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Digestive Health

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are good bacteria that normally reside in your gut. They help process food, produce essential vitamins, and interact with your immune system. A lack of probiotics caused by aging and antibiotic usage can lead to digestive problems such as diarrhea. Children who grow up without exposure to probiotics are more prone to developing atopic diseases such as asthma, allergies, and eczema.

What are the Proven Health Benefits of Probiotics?

Probiotics are main used for diarrhea and constipation. Probiotics such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Saccharomyces boulardii have been shown to ease diarrhea in adults and children. Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus acidophilus provide relief from constipation and are particularly effective for children.1 

Diarrhea and constipation can be caused by an unbalance in the beneficial bacteria vs the bad bacteria in your intestinal tract. Probiotics can help restore a healthy balance and promote more regular bowel movements.

However, that is not all the benefits that probiotics provide. Research has demonstrated the benefits of probiotics for H. pylori Ulcers, C diff, and IBS, allergies, vaginal health, acne, and mood disorders.

Read the full article on the benefits of probiotics here.

How do you Choose the Best Probiotic?

There are three key factors in choosing probiotics. The first is the strains. Two of the most effective and well-researched probiotic organisms are Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium infantis. These species, particularly in combination, can repopulate the beneficial microflora in both the small and large intestine. In doing so, they also help to improve the absorption of nutrients, prevent digestive disorders, improve bowel motility, and boost the immune system.4

The second key factor in choosing a probiotic is survival. Always check to see if a probiotic supplement needs to be refrigerated. Nowadays, some of the highest quality probiotics do not need to be refrigerated due to packaging and high potency. The human gut is a highly acidic environment, and for probiotics to do their work they need to be able to pass through the stomach unscathed so that they can establish their colonies in the intestinal tract. The best probiotics can survive passage through the gut. This is due to the combination of probiotics in the blend and the coating of the capsule that contains them, which uses the latest technology to provide enteric protection.

The third thing to remember is the potency. This is measured by the number of live organisms given in Colony Forming Units (CFUs). A dose of at least 10 billion CFUs is recommended to reduce the duration of diarrhea in children. The product label should indicate the potency.

Read the full article on choosing the best probiotic here.

What are the Most Common Side Effects of Probiotics?

Most people won’t experience side effects from taking probiotic supplements, but some do experience minor side effects. These can include bloating, gas, or minor constipation. These side effects should stop within a few weeks once the good bacteria in the gut reduces the amount of bad bacteria.

If you experience gas and bloating after beginning probiotic supplements, consider taking probiotics when your stomach is empty to help with discomfort. We recommend taking it right before bed on an empty stomach if this happens

If you experience occasional constipation you can take a prebiotic supplement with your probiotics to help. Furthermore, drinking plenty of water while your body adjusts to probiotics can help reduce constipation.

Read more about the side effects of probiotics here and what you can do about them here.

When is the Best Time to Take Probiotics?

The best time to take probiotic supplements is either right before you eat, or at least a half hour beforehand. It is recommended to take your probiotic supplements around breakfast time with a meal containing good fats. That’s because probiotics work more effectively when you consume them with fats. If you’re like most people, your lunch and dinner varies by the day but your breakfast routine is usually the same. If you’re consuming any milk with breakfast, that makes it a good time to take your probiotic supplements. Taking probiotics after a meal isn’t recommended because fewer of the probiotics survive. This is also the case with taking it on an empty stomach.

If you forget to take your probiotic prior to a meal, take when your stomach is empty, such as before bed or an hour after you eat.

Read more about the best time to take probiotics here.

What are Bifidobacteria Probiotics and their Health Benefits?

Bifidobacteria, such as Bifidobacterium lactis, are good bacteria dwelling in the intestinal tract. Many of the best probiotic supplements contain Bifidobacteria, and this bacteria has benefits for adults and children. In adults, Bifidobacteria help restore regular bowel movements, help with weight management, and aid those dealing with lactose intolerance. In children, probiotic supplements containing Bifidobacterial can help acute bouts of diarrhea. Bifidobateria can also help with allergies, asthma, and eczema. In addition to supplements, you can find Bifidobacteria in foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, miso, kombucha, and olives.

Read more about the benefits of Bifidobacteria here.

What are the Differences Between Probiotics and Prebiotics?

Probiotics are beneficial organisms that reside in the gut. Prebiotics are good food sources for probiotics that help them thrive. 

Please read abut the differences between the two here.

What are Digestive Enzymes?

When you eat food, your body breaks it down into nutrients that can be easily absorbed. This is the job of digestive enzymes. They break down your grilled salmon and broccoli to nutrients like amino acids, fatty acids, cholesterol, simple sugars, and vitamins and minerals. If you have insufficient digestive enzymes, even if you have a healthy diet, your body will be unable to absorb the nutrients it needs. This can be caused by many contributory factors, such as pancreatic problems, inflammation in the digestive tract, food allergies, low stomach acid, and chronic stress.A digestive enzyme supplement is a simple, all-natural solution for digestive problems, but their range of help is much broader.

