4 Ways That Probiotics Help With Gas (With Medical Studies)
Our gastrointestinal tract is one of the most sensitive parts of human anatomy and is responsible for addressing the food we consume. Because of the nature of human biology, the gastrointestinal system requires a specific balance to remain functional. Otherwise, we experience periods of gastrointestinal distress that can manifest in several ways.
Some forms of gastrointestinal distress are extremely painful and are a sign of a more serious condition that might be developing. Other forms of gastrointestinal distress are less severe but still deeply unpleasant. Almost all forms of gastrointestinal distress are painful, especially those fueled by chronic issues. One of the most common issues of gastrointestinal distress is excess gas.
Dealing with chronic gas can be embarrassing and unpleasant, especially since it worsens the longer it continues. While your initial concern might be avoiding the shame of releasing gas in public, your main goal should be addressing the health concerns. Dealing with chronic gas can be difficult, especially since you might not know what is causing the problem.
Fortunately, there is a product you can use to restore equilibrium to your gastrointestinal tract and neutralize your gas before it becomes a major issue. Probiotics have developed a reputation for helping with gastrointestinal issues, among other things. Because of their growing popularity, many people have begun purchasing and consuming probiotics to promote health. Unfortunately, many people do this without understanding how probiotics work or how they help reduce issues like gas.
#1: Probiotics Promote Bacterial Balance
A little-known fact about the gastrointestinal tract is that bacteria already live in your stomach. While we are raised to recognize bacteria as a threat, there are beneficial bacteria that are essential to our health. The ones in our stomach are among the essential bacteria and help regulate digestive function and other aspects of gastrointestinal health.
Generally, these bacteria can colonize without difficulty and produce a thriving environment. While they are effective at what they do, these bacteria are susceptible to certain threats and could be killed by certain conditions and environmental factors. Some of the main causes of bacterial death in the intestine are antibiotics, underlying health issues, and poor diet.
When these bacteria are thrown out of balance, the gastrointestinal tract struggles to perform its basic functions. As a result, other aspects of the biome fall out of alignment and trigger several gastrointestinal issues. Digestive issues are among the most common consequences of bacterial death in the intestine.
Because the bacteria that regulate that function is suffering from a diminished population, your body struggles to digest anything. This struggle results in gastrointestinal distress that generates excess gas as one of the symptoms. This means restoring balance to the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract is essential to reduce the symptoms.
This is where probiotics become a viable tool for improving your gastrointestinal health. Probiotics are bacterial microorganisms that provide beneficial effects when consumed and introduced to the body. These microorganisms have been tied to multiple health benefits, but the most surprising is that they have been connected to restoring gastrointestinal balance.
Evidence suggests that probiotic organisms can restore the balance of gastrointestinal bacteria by synergizing with the remnants of the colony. They provide support long enough for the colony to restore the lost organisms until the gastrointestinal system is in balance again. This is because the probiotics can handle the tasks your natural bacteria usually address until the original colony returns to full strength.
By restoring the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract, you should experience fewer disturbances that promote gas production. However, there is more to it than that since the main cause of these disturbances is digestive. Fortunately, probiotics might be able to help with that too.
#2: Probiotics Aid Digestive Health
While diminished bacterial populations in your digestive tract contribute to excess gas levels, sometimes other causes yield additional symptoms. The digestive system is particularly sensitive to shifts in the balance of the gastrointestinal tract and responds to disorders that affect it. Several digestive disorders count flatulence as one of their symptoms, granted flatulence is a lesser symptom for most of them.
Over 1,000,000 people in the United States suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. Like most digestive disorders, they have been known to cause flatulence with varying frequency depending on the person's situation. Nevertheless, they can be debilitating if the proper tools are not used to treat them.
These diseases are common enough that modern medicine has developed several medications to alleviate symptoms. Unfortunately, these disorders do not have cures and are reliant on treatment. While this might not be what you wanted to hear, living a comfortable life with these conditions is possible. That said, some would prefer to limit their use of pharmaceutical-grade medications when dealing with these conditions.
Fortunately, probiotics seem to affect a few digestive disorders. Studies have linked probiotic use to reduced symptoms in patients with ulcerative colitis, but the catch is that only certain types have this effect.
The studies show that probiotic organisms from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families are the strains best equipped to handle ulcerative colitis. Fortunately, these 2 happen to be some of the most common probiotic organisms. Therefore, acquiring them to treat ulcerative colitis symptoms should not be overly challenging.
Ulcerative colitis can increase the concentration of hydrogen sulfide in your digestive system. This can cause frequent flatulence since the disease is not going away. Probiotic consumption reduces several symptoms and can likely lower the hydrogen sulfide levels in your system. As a result, probiotics could be the tool you need to reduce flatulence caused by this digestive disorder.
Another digestive disorder that is known to cause excess flatulence is irritable bowel syndrome, which is also very common. Unlike ulcerative colitis, it is unclear why IBS increases the flatulence frequency. In fact, studies show that patients with IBS do not produce more gas than other people but that it just bothers them more often. These studies further explain that this might be because people with IBS struggle to pass gas normally due to nerve and muscle issues in the intestinal tract. Because of that, IBS can be extra uncomfortable since the other symptoms are extremely painful. Nevertheless, early research suggests that probiotics can help reduce the symptoms of IBS and free your digestive tract up to release the trapped gas.
