Diarrhea refers to a common condition characterized by abnormally loose or watery stools that occur more frequently than normal. It could pass off on its own in 2-3 days in mild conditions, but in chronic cases may also lead to dehydration and overall weakness in the body.
Maintaining a fibre-rich diet and keeping the body well hydrated are simple guidelines to follow if you are suffering from diarrhea. In chronic cases, you may also require over-the-counter medication or probiotics to help reduce the duration of the condition and bring the gut back to normal. Probiotics provide the added advantage of reducing the risk of gastrointestinal infections by a considerable rate in addition to getting the gut bacterial balance back to normal. This makes their regular use more effective than other medication.
What is the relation between gut bacteria and diarrhea/upset stomachs?
An extremely large population consisting of trillions of microorganisms and hundreds of different species of bacteria live in our intestines. These are collectively known as gut microbiota or gut flora. Each individual has a unique gut microbiota which plays a key role in ensuring proper functioning of the digestive system.
Upset stomach conditions such as diarrhea are caused as a result of any of the following common factors:
- Contaminated food or water, or food allergy/lactose intolerance
- Bacterial/viral/parasitic infections
- Adverse reaction to certain medication (e.g. antibiotics)
- Intestinal disease (e.g. colitis – inflammation of the intestines)
Any of the above factors which lead to a disturbance in the normal bacterial population of the intestines could lead to watery bowels (diarrhea). Common symptoms could include bloating, cramps, nausea or even fever in addition to frequent and watery stools.
The consumption of probiotics can help to balance the gut microbiota when it has been adversely affected by any of these causes. It is a natural way to enhance the population of an array of beneficial gut bacteria, along with gradually eliminating the harmful strains.
Top 7 Best Probiotics for Diarrhea
|Florastor||250mg||Check the Price|
|NOW||5 billion||Check the Price|
|DrFormulas Nexabiotic||17.25 billion||Check the Price|
|Jarrow Formulas||5 billion||Check the Price|
|Culturelle||10 billion||Check the Price|
|Nature’s Bounty||20 billion||Check the Price|
|Essential Stacks||50 billion||Check the Price|
Florastor is a leading brand in the field of daily supplements and probiotics which are travel friendly and have a long shelf life. The Florastor Daily Probiotic Supplement works actively to support and strengthen your immune system to keep it in a healthy working condition.
It is aimed at improving the health of your digestive system along with providing your body with the essential nutrients it needs. The probiotic promotes the production of IgA (Immunoglobulin A), which provides an added immune backing that is beneficial against gastrointestinal infections like diarrhea.
The ingredients of the probiotic are gluten free and non-GMO (do not contain any Genetically Modified Organisms). The probiotic requires no refrigeration due to its patented freeze-drying process and has a shelf life of 3 years. Also, these vegetable capsules are good for people who are lactose intolerant. It is suitable for both men as well as women.
This Florastor Probiotic Supplement is the only one in the market with Saccharomyces boulardii lyo CNCM I-745, a unique strain with larger and stronger cells. It helps fight off the harmful bacteria and maintains a healthy digestive balance in the body, leading to overall better health.
This Saccharomyces boulardii lyo strain has added advantages like increased water and nutrient absorption with healthy digestive enzymes, breakdown of undigested carbohydrates and fibers and a large cell size for increased protection of the intestines.
An additional benefit of this probiotic is that it can be consumed alongside antibiotics as well. Being able to survive the harsh acidic environment of the stomach, it helps to maintain a considerable population of healthy gut bacteria once it reaches the intestines.
Each capsule contains about 250 mg of its unique probiotic strain. The recommended dosage is to take 1-2 capsules in a day, giving you upto 500 mg of the beneficial strain. The packs come in different sizes – 20, 30, 50 and 100 capsules. A minor downside is that the capsules are not entirely yeast-free, hence may adversely affect some people with a sensitive gut.
If you’re looking for a convenient way to support a healthy immune system, the Florastor Daily Probiotic Supplement could be a good choice. It works to complement your active lifestyle and protects your body against commonly occurring infections of the digestive tract, in addition to others.
Things We Liked:
- Overall improved immune health
- Maintains a balanced digestive system with healthy intestinal bacteria & enzymes
- Contains unique Saccharomyces boulardii lyo CNCM I-745 strain
- Increases water & nutrient absorption; breakdown of undigested carbs & fibers
- No refrigeration required due to the freeze-drying manufacturing process
- Extended shelf life of 3 years
- Suitable for lactose intolerant people
- Works even with other antibiotics
Things We Didn’t Like:
- The product is not yeast free, so might have some adverse effects
NOW has been a leader in the production of natural products (healthy foods and supplements) since 1968. This Saccharomyces Boulardii product from the same brand provides gastrointestinal support by improving the overall intestinal health. A single pack contains 60 veg capsules.
