8 Signs Probiotics Are Working & (Why They Don’t)
It can difficult for some people to know if their brand new probiotic supplement is taking effect and working or not.
I've seen many customer reviews complaining their probiotic supplement didn't do anything.
In this guide, I will go over 8 potential indicators that you can use to figure out if your probiotic is a dud or not.
1) They Make You Poop
I have written about this before and if you can get passed any initial embarrassment around this subject it's actually quite interesting.
There are studies that suggest certain probiotic strains can help with constipation and encourage bowel movements. (1)
If you are trying a probiotic supplement for the first time then those initial bowel movements may be quite intense and come as a bit of a shock.
Don't worry though, more regular pooping is my number 1 sign that your probiotic supplement is working.
This is because an imbalance in your gut bacteria can for some people be the cause for irregular bowel movements and the probiotic bacteria can restore this imbalance.
They may also be able to increase mucus production in your intestines which can help with the motility of your muscles.
2) Less Bloating
This of course is only a sign that probiotics are working if bloating is something that you are currently dealing with.
This study seems to suggest that some probiotic strains can help some people with less bloating related to IBS. (2)
Bloating can be an irritating symptom that occurs after eating and even make you look pregnant. Bloating can also lead to increased gas which is a nice seg-way to my third point.
3) Less Gas
You will have noticed by now that improvements with digestive symptoms is a major sign that the probiotic bacteria has reached your microbiome and is starting to work.
Having less intestinal gas exit your anus (farting) is a sure fire sign that probiotics are working. (3)
It is claimed that farting up to 15 times per day is considered normal and healthy. If you are usually quite gassy and farting more than 15-times per day and that has decreased after probiotics then, bingo! They are working. (4) I recently wrote a blog piece on if probiotic's can make you more gassy and my research was that initially they can before eventually easing and causing less gas.
4) Elevated Mood
You may be wondering how Elevated Mood can be a sign of probiotics working if all of the benefits have so far been related to the digestive system.
Probiotics may elevate your mood via what has been dubbed "the gut and brain connection".
Studies suggest that upwards of 95% of serotonin is produced in the gut and other studies suggest that certain probiotic bacteria could have positive results for depression and anxiety. (5)
If you find yourself feeling happier and less anxious after taking probiotics for some time then it may because they are working via the gut and brain connection. (6)
You may only notice this benefit if you already have a dysbiosis in your gut that is the reason for your psychological issues and not something else.
5) Cognitive Benefits
If you have a Leaky Gut then toxins or food particles may be entering in your blood stream and causing inflammation in the brain. Probiotic's may be able to once again strengthen this intestinal barrier thus leading to cognitive benefits.
6) You Get Sick Less Often
It is said that a staggering 70% or more of the human immune system is from the gut. If you find yourself getting sick often it could be because your digestive system isn't nourished with enough probiotic bacteria. (8)
The immune system is there to fight off viruses and infections so if you find yourself getting sick less often after taking some probiotic supplements that is another sign. (9)
7) Better Vaginal Health
There are studies that suggest probiotic strains like Lactobacillus Helveticus can help with bacterial vaginosis and feminine yeast infections. (10) There are even many probiotic supplements that contain these probiotics strains are designed exclusively for women's Urinary tract health. Taking probiotics orally with prebiotic fiber is the recommended way to take probiotics for vaginal health as it allows the probiotic bacteria to first grow in your microbiome before then moving too your vaginal area.
8) Weight Loss (Less Food Cravings)
Studies in mice suggest that some probiotic strains can decrease food cravings and thus lead to weight loss. (11) If you have Candida Albicans bacteria in your microbiome then you may have increased sugar cravings. If you find yourself eating less sugar and losing weight because of that then it could be down to the probiotic bacteria fighting of the Candida Albicans pathogen.
Bio X4 is a supplement that was created for weight loss but the reviews aren't all great. Most people won't lose weight with probiotics but if you do then you could be one of the lucky few that probiotics work for. (12)
3 Reasons Probiotics May Not Be Working For You
How Long Does It Take For Probiotic's To Work?
The time it takes for your probiotic supplement depends on what you want the probiotic to work for and what probiotic strains you are ingesting. Your gut-flora is unique to you and there is no one time that fits everyone.
Studies for elevated moods showed results over months while studies for IBS related symptoms showed some results in under 30-days.
It could also take up to 6 months to notice some results for things like weight loss so it does depend.
One good rule of thumb to follow is to at least try a probiotic supplement for 1-month. This is easy enough to do considering most bottles will have a 1-months supply of capsules.
The key with probiotics is to not expect overnight results and to have patience. The microbiome is highly complex and more studies are still needed to have more clear data.
If you notice your stomach rumbling or your mood improving these could be signs that your probiotic is working. On the flip-side if you notice nothing happening then it may have not passed your stomach.