If you have ever experienced constipation, you are ready to do everything not to go through it again. If it bothers you on a regular basis, the quality of your life is getting worse and worse each day. Uncontrolled constipation can lead to serious problems. Thankfully, there are several ways to deal with this unfortunate issue. One of them is probiotics.
Finding the best probiotic for constipation might not be an easy task. However, once you do it, you can forget about this problem for the rest of your life. All you have to remember is to take the probiotic religiously in order to maintain the desired effect.
Probiotics are often called “good” bacteria. Our stomachs and intestines are populated with all kind of bacteria, including good one. However, sometimes our organism is lacking the bacteria needed to allow our digestive system to function properly. That’s where probiotics come in.
Best probiotics can be found in different foods we eat, such as dairy products. They are also sold as supplements. Probiotics can help deal with a wide variety of digestive problems, including IBS, bloating, gas and diarrhea. Let’s take a look at how to find the right probiotics for constipation.
Step 1: Study Different Types of Probiotics
In order to start your search for the best probiotics for constipation, you will need to take some time to do your homework and learn about different types of probiotics out there. You will find that not all of them may be right for your condition. Once you know this important information, you’ll be able to read the supplement label without any confusion and know which products to buy. Here are the most common types:
- Bifidobacterium Lactis or B. Animalis: This useful probiotic can be found in fermented milk products such as yogurts. It doesn’t just fight constipation; it also prevents all types of digestive problems and gives the immune system a healthy boost. It can fight food-borne pathogens, such as salmonella, that are a frequent cause of diarrhea.
Studies showed that patients who drink fermented drink products on a daily basis experience digestive health improvement in just three weeks. In six weeks, the result gets even better; however, the studies showed no such positive result in children. Accordingly, parents shouldn’t consider this bacterium when looking for the best probiotic for constipation and bloating for children.
- Bifidobacterium Longum: Bifidobacterium longum is an important part of the human intestinal tract flora. Studies showed it to be one of the first bacteria to populate digestive systems of newborn babies. This probiotic answers for proper metabolism, fermentation and carbohydrate digestion in a person’s intestines. This bacteria can make lactic acid, which assists in regulating the pH-balance in the colon and helps prevent bad bacteria growth.
This useful bacterium is considered to be one of the best probiotics for constipation and gas. It also improves lactose intolerance, helps with some food allergies and can even prevent colorectal cancer.
- Lactobacillus Casei Rhamnosus: This probiotic is also called LGG. A study was done to show that this probiotic helps increase bowel movements. This useful “good” bacteria is effective in both adults and children. It can help fight constipation and other digestive problems.
Some strains of this species of probiotics can be found in dairy products including yogurt, cheese and fermented milk. Fermented meat products, dry sausages and soy cheese contain other strains. The most popular way to get the most of this bacteria is to eat cheese on a regular basis.
- Lactobaccilus Plantarum: This probiotic can be found in such cultured vegetables as sauerkraut and kimchi. This type of bacteria is considered to be one of the most beneficial for your body. It doesn’t just fight constipation, it helps regulate many bodily functions, control inflammation, boost immunity system and fight bad bacteria.
These lactobacilli build a protective layer in the digestive tract and don’t allow bad agents to penetrate it and enter the bloodstream. This bacteria digests protein and helps deal with food allergies. Some studies on animals showed that it can reduce inflammatory response typical to multiple sclerosis.
- Bifidobacterium Infantis: Bifidobacterium infantis populates the intestine of infants and helps break down lactic acid found in breast milk. However, this probiotic is not just for children, it can help the adults as well. This kind of bacteria feeds on natural lactose, all-natural carbohydrates and glucose.
Adults who keep up healthy levels of this bacteria in their body have an improved metabolism. A study was done to show that in four weeks, people with IBS who took this probiotic experienced significant improvement in their condition. Another study published in American Journal of Gastroenterology showed that this strain of bacteria supports intestinal health and reduces constipation.
- Bifidobacterium Bifidum: Bifidobacterium bifidum is another one of the 25 recognized strains of bifidobacterium. It can be synthesized and is usually part of the best probiotics supplements that help improve the digestive system health. Some processed dairy foods, such as yogurt are fortified with bifidobacterium bifidum.
- Lactobacillus Casei Shirota: This is another probiotic that can ease constipation in both adults and children. A study found that this type of bacteria increases colonic transit time by about 30 percent, which means it reduces constipation. Daily intake of this probiotic can significantly reduce the colonic transit time in both adults and children. You can find lactobacillus casei shirota in fermented milk.
