Bloating is downright uncomfortable for many people. Thankfully, studies have found a solution that can be helpful — probiotic supplements .
Probiotics can help provide more healthy gut bacteria, which can restore the balance of the trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms that live in our gut, also known as gut microbiota.
The research has also shown that your microbiota plays a significant role in digestion and gut health while also supporting your immune system.
If you experience bloating often, it may be time to start using a probiotic to see if you notice any difference in your digestive symptoms. So, let's look at how probiotics can help with bloating and digestive health.
What causes stomach bloating?
Bloating, which is a feeling of tightness, fullness or abdominal pain, can be caused by several different things, but most likely, it is due to changes in your diet causing excess intestinal gas.
For example, eating foods that are richer in flavour than you usually would. What you eat can change the type of bacteria you have in your gut, leading to bloating, gas and digestive discomfort. You can also experience this if you eat more salty food than usual, drink carbonated drinks, overeat, or eat too fast.
Gas is a natural byproduct of digestion. However, too much of it means there's something slightly off with your digestion. When you drink fizzy drinks or swallow air, the gasses will likely escape through burping before reaching the intestines. Gasses in your intestines are caused by gut bacteria as they digest carbohydrates, known as fermentation.
If carbohydrates aren't naturally absorbed earlier in the digestive process, before reaching the gut bacteria, it can create too much fermentation. This could mean you ate too much, too fast, or have a food intolerance, or at the very worst, you may have a gastrointestinal disease.
Bloating can also be caused by functional bowel disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food intolerances such as lactose or gluten, hormonal changes such as before your period or during menopause, stress, coeliac disease, weight gain and even some medications.
Bloating can range from being mildly uncomfortable to quite painful but usually goes away after a little while. Though, for some, it can be a recurring issue. You may also experience cyclical bloating due to digestive problems and hormone fluctuations.
It shouldn't last longer than a few hours or days, but if you're constipated, you will likely not feel better until you're able to go to the toilet. Eating fibre-rich foods and drinking lots of water and herbal teas should help move things along, but if not, you may want to speak to a doctor.
Being bloated can also cause you to feel unwell and tired, but as long as it goes away with time, you have no cause to worry. However, if it doesn't go away, gets worse, or if you have other symptoms such as a fever or vomiting, you should seek medical attention.
Do probiotics help with stomach bloating and constipation?
Probiotics offer a range of benefits for overall gut health, as well as the possibility of a few side effects. They can provide healthy bacteria, which can help restore the balance of the gut microbiota.
Kin's Daily Digest can be helpful in this capacity as it helps promote and restore digestive health in 1 easy to drink formula. Our supplement contains pre and probiotics, fibre and digestive enzymes to ensure your gut’s nutritional needs are being met.
Gut health is important for more than just digestion, it also supports your mental health through the gut-brain axis. That's why our formula contains patented probiotics that promote mental well-being, to look after your body and mind.
While you can take a probiotic tablet or powder, some foods also contain probiotics. These include some yoghurts and fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut and tempeh.
Probiotics can help supplement or rebalance the gut bacteria, and some will help you digest food better, while others will help absorb excess gasses, which will ease bloating and help combat constipation, diarrhoea and other digestive issues. You will likely need to take a probiotic supplement for a few days or weeks to see a difference in your gut health.
Digestive enzymes are also a useful tool to help battle bloating, as they help to break down protein, carbs, fibre, lactose and fats to make it easier on your digestive system. If you only experience bloating on occasion, digestive enzymes could be a good solution for you and your gut health.
How do probiotics work in the body?
Probiotics are made with good live bacteria and/or yeasts that naturally live in your body, with the most common types being Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Saccharomyces boulardii.
This beneficial bacteria helps fight off harmful bacteria when you have too much and maintain a healthy balance of bacteria. You want your body to be at a neutral level, but when you get sick, bad bacteria can enter the body and increase in number, putting you out of balance. Good bacteria are necessary to restore that balance, support immune health and control inflammation.
Good bacteria can also:
- Help the body with digestion
- Stop harmful bacteria from making you sick
- Create vitamins
- Help prevent bad bacteria from entering your blood
- Break down and absorb medication.
Should I take probiotics for bloating every day?
The balancing act mentioned above occurs in your body all the time, and you don't need to take probiotic supplements to make this happen.
You can get all the good bacteria you need from food. However, this requires eating a well-balanced and fibre-rich diet to maintain your levels of good bacteria .
Women should eat 21-25 grams of fibre a day, while men need between 30-38 grams per day. Overeating processed and fatty foods or drinking too much alcohol can also lead to bloating. If you don't get enough fibre, a probiotic supplement is a good solution to maintain good gut health and a healthy gut microbiome.
