Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when consumed in adequate amounts, provide a health benefit to the host. They are commonly found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi. Probiotics can also be taken in supplement form. They are believed to help with a variety of health conditions by restoring balance to the gut microbiome, which is the collection of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract.
Constipation and diarrhea are both gastrointestinal issues that can be caused by an imbalance in the gut microbiome. Constipation occurs when bowel movements are infrequent or difficult, while diarrhea is characterized by loose, watery stools and frequent bowel movements. Both conditions can be uncomfortable and can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life.
Some research suggests that probiotics may be helpful in treating constipation and diarrhea. Probiotics can help to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can improve digestion and regularity. Studies have shown that probiotics can help to alleviate constipation by increasing the number of bowel movements per week, increasing stool water content, and reducing straining during bowel movements. Probiotics have also been found to be effective in reducing the duration of diarrhea caused by antibiotic use or viral infections.
A probiotic supplement with a high potency, such as one with 60 billion CFUs (colony forming units) may be more effective than a lower potency supplement. However, it’s important to note that probiotics are not a one-size-fits-all solution, and what works for one person may not work for another. Additionally, the ideal dosage and the specific strains of probiotics that will be the most beneficial for a particular condition also vary from person to person. Therefore, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement, including probiotics.