Home Digestive Health Probiotics Drinks: Health Benefits and Possible Side Effects

Probiotics Drinks: Health Benefits and Possible Side Effects

Written by Jane Summerfield

Probiotic drinks have become very, very trendy drinks today in the beverages market.

This is simply due to the increasing consumer demand for these drinks.

People today are much more aware of being healthy today than ever before.

They seek natural foods and natural drinks to pass over their lips these days – not stuff filled with hormones and chemicals.

And when it comes to gut health, of which millions of people suffer from serious gut diseases today, they want to ensure their drinks are not only natural but beneficial to their guts as well.

Massive and popular companies that held the beverage monopoly for years on end have seen the hype of probiotic drinks.

They want to join the probiotic bandwagon too.

In 2015, Pepsi bought over KeVita [1].

KeVita is a sparkling probiotic drink that you probably have seen in most major grocery stores across the country.

The Effects Of Probiotics Drinks On Human Health

lady drinking yoghurt

There are so many options today when it comes to probiotic drinks

Because manufacturers’ have discovered that people are into probiotics, they have discovered ways of giving the world probiotics in the form of many enticing drinks.

Healthy drinks that support gut health and help to fight bacterial infections, as well as support the immune system, are what people want and are buying into big time.

Briefly, what are probiotics?

Probiotics are a combination of yeast and/or live good bacteria that live naturally in the body.

Often bacteria are viewed as something bad; that makes you ill.

But there are two kinds of bacteria that remain constantly on and in the body. These are both good and bad bacteria [2].

Good bacteria is defined as “microorganisms introduced into the body for their beneficial qualities.” They are beneficial for the immune system and digestive system.

Different Types of Probiotic Drinks

Let’s look at the different types of probiotic drinks available today in grocery stores.

1) Fruit-based and Tea Probiotic Drinks

These are usually called kombucha, and they are made with sugar, tea, and yeast.

If you are sensitive to dairy or lactose intolerance, you will find Kombucha a good probiotic drink.

2) Dairy Probiotic Drinks

These are yogurt drinks and kefir. Kefir is not the same as yogurt because it has been made with kefir grains in it and also different strains of good gut bacteria.

Studies show that kefir has anti-tumor, anti-microbial, anti-carcinogenic, and immunomodulatory activity [3].

Dairy probiotics improve lactose digestion.

3) Fermented Vegetable-based Probiotic Juices

These are made from the juices of several veggies such as green cabbage and red beets.

4) Fermented grain-based juices:

An example is a delicious kvass. Kvass is a traditional Baltic and Slavic type beer beverage. It has a sour taste and is made from fermented rye bread.

5) Cultured coconut drinks

These are made with kefir grains and coconut water.

6) Water kefir:

This is a fermented beverage made from sugar, water, and kefir grains.

The mixture is left to ferment for around 24–48 hours.

A fizzy, probiotic-rich beverage is created, and it is full of benefits. Water kefir is free of dairy and is thinner than traditional kefir.

Some people like to flavor it with herbs, spices, veggies, or fruit.

6) Probiotic-infused waters

These are flavored waters that have supplemental probiotic strains added to them.

Some brands have other ingredients like ginger, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, or apple cider vinegar added to them.

Each type of probiotic beverage is different because of different probiotic strains

Some probiotics have specific strains of lactic acid bacteria.

One such one is Lactobacillus which has received plenty of research as a health-promoting probiotic.

In addition to certain beverages, you will also find probiotics in fermented foods and probiotic supplements.

These include sauerkraut, yogurt, and other cultured veggies, natto, tempeh, and miso, which are fermented soybeans.

Fantastic benefits of probiotic drinks

1) Supports gut health & aid in digestion

The benefits of probiotics have been studied extensively for their ability to improve the function of the gut [4].

These probiotics have shown from studies how they help to support intestinal tract health and to make nutrients more absorbable.

They crowd out the harmful bacteria which often lead to sickness in the gut. They benefit those who suffer from constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

2) Fight infections & chronic diseases

Probiotics are able to strengthen the immune system [5] and build a defense against a lot of illnesses.

When you regularly include fermented products in your diet, you are able to build up protection against common infections like urinary tract infections and yeast infections.

High-quality probiotic drinks like kvass that have been made from beetroot juice provide you with antioxidants and help to naturally cleanse the gallbladder, supper the liver in detoxifying the body and improve bile flow.

Nutrient absorption into the body is also boosted.

The probiotics help to fight free radical damage and inflammation.

Probiotics help to prevent symptoms that are associated with digestive disorders, skin problems, frequency of colds and flu, and candida.

