Can Probiotics Promote Regularity?
Can Probiotics Promote Regularity?
Regular elimination is an essential part of maintaining optimal health and how often we have a bowel movement can tell us a lot about what’s going on inside our bodies. Believe it or not, it has a lot to do with our gut bacteria, and when our beneficial bacteria are in low supply, our elimination patterns can be impacted. Our friends at CanPrev share why this is and how probiotics can help you stay regular.
The Importance of Bowel Movement Regularity
Pooping regularly is more important than you may think. This is because when we go, our body is getting rid of all the waste products from our food as well as toxins that we come across on a daily basis. If we’re not ridding the body of these contents regularly, it can lead to uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, gas, cramping, constipation, or diarrhea (in some cases, both).
How is the Gut Microbiome Involved?
Motility is the movement of food and waste through your GI tract and out of your body. It’s what helps keep bowel movements regular, and the gut microbiome plays an important role in this. The muscles in your intestinal wall perform a wave-like motion called peristalsis to move stool along. Peristalsis is controlled by the nerves in your gut that connect to your brain, which are themselves affected by the bacteria in your gut. Bacterial metabolites like short-chain fatty acids interact with your brain through those nerves and help maintain healthy, regular bowel movements.
Chronic constipation is characterized by difficult or infrequent bowel movements, hardness of stool, and a feeling that you haven’t passed everything you should have. More and more research points to a dysbiotic gut microbiome as a possible cause. Dysbiosis occurs when there is an imbalance between the types of organisms in an individual’s gut microbiota, and harmful bacteria are in abundance.
There’s good news though! Promising studies show that probiotics can help promote regular gut motility.
How Can Probiotics Promote Regularity?
Studies on individuals suffering from constipation found far lower numbers of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus (strains of beneficial bacteria) in their gut microbiome. Then one study explained why. Strains of these bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids, which act on the nerves in your gut that connect to your brain and control gut motility. Without them, your gut doesn’t receive the signals that tell it to move waste out of the back door.
If you’re someone who often goes days between bowel movements, or find yourself straining when the time comes, it may be time to diversify your gut bacteria. So, where can you start? If you’re looking to tackle bowel movement regularity specifically, reach for CanPrev’s Pro-Biotik Bowel Transit, a convenient, shelf-stable, one-a-day probiotic with a select strain of Bifidobacterium. This formula is clinically proven to promote bowel movement regularity, relieve constipation, and encourage healthy digestion by improving bowel transit time. If you’re on the lookout for a more general everyday probiotic formula, you can try CanPrev’s Pro-Biotik 15B, a shelf-stable, multi-strain probiotic with 15 billion CFU. This daily formula contains bacteria naturally found in the human intestinal tract, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli.
What Else Can I Do to Promote Regularity?
When you’re experiencing constipation, you may hear that you need to drink more water. This is because aside from transporting nutrients, one of the gut wall’s main jobs is transporting water and electrolytes into your bloodstream.
Our gut mucosa layer, the innermost layer of the gut within the intestinal wall, needs plenty of water to keep up its integrity and proper function. Dehydration can cause this lining to become inflamed, which can lead to leaky gut, an imbalance in the composition of your gut microbiome, and a range of issues like constipation and gastrointestinal discomfort. While this can vary, an ideal amount is to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound of body weight on a daily basis.
Eat Plenty of Fibre
Fun fact: the small intestine actually can’t digest fibre, so it passes it along to the colon where resident bacteria break it down through fermentation. As they do, they produce short-chain fatty acids that strengthen and energize the cells lining the intestinal wall and that lower the acidity or pH level of the colon (restricting the growth of harmful microbes). Not eating enough dietary fibre means starving the beneficial bacteria in your gut of the nutrition they need. As they struggle to survive, they produce less SCFAs and are also replaced by harmful bacteria that cause issues like intestinal permeability.
Make sure you’re incorporating plenty of high-fibre foods into your diet. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Legumes (lentils, chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans)
Whole grains (quinoa, barley, oats, brown rice, bran)
Fruits and vegetables
Nuts and seeds
Staying On Top of Your Movements
Keeping your bowel movements regular is an important part of your overall health. In addition to making you feel good, regularity ensures that your body is not holding on to any harmful waste products or toxins.