Some probiotic foods include tempeh, kimchi, yogurt, and other fermented foods. You can also find probiotic strains in supplements like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.

How Can Probiotics Help Fight IBS?

Research shows that people with irritable bowel syndrome have reduced amounts of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus in their guts. All the symptoms of IBS have a link to gut flora. Moreover, over 80% of people with IBS experience bacterial overgrowth in their small intestines, something that can cause more symptoms.

Having a change in your gut flora may accelerate IBS symptoms by increasing gas sensitivity in the intestine, increasing inflammation, changing digestive mobility, and reducing the immune function.

Taking probiotics increases the number of friendly bacteria in the gut, which reduces the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome by;

  • Decreasing visceral hypersensitivity
  • Getting rid of the small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
  • Lowering the number of unfriendly bacteria
  • Strengthening the lining of the intestines
  • educing pain through activation of nerve receptors in the intestinal lining

Quality probiotics wipe out small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, a common issue that contributes to IBS. Moreover, taking friendly probiotics can strengthen the intestinal lining which also works to reduce intestinal permeability.

The therapeutic effects of probiotics on nerve endings can help relieve the pain caused by irritable bowel syndrome.
However, it’s critical to note that not all probiotics work the same. They have different health effects based on the type.

​The Best Probiotics for IBS

Anatomy of a human's abdomen

​Image via Pixabay

With every product in the market claiming to contain probiotics, it can be daunting to figure out the best probiotic to improve irritable bowel syndrome. Remember that there isn’t a conclusive study on the effects of probiotics on IBS. It may take trial and error to find the best strain to improve IBS symptoms.

The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders advice that you track your symptoms as you take a probiotic to determine if it works for you. You shouldn’t expect immediate results as the probiotics take time to show benefits. The foundation advises you to stop any consumption of probiotics if the symptoms worsen.

Here are some strains that are the best probiotics for IBS.

Bifidobacterium Infantis 35624

The strain relieves different symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome like a difficult bowel movement, bloating, and pain. Also, the results show that it works since it has an immune- modulating role.

Studies show that the probiotic achieves its effects by changing the body’s immune response to harmful bacteria. You can find popular B. infantis supplements like Align and Evivo.

Bifidobacterium bifidum MIMBb75

A study conducted in 2011 found that individuals who used it had a noticeable relief from IBS symptoms. B. bifidum bacterial strain lives in the stomach and intestines and improves immune function. Unfortunately, there are no commercial supplements of this strain in the market.

Bifidobacterium Lactis

Bifidobacterium helps to lower stress-related irritable bowel syndrome symptoms like permeability and gut sensitivity.

Lactococcus Lactis Rosell

The probiotics produce enzymes which aid in the digestion of lactose and starches. Studies conducted reveal that it could help relieve bloating caused by irritable bowel syndrome.

Saccharomyces Boulardii

S. Boulardii is a type of yeast believed to be beneficial just like a probiotic. It helps to treat IBS-D as it reduces inflammation and fights off pathogenic strains of bacteria. Furthermore, it’s deemed useful in the treatment of diarrhea.

You should note that Saccharomyces Boulardii doesn’t colonize the gut and you may need to take it with bacteria to colonize the gut. You can find different S. Boulardii supplements in the market.

​Lactobacillus Plantarum 299v

​L. Plantarum is a bacteria subspecies that resides in the colon tissue. It was first isolated thirty years ago, and multiple studies have been conducted to determine its effects on IBS. Research shows that the probiotics can help relieve bloating and pain. You can find this strain in supplement form in the stores.

​How Should You Take Probiotics For IBS?

Illustration of a man having a stomachache

Image via Pixabay

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellent recommends taking the supplements for at least four weeks at the recommended dose by the manufacturer. It’s also worth noting down the symptoms while taking probiotics as this will help you determine which supplements are more effective.

Your gut bacteria is different from another person and so what works for you, may not work for someone else. The best probiotics for IBS come in capsule, tablet, or powder form. It’s best to take these supplements on an empty stomach before any meal.

You should have 30 minutes to an hour gap to let the supplements absorb into your system. Eating sooner may lead to loss of some benefits of the probiotics. Don’t forget to read online reviews on the recommended probiotics for irritable bowel syndrome as this is the only way to know if you should spend money on a specific product.

Frequently Asked Questions about Probiotics

Here are some common questions about probiotics.

​How Long Should You Take Probiotics?

​Should You Replace Medicine with Probiotics?

​​Can Probiotics Replace a Poor Diet?

​Extra Tips to Manage IBS

You need to know what triggers your IBS, to make it easier to manage the symptoms. Apart from probiotics, here are some others ways to manage IBS.

Get Ample Sleep

​Poor sleep not only impacts your productivity, but it also increases your stress levels, a known trigger for irritable bowel syndrome. Aim to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night as this gives the body much needed time to recover.

Make Better Food Choices

​Reduce any intake of foods that seem to worsen your symptoms. Add more probiotic foods to your diet and don’t forget to take enough water.

​Reduce Stress Levels

​Stress is one of the causes of IBS. You can reduce your stress levels by embracing meditation practices like yoga and setting aside thirty minutes for regular exercise. Embracing mindfulness is also another excellent way to cope with stress and to relax your mind and body.

Probiotics can help improve IBS symptoms. Clinical studies conducted show that probiotics help regulate bowel movements and relieve any bloating caused by the accumulation of gas. If you’re on medication, consult your doctor on the use of probiotic supplements.

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