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3 Major Probiotics for Digestive Health

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June 7, 2021 | Published by


With probiotic products becoming more and more popular, how do you know which strains work the best for digestive health? In this blog we’re focusing on 3 powerful and vital strains, all which have been proven to help with different aspects of gut health.

Lactobacillus Bulgaricus

One of the first strains of probiotic ever studied, L. Bulgaricus was first isolated around 1882 by Russian Nobel Prize winning zoologist Ilya Mechnikov. Mechnikov found L. Bulgaricus in fermented sour milk. At the time, Mechnikov even attributed the long lifespan of the Balkans people to their consumption of sour milk and other fermented foods containing L. Bulgaricus.1

Antibiotic-Associated Side Effects

One of the common side effects of antibiotic treatment is diarrhea. A recent study looked at the research behind antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) and probiotic use. The study results suggest that probiotics, such as L. Bulgaricus, can help reduce AAD. C. dificile, a harmful bacteria and another side effect associated with antibiotic use, can cause diarrhea, belly pain and fever. Studies show that L. Bulgaricus and other probiotic strains may help restore the balance and ease symptoms.3

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

IBD is an umbrella term that includes digestive issues like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These are long-term conditions that trigger inflammation in areas of the digestive tract. Symptoms vary but typically include diarrhea, involuntary weight loss, and cramping. There are studies that suggest probiotic treatment, including L. Acidophilus and L. Bulgaricus, may help manage these conditions. A 2013 meta-analysis, which looked at the results of 23 randomized controlled trials, found higher rates of symptom-free periods in people with ulcerative colitis who used probiotics.2

Lactobacillus Acidophilus

L. acidophilus is naturally found in the human body as well as many fermented foods, such as miso and sauerkraut. Food companies often add this probiotic strain to yogurt and other dairy products. It’s the most commonly used probiotic, and for good reason.2

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

IBS, another long-term digestive disorder, affects the large intestine. Common symptoms of IBS include diarrhea, constipation, gas, and bloating. There is currently no cure for IBS, and professionals are not yet sure what causes this disorder. Recent research suggests that a gut microbiota imbalance may play a role in the development of IBS. Several studies show that taking L. acidophilus and other strains of probiotics may improve symptoms of IBS.2

Yeast Infections

Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of Candida, a type of yeast naturally found on the human body. These infections can follow a treatment course of antibiotics, since these drugs tend to kill good and bad bacteria. Studies suggest that probiotics may help prevent vaginal yeast infections. A particular study done in 2015 suggests taking Lactobacillus-containing probiotic supplements, in combination with antibiotic and antifungal treatments, may increase the recovery rate in women with yeast infections.2

Lactose Intolerance

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, approximately 65% of adults worldwide admit to having issues digesting lactose. Lactose intolerance can cause intestinal pain, diarrhea, gas, and bloating. One of the benefits of L. acidophilus is its ability to help the body break down and metabolize lactose. A study conducted in 2016 showed that people who took L. acidophilus had statistically significant reductions in symptoms of lactose intolerance.2

Bifidobacterium Bifidum

B. bifidum is one of the most common probiotic strains found in mammals, including humans. An essential bacteria in the human body, a lowered amount or absence of this helpful bacteria can lead to health issues.5

Symptoms of IBS

A 2011 randomized control trial of 122 people indicated that B. bifidum may help lower symptoms of IBS. In the trial, researchers provided 62 people a placebo and 60 others a tablet containing B. bifidum each day. After 4 weeks, approximately 47% of people taking the probiotic reported significant symptom relief, while only 11% of people taking the placebo did. Another study involving human tissue samples suggested that B. bifidum may play a role in alleviating IBS symptoms.4

Optimizing Immunity

Several studies done on human tissue cells show that B. bifidum might improve immunity. Researchers in one study noted that different strains of these bacteria can influence the immune system. Some can boost immunity by recruiting white blood cells to fight off an infection. Other strains can help reduce inflammation by recruiting fewer white blood cells.4

References:

  1. Lactobacillus Bulgaricus Probiotic Information. Probiotics.org. https://probiotics.org/lactobacillus-bulgaricus/
  2. Villines Z. Is Lactobacillus acidophilus good for health? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324194#_noHeaderPrefixedContent
  3. Duggal N. Lactobacillus Bulgaricus. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/digestive-health/lactobacillus-bulgaricus
  4. Duggal N. Bifidobacterium Bifidum: Benefits, Side Effects, and More. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/bifidobacterium-bifidum
  5. Bifidobacterium bifidum. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bifidobacterium_bifidum

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