Countless women, men and children have taken probiotics following antibiotics, or a bad stomach bug in order to equalize the gut flora, which regulates the digestive system. Why is it so important for women to take probiotics and what kind should they be taking?
Probiotics means “for life,” a perfect indicator why these living microorganisms should be taken seriously. Found in cultured food like yogurt or fermented foods like miso, probiotics may help with the following:
- Improve digestion
- Regulate gut flora
- Prevent infection
- Improve immune system
There are many strains of probiotics from Lactobacillus acidophilus to Bifidobacterium bifidum, to name just a few. Research is still in progress to see if the probiotics in food outweighs the benefits of a dry probiotic. In order for a probiotic to be affective, it is important to contact a doctor or a dietician, to ensure the correct strain is administered to the individual.
Probiotics can help many health issues and for women they can be particularly helpful in the prevention of or suffering from the following:
- Vaginal Infections
- Urinary tract infection
- Hormone imbalance
There are a number of trials to study the influence of probiotics on pregnant women and their unborn child. Analyses suggests the benefits probiotics, due to the microbiota changes during pregnancy, some of which include:
- Increased serum insulin
- Insulin resistance
- obesity-associated metabolic inflammation
It is also suggested that taking a probiotic may prevent asthma, food allergies, preterm birth, and AAD in children. These studies are not conclusive, so it’s not advised to rush out and buy them. It’s best to discuss with a dietician or doctor if this could be a beneficial health option.
The vagina is a complicated balance of microbiomes and like the gut, the balance has to be right to prevent infections like bacterial vaginosis. Probiotics may help with keeping the vaginal tract acidic, thus making the bad bacteria unwelcome in the environment. The balance in the vagina can get thrown out of synch by antibiotics, sickness, birth control pills, tampons, perfumes, menopause, stress, and even sexual intercourse. Researchers have recommended the benefits of probiotics for women to regulate hormones such as estrogen and progesterone (particularly beneficial during menopause), as well as benefit breast and bone health. The thyroid is also thought to be affected by ingesting probiotics with the suggestion that the metabolism could potentially speed up and therefore aid weight loss. Although there is currently no irrefutable evidence between probiotic and the cure for hormone imbalance and bacterial infections, there is a consensus it can only help, not harm.
SUGGESTED PROBIOTIC FOODS
If increasing the intake of probiotic foods is desired, the following may help:
- Miso Soup
- Yogurt with live cultures
- Cottage cheese
- Dark chocolate
- Apple cider vinegar
TOP FIVE PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENTS FOR WOMEN
- Garden of Life: Raw Probiotics for Women. 85 million CFU’s and 32 probiotic strains, with no added fillers.
- Hyperbiotics PRO-Women. 5 Billion CFU’s, cranberry extract, which is good for urinary health.
- Complete Probiotics Platinum. 50 billion live cultures, NutraFlora, and Prebiotic (non digestible segment of food) Fiber
- Ultimate Flora Probiotic. With 50 billion cultures and a powerful Lactobacillus formula to support vaginal care.
- Based on germinated barley, this solution does not activate the digestive system, which is essential because that means acid isn’t released and can’t destroy the beneficial bacteria. Research by University College London (UCL) shows that Symprove is able to survive, thrive and colonize the gut.
When looking for the best probiotic, it’s best to:
- Consult a doctor
- Look for the highest CFU count, which has a superior influence on the growth of helpful bacteria within the gut flora. Anything over 40 billion CFUs will be beneficial.
- Prebiotics supports probiotics, whilst performing well in the gut.