What are the Best Probiotics for Constipation?

best probiotics for constipation

By the time you find yourself on the hunt for the best probiotics for constipation, it’s fair to say that constipation has become enough of a recurring problem that you’re seeking a longterm solution for it.

Researchers from around the world have spent time studying probiotics, to find out how they can help in the treatment or prevention of many health issues, including digestive orders like constipation and diarrhea, caused by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or an imbalance in bacteria brought on by taking antibiotics or other causes.

There has been useful preliminary evidence suggesting that some strains of probiotics may help not only in preventing diarrhea, but in preventing or treating constipation, as well.

It’s still not yet known how many colony forming units (CFUs) that someone would have to take, and what strains will work the best in constipation. It is not as well-researched as probiotics in treating diarrhea.

Probiotics are not all the same. If one strain of Lactobacillus is helpful in preventing a specific illness, that doesn’t mean another strain of lactobacillus would have similar effects, or whether any Bifidobacterium strains would do the same.

Some probiotics show promise in research, and there is mounting evidence to support the uses of specific probiotic strains for certain health conditions.

Do Probiotics Help Constipation?

If you’re like most people, you will experience multiple constipation episodes through the years. Some causes of constipation include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stress, taking antacids, not drinking sufficient water or a diet low in fiber.

Natural remedies like probiotics can provide you with welcome relief. How so? Probiotics are often called good bacteria, since they treat health issues and help in keeping your intestine healthy. They can be found in some foods, and we’ll look into that below.

Probiotics can help in treating constipation, in causing a reduction in the uncomfortable feeling that elimination is not complete, and in abdominal distension.

The results of studies on probiotics are mixed, as is the case with any type of food or supplement marketed for health purposes. In some cases, parents have had success with probiotics increasing the frequency of bowel movements in children.

Researchers also suggest that any failures of probiotics in studies might be due to inadequate time over which the probiotics are administered. As we noted, there are many probiotic species and strains, and they do affect the body in different ways.

Some species and strains are turning out to be more effective in the treatment of constipation than others. We’ll look into specific strains, and studies conducted on them, below.

How Probiotics Help Constipation

If the bacteria in your gut are in balance, good versus bad, you won’t need food or supplements to add probiotics, in order to remain healthy. However, a balanced scenario is not often found, due to many outside reasons.

Probiotics in foods or supplements will assist the good bacteria already found in the gut. They can keep you healthier by:

  • Replacing your body’s good bacteria that could have been lost during courses of antibiotics
  • Decreasing the population of bad bacteria in the gut that could otherwise cause inflammation or infection
  • Restoring your good and bad bacteria balance, which helps your body to function properly

How to Choose Probiotics Best for Constipation

You need to keep in mind that beneficial bacteria are live microorganisms and they won’t help you if they’re dead. When you are checking which probiotic to purchase…

  • Check for the expiration date. Don’t purchase probiotic supplements that are past their best by date.
  • Ensure that you are getting enough colony forming units (CFUs) in the supplement you choose. Manufacturers actually pack more CFUs than the packaging indicates, so that the amount still alive when you buy the product will be what the label says.
  • Look for a sizable dose. Speak with your physician about how many CFUs you need for your purposes.
  • Store your supplements properly. Probiotics need a dry, cool place away from the flow of air, in order to preserve their beneficial properties. The best choice is often buying refrigerated probiotics. Keep them in the refrigerator as soon as you bring them home. Freeze-dried probiotics are also a good choice for longevity in storage.
  • Take supplements in a consistent manner. The digestive tract is volatile, and using probiotics daily can ensure that you maintain the optimal state of flora in your gut.

What are the Best Probiotic Strains for Constipation?

As you already know by now, how effective a probiotic is for constipation very much depends on the probiotics strains that it contains. Based on research, here are the best probiotics strains for constipation.

Bifidobacterium longum

Strains of this probiotic have been the subjects of tests in the past. One recent study saw success with elderly patients who were constipated. It was able to give them more regular bowel movements.

B. longum was also able to prevent constipation in babies in a separate trial. Considering more upcoming studies, it is believed that this strain will prove to be quite helpful for constipation. It is found in numerous probiotic products.

Bifidobacterium infantis

B. infantis is among the main species of good bacteria that make up a very healthy intestinal flora for infants. It is a dominant and important good bacterium in children of young ages, as well.

In a 2006 study conducted by PJ Whorwell, the researchers discovered that the B. infantis strain encouraged children to have more frequent bowel movements than children who received a placebo.

Lactobacillus casei

L. casei is the probiotic ingredient in the drink Yakult. It has been studied in effects on constipation. In one double-blind trial, 70 patients who suffered from chronic constipation were treated with the probiotic or placebo.

Patients were examined once a week and after just two weeks, the probiotics patients had reduced constipation sharply. However, it did not appear that the probiotic influenced gas or bloating. L. casei has also been found to be helpful for patients with Parkinson’s disease who also suffer from constipation.

Bifidobacterium lactis

This probiotic can be found in multiple products that help create or maintain a healthy gut. It was researched in a double-blind trial for elderly patients with constipation. In the study, acacia fiber was also used, so the results are not weighted as heavily as studies where just one strain and ingredient is used.

That said, the results of this study were quite positive. Patients experienced dramatic improvements in constipation symptoms.

Bifidobacterium animalis

B. animalis was researched in a 2002 double-blind study with healthy adults. The group that received this probiotic strain for 11 days in a row reduced the transit time in the colon by about 20%. Women had better results than men.

Another study in 2010 confirmed the benefits of B. animalis, proving that it does reduce the transit time for people who suffered from constipation.

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