There are many more different probiotics out there; however, not all of them were proven to deal with constipation. That’s why it is imperative to look for the above-mentioned types in order to fight constipation effectively.
A study published in Nutrition Journal in 2007 showed that good constipation alleviation results were found in patients who took a mix of the following probiotics: B. bifidum, B. infantis, B. longum, L. casei, L. plantarum and L. rhamnosus.
Step 2: Consult Your Doctor About Using Probiotics for Constipation
When you are feeling constipated, you are ready to do anything to deal with the problem as fast as possible; however,, you have to remember that no matter which method you choose, it will take time to work. The only exception is medication, which is just a temporary quick-fix.
It is imperative to find some time to go and consult your doctor. Constipation can be a consequence of a more serious problem such as colon cancer that needs a much more intensive treatment than simple probiotics. Your doctor will also answer some questions you might have about probiotic types and dosages.
Step 3: Learn the Contraindications
There are some people who must avoid taking probiotics in both foods and supplements. For example, cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy have a weakened immune system and will not be benefiting from the probiotic intake. Same applies to people who are undergoing an organ transplant.
It might be dangerous to take probiotics for people who have a part of their GI-tract removed. Same is true for people with central IV lines and abnormal heart valves.
Step 4: Choose the Form of Your Best Probiotic for Constipation
You can find probiotics in certain foods and supplements. You need to understand for yourself which one will be right for you. What you have to remember is that a probiotic is not a “one-time pill” that can cure you in a day. This remedy must be taken seriously for at least several weeks. Ideally, it must be taken for months.
You have to ask yourself whether or not you are ready to eat the foods containing the necessary probiotics on a daily basis. If you are not a fan of dairy products, you will have a hard time keeping up the desired level of this bacteria in your system. So you might need to opt for supplements.
It is important to remember that getting your probiotics from the food you eat is the best opportunity to save money and to enjoy a healthy snack. However, if you can’t do it on a regular basis, there will be no positive result. Taking a pill is a simpler way out.
Step 5: Learn How to Read the Label
If you have opted to take a supplement course, then you need to learn how to read the label. It must contain the following points.
- Look at the genus, species, strain of the bacteria. For example, bifidobacterium infantis 35624. Here the bifidobacterium is the genus, infantis – the species and 35624 – the strain. Some products can only show genus and species.
- Find out about the number of organisms. The label should give you information about the number of microorganism contained in one dose. The best ones should have at least seven strains and five billion colony forming units.
- Be sure to take the right dosage. The label must contain information about how much supplement you should take at a time and how often you should be doing it.
- Follow the storage conditions. Some probiotics must be kept in a cool dark place. If the label fails to give you such information, you might store the supplement the wrong way which will lead to it becoming useless.
- It should read “viable through end of shelf life.” If you see this written on the label, it means that the good bacteria is still alive. Don’t buy products labeled “viable at time of manufacture,” which means the bacteria is dead and won’t do you any good.
- Know the company name and contact details. All reliable companies will have their information written on the label. This means they are not afraid of having you contact them and ask questions.
- Remember the expiration date. Probiotics have a short shelf life, so it is imperative to check the expiration date before buying them. Make sure that the expiration date is far away enough to allow you to take the pills long before it comes.
Step 6: Pick the Right Number of Bacteria
When you are browsing through probiotics, you will find products with a billion to over 100 billion of bacteria in each dose. The rule of thumb is “the more the better;” however, if you are just starting to take the probiotic, it is better to choose a lower quantity. This way you can avoid any side-effects.
Remember that soil-based products have a lower bacteria count. However, they are resilient and most of them get to your gut without dying off in the process.
Step 7: Pick the Right Number of Strains
The number of strains in the probiotic can vary from one to over 20. You need to make sure that the supplement you choose contains the stains that help deal with constipation. For most of the probiotics for chronic constipation, five to 10 strains will be sufficient.
Step 8: Choose the Right Form
Probiotics come in many different forms. Choose the one that will make probiotic taking for you as easy as possible. Remember, you will need to do it every day for an extended period of time, so here are your choices:
- Chewable Tablets – This form is best for children or people who have trouble swallowing pills.
- Liquids – Liquids have to be stored in the refrigerator and are believed to contain the freshest and most potent bacteria. It is a perfect choice for children and adults who have problems with pill swallowing. However, violating the storage condition can lead to the probiotics becoming useless.
- Drinks – Kefir water drinks and probiotic juices are probably the easiest to find on your nearest store shelf. There is a wide variety of them but only some contain the right amount of the good bacteria. So, the label must be checked carefully.
