Home Digestive Health How Long Does It Take Probiotics to Work?

How Long Does It Take Probiotics to Work?

Written by Jane Summerfield

So why do we take probiotics in the first place?

Sometimes doctors prescribe them. And sometimes we hear our friends saying to us – ‘you should take probiotics.’

Probiotics are live microorganisms [1].

These microorganisms live in your gut.

That, to many people, sounds harmful to their health, particularly the bacterial variety. But probiotics in your system are there to provide health to your gut. 

Sometimes this good bacteria comes under attack in your body, and that’s when you need a bit of help in the form of ‘live’ probiotic supplements.

They can put back the good bacteria that you have lost in your body when it has been at war, fighting for your health.

It will go to work, fighting to protect your body against things like disease and taking antibiotics, for instance.

When Will Probiotics Start Working After Taking Them?

It’s not necessarily a given that you must take probiotic supplements

 Experts will tell you and recommend to you that you can get in extra probiotics by what you eat.

Fermented foods, such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and yogurt are excellent ways to get in natural probiotics [2].

If that is not sufficient for you to fight off the bad bacteria, then your doctor might suggest a probiotic supplement. 

But if your buy your own probiotics, know what you are taking off the shelf.

Don’t just grab anything that you see the word ‘probiotic’ written on.

Probiotic supplements aren’t all the same and won’t work the same. Some contain different strains of probiotics.

A lot of different medical conditions can be affected by what we eat

 There is a very complex interaction between the food we eat and the bacteria in our intestines.

It is clear that probiotics can help maintain good health in several ways.

It is important to note that they’re not like your typical supplement. “If you don’t have any GI issues, there’s no benefit to taking probiotics. It’s not like a vitamin.”

That’s what Dr. Lisa Ganjhu says.

Once your doctor has prescribed probiotics for you, how long will it take to work? 

The human body needs helpful bacteria to function properly.

What do helpful bacteria do?

They allow the body to digest food properly, absorb vitamins, boost your immunity, and regulate inflammation in your body, and also your weight.

Your body needs the good bacteria desperately – It certainly doesn’t need harmful, bad bacteria in the body.

If bad bacteria reign supreme in your body and outgrows itself in your gut, your body is in trouble and needs help.

Often a doctor will prescribe antibiotics for you to clear that bad bacteria and then probiotics to replace the good bacteria that got destroyed.

 The collection of bad and good bacteria in your gut is known as the gut microbiome [3].

You need to watch and ensure that you always have more good bacteria in your microbiome than bad bacteria.

This balance is key to your digestive health. 

When there are more bad bacteria in your gut than good, it’s called “dysbiosis.” Dysbiosis [4] is associated with a whole lot of health issues and digestive problems you don’t want to know about.

Fortunately, rebalancing the microbiome with probiotics will help!

How long should I wait before I start seeing a difference in my health? 

If you have started taking probiotics because you are ill, or you are taking antibiotics, we are going to tell you when you will start noticing a difference in your health.

The minute you start taking probiotics, you are adding good bacteria directly to your gut microbiome.

That is already helping to improve the good bacteria situation in your gut. 

The inflammation in your digestive system will start to improve.

That means the number of lipopolysaccharides will become reduced in the body.

Remember, the lowering of inflammation isn’t an immediate process either

The amount of the lipopolysaccharides in the gut will require time to taper off as well, for the actual inflammation to start to disappear.

Nevertheless, people who take probiotics say they tend to notice changes in their symptoms in a period of about 2-3 weeks after taking them.

It could take a bit longer even – remember, we said each person is different and there are different strains of probiotics too.

Also, remember that probiotics have to accomplish three key goals when you start taking them because that’s their job:

  • They need to increase the good bacteria count
  • They need to decrease the bad bacteria count
  • The need to reduce inflammation 

As soon as you do start adding good bacteria in the form of probiotics, you are starting the war to overcome the bad bacteria

Take prebiotics as well.

To explain taking prebiotics with probiotics, think of it like this. Taking probiotics is the soldiers going to war on the bad bacteria. But prebiotics is like feeding the soldiers (probiotics) with supplies.