What Are Common Issues Digestive Enzymes Help With?

Keeping your digestive system healthy is vital so that your body can fully absorb all the nutrients from the food you eat. But for many people, digestive distress has become a normal part of daily life.

Some of the most common forms of digestive discomfort include:

  • Acid reflux: Acid reflux occurs when the stomach contents to acid ratio backs up into the esophagus. This can affect your sleep pattern and daily activities.
  • Lactose intolerance: Between 30 million and 50 million Americans have

    lactose intolerance.If you’re one of them, your body doesn’t produce the digestive enzyme lactase to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products like yogurt and ice cream. Symptoms may include bloating, nausea, gas, cramping, and diarrhea.

The good news is that adding a digestive enzyme supplement to your daily health regime may support healthy stomach acid levels, help break down lactose that would otherwise cause lactose intolerance, and help support healthy and more regular bowel movements. Probiotics can help improve the growth of beneficial bacteria in the GI tract and support a healthy immune response. If your body cannot absorb lactose, lactase digestive enzymes can also help.   

What Probiotic Supplements Does DrFormulas Offer? 

You don’t need to accept digestive distress as a normal part of life. By making a few lifestyle changes, you can alleviate symptoms such as heartburn, bloating, bowel irregularity, and gas, and your digestive system will run smoothly and absorb the nutrients your body needs.

DrFormulas™ Nexabiotic® Probiotic Capsules for Women with 50x Cranberry Concentrate contains a unique formula of beneficial probiotic bacteria, including Bifidobacterium longum, to ensure that bad bacteria in your GI tract does not overcome the good bacteria. It also contains Lactobacillus rhamnosus to support a healthy immune system and Saccharomyces boulardii, which can protect you from digestive distress caused by antibiotic use.

We’ve come out with a version of Nexabiotic just for women because their anatomy is a little different than men. Women are prone to getting urinary tract infections because the urethra is inside the vagina and the vagina also has probiotics and like it or not probiotics that are in the gut will end up colonizing the vagina. It is particularly important for a woman to get plenty of Lactobacillus probiotics because they normally inhabit the vagina and produce lactic acid. Lactic acid lowers the pH of the vagina and keep out unwanted E. coli, Candida albicans, and Gardnerella vaginalis.

If the vagina is colonized by E. coli, they can make it up the urethra and into the urinary tract, resulting in a urinary tract infection. If Candida albicans takes hold inside the vagina it can result in yeast infections. If Gardnerella vaginalis takes hold you can have a fishy odor down there.

Because you want to give your new baby the best start in life, DrFormulas™ created Nexabiotic® Probiotic Powder for Babies and Infants. With its unique blend of 23 active probiotic strains, it can provide powerful support for your infant’s growing digestive and immune systems. Nexabiotic Probiotic powder does not need any inconvenient measuring cups or spoons to dose. It already comes in pre-dosed capsules that are easily opened, and emptied into formula, milk, or food.

Nexabiotic® Multivitamin Probiotic Gummies with Omega-3 for Kids and Adults is an easy way to introduce a probiotic supplement to children, and is great for adults who are uncomfortable swallowing tablets. The gummies are certified kosher and do not contain any artificial flavoring. Each gummy combines Bacillus coagulans probiotic, a multivitamin for kids, along with omega-3 oils in one easy to take gummy.

Alleviate lactose intolerance with an all-natural digestive enzyme supplement that supplements the enzymes you are missing and assists the ones you have so that they can function to their best ability. DrFormulas™ Digestive Enzymes with Lactase is designed to do just that. It contains a range of digestive enzymes including lactase, amylase, lipase, invertase, catalase, and, beta-glucanase. Lactase helps with the breakdown of lactose to alleviate lactrose intolerance.

DrFormulas™ Nexabiotic® Advanced 23-strain Probiotics supplement provides everything you need to protect your GI tact and maintain healthy levels of beneficial gut and intestinal flora, so your body will absorb nutrients the way it should.

Taking a probiotic supplement every day can not only help your digestion and boost your immune system, it can help improve your general wellbeing. Go with your gut and get Nexabiotic probiotics from DrFormulas!

How do digestive enzymes work to help with digestion?

Digestive enzymes are essential for food digestion. They are produced primarily in the pancreas, stomach, and small intestine, but your salivary glands secrete enzymes to start the digestive process.

Food on its own cannot be used by the body. Digestive enzymes break foods down into smaller discrete molecules that your body can actually absorb and use. Most of these molecules include the various vitamins and minerals necessary to your general health. Without digestive enzymes, your body would not be able to break down foods, which could result in gastrointestinal problems and nutrient deficiencies.5

When should you take digestive enzymes?

