If you’re researching the best probiotics for colon health, you’re on the right track. It’s natural to think of bacteria only in terms of the diseases they cause. However, your body contains good bacteria, too.
When people speak about “good” bacteria, they refer to probiotics, which are live yeasts and bacteria that help maintain a healthy gut and, by extension, an overall healthy body.
Your body contains probiotics naturally, and you will also note that some foods contain them. You can also buy pretty much any probiotic you might need in supplement form.
How Do Probiotics Help Colon Health?
Bacteria reside in your intestine in the billions, normally. The good ones help keep your digestive system running smoothly. They also contribute strongly to good colon (large intestine) health.
Harmful bacteria usually enter your body from outside, and many are killed by the acidic environment of your stomach. Some, however, make it to the colon. For proper colon health, your good bacteria need to outnumber the bad by a long shot.
Probiotics Boost Intestinal Immunity
Probiotics offer your body many benefits, the main one being enhancing the immune defenses of your intestines. The largest organ in the immune system is your digestive tract. Probiotics increase the intestinal mucus thickness, and this acts to keep bad bacteria from entering the colon.
Probiotics also discourage the pathogenic bacteria (bad bacteria) from the digestive tract, discouraging their harmful effects. Good bacteria stick to the lining of the colon, crowding out bad bacteria so that they can’t take over any part of the intestinal lining.
Probiotics Lower pH Level in the Colon
Probiotics are also helpful for lowering the pH level in the colon. When this happens, stool may be able to move faster and can relieve any antibiotic-related diarrhea one may be experiencing. A lower pH can inhibit the development of pathogenic bacteria, which can help you maintain balance in your intestines.
When you take a high-quality probiotic like a multispecies or multistrain probiotic for colon health, you will most likely begin to notice initial improvements and digestive health benefits as soon as one to two weeks after starting your probiotic regimen.
However, if you are more sensitive to probiotics, you may even start noticing a notable difference within just a few days of starting your probiotics.
Helps Absorb Protein
Probiotics have also been found to help your body better absorb the protein you consume in your diet, along with other vital vitamins and nutrients.
The best probiotics for colon health can induce digestive protease and peptidase activity, and some can release exoenzymes that are involved in protein digestion. The probiotics improve the absorption of the small peptides and amino acids in the body.
Best Probiotic Foods for Colon Health
If your colon is healthy, you stand less of a chance of developing colon cancer. The food you eat can help to introduce more probiotics into your diet. So, what should you stock up on?
- Miso paste has many probiotics, is high in B-vitamins, and low in calories. Use a bit in salad dressing or Japanese-style meals.
- A bowl of healthy oatmeal with added bananas contains probiotics and is a great way to start your day.
- Store-bought refrigerated or homemade sauerkraut gains probiotics when fermented. Be sure if you buy it from the store that the label indicates that it “Contains live active cultures.”
- Yogurt is packed with probiotics. Eat it by itself, or mix it with granola and fruit or in smoothies.
- Use sour cream, buttermilk, and other fermented products in your recipes.
- Honey has plenty of probiotics. Use it instead of sugar when you’re sweetening something, or put on your fruit for a tasty snack.
Food You Should Avoid to Encourage Colon Health
To maintain your overall digestive health, there are also foods you should avoid. If not, they can introduce harmful bacteria and can upset the balance you have been trying to achieve with your probiotic supplement.
- Refined starches, including packaged food like cookies and crackers
- Added sugar like you would find in sweet drinks and sodas
- Saturated fats like those found in hot dogs, whole milk, whole cheese, and fried food
- Trans fats like coffee creamers and margarine
In addition, consider cutting back on cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. These vegetables actually have the same sugars found in some beans, and the high fiber content can make them hard to digest at times.
What Are the Best Probiotic Strains for Colon Health?
If none of our recommendations work for you and you’d like to choose your own, here are some of the best colon care probiotic strains that have been successfully used for colon and overall digestive health.
A study in January 2015 discovered that supplementing the diet with B. longum (Bifidobacterium longum) altered the community of microbes in the gut. It could then be speculated that B. longum bacterium possesses the ability to increase healthy flora in the colon, thus improving the health of the colon.
Probiotics were suggested as alternative approaches in therapy for intervening in inflammatory diseases of the digestive tract. Researchers recently demonstrated in a study of the National Institutes of Health that the introduction of B. Bifidum (Bifidobacterium Bifidum) had anti-inflammatory effects in colitis in mice.
Researchers have determined the effects of diets including Lactobacillus acidophilus, as well as using the good bacteria as a supplement, on the bacteria in the intestinal tract.
As published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Goldin and colleagues concluded in this study that adding viable L. acidophilus supplements to your diet decreases the activity of bacteria harmful to the colon.
L. gasseri effects on ulcerative colitis were studied in a rat model of ulcerative colitis. When L. gasseri (Lactobacillus gasseri) was administered orally every day, it improved food consumption and body weight gain. It also improved the balance of the bacteria that affect the colon before colitis strikes.
Researchers suspected that specific strains of Lactobacillus bulgaricus could inhibit colitis. A 2011 study was designed to investigate whether this and other specific strains could activate the pathway that prevented colitis.
It was discovered in this study that L. bulgaricus can indeed induce the activation of the pathway in the intestines that inhibits colitis in mice. This strain of bacterium has therefore been deemed to have the potential to suppress colitis.
Streptococcus thermophilus has been traditionally and widely used for years in the dairy industry. Even though humans consume a great deal of S. thermophilus in yogurt and other foods with probiotics, not much data was available about the physiology of this strain of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
In a 2011 study, the goal was to explore the host response and metabolic activity of the probiotic strain. The strain S. thermophilus in the gastrointestinal tract of rats led to lactate formulation in the cecum. At this level, it was found that S. thermophilus can modulate the colon’s bacteria, helping to keep it healthy.
How to Maximize the Benefits of Your Probiotic Supplement for Colon Health
Some of the best and most effective colon care probiotic strains for colon health state that they contain billions of live cultures. To maximize the advantages of beneficial bacteria, make sure you eat a diet full of fruits, vegetables, fiber, and whole grains. These are the food types that will feed probiotic bacteria.
When used properly, your probiotic supplement can relieve occasional constipation and help with other digestive issues like IBS. In addition to a healthy diet, you can take a probiotic supplement daily to help improve bowel regularity, relieve GI discomforts, bloating, and encourage a healthy colon by promoting healthy digestion.
However, as with any dietary supplement, you want to check in with your healthcare provider to see if a probiotic supplement would benefit you.
Still have questions when it comes to finding the best probiotics for colon health? Check out our brief FAQ below for answers to some of the more commonly asked questions.
Do probiotics clean out your colon?
Probiotics work to rebalance gut flora. When this happens, you will notice improvements in the frequency and regularity of your bowel movements. Probiotics for colon health can also help alleviate any gas or bloating you may be experiencing. Over time, probiotics will extend beyond improved digestion.
What happens to your body when you start taking probiotics?
Everyone is different and will experience a different reaction when starting probiotics. Some may experience gas, bloating, and diarrhea, while others may not experience this at all. When you take probiotics, the gut microbiota can produce more gas than usual, which is what ultimately leads to bloating. However, many of these side effects should clear within a few days to a few weeks of starting your probiotics.
Is apple cider vinegar a probiotic?
Apple cider vinegar can contain raw or live bacteria, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it can be labeled as a probiotic. Only a few bacteria and yeasts are known as probiotics because of their proven effects on our health.