How Long Does It Take For Probiotics To Work?
Published September 27, 2022
Unlike medication, probiotics don’t work overnight or for a couple of days.
In fact, figuring out how long does it take for probiotics to work can be a bit complicated. Remember, they’re not prescription drugs. Therefore, there is no set amount of time for them to take effect.
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.
You can find them in your body, mostly in your gut. Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, dairy products, and supplements 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 microbiome. This helps your digestive tract to function properly which, in turn, does wonders for your digestion.
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 probiotic supplements with strains targeted to your specific needs.
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 guts alive. Yet almost half of the strains you take in get 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.
Probiotics’ Effects On Your Body
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.
Probiotics’ Effect on Skin
Many dermatologists agree 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 until you can feel its effects depend on a lot of factors including the severity of your condition.
Probiotics’ Effect on 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 it 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, you 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, and 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 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 usually requires long-term probiotic therapy too.
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 it’s always best to talk with your doctor before taking any probiotic supplements.
Signs That 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 infections, 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.
Some effects might be too subtle to notice though so you need to be more observant.
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About The Author
Christian Cruz is an experienced blogger with a deep passion for health and wellness. He descends from a long line of educators and is committed to uncovering the facts when it comes to nutrition and health. Over the years, Chris has tackled all sorts of topics in his writing. As a result, millions of people worldwide have read and benefited from his content.