While your body can naturally produce digestive enzymes on its own, your enzyme levels can be affected by a variety of factors. For example, most digestive enzymes are sensitive to pH levels in the stomach. Extreme pH levels can neutralize the chemical activity of enzymes.6 Commonly, problems with your pancreas, including pancreatitis and cystic fibrosis, may result in a decrease in necessary digestive enzymes.5 However, you may also require digestive enzyme supplements to support healthy digestion. Digestive enzyme supplements have been shown to help reduce symptoms of indigestion, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel diseases.7

What are the best digestive enzymes?

There are a wide variety of digestive enzymes that each present their own functions, so the best for one person may not have the same effects for you. However, the best digestive enzymes include:

  • Protease 1 and 2 – Proteases help to convert proteins into their smaller amino acid building blocks, which contribute to normal growth and body tissue repair and provide a source of energy.8
  • Lactase – Lactase is the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose, the sugar found in dairy products.9
  • Lipase – Lipase breaks down fats into fatty acids and triglycerides.10
  • Amylase – Amylase is responsible for breaking down carbohydrates into smaller sugars for energy.11

What are the side effects of digestive enzymes?

Digestive enzyme supplements are generally considered safe for use. Some people may experience some gastrointestinal discomfort, which can include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pains
  • Gas and bloating6

However, these symptoms are mild and should go away as your body attunes to the supplements. Some may also be allergic to specific digestive enzymes. Consult your doctor if you are not aware of enzymatic allergies.

Can you take probiotics and digestive enzymes at the same time?

Probiotic supplements replenish the beneficial bacteria in your gut to support your digestive health, though growing studies suggest that probiotics may provide a wide range of health benefits.

When combined, probiotics and digestive enzyme supplements can provide a double dose of help for your digestion and may offer comfort for gas, bloating, and general indigestion. Both are safe and come with few side effects, and using both in conjunction may result in complementary effects. The best probiotic supplement should offer a diverse range of active probiotic strains along with at least 10 billion CFUs.

Products that combine both digestive enzymes and probiotics into one capsule should be avoided as they do not produce the best results. Probiotics should be released in the small intestine where stomach acid has been neutralized and digestive enzymes should be released in the stomach so they can start the digestive process and help with the breakdown of food.

Other Articles by DrFormulas:

Natural Laxatives, Digestive Enzymes, and Probiotics for Constipation

If you deal with occasional discomfort from constipation, there are plenty of natural remedies that offer relief. Taking a fiber supplement and drinking plenty of water can help get your bowels moving. Avoid any type of processed foods, and make sure you get plenty of exercise.

Natural laxatives that can restore bowel movements include flaxseeds and chia seeds, both of which can soften dry, hard stools in your intestines.

Taking prebiotic and probiotic supplements should restore the good bacteria in your gut, which lessens the odds of developing any digestive issues, including constipation. If you don’t want to take probiotic supplements, foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut and the fermented drinks kombucha and kefir are full of probiotics. If your constipation does not respond to any of these natural remedies, seek medical attention.

Read more about natural treatments for constipation here.

How to Fight Heartburn and Acid Reflux Naturally with Digestive Enzymes

If heartburn and/or acid reflux plague your life, the first step is identifying trigger foods. These are generally spicy, fatty, or acidic foods, but the trigger varies by individual. For some people, caffeine or alcohol are culprits.

Simple lifestyle changes can help with acid reflux. This includes consuming smaller meals several times a day rather than a few large meals. It’s also important to eat food slowly and chew it well. Take a walk or perform some mild exercise after eating to lower the risk of heartburn, and don’t take a nap or otherwise lie down after eating.

Natural remedies for heartburn and acid reflux prevention include digestive enzyme supplements, which help break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Also, find the best probiotic supplement available to aid food movement through your digestive tract. Apple cider vinegar or betaine hydrochloride may help individuals dealing with acid reflux due to inadequate amounts of stomach acid.

Read more about natural remedies for acid reflux here.

How Long Does Food Poisoning Last?

If you are suffering from food poisoning, any amount of time seems like too long. The good news is that most cases of food poisoning resolve within a few days, although especially bad cases may last a week or more. See a doctor if your symptoms don’t improve by the fourth day, or if bloody diarrhea is present. Senior citizens, young children, and pregnant women should always see a physician if they experience food poisoning, and the same holds true for people with compromised immune systems.

Food poisoning symptoms run the gastrointestinal gamut, from vomiting and diarrhea to nausea and abdominal pain. Unlike a garden variety digestive upset, fever may accompany food poisoning. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, and sip ginger tea to combat nausea. Probiotic supplements can reduce the duration of diarrhea.

Read more about food poisoning here.