You may know that probiotics can positively impact your gut health, but you may not understand how it works. This article explains what probiotics do and how you can tell if they are working.
What Happens When You Take a Probiotic?
Probiotics are live bacteria that improve your gut health. When you take probiotic supplements, you add more good bacteria to your gut. Robert Rountree, M.D., said the probiotics are like good cops. He also said these good cops are being introduced into your system to monitor the bad guys. By introducing good bacteria to your gut microbiome, probiotic supplements can promote healthy digestion. It can also support gut microbial balance.
Amy Shah, M.D., said probiotics will metabolize differently for different people. She also said they might take longer to start working or result in side effects depending on your existing gut health.
How Do You Know It’s Working?
Shah said probiotics could begin working in 24 to 48 hours for some people. However, she also said you might not see results for weeks. That said, you need to remember that probiotics do not work in isolation. They must have a proper diet, exercise, stress reduction, and other lifestyle measures. These are vital for helping your good gut microbes flourish and grow.
Are There Any Possible Side Effects?
Before you see any visible improvements, you might experience gastrointestinal side effects. Shah said many people could experience bloating or gas in the first two weeks as the new bacteria enters their system.
Eventually, these side effects should fade. If they don’t, you should stop taking probiotics and consult a gastroenterologist. This is because long-term GI issues can point toward underlying health conditions. These include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
What Happens When You Stop Taking Probiotics?
Bindiya Gandhi, M.D., said your microbiome changes drastically if you stop taking probiotics for at least three days. She also said that pausing or stopping the supplement can cause the microbiome to return to its original state. Gandhi said this will likely happen if you still indulge in your old habits.
When you start taking probiotic supplements, you add good bacteria into your gut. This can lead to multiple benefits, such as less bloating and gas and healthy digestion and regularity. Contact your doctor to ensure you are taking the best probiotic for you.