While you might be eager to employ probiotics to help with these conditions, there is an important caveat. While helpful, these conditions can be very serious, and natural products are not a substitute for professional medical assistance. If you have ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, or any other digestive disorder, we urge you to consult your primary care physician. They can provide more insight into the disorders and other treatment avenues to complement probiotic consumption.
#3: Probiotics Directly Reduce Flatulence
While this is a fairly niche study, studies have been conducted to determine whether probiotics can reduce gas expulsion. Flatulence is a common bodily function that is inescapable and should not be considered shameful. However, excessive flatulence can be irritating and unpleasant to the people around us. While we cannot eliminate flatulence from our lives, we can work to ensure we do not have excess gas due to underlying health conditions.
Fortunately, this seems to be something probiotics can address, too, thanks to recent research uncovering new effects. The American Academy of Family Physicians conducted a study on several potential treatments for flatulence, with probiotics featured in the tests.
The test for probiotics involved multiple different mixtures given to different subjects throughout the study. The 2 most promising mixtures included:
- VSL#3: A mixture of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species.
- Prescript-Assist: A proprietary mixture of 30 soil-based organisms.
While each mixture was categorized as a separate medication during the studies, these two demonstrated extremely promising results. Patients in the VSL#3 study were divided into test and placebo groups. The former was given VSL#3 probiotics and, within 4 weeks, demonstrated a 50% reduction in bloating and flatulence. Conversely, the placebo group only showed a 33% reduction in that same time span. As a result, it was shown that VSL#3 reduced flatulence in the patients and confirmed that certain probiotic species were effective gastrointestinal aides.
The Prescript-Assist blend, the details of which are unavailable due to proprietary contracts, had similarly promising results. Once again, the patients were divided into test and placebo groups to determine how effective this blend was. Those in the test group saw a reduction of .55 points on a scale between 0 and 1.2, which equates to a 46% reduction in flatulence. While slightly less effective than VSL#3, this blend reinforced the idea that probiotics could reduce flatulence levels.
Probiotics' direct effect on flatulence and bloating is a lesser-known effect because flatulence is not a primary medical concern. Nevertheless, probiotics demonstrate a degree of gastrointestinal regulation that is backed by scientific study. Unfortunately, there is a caveat to these studies. When first introducing probiotics to your diet, you will likely experience bloating as your body assimilates the bacteria. This is normal, but it can exacerbate gastrointestinal distress if you have never consumed probiotics.
#4: Probiotics Can Reduce Cholesterol
One of the most important parts of human health is monitoring cholesterol levels, which most people have become very bad at doing. There are 2 types of cholesterol that we need to know about:
- High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL): High-density lipoprotein is colloquially called the "good" cholesterol. HDL absorbs the cholesterol in the bloodstream and brings it to the liver to be purged. Therefore, we want a high HDL to reduce the risk of stroke or heart disease.
- Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL): Low-density lipoprotein is the "bad" cholesterol that constitutes the majority of the cholesterol in our bodies. This is the cholesterol we want to keep low because it can clog arteries and increase our risk of stroke or heart disease.
While HDL is good, LDL can compromise our overall health and sometimes produce unfortunate side effects. High levels of LDL can irritate our gastrointestinal tract and cause digestive issues such as stomach pain and constipation. The lesser-known byproduct of high LDL is increased flatulence. Like other digestive disorders, high cholesterol usually requires a visit to a medical professional to diagnose and treat. That said, some evidence suggests that probiotics can lower our LDL levels.
Certain probiotics are a form of bacteria that produce lactic acid, a chemical our bodies produce to break down carbohydrates. A recent study has discovered that these lactic acid-producing organisms can break down bile in the gastrointestinal tract. This bile contributes to high cholesterol levels because it is created when the liver breaks down cholesterol. When our LDL levels are high, our livers produce bile composed of LDL that can clog our system. Lactic acid bacteria can break this bile down and reduce the consequences of high cholesterol, including flatulence.
Once again, we want to stress that probiotics are not an authorized alternative to medical treatment by a professional. We only want to suggest that probiotics can be an effective supplement for reducing LDL-based bile.
Finding the Right Blend
Dealing with excessive flatulence can be embarrassing, unpleasant, and painful, depending on the circumstances. Most causes of excess gas can be corrected with a lifestyle or dietary adjustment, but other causes require medical intervention. Regardless of what is causing your gas buildup, improving your body's health is possible to minimize the issue.
Probiotics have demonstrated a fascinating capacity for inhibiting excess gas levels. Consuming probiotic substances can help stabilize your gastrointestinal health and minimize gas levels. The challenge is finding a probiotic you can trust with your health.
We at Teami know that the best solutions are usually natural ones rather than those employing synthetic chemicals. Since probiotics are natural substances, they offer a solution that minimizes pharmaceutical interference. That is why we offer our Gut Love Probiotic + Prebiotic Powder for people looking to improve their gastrointestinal health. We believe that offering natural products is the best way to address health and beauty issues, and our catalog is dedicated to those products. We encourage you to visit our website and peruse our product range because finding the right blend is a Teami effort.
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