
If taking a daily probiotic supplement is on your list of personal health goals, you’re off to a strong start. Supplying your body with additional good bacteria can go a long way toward supporting optimal digestion and health.
We say “additional” because there are literally trillions of these microscopic organisms already living in and around your body, mainly in your digestive tract (or gut)—which is where at least 70 percent of your immune system can be found. Inside your gut, your beneficial microbes work to maintain a balanced intestinal environment, which supports digestive health and immune function.
But with so many probiotic supplements to choose from on the shelves today, we understand you may have some questions, beginning with: What exactly are probiotics? How much additional bacteria should I be taking each day? Is it possible to take too many probiotics?
All of these are great questions to ask when choosing the right daily probiotic supplement for you and your family, so we’ve put together some answers you may find helpful.
WHAT ARE PROBIOTICS?
We talked about the microorganisms that call your body home, many of which are beneficial and necessary for good digestion and health. You can think of this unique microbiome as a your own bacterial thumbprint.
In addition to the good bacteria in your body, there are also some are harmful and neutral microbes. Throughout life, it is important to maintain a balanced gut—meaning greater numbers of good bacteria and fewer harmful or neutral microorganisms. Probiotics are the live microorganisms you can take to improve your health by adding to your good bacteria stores.
In addition to supporting digestive and immune health, getting additional beneficial bacteria also helps your body digest valuable nutrients from your food and plays an important role in producing needed vitamins like vitamin B12 and vitamin K.
I’VE HEARD PROBIOTICS ARE ALREADY IN MY FOOD, SO WHY TAKE A SUPPLEMENT?
Here’s the scoop on good bacteria in your food: while it’s true that live probiotics can be found naturally in non-pasteurized,fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir and fermented veggies (think sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and tempeh), most Americans get very few of these foods in their daily diet.
DON’T I HAVE ENOUGH GOOD BACTERIA IN MY GUT?
Really, it’s all about balance—and everyday factors such as stress, travel, an unhealthy diet and even using certain medications can upset the balance of bacteria in your digestive tract. When this happens, it can lead to occasional tummy issues and may impact your overall health. Taking a daily probiotic supplement may be useful in helping to maintain good intestinal balance to support digestive and immune health.*
HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT PROBIOTIC?
Experts tell us that added good bacteria are beneficial at every age. But when it comes to choosing a probiotic supplement, all those choices can seem a little overwhelming. How do you know which one is right for you and your family? Renew Life makes it easy.
Use our helpful tool to find exactly the right probiotic for your specific needs. Whether you experience occasional digestive discomfort or you simply want to support digestive and immune health on a daily basis, we can help you make the best choice for you and your family. Renew Life probiotic supplements are made with multiple scientifically studied strains to help re-establish digestive balance and support optimal health.*
WHY ARE MULTIPLE STRAINS SO IMPORTANT?
Because different strains of good bacteria provide different benefits, and because more than 1,000 strains of beneficial bacteria can be found in the human gut, it makes sense to choose a probiotic supplement that reflects this natural diversity.
Bifidobacterium strains provide support for the large intestine (or colon) and Lactobacillus strains provide support for the small intestine and urogenital tract. Look for a supplement with multiple strains of different bacteria, including clinically studied strains that have been shown to benefit digestive health.
HOW MUCH DO I TAKE?
In addition to choosing a probiotic with multiple strains of good bacteria, another thing to look for is a high culture count; this refers to the overall number of bacteria in each serving. Did you know there are more than 100 trillion bacteria inside your digestive tract?
Choosing a probiotic with billions of live cultures per serving will help you get more of the friendly microbes that occur naturally in a healthy gut.* Some of the most effective probiotic supplements have at least 10 billion cultures per serving.
HOW DO I TAKE PROBIOTIC CAPSULES?
For the best results, Renew Life recommends taking one capsule daily with or without food.
HOW DO I TAKE PROBIOTIC POWDER?
Renew Life recommends mixing probiotic powder with cool or room-temperature water, other beverages or soft food immediately before use. Try to avoid blending with hot beverages or hot food.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR PROBIOTICS TO WORK?
It is important to remember that every human body is different. While one person may experience results within a few days, some will notice the beneficial effects of probiotics after taking them for a few weeks or a month.
It depends, also, on why you have started taking a daily probiotic. For those experiencing occasional constipation or digestive upset, it may take slightly longer for the good bacteria to have a positive impact on their microbial balance, as opposed to someone who simply wants to maintain their already good digestive health and overall wellness.
Choosing a probiotic supplement with a higher culture count and a targeted delivery system (to protect the probiotics from stomach acid and ensure more good bacteria reach your intestinal tract) may contribute to faster results overall.
Keep in mind that you are working toward a long-term goal of a healthy bacterial population in your gut. Your digestive system has developed over a long period of time—since birth, and possibly even before—so change may happen slowly, but you are moving in the right direction. Other diet and lifestyle factors that contribute to a well-balanced digestive system include staying physically active, getting plenty of sleep, drinking enough water and managing everyday stress.
ARE THERE SIDE EFFECTS OF TAKING PROBIOTICS?
This is a question we hear often, and the answer is pretty simple. “Side effects” is a medical term used in the labeling of some pharmaceutical products. Probiotics are not pharmaceutical drugs;they are dietary supplements that support good digestion and immune health.*
However, similar to when you consume a new food or make changes to your diet, taking a daily probiotic may produce occasional gas or bloating at first. We recommend gradually increasing the amount each day until your body adjusts and you are satisfied with the results.
If you’re concerned about how your daily probiotic supplement may interact with other medications or supplements you’re currently taking, we recommend talking to your doctor about any possible effects that may occur.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO TAKE TOO MANY PROBIOTICS?
In a recent article, Dr. Roshini Rajapaksa, assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Health and the medical editor for Health.com, had this to say about the possibility of taking too many probiotics:
“Since our bodies normally host upwards of 100 trillion bacteria, it’s very hard to overdose on probiotics, or ‘good’ bacteria. If anything, research suggests that eating lots of these bugs via fermented foods, like yogurt or sauerkraut, or supplements can help you maintain a healthy balance of intestinal microbes that aid digestion and keep your immune system strong.”
According to Dr. Rajapaksa and other experts, the one exception to this rule may be people with compromised immune systems, including those with HIV, cancer or similar conditions that can weaken the immune response and leave the body vulnerable to infection. These individuals should speak with a physician before starting a daily probiotic supplement.
YOU’VE TAKEN THE FIRST STEP. WHAT’S NEXT?
Here at Renew Life, we believe the journey toward being stronger for life is all about the little things we do every day to keep our minds and bodies healthy—starting with supporting a balanced gut.
The human gut is a veritable powerhouse of potential, which is why we make products specifically with the health of your entire digestive system in mind. Our single-minded focus has made us a leader in the industry, and all of our probiotics, digestive enzymes, herbal cleansing formulas, fiber and specialty supplements work together to help you achieve digestive balance and harmony.*
All the best on your journey!