We’ve all been there at some point, and we’ll do just about anything to relieve it: Constipation. One natural remedy for constipation may be to eat more foods with probiotics. A group of researchers recently reviewed five different studies on the use of specific probiotics to treat constipation in adults and children.
What are probiotics?
In the most basic terms, probiotics are healthy bacteria that you can take in supplement form or via fermented or cultured food. They are living organisms, meaning there are many different strains out there to choose from. Also, the research on this topic is limited and given the amount of different probiotics on the market, it’s difficult to make a universal recommendation for use. However, because of their healthy effect on the gut, some probiotic strains have been shown to be beneficial in some people with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and because the immune system is partially in the gut, it may even be helpful against common bugs.
Although four of the five reviewed studies showed that probiotics were helpful in constipation relief, the researchers still felt that there is not yet enough evidence to make a general recommendation on its use. However, no negative side effects were noted. If you’re interested in trying probiotics to help relieve gut distress, just keep some things in mind:
- Opt for the food sources, such as yogurt, kombucha, miso and sauerkraut.
- If you go with a supplement, choose a reputable brand. More is not better, when it comes to taking supplements.
- If you are in an immuno-compromised state, such as having HIV/AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy treatment, talk to your doctor about the safety of probiotics for you.
Kombucha is a very “in” drink lately, and now we know why. Perhaps the $3-a-bottle drink helps keep things moving smoothly.