How Long Does It Take For Probiotics To Work?
Published July 16th, 2019 (Last Modified March 23, 2020)
Unlike medication, probiotics don’t work overnight or in a couple of days. In fact, figuring out how long it takes for probiotics to work can be complicated. Remember, it is not a prescription drug. So there is no set amount of time for it to take effect. In some cases, it takes two weeks before you can feel the benefits of probiotics. While in others, months can pass before you’ll feel any difference.
So how do you know when to expect results when taking probiotics? To answer that, let’s dig a bit deeper into how probiotics affect our bodies.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are living microorganisms that are beneficial to your health. They are dubbed as the “good bacteria” because they help fight their harmful counterparts. It is naturally found in your body, mostly in your gut. Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and dairy products are great sources of probiotics too.
How Do Probiotics Work?
Your body has millions of microorganisms living in it. Yet, not all of them are good for you. Some can even make you sick. That’s where probiotics enter the picture.
They repopulate your gut with beneficial microorganisms that push out the bad bacteria. In the process, it creates a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut flora. This helps your digestive tract to function properly which, in turn, does wonders for your digestion.
How Long Does It Actually Take For Your Probiotics to Start Working?
They are mostly known for keeping our digestive system healthy. But the health benefits of probiotics go beyond healthy digestion. Recent studies have proven that it is also responsible for regulating other bodily functions.
How long a probiotic starts working depends on a lot of factors. The type and severity of your medical condition also affect the probiotic’s effectivity.
Probiotics Effect on Skin
Several studies suggest that probiotics can do wonders for your skin. It holds great potential in the treatment and prevention of several skin conditions like eczema, atopic dermatitis, acne, and skin hypersensitivity.
When it comes to skin diseases, experts usually recommend topical probiotics. Eating probiotic-rich foods helps too. How long till you can feel its benefits depend on a lot of factors including the severity of your condition.
Probiotics Effect on the Immune System
One of the most important health benefits of probiotics is boosting your immune system. It regulates your body’s immune responses thus preventing allergies. This usually requires long-term probiotic therapy.
Probiotics Effect on Diarrhea
Since this gut bacteria promotes good digestion, probiotics are also great for preventing diarrhea. But if you’re looking for immediate effect or if your diarrhea is caused by a virus, better take proper medication.
Probiotics Effect on Blood Sugar
A recent study in Canada demonstrated the probiotics role in lowering the body’s blood sugar level. Eighty people were given a probiotic-rich diet, 15 of them had prediabetes. After three months, they exhibited a significant reduction in blood sugar levels.
Probiotics Effect on Cholesterol
Lactobacillus, one of the most common probiotic strains, has recently been proven to reduce bad cholesterol. In one study, 127 people with high cholesterol were administered with lactobacilli strains. Their total cholesterol dropped by 9% with bad cholesterol decreasing by as much as 12% after nine weeks.
Probiotics Effect on Hormones
More than just keeping our gut bacteria population in check, probiotics keep our hormones in balance too. It metabolizes the hormones our body produces such as estrogen and phytoestrogen. This leads to regular menstrual cycles and less drastic mood swings. This requires long-term probiotic therapy too.
Taking Probiotic Supplements
Do you need to take supplements to get all the probiotics you need?
Aside from food, probiotic supplements are also excellent sources of good bacteria. It’s now available in liquid, tablet, and capsule forms. You can buy it in virtually every health store both online and off.
But what many don’t know is that there are a lot of probiotic strains out there. And each of them has specific health benefits. So you have to take a probiotic supplement with strains targeted for your specific needs.
Take Bionaze for example. It is specially formulated with two cutting-edge strains Bl-04 and BLIS K12 to target nose, ear, throat and mouth infections. There are also supplements that are especially geared towards women or babies.
This is why it’s hard to predict how long it takes for probiotics to work. If you’re taking in the wrong type of probiotic strain, you might not get the health benefits you were hoping for.
You also need to consider the number of probiotic bacteria you’re taking in. Remember that for these microorganisms to work, they must reach your gut alive. Yet almost half of the strains you take in gets wiped out by the acid in your stomach.
If you take probiotics in small amounts, there’s a possibility that no live strain is reaching your gut which certainly defeats the purpose of probiotics.
Many supplement manufacturers are also looking for ways to keep probiotic bacteria alive for long. Recent research on the microencapsulation of probiotics has shown promising results. If this technology is perfected, the effectiveness of probiotic supplements will be greatly increased.
How Safe Are Probiotics?
Even if they’re not classified as medications, people are still wondering if it’s safe to take probiotics every day.
Since probiotic bacterias already exist in our body, probiotic supplements are generally safe. However, too much of it may cause side effects like mild upset stomach, allergies, flatulence, and bloating.
But how much is too much?
It varies from one person to another. Most people who experience side effects usually adjust to it after a few days especially if they’re in good shape.
However, for those with auto-immune diseases like AIDS and HIV, probiotics may cause serious infections. It can also exacerbate other medical conditions.
Certain probiotic strains are not advisable for pregnant and breastfeeding women too. So its always best to talk with your doctor before taking any probiotic supplements especially if you have a pre-existing condition.
How Do You Know If Probiotics Are Working?
There really is no exact answer to this. Each person responds differently to probiotics. In general, a healthy gut flora brings about significant changes. You may notice a better overall feeling with lesser mood swings and food cravings.
Some conditions get worse before it gets better. Such is the case for skin outbreaks and chronic diarrhea. The onslaught of good bacteria can create turbulence in your gut and it usually takes time for your body to adjust.
During this period of adjustment, you may experience worsening symptoms. This usually takes around two weeks. After this, the symptoms gradually ease until it’s completely healed. If it doesn’t get better by then, you should see a doctor to know if you’re taking the right probiotic strain.
Illnesses like urinary tract infection, yeast, acne, and fungal infections mostly respond to probiotics immediately. Complete healing takes time but you will likely notice changes in the first few days. The pain slowly subsides and the redness instantly begins to fade.
Sometimes, the effects might be too subtle that you won’t notice the probiotics are already working. So you need to be more observant and wait it out for a few more days before dismissing it as ineffective.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a firm believer in the health benefits of probiotics and she wants to share that with the world. She also loves to write about healthy foods and other healthy living tips.