It is so encouraging to realize that probiotics are good for heart health too because they exhibit anti-hypertensive and anti-hypercholesterolemia effects.

3) It may help to enhance mental health

Did you know that the digestive system is the second largest part of the neurological system?  In fact, it is often called the body’s “second brain.”

Good probiotic bacteria help to synthesize neurotransmitters and other compounds that help to contribute to positive mood and mental health.

Probiotics are known to help fight inflammatory responses that can mess with the mood, and contribute to fatigue and anxiety symptoms.

4) Helps to protect and reduce allergies

The immune system becomes strengthened through taking probiotics.

They help to seal the GI tract and prevent leaky gut. When you consume probiotic drinks and foods, you help to also reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

That, therefore, decreases food allergies from prevailing.

5) A good source of other nutrients

Probiotic drinks are a wonderful source of gut-friendly bacteria. You also receive the benefits of vitamin B12, calcium, protein, and other nutrients.

Kefir, for example, and drinking yogurts will offer you plenty of important minerals, protein, and healthy fats. Fermented veggie juices will supply antioxidants and vitamins such as vitamin C.

Did you know that during fermentation, kombucha becomes carbonated?

It ends up containing important enzymes, B vitamins, and high concentrations of beneficial acids such as lactic acid, gluconic acid, and acetic acid?

Do probiotics help you lose weight?

Well, it’s certainly possible that when you drink probiotic beverages over the sugar ones like beer, soda, and fruit juices, you can experience weight loss.

Kombucha, a probiotic beverage, tends to be much lower in calories and sugar than many other sweetened, bottled drinks.

But usually, the reason most people drink probiotic drinks is to help to replenish healthy bacteria in their guts, instead of to cut calories.

Are there side effects of probiotic drinks?

1) Digestive symptoms

You could experience bloating and gas when you first start using probiotics.

These side effects usually clear up in a few days or weeks after starting to take probiotics.

If the symptoms do persist, your doctor might help to figure out what the causes could be. He might suggest another probiotic type.

2) Skin problems

Sometimes, although rare, probiotics can cause itchiness and skin rashes.

If rashes or itching do occur, stop taking the probiotic and see a doctor if the rash persists or accompanies other symptoms.

3) Risk of allergies

Those who are allergic to soy, gluten, dairy, eggs, or lactose, should take probiotics with caution.

There are manufacturers who offer allergen-free probiotics.

If you do experience an allergic reaction, stop taking the probiotic immediately and see a doctor if the reaction is severe.

4) Increased risk of infection

Although probiotics are usually safe, there will be some adults and children with compromised immune systems who should avoid using probiotics.

Sometimes they can experience fungal or bacterial infections from using probiotics.

Whoever is taking antifungal meds should rather wait for an infection to clear before taking probiotics.

5) Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)

SIBO or small intestine bacterial overgrowth often occurs when bacteria from the large intestine start growing in the small intestine.

Symptoms of SIBO are very similar to the symptoms of IBS and they include bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Short-term memory problems and brain fogginess can also occur from SIBO.

Studies from 2018 have indicated the possible link between probiotic supplementation and SIBO in people suffering from brain fogginess.

Researchers found that these symptoms were improved when the participants stopped taking probiotics and started on antibiotics [6].

6) Antibiotic resistance

It is rare that probiotic bacteria can contain antibiotic-resistant genes [7] and pass on the genes to other bacteria strains.

Manufacturers test commercial probiotic strains for the presence of antibiotic resistance.

Always source your probiotics from trusted and reputable manufacturers.

Conclusion

OK, it’s true – Even though probiotics are amazing for your health, they can’t work digestive miracles overnight.

Like if you had a very over-indulgent weekend, don’t think that a probiotic drink is just going to vacuum your system clean.

What they can do is, over time, with regular consumption, help to improve your bowel movements to be more regular, combat constipation, and decrease bloating.

There’s no doubt that probiotics help to strengthen the immune system.

But while they are beneficial to your health, if you are eating and drinking foods and drinks that contain probiotics, and also taking supplements, you can throw off the bacterial balance in your intestines.

If you are getting probiotics in your diet, then speak to your doctor if you want to take supplements too.

According to one report from Beverage Industry, probiotic drinks are the hottest bottled drinks to claim their rights and space in the grocery store’s refrigerator section.

Because labels with the words ‘energy boosting’ and ‘detoxifying’ are, simply, what probiotics can do.

We can say ‘cheers’ to that with these top probiotic drinks for 2022 – enjoy!

References

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