When first using probiotics, some people experience gas, bloating, or diarrhea. Changes in the gut microbiota can result in bacteria producing more gas than usual, which can lead to bloating. However, these side effects usually clear up within a few days or weeks of taking the probiotics.
Signs Your Probiotics Are Working
When you take a high-quality probiotic supplement, you may notice several positive changes in your body, ranging from improved digestion and more energy, to improved mood and clearer skin. Oftentimes, the first and most immediate change individuals notice is improved digestion.
The short answer: It takes most people 2 to 3 weeks to feel significant benefits when they start taking probiotics. That's because probiotics need time to accomplish their three key goals: increase your good bacteria count, decrease your bad bacteria count, and reduce inflammation.
Your immune system will likely get stronger.
Studies have shown that several probiotic strains can enhance immune function, possibly resulting in a reduced risk of upper respiratory infections—including those that cause the common cold. "Up to 80% of the immune system is housed in the gut," explains Dr. Axe.
The ideal time to take probiotics is right before bed because "the gut is pretty inactive at night. If you think about it, you don't usually wake up in the middle of the night to poop,” says Patricia Raymond, MD, a gastroenterology and internal medicine physician and clinical advisor for Gastro Girl.
Because of this, the short answer is yes. Probiotics will make you poop, and the size and frequency of your bowel movements have much to say regarding your overall health. Their mission is to improve your gut microbiome, and this is typically done in an effort to get you more regular in your pooping.
NICE guidance suggests people who wish to try probiotics be encouraged to select one brand and take it at the recommended dose for at least four weeks while monitoring the effect.
“Don't take a probiotic supplement with hot food and drinks such as tea or coffee as this can lessen the chance of the bacteria getting to your gut unharmed. Give it 30 minutes after taking them before you reach for the teapot.”
The bacteria from a supplement likely take up residence in your gut, but scientists have found that the effects wear off within 1-3 weeks after you stop taking them.
Research shows the best time to take a probiotic is first thing in the morning before eating breakfast or before going to sleep at night. Probiotics are most effective when taken on an empty stomach.
By taking probiotics, it is increasing the number of good bacteria which can detoxify your system and help you absorb nutrients more efficiently. If you have been taking too many antibiotics, the probiotics can balance the negative effects of that as well.
Some probiotic strains may increase the risk of weight gain and obesity. Not all studies have found that probiotics aid weight loss. Some studies have found that certain probiotic strains might lead to weight gain — not weight loss.
They May Cause Unpleasant Digestive Symptoms
While most people do not experience side effects, the most commonly reported reaction to bacteria-based probiotic supplements is a temporary increase in gas and bloating ( 9 ). Those taking yeast-based probiotics may experience constipation and increased thirst ( 10 ).
The research surrounding coffee and its effects on the gut appear to be somewhat positive. Several studies have claimed that coffee consumption helps improve bowel movements, stimulates the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, and increases the rate of smooth muscle contraction in the small intestine and colon.
Processed foods, as well as alcohol, can also negatively impact gut health. Prebiotic and probiotic foods like whole grains, onions, garlic, fermented foods, miso and yogurt feed the good bacteria in your gut.
Research shows that regular and decaffeinated roasted coffee can help to grow probiotic strains as it has a prebiotic effect, thought to be due to the polyphenols it contains, and different strains are able to use different parts of the coffee to grow3.
One strain, Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001, was studied over a long period of time, 10 years, with no adverse side effects or translocation. The researchers concluded that probiotics are safe to take long term.
When probiotics administration is suspended, the probiotic cells are rapidly released, resulting in dysbiosis of the gut microbiome and disruption of the intestinal metabolites and physical function.
For chronic conditions or general immune health, it may be most beneficial to take probiotics for weeks or months at a time. Most people can tolerate probiotics well, and they can help restore or balance the healthy gut microbiome.
Energy intake and leptin were significantly increased in the probiotic group compared to the prebiotic. Conclusions: Overall, probiotic supplementation for 8 weeks among MDD patients resulted in improvement of appetite, whereas prebiotic administration had no significant effect on appetite.
Probiotics are not laxatives and their purpose is not to stimulate a bowel movement but taking probiotics can be helpful to people suffering from constipation. Researchers have concluded that probiotics can help with constipation due to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and help regulate bowel movements.
Do probiotics make your poop stink? No, though you may notice some other changes to your stool once you begin taking them!
Some medications that may interact with certain probiotics include: antibiotics, antifungals (such as clotrimazole, ketoconazole, griseofulvin, nystatin).
In addition, probiotics might have synergistic effects with vitamin D, through improving the expression of vitamin D receptors . Therefore, modulating the microbiota-gut-brain axis by probiotics plus improving vitamin D levels might provide a novel target to treat mental and metabolic disorders.