Which Probiotic Is Right For You In India?
If you were asked to consume bacteria for various health benefits, how would you react? The word ‘bacteria’ is obviously not very appealing, and ‘consuming’ bacteria sounds really weird. But what if you are told that there are ‘good’ bacteria that boost your immune and digestive system? What if you’re told that these ‘good’ bacteria are vital to the healthy functioning of your body?
Probiotics are exactly this: good bacteria. Good bacteria always have a positive impact on your digestive and gut health.
Both good and bad bacteria exists in your body. When an imbalance between the good and the bad bacteria crops up, you can end up with gut health disturbances. Such an imbalance can occur due to unhealthy eating habits, certain medications like antibiotics, illnesses, stress, and other lifestyle-related practises.
Consuming a powerful probiotic will bring back the balance to improve your immunity and boost your digestive health. Depending on what bacteria you’re including, the addition of probiotics in your diet can be extremely transformative for your gut.
You can find some of the best probiotics in India, so where do you begin?
How to choose the best probiotics in India?
Your choice of the best probiotics in India depends on the condition you intend to arrest. Here are a few things you can look out for when selecting the right one for your body type.
Ensure that it contains a multiple strains
Various strains of probiotics are available for different health conditions. Different health benefits are derived from various strains of Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces. Multiple strains are combined in several probiotic supplements. Some of the most researched strains are Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces boulardii. So you should essentially be choosing probiotic supplements that contain Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus or Saccharomyces, say health experts.
A probiotic supplement with several strains is a good choice. A probiotic supplement with a single strain will not serve your purpose! Also, the dosage of the probiotic supplement depends on the level of infection or the sickness you’re dealing with.
Read the label properly!
Make sure you read the label of your probiotic supplement. Even though the ingredient names may seem complex, you’ll find the codes of the strains mentioned (if the label is that of a good brand) which indicates that the company can locate the origin of the strains they are using. The identity of the probiotics present will also be mentioned on the label, along with the microbial species. Genus, species, and strain designations should be compatible with international nomenclature.
Choose the right format
Probiotic supplements are available in two delivery types: the delayed-release format, and the enteric-coated probiotic format.
Probiotics can be destroyed by stomach acid. Enteric-coated probiotic capsules are completely sealed and allow the probiotics to survive stomach acid, making their way down into the large intestine and colon.
Delayed-release capsules, on the other hand, open slowly to release the contents. These capsules take 45 minutes to release the probiotic into the gut and deliver up to 10 times more bacteria into your gut as compared to standard capsules. Often, delayed-release probiotics can be a better choice.
Consider the storage method that you’re comfortable with
Some probiotics are heat-dried and need to be stored in a refrigerator. Some of them are freeze-dried and can be stored at room temperature. If you can refrigerate the supplement, remember to take it out and consume it at the right time.
Is it sugar-free?
Sugar-free probiotic supplements are always a better choice. The reason is the bad bacteria in the gut can feed off the sugar and the purpose of the probiotic in destroying the bad bacteria will not be served.
Probiotic strains and their impact on health issues
Different strains of probiotics benefit various health issues in different ways. Given below are some of the health issues and the probiotic strains that have to be looked for in a probiotic supplement to arrest certain health issues.
Probiotics and weight loss
The gut bacteria have a great effect on the weight of a person. Studies have shown that obese people have lower bacterial diversity. Studies also showed that persons who followed a low-calorie diet for 15 weeks experienced a change in their gut bacteria. They had lower levels of bacteria linked to atherosclerosis which happens when the arteries are clogged with plaque.
The impact of gut bacteria on weight could suggest that probiotics can help in reducing weight.
Studies have shown that synbiotic supplementation i.e., a mixture of probiotics (gut bacteria) and prebiotics (non-digestible fibres that help these bacteria grow) such as Lactobacillus gasseri has shown a significant effect on weight loss.
A review concerning obesity and probiotics concluded that obesity and bacterial strains are interconnected and a mixture of strains could be more beneficial for weight loss than a single strain. Bifidobacterium, in particular, may be effective for reducing the body mass index i.e., BMI.
Probiotics and gut health
Probiotics promote gut health and treat gut issues. A leaky gut caused due to damage to the lining of the gut can allow molecules to enter the bloodstream resulting in inflammation or immune reactions.
Consumption of antibiotics can destroy both the bad and the good bacteria. This could cause symptoms of diarrhoea during the antibiotics course. Consuming probiotics along with antibiotics can help in balancing the level of good and bad bacteria and relieve the symptoms of diarrhoea.
The probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii is the strain that is effective in preventing and treating diarrhoea that is caused either by consuming antibiotics or is the aftermath of an infection. This strain may also be effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
Probiotics and mental health
The nervous system is the channel of communication between the gut and the brain. Gut health has a great impact on the functioning of the brain.
Studies showed that the probiotic strains Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus were effective in treating the symptoms of anxiety, depression and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and also boosted memory.
Probiotics and constipation
The gut transit time is the time taken for food to pass as a bowel movement and is very important for overall health. Research has shown that probiotics reduce the transit time by almost 12.4 hours and ease bowel movement.
The Bifidobacterium lactis strain has proved most efficient in tweaking the gut transit time, stool frequency, flatulence and consistency.
Starting on probiotics-take-aways
There are a few points you should consider if you’re contemplating consuming probiotics.
- Probiotics are gene safe. But if you have a weak immune system or if you’re on a specific type of medication, we recommend consulting your physician before starting it.
- You may have to go through a trial-and-error phase to identify the strain that resolves your issue.
- If there’s a change in your stool patterns or you experience bloating and gas after consuming your probiotics, do not worry. These are indications that the probiotics are working for you!
Extensive research around probiotics has shown that they benefit various health issues. But choosing the right probiotic is always imperative for optimum results. If you’re planning to give probiotics a shot, make sure you give Setu’s Tummy: Probiotic a go for the best results.