How Effective Are Probiotics for Constipation?
The use of probiotics for constipation has been around for years now. However, there have been recent research studies asserting that the addition of prebiotics will make the treatment even more effective compared with using probiotics alone. How exactly can probiotics benefit people suffering from constipation? And how are prebiotics different from probiotics? Here are some answers.
What causes constipation?
Constipation is a condition characterized by infrequent bowel movements or difficulty in passing bowel. People suffering from constipation also often feel pain when defecating. There are various causes of constipation and most of them can be traced back to an imbalanced or unhealthy digestive system.
Lack of fiber in one’s daily diet and inadequate intake of water are the most common causes of constipation. Lack of physical activity can also cause this condition, and so is taking certain kinds of medications, like opioids, antidepressants, antihistamines and diuretics among others. Medical conditions like hypothyroidism, celiac disease and diabetes are also associated with constipation.
The function of probiotics
The use of probiotics for constipation has garnered a lot of support, given that the condition is often associated with the digestive system. Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide health benefits to the host. These microorganisms top up the level of good bacteria already present in the stomach, resulting in strengthening the digestive system’s defenses against pathogens, toxins and bad bacteria.
The good bacteria in our stomach are our defenses against the unfriendly microorganisms that can cause diseases. Probiotics serve the same purpose and taking them can improve resistance against these disease-causing bacteria. They are available mostly in fermented food products like soy drinks and yogurt and in nutritional supplements.
How probiotics can help in relieving constipation
Because probiotics have the ability to promote digestive health by helping improve the microbial balance of the intestines, they are also consequently preventing bad bacteria from doing harm to the digestive tract. With a healthier digestive system, digestive-related disorders, which include constipation, are kept at arms length.
However, are probiotics for constipation enough? There have been studies citing certain limitations of probiotics that prevent them from functioning as they should. For one, they are reportedly prone to manufacturing processes, while exposure to stomach acid actually erodes their efficacy. Even if they manage to reach the stomach or the colon, their exposure to other elements or factors may diminish their power to do what they are supposed to.
Assistance from prebiotics
In this regard, prebiotics may be able to help. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that can be found naturally from various plant species. They serve as food to the good bacteria found in the gut and are therefore highly instrumental in inducing these good bacteria’s growth and activity.
Furthermore, prebiotics are heat and cold-resistant, which means that they can get through the digestive system without changing their original state and without their effectiveness being diminished after being exposed to stomach acid. In addition, one of the main benefits that prebiotics are known for is their ability to induce metabolic activity. If our metabolism is in good order, flushing out wastes from our body is easier and more regulated.
Where to get prebiotics
There are products now that combine prebiotics and probiotics which are called synbiotics, although experts believe that further studies are still needed to better understand how these products actually work. However, one can get prebiotics from certain plant foods like artichokes, kiwi fruit, asparagus, onion and garlic.
You can also get a dose of prebiotics from nutritional supplements like Kiwi-Klenz, which is particularly effective and safe for people aiming to maintain a healthy digestive tract. Probiotics for constipation may have some limitations, so it is better to add prebiotics to the mix or opt for prebiotics supplements instead to get a better result.