When you go to the grocery store, chances are you’ll find a lot of probiotic supplements. It’s become a popular health aid that’s beneficial for the body. Its most important benefit is that it assists you with digestion. It does this by enhancing the bacteria in the digestive system. The bacteria, known as the human microbiome, help break down food.
Aside from that, probiotics play an important role in women’s vaginal pH balance. A healthy pH level prevents infections, promotes healthy pregnancies, and manages hormonal changes. The best probiotics for vaginal health will maintain a healthy vaginal pH level. Probiotics for bacterial vaginosis will, then, protect you from contracting yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis (BV).
If you decide to take probiotics, there are a few things that you should know. Is it safe to take probiotics with all kinds of food? How can you choose the right probiotics for you? What should you avoid when you’re taking probiotics? This article will answer all these questions about probiotics.
How Do Probiotics Work?
Probiotics are “good” or “friendly” bacteria. They help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your body, particularly in your gut area. When there is a normal balance of microbiota in your gut, you’ll have smooth digestion. It also strengthens your immune system and maintains normal blood sugar levels.
But how do probiotics do this?
To answer this, you need to understand your body’s microbiome. The human microbiome lives on your skin, mouth, digestive tract, and other parts of the body. It contains both good and bad bacteria. Good bacteria help your body in different ways. And while bad bacteria harm your body, it’s important to maintain the balance of these bacteria.
A healthy lifestyle can keep this balance in check. But, certain activities disrupt this balance. For example, if you take antibiotics, chances are you’ll lose good bacteria in your body. As you can imagine, bad bacteria will thrive, and this will pave the way for health problems.
This is where probiotics come into play. Probiotics help the body by:
- Interacting with other microorganisms in the body.
- Stimulating the growth of good bacteria.
- Slowing down the growth of bad bacteria.
- Communicating with your other organs, like the intestine.
- Creating compounds that help ease inflammation or leaky gut.
- Enhancing the immune system.
Aside from these, they help treat conditions such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Diarrhea caused by antibiotics, viruses, bacteria, or parasites
Are Probiotics Good for Yeast Infection?
Probiotics are popular for helping you with digestion. But, are they also good for your vaginal health? For ages, women have used yogurt, which contains Lactobacillus, to cure yeast infections. Recent research suggests that they might be right about that.
The most common bacteria in the vaginal microbiome is lactobacillus. But they decrease when you contract diseases like yeast infections. According to research, taking probiotics with Lactobacillus can help you increase its levels and balance the vaginal microbiome.
Likewise, if you Google “probiotics vagina” or “probiotics for yeast infection,” you’ll find vaginal suppositories. You can push this into your vagina with an applicator. But there is only a little research that supports probiotic suppositories. It’s best to consult your doctor before placing anything in your vagina, including probiotics.
Common Mistakes When Taking Probiotics
Probiotics help you a lot, but taking some in a few days doesn’t mean it’s going to work immediately. Sometimes, people do something that interferes with how these supplements work.
Before you take probiotics, make sure you’re doing it the right way. This can change depending on the formulation you’re taking. But, avoiding these common mistakes when taking probiotics is well worth the effort.
1. Eating Food That Does Not Go Well With Probiotics
Probiotics work by allowing good bacteria to take over the gut. This will reduce the number of harmful bacteria there. But this is not enough to produce significant health benefits. You still need to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle to maximize its benefits.
Before you take your probiotics, consider reading the list of foods to avoid below:
● Carbonated Drinks
Whether it’s regular or diet soda, neither is helpful for your digestive system. Ingredients in these drinks, like sugar and artificial sweeteners, kill healthy bacteria in your gut. Additionally, these sugar substitutes affect your health in a bad way.
Some say that diet soda helps you lose weight, but that’s far from the truth. Having a healthy weight means you most likely have a healthy gut. That’s why losing your good gut flora will instead result in weight gain. Sugars from carbonated drinks also serve as food for bad bacteria in your gut. This helps those bacteria develop and outnumber good bacteria.
● Processed Foods
Most processed foods conflict with probiotics. They contain a lot of ingredients, such as preservatives and additives, which are harmful to your body. These create an imbalance in your microbiome by killing the good bacteria in your stomach.
Aside from that, packaged meals lack the nutrients needed to support gut health and feed probiotic microorganisms. Consider purchasing whole foods like fruit and vegetables rather than packaged items.
● Red Meat
Red meat is not only bad for your heart but also interferes with probiotics. It contains choline, which creates a unique gut bacterial strain that is bad for your body.
It makes your arteries harder, which can lead to heart issues. If you consume a lot of meat, you likely have more bad bacteria than healthy ones in your stomach. That’s why eating red meat at the same time as taking probiotics can affect the outcomes.
● Refined Oils
Similar to fats, there are also healthy and unhealthy kinds of oil. Highly-processed vegetable oils such as corn, sunflower, canola, and soybean, produce intestinal inflammation. That’s because they have omega-6 fatty acids. At the same time, they don’t have omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation.
Because of this, they can interfere with how probiotics work in your body. They harm your intestinal lining and lower your gut health.
● Dairy Products
Remember that not all dairy is the same. While some can harm your digestive system, probiotic-rich yogurt won’t. Most dairy products are pasteurized and processed. They contain antibiotics that also kill good bacteria. So, you may be replacing good bacteria at one meal, but you will kill them off again at the next.
2. Skipping the Instructions
Each probiotic is not the same, which means they have different sets of instructions. It’s a grave mistake to skip the instructions on the package. All probiotics specify important ways in which you can use them, including:
- How many tablets to take
- When to take them
- In what manner to take them
Ignoring the instructions reduces its efficacy and costs you a lot of money.
Whether or not you need to take your probiotic with a meal is a key factor to consider. Some yeast probiotics should be taken with food to help soften the harsh stomach environment. On the other hand, it’s okay to take other probiotics with or without food.
3. Having an Inconsistent Schedule of Intake
Taking your probiotics at the same time every day is the best way to make sure that they are effective. If you don’t, then they will not be effective. Create a habit that works with both your regular schedule and your probiotic.
For instance, you can schedule your intake during breakfast if you need to take it with food. You can take freeze-dried probiotics when you go to work.
4. Choosing the Wrong Probiotics
The main reason that you’re taking probiotics is that you have a gut flora imbalance. And sometimes, people take probiotics for yeast infections. What this means is that you lack a certain strain that a supplement can give you. So a probiotic that claims to have everything generally won’t help you with your case.
Before you shop for a probiotic supplement, make sure you consider your health needs. The only way to do this is to understand its different strains. There are two common probiotic bacteria:
This type of probiotic bacteria is the most well-known probiotic. It supports your gut barrier function by removing bad bacteria in your microbiome. Probiotics with this bacteria have a lot of health benefits, including reducing cholesterol and diarrhea and promoting weight loss. Aside from this, they are also the best probiotics for yeast infections and BV.
Bifidobacteria are anaerobic bacteria that are important in the inflammatory processes in your gut. They proved to be great at maintaining normal processes as well as digesting carbohydrates. These bacteria also help keep your immune system healthy, improve your digestion, and regulate your mood.
Consult Your Doctor Before Using Probiotics
Probiotics promise a lot of health benefits, including helping you with yeast infections. But these supplements won’t work if you take them the wrong way. You can start by understanding what probiotics are, how they work, and avoiding the mistakes listed above. Taking probiotics in the right way prevents you from getting sick.
But the most important step is to consult your doctor before using probiotics. In some cases, you won’t need to buy these supplements. Instead, a healthy diet and lifestyle are enough to keep the microbiome in your gut – and vagina – healthy.