Best Probiotic For Leaky Gut | Does It Exist?
One of the most effective ways to treat a leaky gut is through the use of probiotics. However, when selecting a probiotic for this purpose, is there one best probiotic for leaky gut? Uncover the answer to this question, plus learn more about the use of probiotics and about various strains of “good” bacteria.
In 2017, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reported that 3.9 million American adults used probiotics and/or prebiotics during the course of the year. Thanks to the rise in the education of the use of probiotics, an increasing number of individuals are benefitting from variations of this supplement.
From improving mental health conditions to reducing the symptoms of allergies, the various strains of bacteria that comprise probiotic supplements can deliver tremendous results.
Depending on the type of outcome you seek, there are specific strains of bacteria that are more beneficial than others. For those who want the best probiotic for leaky gut, there are some important facts to consider. Learn more about probiotics here.
Does a leaky gut require more probiotics?
Before looking at the best probiotic for leaky gut, it is crucial to understand the condition. Leaky gut (also referred to as intestinal permeability) is a condition that occurs when various toxins, bacteria, and other harmful substances begin to pass (or “leak”) through the intestinal walls.
This often happens when damage has occurred to the intestinal lining. Causes of leaky gut syndrome include poor dietary habits, consumption of too much alcohol, lectins, stress, exercising excessively, a nutrient deficiency, and various kinds of medication.
It has been estimated that approximately 80% of people in the United States have some degree of leaky gut syndrome. The condition can produce symptoms which span from undetectable to life-altering.
Common symptoms of a leaky gut are as follows:
- Digestive problems (including gas, constipation, diarrhea, and/or bloating)
- Suppressed immune system
- Brain fog
- Skin issues (including eczema, rashes, and acne)
- Memory problems
Learn more about leaky gut supplements.
Could probiotics help you?
Research is beginning to reveal the many ways that probiotic use influences gut health1. Between the damaging effects of stress2, the active role in the development of insulin resistance3, the impact on weight loss/weight gain4, and the relief of IBS symptoms5, it is becoming clear that probiotics are critical for both gut and overall health.
Up to this point, studies have linked the following health benefits to regular probiotic usage:
- Improved heart health
- Reduction in digestive disorder symptoms
- Enhanced function of the immune system
- Balancing of bacteria levels in the gut
- Prevention of urinary tract infections
- Prevention of eczema and other skin conditions
One incredibly important fact of which to be aware is that not all probiotics are created to provide the same effect. Choosing the right strains of bacteria for your individual health concerns needs to be a top priority in order to achieve the best results.
Is regular probiotic use beneficial for everyone?
The brief answer is ‘no.’ Although they carry significant benefits for certain individuals, a routine of probiotics isn’t for everyone. In fact, many people who take probiotics do not see any noticeable results. Some individuals with specific conditions may even see their symptoms worsen.
One such condition is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). People with SIBO may react poorly to taking nearly all kinds of probiotics due to the nature of the condition. Before beginning a regimen of probiotics, it is important to consult with your health practitioner to determine if it is right for your body.
Key differences between good bacteria and bad bacteria
Before exploring the question of whether or not there is one best probiotic for leaky gut, it is good to know what health experts mean when they differentiate between “good” and “bad” gut bacteria.
Often times, when discussing leaky gut syndrome, a heavy emphasis is placed on the “bad” bacteria that leaks through the intestinal walls. These types of bacteria are what is known as pathogenic bacteria. Pathogenic bacteria is introduced into the body primarily through one’s diet and environmental factors. The result of too much bad bacteria in the body is sickness and infection.
“Good” bacteria, on the other hand, are the beneficial strains of bacteria that can deliver positive changes to one’s health. These strains (several of which are discussed below) can be consumed by taking probiotics or probiotic-infused foods/beverages. Learn more about plant foods that feed good bacteria here.
The Best Probiotic For Leaky Gut
As with any health condition, those in search of the best probiotic for leaky gut will want to look for specific bacteria strains. The following strains of “good” bacteria deliver the biggest results due to their individual properties. It may also be important to look for spore-forming probiotics.
Lactobacillus is easily one of the best probiotics for a leaky gut. This bacteria (also known as lactobacillus acidophilus) is excellent for overall gut health. It carries with it the following benefits for those with symptoms of leaky gut:
- Assists in the break down of food
- Also helps break down gluten and lactose
- Enhances energy and mood levels (by producing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine)
- Prevents and reduces the occurrence of diarrhea (a common symptom of a leaky gut)
- Reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Decreases the symptoms of various skin conditions, such as eczema. Skin problems are a common symptom of a leaky gut
For those suffering from a leaky gut, mood problems, brain fog, and sleep difficulties can become a major issue.
Bifidobacterium is wonderful for reducing these symptoms, due to its ability to produce GABA (a calming neurotransmitter).
This bacteria is also known for relieving uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating, gas, and constipation.
Other Probiotic Strains
While many individuals have only heard of bad strains of streptococcus, there are many good strains of this essential bacteria. Streptococcus is crucial for the overall health of your ears, nose, and throat.
As it relates to a leaky gut, certain strains of Streptococcus can:
- Improve digestion
- Boost the immune system
- Provide relief of certain skin conditions
Another best probiotic for leaky gut is Bacillus. This bacteria is characterized as a spore-forming bacteria. Studies have linked Bacillus to the following benefits for leaky gut syndrome:
- Improve immune system function
- Strengthen DNA.
- Deliver a powerful boost to one’s focus, memory, and energy levels. This is due to the bacteria’s ability to produce both dopamine and norepinephrine.
- Saccharomyces boulardii (Sb) and Bacillus subtilis B10 (Bs) significantly improves growth performance and modulates more diverse gut flora6.
- Bacillus species can inhibit gastrointestinal infections, including immunomodulation7.
- Spore-forming probiotics (such as Bacillus) can have both probiotic and prebiotic effects8.
According to experts, the use of Bacilli in particular is said to be “expanding especially rapidly due to their inherent ability to form endospores with unique survivability and tolerance to extreme environments and to produce a large number of valuable metabolites coupled with their bio-therapeutic potential demonstrating immune stimulation, antimicrobial activities and competitive exclusion.9”
Can you take just one probiotic to treat a leaky gut?
As you may have already been able to guess, there is not one best probiotic for a leaky gut. What ultimately acts as the best probiotic for a leaky gut is a targeted combination of the bacteria strains mentioned above.
With advancements in health testing, the “good” bacteria present in your gut can now be measured. Tools similar to this can also assist in finding the right probiotics for your individual needs.
When selecting a probiotic without the guidance of a health professional, be sure to stick with spore-forming probiotics. These probiotics are the best choice because they can live in harsh environments (including an unbalanced gut containing too much bad bacteria).
When considering testing for both gut pathogens and good bacteria consider Vibrant Wellness here. Another cutting edge company to understand your microbiome and which foods may support your gut check out Viome here (save $25 dollars off your order).
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