If you become bloated quite often, a probiotic taken regularly can help prevent that uncomfortable feeling or alleviate bloating.
Can I take probiotics with other medications?
If you're taking a course of antibiotics, you may be recommended a probiotic to help reduce the gastrointestinal side effects from antibiotics, which may include diarrhoea and bloating .
However, you cannot take them at the same time. You will need to wait several hours between taking an antibiotic before taking a probiotic, as they may interfere with each other and cancel each other out.
Otherwise, probiotics are generally safe and don't interact with other medications. However, if you take immunosuppressants, you may risk getting sick due to the active bacteria. If you need clarification as to whether a probiotic is suitable for you and your medications, it's best to speak with your doctor.
How long does it take for probiotics to work?
Probiotics will often begin working a few days or weeks after you start taking them.
Are there any side effects from taking probiotics?
In some rare cases, you may experience side effects after taking probiotics. For example, authors of a 2018 review reported that 2 study participants ended up with a rash as a side effect of taking probiotics to treat irritable bowel syndrome .
If this happens to you, stop taking the probiotic, check the product's label for allergens and if the rash is severe, see a doctor.
If you have food allergies or intolerances to gluten, soy, egg, dairy or lactose, you should exercise caution when using a probiotic on the off-chance it may cause a reaction. Again, stop using the probiotic if this happens to you and visit your doctor if symptoms persist.
A 2017 review also found that people with severe illnesses or compromised immune systems should avoid using probiotics as they can actually lead to bacterial or fungal infections .
A 2018 study found a possible link between small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and probiotics . SIBO occurs when bacteria from the large intestine start growing in the small intestine and can cause symptoms similar to IBS, such as gas, bloating and diarrhoea.
It can also cause brain fog and short-term memory problems. Researchers in the study found that people with SIBO suffering from brain fog would often find their symptoms improved when they stopped taking probiotics and started taking antibiotics. If you think you're experiencing SIBO symptoms, speak with a doctor.
Can I get bloated after taking probiotics?
Sometimes a probiotic can cause bloating. This is usually likely to happen when you first start taking the probiotic, and your body adjusts to the new microorganisms. However, these side effects will usually clear up in a few days or weeks as your body adjusts. Bloating may also occur if the probiotic is not the right fit for you.
Read the instructions carefully and consider reducing the dosage if you find you're experiencing uncomfortable side effects.
How do I choose the best probiotics for bloating?
There are many different probiotic supplements, and it can be difficult to figure out which are the best probiotics for bloating. If a decrease in bloating is your number one priority, there are a few different probiotic strains you should look out for on the packaging of your daily supplement.
One study followed a group of participants who took a probiotic that contained Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 and Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM twice a day for 8 weeks . It was found that this group significantly improved bloating severity more than those in the placebo group.
Another study found that a group taking a probiotic containing Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 for 28 days increased bowel movement regularity and eased constipation, both of which can lead to bloating .
Aside from bloating, a probiotic supplement can also ease digestive conditions like constipation, diarrhoea, leaky gut and IBS symptoms.
What are other ways to help relieve bloating and gas?
Some other ways to help relieve bloating and gas include:
- Identifying the common foods that make you feel bloated and reducing your intake
- Check for lactose intolerance — as we age, our bodies don't produce as much lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose, so you may need to test for lactose intolerance
- Increase your fibre intake — women need 21 to 25 grams of fibre a day, while men need between 30 and 38 grams. If you aren't getting enough, start increasing your fibre intake slowly, as doing this too fast can worsen constipation and bloating
- Ensure you're drinking around 1.5 to 2 litres of water and other fluids per day
- Regular exercise like walking, swimming, cycling or jogging for 30 minutes daily can help keep your bowels moving regularly. A light 10-15 minute walk after a meal is also beneficial
- Try a low FODMAP diet — if you have IBS, a low FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) diet can reduce bloating, and other symptoms as FODMAPs are typically not very well digested and fermented, which can cause more water to be retained by the bowels
- Eat smaller portions and limit salty and fatty foods
- Try taking peppermint oil capsules — there is some evidence that peppermint oil can combat bloating in people with IBS, however, more research is necessary .
Our body needs to stay hydrated and healthy at the best of times and this also aids in reducing bloating.
Kin's Electrolyte Powder is packed with ingredients that work together to keep you hydrated, healthy and energised. Electrolytes and Vitamin C are essential for keeping your water levels up and for providing essential nutrients to support your body’s mineral and fluid balance.
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