Probiotics for IBS
It’s uncomfortable, it’s embarrassing and it’s inconvenient.
But Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) definitely isn’t the end of your world as you know it and can definitely be managed with the help of a targeted probiotic supplement.
Improve your digestive, colon and overall health and immunity as well as alleviating the symptoms of your IBS, sound good?
Well, keep reading!
What are probiotics?
In a healthy individual there are over 40 trillion good and bad bacteria, called probiotics, that naturally reside in the body.
The good bacteria assist with a whole heap of bodily functions which include:
- 70% of body’s immune response
- Controlling hormones in women
- Producing vitamins like A, K and B1
- Helping with constipation
- Defend against bad bacteria to create a healthy gut
- Help to treat various, serious conditions like IBS, infectious diarrhea and eczema
- Maintain urinary and vaginal health
Within these probiotics and 400 different species which possess strains, each strain will assist with a different function in the body and fighting against certain health issues.
Groups of these strains along with yeast and microorganisms are called your ‘gut flora’ and are essential for your overall health.
Research has only just been surfacing recently revealing the vast benefits of probiotics after time-consuming, extensive and expensive studies have been conducted.
Due to this, they’re quickly becoming very popular in the health sphere and will continue to do so as they move further into the spotlight.
Probiotics can also be found naturally in abundance in foods like pickles, kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut.
But you’ll see it mostly in yoghurt, which is probably the most well known and popular source of probiotics on the market.
Prebiotics also get an important mention, they are the fuel that probiotics needs to make it to the gut and do their job efficiently.
Naturally, they come from foods such as bananas, garlic, onions and asparagus which are all probably already staples in your diet!
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
In a nutshell, IBS is a very common condition that is characterized by bloating, cramping and alternating between constipation and diarrhea.
An extremely uncomfortable and inconvenient condition for anyone to experience and unfortunately around one in five Australians will experienced IBS at some point in their lives.
Despite being so common, the exact cause is unknown which makes it very hard to treat and therefore can generally only be managed.
There’s a few factors that are thought to cause IBS, some of these are:
- Food intolerances/allergies
- Some medications like antibiotics and antacids
- Low fibre diets, sugary and spicy food
- Infections like gastroenteritis which can permanently damage nerve function in the bowels
It is difficult to prevent IBS unless you know exactly what triggers your condition and what exacerbates it.
You’ll need to remove these things completely from your lifestyle in order to possibly reduce your IBS, however, these triggers may always remain triggers.
To be sure you have IBS instead of a different condition, be sure to consult a doctor for an official diagnosis before you start any kind of treatment.
IBS can very easily be made worse so you need to be fully aware of your condition and triggers (if possible) to treat it effectively.
How do probiotics help with IBS?
Unsure if a probiotic can actually help you with your IBS? Prepare to be amazed…
IBS affects around 12%-20% of the population and women are 2-3 times more affected than men according to research.
The same article explores the ways that probiotics have been trialled and shown to help with this common condition.
In general, the increased amount of good bacteria in the digestive tract is shown to have many health benefits, these are the ways in which they specifically benefit IBS sufferers:
- Creating a barrier of mucous in the intestines which leads to better general productivity but also lowers the sensitivity back to more normal levels instead of being constantly irritated.
- Increasing immune function as probiotics have an anti-inflammatory effect that encourages the body to resist IBS symptoms
- Inhibit the growth of disease-causing bacteria such as E. coli and Clostridium that are generally found in high numbers in people with IBS
- Increasing the balance of gut flora which reduces the formation of gas
Before starting any kind of probiotic treatment for your IBS, as with any medical condition, it’s best to consult a doctor beforehand.
Keep in mind, with using probiotics to treat IBS you will need to get a supplement that has the correct strains that target symptoms of your condition, as a general probiotic may not have any effect or may actually make it worse.
Read on below for our guide on which strains you need to be using.
Types of probiotics that help with IBS
Within probiotics there are many different strains which each serve a different purpose and are good at treating different symptoms of different conditions.
There’s not alot of in-depth research to show exactly which strains will benefit IBS sufferers, as clinical studies are very time consuming and difficult.
However, here are some of the results from the strains that have been studied and found to be the most helpful so far:
This species of bacteria is the most common and generally the most helpful. It resides in your small intestine and produces lactase which is an enzyme that breaks down lactose, the sugar in milk.
They also produce lactic acid by fermenting your foods, the acid then helps you absorb various essential vitamins and minerals.
Lactobacillus strains and what IBS symptoms they can help with:
- Acidophilus – Assists with bloating and abdominal pain
- Plantarum – Reduces overall symptoms
- Reuteri – Prevents growth of bad bacteria, stimulates immune system
This bacteria species is responsible for creating around 70% of the energy your cells need to produce a natural barrier in your gut.
They also produce vitamins that keep your hair, skin and bones healthy among other things.
