Probiotics are healthy bacteria that have shown evidence for easing the symptoms of diarrhoea and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). They’re commonly found in yoghurt or food supplements and can be described as live bacteria or yeasts that are helpful. That’s why the NHS calls them “healthy” bacteria.
What do They Do?
Our guts contain trillions of bacteria, many of which are helpful to maintaining proper balance within this sensitive part of our bodies and for general overall health. These “good” bacteria, when taken as a supplement or in foods such as yoghurt, have the ability to restore balance within our guts. By doing so, the helpful bacteria can help stave off colds, digest fibres better, and fight against infections.
What is the Best Probiotic for IBS?
IBS symptoms can be very unpleasant and leave you bedridden. There are plenty of over-the-counter products available, but not all of them have shown to be effective at treating the symptoms of IBS.
One product that has been shown to have remarkable effects in the UK is Symprove. University College London completed a study on eight leading products containing bacteria and found that Symprove was the only product that met all of the criteria to be an effective probiotic supplement.
Other Effective Probiotic Products
The best probiotic for IBS symptoms appears to be Symprove, but there are many other products on the market that can provide you with effective relief and the proper quantity and quality of good bacteria that your body needs.
Capsules, tablets, and sachets are all widely available, but be sure to inform yourself about each product prior to purchase. For effective relief, you want to ensure that the product does three key things: it arrives, it survives, and it thrives. What do we mean by this?
Things to Look for When Shopping for Probiotics
Effective probiotics will need to arrive in the bottle (and subsequently your gut) both alive and active. Proper product preservation is essential here. Read the label carefully to determine if it’s been packaged and shipped such that it arrives alive and active.
Your probiotic supplement needs to survive the journey through your digestive system. Your stomach is full of bacteria that will attempt to break down and digest the capsule, thereby killing the bacteria and rendering it ineffective. Ensure that the product has the ability to survive digestion and be absorbed fully, providing you with the full effects of the good bacteria.
Lastly, your product needs to thrive within your gut. This means that the bacteria should work efficiently within your gut to find and target imbalances and to get to work, so to speak.
Safety and Efficacy
Probiotics that have been shown to meet the aforementioned criteria tend to be effective. Symprove passes all three, but many other food supplements can also be effective at targeting your body’s bacterial imbalances. Generally, these products are safe to consume for anyone, but always consult your physician first if you’re unsure or feeling unwell.
If you’re suffering from immune system difficulties or have more severe cases of IBS, it’s better that you consult a professional to receive their medical opinion. Your GP can recommend products that may work better for your unique circumstances.
When shopping for products online or at your local pharmacy, come prepared with information before making your purchase. Some medical studies have found that the following probiotic bacteria have successfully shown improvements in IBS patients: Lactobacillus plantarum 299V, Lactobacillus acidophilus SDC 2012 and 2013 strains, Lactobacillus, acidophilus LB strain, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG with other probiotics.
Lastly, always consult your physician if symptoms worsen as a result of one of these supplements or if you’re ever in doubt about a plan of action for dealing with your IBS symptoms.