- Powders – The main advantage of the power is that it can be mixed with liquids, such as juices and yogurts. However, it is important to be careful while mixing in the powder. The acidic environment of some drinks can kill the good bacteria before it gets to your stomach.
- Capsules – This is the most popular form of probiotics. It is easy to carry around with you and doesn’t require too many special storage conditions. Survivability of the probiotic is important. In order to the bacteria from dyeing off before it reaches the intestine, some manufacturers use a time delay capsule. It doesn’t dissolve in the stomach and gets to the intestine safely.
Step 9: Choose the Best Probiotics for Constipation in Your Grocery Store
If you opted for the natural and cheap way to fight your constipation problems, you should make a list of products to buy on your next trip to the grocery store. The best idea would be to save the list on your smartphone or computer since you’ll need it on a weekly basis. Your list should include:
- Probiotic yogurt
- Soy drinks and products such as miso and tempeh
When choosing these products in your grocery store, make sure to go for the organic kind, since they are easier for digestion. Consider getting fermented goat milk, organic kefir and raw dairy products, as well as the dairy products that don’t contain A1 casein. Don’t “overdose” on these products. Too much dairy can cause inflammation and digestive dysfunction, especially in people who are lactose intolerant.
Step 10: Study the Side-Effects
Whenever you first start taking a probiotic supplement, you might face a negative reaction. This is the result of the good bacteria fighting the bad ones. You can experience the following symptoms:
- Increased bloating
- Mood swings
- Several of these symptoms together
In order to avoid these symptoms, start introducing the probiotic slowly and increase the dosage with time. If these side effects don’t disappear in two to three weeks, consult your physician.
Step 11: Browse the Brands
Finding the best probiotic brand for constipation might be a hard job to do. That’s why it is a good idea to compare several of them. If you are good at reading the label and doing your research, you won’t have trouble finding the brand that produces the perfect remedy for you.
Take some time to read some best probiotic for constipation product reviews on the Internet. You will find useful information on health forums. Be careful, some personal reviews can be an advertising trick. Look for lengthy, honest replies that have both “pros” and “cons” of certain probiotic use.
Step 12: Consider Probiotics for Multiple Conditions
When you are searching for the perfect probiotic supplement for yourself, don’t just browse through the ones that deal with constipation. Constipation is a sign you have troubles with your digestive tract. So it would make sense to help the overall health of your organism.
For example, consider choosing the best probiotic for constipation and gas or IBS. All these conditions stem from the same problem and the probiotics labeled as help for gas or IBS will also assist in fighting constipation.
Step 13: Consider Your Lifestyle
If you are always on the go, have frequent business trips or spend a lot of time in your car, you will need to be careful about the type of the probiotic you choose. Most of them have to be stored in a dark and cool place. Some need to be put into a refrigerator.
If you live in a hot climate and move around a lot, you will need to think through the process of how you will be taking your probiotics. Perhaps you should opt for natural foods that you can buy at most stores, rather than carrying capsules or powder with you.
Step 14: Don’t Forget the Diet
The probiotics you take will help you deal with constipation but they need something in return. Good bacteria need fiber to survive. Bad bacteria love refined sugar and animal fat. If you want the probiotics to thrive in your body, you need to support them with eating plenty of vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
It is important to be careful with some of these products since they might be the cause of your constipation or IBS. Pay more attention to garlic, green tea and ginseng. They contain polyphenols that are big helpers for your GI tract flora.
Nutrients called prebiotics are compulsory for the survival of probiotics. The most well-known prebiotics are fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and inulin. These are natural sugars that can be found in such food as bananas, onions, soybeans, asparagus and chicory roots. Prebiotics make sure that probiotics survive while traveling through the stomach.
Step 15: Take Them
After you’ve done all the tough research and found the best possible probiotic for yourself, the time has come to take it. Ask your doctor to set up a schedule for you to help increase the amount gradually in order to avoid the side effects.
Taking probiotics on a regular basis is an absolute must. If you skip several doses, the effect will be reduced. If you stop taking probiotics, you will get back to your problems in about several weeks. Make sure the probiotic you chose is readily available in the store near you or can be delivered in a short amount of time. Choosing a rare product might lead to inconsistent probiotic intake.
Using probiotics for constipation problems has been proven effective in both adults and children. It is one of the safest and most natural ways to deal with the digestive system problems. Most probiotics won’t just help you get rid of constipation problems; they can fix other health issues along the way.
Finding the best probiotic for constipation might seem hard at first. But when you have all the necessary knowledge to help you, all it takes is going to the store and buying the right food or pill. Take some time to review the 15 steps to help you gather your thoughts and make the right choice.