Bifidobacterium strains and what IBS symptoms they can help with:
- Infantis – Reduces overall symptoms, thought to be the best strain for IBS
- Bifidum – Alleviates pain, bloating and the feeling of needing to go to the bathroom
Tips and tricks for purchasing probiotics for IBS
Check the culture count
A good place to start is around 5 billion colony forming units (CFU’s), but once your body has gotten used to the probiotic, your next bottle should contain more than 10 billion CFU’s – because more is better when it comes to probiotics.
Get the right strains
This is an important one! As mentioned above, there are specific strains that will help with IBS so go for a brand that specifically targets your condition if you want to get the best results.
Coating on capsules
Make sure the capsules you get have a stomach acid resistant coating which will ensure they get to where they need to be and don’t cause you an upset stomach on the way.
Make sure your probiotics have been kept refrigerated and that you grab the bottle with the expiry date that’s furthest away to guarantee maximum potency.
Check the label
Make sure there are no fillers or extra ingredients that may trigger your IBS, but try to get one that includes added vitamins and minerals.
Prebiotics are an excellent advantage to have in your probiotic supplement, but be careful because some types may trigger your IBS if you’re intolerant to them.
Your probiotics don’t stay in your body, they do their thing and then exit via normal bodily functions.
This means you need to keep your dosage consistent to get the full benefits, aim for a once daily dose to make sure you stay on top of this new regime.
7 Best Probiotics for IBS
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This probiotic is excellent for relieving IBS symptoms with a count of 50 billion CFU’s per serving and 13 strains that are targeted to help with digestive health.
It also contains fermented greens as an added bonus and time delay release capsules that will survive your stomach acid effectively.
You can’t go wrong with this one!
- 50 billion CFU
- 13 strains
- Added fermented greens
- Time delay release capsules
- Don’t require refrigeration as they’re freeze-dried for freshness
- Some of the fermented greens could exacerbate IBS symptoms in some individuals if intolerant
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This is a great beginner’s probiotic with 1 billion CFU’s to get you started down the right track and ease you into the probiotic life.
It contains the prebiotic Inulin to give your probiotics a great boost and claims to increase energy and kickstart weightloss so it’s great for IBS sufferers who are also looking to shed some kilos.
- 1 billion CFU – great place for beginners to start
- Contains natural ingredients like ginger, turmeric, papaya, fennel seed
- Contains a prebiotic
- 180 capsules in one bottle
- Vegetarian, all natural
- Boosts body’s digestion which reduces fatigue from meals
- Only mentions “multi-strains”, not transparent about how many
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Looking for a guarantee with your probiotic?
Well Nutrapuris has backed their product with one so you know you’ve got nothing to lose.
This company boasts optimizations to keep as many of their 15 billion CFU’s per serving alive so they can reach your intestines and deal with your troubling IBS symptoms.
- 15 billion CFU’s per serving with technology to ensure delivery to the intestines
- Doesn’t require refrigeration
- Money back guarantee
- 2 tablets daily for best results
- Not transparent about how many strains but seems to be only one
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This once a day probiotic is a great option for those who are looking for fast results.
The company claims that the dose will be effective only a couple hours after being taken.
You may think it’s too good to be true, but it’s been third party tested to ensure potency and effectiveness.
- Contains prebiotic
- Third party tested
- Once a day dose
- Focuses on feeding good bacteria and controlling population of bad bacteria
- Not transparent about CFU’s and strains (looks to be 4)
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Hyperbiotics promises to deliver these good bacteria straight into your body in consistent intervals to ensure your symptoms of IBS are relieved instead of triggered.
They’ve also fortified their supplement with technology that is 15x more likely to reach your intestines than other capsules.
Put their promises to the test by giving this probiotic a go, you may even notice some weight loss and increased energy levels!
- 5 billion CFU’s
- 15 strains – very transparent about what they contain
- Claims to be 15x more effective than other brands
- Released in intervals to avoid an upset stomach
- Assists with weight loss and increased energy
- Vegetarian, lactose and gluten free
- Very small capsules called “pearls”
- Once a day dose
- 3 pearls a day (instead of 1) recommended for intense support
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A great all rounder that boasts a cool 40 billion CFU’s and around 5 strains that will survive your stomach acid and is guaranteed to deliver at least 20 billion CFU’s into your system per serving.
This is an excellent probiotic to start with to relieve symptoms of IBS and allergies by boosting your immune system.
- Third party tested
- Guaranteed potency
- Doesn’t need to be refrigerated
- 40 billion CFU’s
- Gluten free
- Very affordable
- Twice daily dose
- Not overly transparent about strains (looks to be about 5)
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Our Rating: 5 Stars
This is another probiotic that comes with a money back guarantee, and for good reason.
Topping our list for the best probiotic, 1MD’s Probiotics Platinum is the gold standard in probiotic supplements.
It takes a huge focus on boosting your immune system which will help to alleviate the symptoms of your IBS, including bloating and gas.
It’s got a whopping 50 billion cultures and 11 potent strains plus is vegan and all-natural.
- 50 billion CFU’s
- 11 robust strains
- Money back guarantee
- All natural
- Vegan friendly
- Twice daily dose
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