Just one dose of probiotics is not going to win the war in one day

 That means you have to take enough probiotics and prebiotics to get the good bacteria back in power, so they can make quick work of the bad bacteria, which is inflammation.

Also Read: 1MD Complete Probiotics: Is it Really Worth It?

Other factors will determine how quickly probiotics work

There was a study completed in 2018. It found that the type of probiotic strain, the health condition of the person taking the probiotic, the product formula and quality, as well as the dose played a part in the effectiveness of the probiotic. 

Some people will recommend you take probiotics for specific therapy to treat acute symptoms 

This could be, for example, traveler’s diarrhea. Sometimes in cases like this, a person can notice the effects in a couple of days already.

Other research suggests that when you combine probiotic treatment with rehydration therapy, you can reduce the duration and frequency of diarrhea by 2 days [5].

In fact, continuous use of the correct probiotic for your symptoms might offer the best chance for overall gut health and symptom reduction.

These are the most common types of probiotics that people use

Lactobacillus:

Lactobacillus helps to support the immune system, digestion, and healthy blood sugar levels. It might help prevent yeast infections.

Bifidobacterium:

Bifidobacterium gets used often to manage symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It has also proven beneficial for mental health issues and also addresses eczema in infants.

Don’t forget to eat probiotic foods

Some foods naturally contain probiotics in them. Some companies might add probiotics to some of their products during manufacturing. Dairy foods and fermented foods are the most common sources of probiotics.

These are: 

  • Cottage chees
  • Yogurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kombucha
  • Kefir
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Fermented soy products, including tempeh, natto, and miso 

How would you know that probiotics are working for you?

 If you notice these improvements after you start taking probiotics, in all probability, they are working properly for you:

1) You will notice decreased discomfort and pain in your abdomen:

That’s one of the easiest ways to tell if your probiotic s working

2) You will notice reduced gas and bloating:

When the good bacteria start to dominate, they reduce the production of excess gas and bowel distention

3) You will notice more regularity in bowel movements:

Probiotics help to regulate gut mobility and bowel movements by moving the intestines and emptying the bowels 

4) You will notice better digestion:

Using probiotics will help your gut to feel physically better. Balanced gut flora can help with the digestion of food on a day-to-day basis

5) You will notice more energy and improved immunity:

You might notice along with the extra energy that you don’t seem to be susceptible to colds as often as you used to. Probiotics help in aiding proper digestion and nutrient absorption

6) You will notice a decrease in bowel inflammation:

This is because probiotics help to maintain a healthy gut biome

You might only exhibit one or two of the above changes, but still, it will be a sign that the probiotic is working.

As Dr. Patel says, it is “highly individual and dependent on each person’s gut flora.

There is no set time for probiotics to ‘kick in’ or no immediate cause-and-effect responses seen by taking probiotics as they participate in a complex web of responses to regulate mental, gut, and immune health.”

You could also check in with your doctor after a month or two to reassess whether your symptoms are improving.

 Conclusion

Probiotics are nicknamed the good or helpful bacteria by a lot of medical professionals.

They are live yeasts and bacteria that help to keep the gut healthy and also improve digestion.

When you start upping your intake of probiotic-rich foods, it is not always easy to figure out if they are making any difference to your health.

Some people expect to see an almost immediate change, and experts often agree that it’s not as simple as all that.

There actually isn’t any magic miracle that your probiotics worked overnight.

But you will notice some changes as we mentioned above, such as an improvement in adnominal pain, inflammation, and bloating, for starters.

If taken as they are intended, probiotics can restore and improve your gut environment.

 For short-term symptom relief, like when needing to reduce diarrhea, some probiotics can work quite quickly; in a matter of a few days.

For more chronic conditions or for general immune-boosting health, it may be most beneficial for you to take probiotics for weeks and even months at a time. 

People tend to tolerate probiotics well as they work at restoring or balancing the healthy gut microbiome.

Some people want to discuss taking probiotics with their doctor before incorporating them into their diet.

Probiotics have a long history of being safe and beneficial to use on a daily basis.

It’s because most probiotic supplements typically use the same microbes that already exist in the human gut naturally.

Look after your gut! ‘Because the road to health is paved with good intestines!’ – Sherry A. Rogers

References

Posts You Should Read Next…

You Might Also Like: