It's unsurprising that a common goal among women is to stay healthy and feel their best every day. While diet and lifestyle changes can go a long way in achieving optimal health, introducing probiotics into your life can also make a huge improvement! Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help maintain the delicate balance of your gut flora, leading to multiple health benefits.
The advantages of probiotics have been well-documented, from improving digestion and nutrient absorption to boosting your immunity and promoting balance between good and bad bacteria in your system.
Plus, selecting the right kind of probiotic supplement tailored to meet women's needs can be easy - so why wait? Read on as we explore 6 scientific-backed benefits of taking probiotics daily for women and the factors you should consider when choosing the right one!
Benefits of Taking Probiotics for Women
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria or yeast in certain foods, dietary supplements, and medications. These beneficial microorganisms offer many health benefits when consumed regularly. Here are six potential benefits of taking probiotics.
Maintain a Healthy Vaginal Microbiome
The vaginal microbiome is a delicate balance of bacteria that helps keep the vaginal environment healthy. An imbalance in the vaginal microbiome leads to bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast infections.
Probiotics can help maintain a healthy vaginal microbiome by introducing beneficial bacteria that can outcompete harmful bacteria. Studies have shown that certain strains of lactobacillus, a type of bacteria commonly found in probiotics, can reduce the risk of BV and yeast infections in women.
Healthy Digestive System
Probiotics can help improve digestive health by promoting the growth of good bacteria in the gut. The gut contains trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, that help with digestion and immune function. When the balance of bacteria in the gut is disrupted, it can lead to various digestive issues, including bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea.
Probiotics can help restore this balance by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and reducing the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut. This can alleviate digestive symptoms and improve overall gut health.
They can help restore the natural balance of bacteria in the gut, which can be disrupted by factors such as antibiotics, stress, and poor diet. Probiotics can also help alleviate symptoms of digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
The immune system is vital in protecting the body against infections and diseases. Probiotics can help boost the immune system by enhancing immune cell activity and increasing antibody production. This can help reduce the risk of colds, flu, and urinary tract infections (UTIs). You can also incorporate Elderberry C for better immune functions.
Better Mental Health
The gut and the brain are connected through a network of neurons, hormones, and immune cells. This connection is known as the gut-brain axis. Probiotics can help improve mental health by modulating the gut-brain axis. Studies have shown that probiotics can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and improve cognitive function in women.
Improve Skin Health
Probiotics can also help improve skin health. They can help reduce inflammation in the body, contributing to skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Probiotics can also help strengthen the skin barrier and improve hydration, leading to smoother, healthier-looking skin.
Reduce Urinary Tract Infections
Probiotics can help reduce the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) by preventing the growth of harmful bacteria in the urinary tract. UTIs are common in women and can cause symptoms such as pain and burning during urination, frequent urination, and lower abdominal pain. Taking probiotics can help reduce the risk of UTIs by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the urinary tract and reducing the growth of harmful bacteria.
How to Pick the Best Probiotic
Now that we've discussed the benefits of probiotics for women, let's talk about how to choose the best one. Here are some tips:
Lab Tested Product
When choosing a probiotic, look for one that is high-quality and has been tested for safety and efficacy. Look for products manufactured in a facility that follows Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and has been certified by a third-party organization such as the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF).
Higher Number of CFUs
CFUs, or colony-forming units, measure the number of live bacteria in a probiotic. Look for a probiotic with a high number of CFUs, typically in the billions. However, keep in mind that the number of CFUs is not the only factor to consider when choosing a probiotic.
Probiotic With a Variety of Strains
Different strains of probiotics have different benefits. Look for a probiotic that contains a variety of strains, including lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, and saccharomyces. The more strains a probiotic contains, the more likely it is to provide a wide range of benefits.
Probiotic With Targeted Strains
If you have a specific health concern, look for a probiotic with strains specifically targeted toward that concern. For example, if you want to improve your vaginal health, look for a probiotic containing lactobacillus strains that are known to promote vaginal health.
Consider the Form of the Probiotic
Probiotics come in various forms, such as capsules, tablets, powders, and liquids. Choose a form that is most convenient and comfortable for you to take. Capsules and tablets are easy to take and can be taken with or without food, while powders and liquids can be added to food or drinks.
Check the Expiration Date
Probiotics are live bacteria and can lose their potency over time. Check the probiotic's expiration date and choose one with a longer shelf life. Store your probiotics according to the instructions on the package to ensure their potency.
How Long Do Probiotics Take to Work?
Time sure does fly when you're waiting for a probiotic to take effect! However, the most important thing when it comes to using probiotics is to be patient - give them enough time to really do the job. This wait time can vary depending on what type of probiotic you're using, the dosage you're taking, and even what you are taking them for.
All in all, don't expect results from your probiotic supplement anytime soon - 12 weeks may sound like a long time, but it's better than taking a supplement and not seeing any outcome at all. Everyone's needs and body chemistry is unique, so your experience may be shorter or longer than average - but patience is key!
However, if you're not getting the most out of your probiotics, it might be from something that isn't immediately apparent - like your storage habits. Before you throw up your hands and move on, consider if all you need to do is give it a bit more time.
Of course, if it's been longer than recommended with no change for the better, you may check out the other potential factors that could inhibit your probiotic's effectiveness are you taking the right strain? Is it high quality? And did it come with some fancy little packet promising optimal conditions for storage? Investigating any of these issues can make a difference in how effective your probiotic actually is!
The Bottom Line
Probiotics can provide a range of health benefits for women, including maintaining a healthy vaginal microbiome, improving digestive health, boosting the immune system, improving mental health, and improving skin health.
When choosing a probiotic, it is essential to look for a high-quality product that has been tested for safety and efficacy, contains many CFUs, and has a variety of strains. Consider the form of the probiotic, check the expiration date, and look for targeted strains if you have a specific health concern. Incorporating a high-quality probiotic into your daily routine can help support your overall health and well-being.
Apart from it, you also need to consider the signs that probiotics are working, like reduced inflammation and overall enhanced mental and physical well-being of an individual.
Additionally, seeing the full benefits of probiotics may take several weeks. If you are not experiencing any of these signs or are experiencing negative side effects, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider.
- France, Michael, et al. "Towards a Deeper Understanding of the Vaginal Microbiota." Nature Microbiology, vol. 7, no. 3, Mar. 2022, pp. 367-78. www.nature.com, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-022-01083-2.
- Shoubridge, Andrew P., et al. "The Gut Microbiome and Mental Health: Advances in Research and Emerging Priorities." Molecular Psychiatry, vol. 27, no. 4, Apr. 2022, pp. 1908-19. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-022-01479-w.
- Wallace, Caroline J. K., and Roumen Milev. "The Effects of Probiotics on Depressive Symptoms in Humans: A Systematic Review." Annals of General Psychiatry, vol. 16, no. 1, Dec. 2017, p. 14. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.1186/s12991-017-0138-2.
- Webb, Lauren. "Probiotics for Preventing Recurrent Bacterial Vaginosis." JAAPA, vol. 34, no. 2, Feb. 2021, p. 19. journals.lww.com, https://doi.org/10.1097/01.JAA.0000731484.81301.58.