Exposing the Truth About Probiotics
Let’s talk about probiotics. Many people take them when they’re experiencing issues with digestion, fatigue, weight gain, and grogginess. They’re often marketed as magic pills that act like superheroes in your gut and improve your condition immediately. But just how helpful are they? The answer might not be as straightforward as you think.
Just to be clear, we’re not saying that all probiotics are completely ineffective. In some cases, they perform exactly as advertised. However, in many cases people take a probiotic and feel no different. They stick to it for weeks with no improvement, and can’t understand why. Sometimes they feel even worse: more fatigue, worse digestion, and an added layer of frustration.
There are several contributing factors to the probiotic dilemma. Before we dive in, let’s establish some groundwork on what a probiotic actually is and what it’s intended to do.
Keeping Your Gut Healthy
In your gut resides an extensive community of bacteria, some good and some bad. Having the right mix of these bacteria is a crucial part of overall wellness, and can prevent several health risks such as weight gain and immune disorders. Finding this perfect mix can be easier said than done, and issues such as a poor diet or lack of exercise can tip the scale in the wrong direction. Probiotics are a specific type of “friendly” bacteria, and are intended to provide your gut with the right balance to work efficiently.
Sounds good in theory, right? If we all had the same metabolic makeup with the same bacterial communities in our guts, a probiotic would be the miracle worker that you’d expect it to be. The issues arise with the simple fact that we are all very different, yet oftentimes we don’t know what those differences are. There are some critical roadblocks that keep probiotics from helping like they should.
It’s Not as Simple as You Think
The main issue with probiotics is that people think they can simply take one and solve all of their health problems. In their defense, that’s often exactly how they’re advertised. The sad reality is that probiotics aren’t regulated as closely as other drugs, and don’t need to be proven effective before they go to market. People take them without understanding the other factors at play, and ultimately are let down when they don’t experience the improvement that they were expecting. If your body doesn’t have the proper nutrients in your gut at the onset, probiotics will be completely useless.
Another sticking point is that many people take the wrong kind of probiotic for their specific health issue. Some of them are geared specifically for digestive problems, others for immune troubles. These specifications are not always clear, and it’s actually quite easy for someone to take the wrong one without even knowing it. Whether it’s a vague description on the bottle or an oversight on the user’s part, this issue occurs far more often than you’d think.
If you don’t have a firm grasp on what exactly is inside your probiotic, it can actually have a debilitating effect. Some probiotics contain prevalent allergens, such as gluten, soy and dairy. If you’ve taken a probiotic and feel worse after a couple weeks, it’s likely that you have a food sensitivity and are having an adverse reaction to one or more of its ingredients.
Arm Yourself with Knowledge
Virtually all of the problems and frustrations regarding probiotics come from a simple lack of knowledge about gut health. It is important to learn the specifics of what is currently inside your system and what you are planning to add to it. Consult with a professional on what your issues are and what can be done to alleviate them. A probiotic may very well be the answer, but we firmly believe that in most cases there are better alternatives with greater chances of success and less detrimental side effects.
The key to a happy life is a healthy gut. Understanding what it needs to function properly will have an incredible effect on your overall health and wellness.