Women’s probiotic needs can be different than men’s. Whilst taking a probiotic supplement is good for both, women can get some specific benefits such as higher protection against urinary tract infections, cystitis, protection against yeast infections, and bacterial vaginosis.
If you are a woman who has suffered from yeast or urinary infections in the past, then choosing the best probiotic may be a really good way to avoid them in the future.
What are probiotics?
We have trillions of bacteria in our bodies living inside us, much of these are gut bacteria, some are harmless and some can be harmful bacteria. There are many different probiotic strains that you can get in foods such as, yogurt, or in supplements.
Your gut bacteria play a role in some of the most important aspects of health: a healthy gut microbiome is related to everything from a healthy digestive system, boost immunity, and good overall health.
Taking probiotics can promote digestive health and can include many other benefits which we will explore further.
Considerations choosing probiotics as health supplements
There is a large selection of probiotics on the market and it can feel a little daunting when trying to pick which ones will be best for you.
To find the best probiotics for women we recommend looking for supplements that have the following attributes:
- The best probiotics on the market contain multiple strains of bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus or Bifidobacterium (these are the most researched.)
- Contains enough bacteria to affect, this has to be in the billions. A clear count of colony forming units or CFUs tells you how potent your supplement is.
- There can be a lack of FDA oversight in the supplement industry, so it is important to be aware of any additional ingredients that are added to the supplements.
- Select some that have trustworthy health information attached.
These 50 billion probiotic supplements have all the above attributes and are great vegan capsules.
How effective are probiotic supplements?
Probiotic Research has shown that there is some evidence that probiotic supplementation and probiotic foods can be very helpful in some cases. Researchers are still trying to identify all the different species, however, and how they function and bacterial strains are always evolving so there will always be more research required.
Specific probiotic strains have an impact on preventing diarrhea when taking antibiotics, as antibiotics do decrease the number of beneficial bacteria in your intestinal tract and there have been studies done proving remission in ulcerative colitis when taking them.
Probiotics are safe to take, it is more about finding the right ones to help with your specific needs. The following article Probiotics 101: A Simple Beginner’s Guide (healthline.com) will help you consider the best probiotic for you.
Probiotics and your immune system
One of the jobs of our immune system is to protect us from bad bacteria. Probiotics help contribute to immune health in several ways.
Healthy bacteria help maintain a good gut flora which may influence the activity of our immune cells and could enhance immune function.
People with severe illnesses or compromised immune systems can be at higher risk of harmful effects of probiotics and a health professional’s advice should always be sought before taking anything.
Health benefits and side effects
There are many benefits that good bacteria can provide. We have listed some of the more common below:
- Creates a healthy balance of good bacteria providing gut health – reduces digestive issues.
- Help prevent and treat antibiotic associated diarrhea – probiotics can also help with other forms of diarrhea and reduce the duration of infectious diarrhea.
- Certain strains have been linked to keeping your heart healthy – may reduce blood cholesterol levels.
- Can reduce gastrointestinal symptoms of digestive disorders – Improve symptoms in mild ulcerative colitis and helps with stomach pain.
- Prevent UTIs – Can reduce the frequency you may experience them and reduce inflammation.
- Treat vaginal infections – promotes healthy vaginal flora helping restore balance.
As with most things, there can be minor side effects and we have listed the most common:
- The most common reaction is gas and bloating – this is likely to reduce after continuous use.
- May contain allergens – it is important to read labels to see if there are any additional ingredients such as lactose or gluten.
- Can increase infection risk – Anyone with a compromised immune system should consult their healthcare professional before taking one.
Probiotics are a safe way to increase your healthy bacteria. For women, this will not only help with their vaginal health but will also provide several other benefits with few side effects, making them a great way to improve your overall health.
Make sure you review the ingredients carefully, ensure it contains a high enough dosage of CFUs and discuss your options with your healthcare provider beforehand.
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