Saccharomyces Boulardii is a probiotic yeast that colonizes the intestinal tract with good bacteria, helping to maintain a healthy gut flora. It is beneficial as it survives the high acid content of the stomach and reaches the intestines easily. It also works to combat temporary disruptions in the natural balance of gut flora that results in watery bowel movements like diarrhea.
The probiotic contains no nut, corn, egg, gluten, wheat, soy, fish, shell fish and is free of any dairy products, making it safe to use for lactose-intolerant people. The product has also passed the kosher test and is produced in a GMP facility. Other natural ingredients include cellulose, organic inulin and guar gum.
This probiotic has 5 billion colony forming units (CFUs) in a single tablet, making it effective for diarrhea patients. In addition to being a strong support to the intestinal flora, the tablets also work as a dietary supplement. Its suggested dosage is 1-2 capsules daily between meals in usual cases.
The NOW Saccharomyces Boulardii probiotic acts as a one-stop solution for most of the gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, constipation, discomfort, bloating or normal pain. Though the product is stable at room temperature, it is recommended to refrigerate it to preserve its freshness.
Suitable for people of any gender and all age groups, this probiotic is convenient to carry along while travelling for cases of occasional diarrhea or stomach upsets. Ensure that you consult your physician if you are either pregnant/nursing or taking any immunosuppressant drugs.
Things We Liked:
- 5 billion CFUs in a single tablet
- Strong support to intestinal flora; also works as dietary supplement
- Effectively combats disruptions in gut flora (e.g. diarrhea)
- Probiotic contains no nut, corn, egg, gluten, wheat, soy, fish, shell fish and is free of any dairy products
- GMP assured and kosher test approved
- Multifunctional – constipation, discomfort, bloating or stomach upsets
- Suitable for any gender & all age groups
Things We Didn’t Like:
- Stable at room temperature but refrigeration will preserve freshness
- Requires physician consultation if you are pregnant/nursing or on immunosuppressant drugs
Founded in the year 2010 with its headquarters in California, DrFormulas is a well-known company in the health industry. The Nexabiotic Advanced Multi-Probiotic from the same brand is a multifunctional product that provides gastrointestinal support along with enhancing overall health.
It is available in 4 variants – probiotic with just S. boulardii, women’s probiotic, a 30 capsule pack and a 60 day pack. This advanced multi probiotic ensures that healthy and essential bacteria are released into the gut to populate it, reducing the population of harmful strains.
In addition to B. infantis and S. boulardii, it has 21 other doctor-recommended probiotic strains to pump up the gastrointestinal system and help restore digestive balance in cases like diarrhea or other bowel infections.
This probiotic contains 17.25 billion CFUs per serving in every tablet. A slight drawback is the presence of minute quantities of daily protein and soy protein in the tablets, which may not suit some people. Other healthy ingredients include hypromellose, gellan gum, maltodextrin and select medium chain triglyceride oils.
This probiotic may also be consumed as a daily dietary supplement, with no artificial colors, chemical preservatives or gluten. A bonus is the revolutionary delayed release nature of the capsules which ensures that the good bacteria reach your intestines and gastrointestinal tract safely.
It can also be used in cases of constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and cases of colitis. DrFormulas Nexabiotic also has additional benefits – boosts the immune system, enhances clear and healthy skin and also aids in weight loss.
Third party tested, it adheres to the FDA certified standards and is manufactured in a GMP facility with imported ingredients. Suitable for men as well as women, its manufacture involves advanced lyophilization or flash freeze drying technology that keep the probiotics potent even under extreme conditions without refrigeration.
In a nutshell, this probiotic carries out the following functions: limits the growth of harmful, infection-causing gut bacteria, produces a healthy dose of nutrient absorption enzymes and helps the immune system fight against infections by increasing the WBC count in the bloodstream. It is safe for use by breastfeeding mothers as well.
Things We Liked:
- Available in 4 variants; can be used as a dietary supplement too
- Contains 17.25 billion CFUs & 23 doctor-recommended probiotic strains
- Effective in all types of gastrointestinal problems – diarrhea, IBS, IBD & others
- Multifunctional – boosts immune system, clear skin & weight loss
- Delayed release capsules for protection from stomach acid
- Refrigeration not necessary (advanced flash freeze drying technology)
- No artificial colors, chemical preservatives or gluten
- FDA certified & GMP approved with imported ingredients
- Suitable for both men & women (even breastfeeding mothers)
Things We Didn’t Like:
- Contains soy protein and daily protein which might act as allergens for some
Jarrow Formulas is a US based formulator and supplier of superior nutritional supplements since its inception back in the year 1977. Its Saccharomyces Boulardii + MOS probiotic enhances support to the intestinal tract and promotes good digestive health.
A healthy balance of normal intestinal micro flora is required to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal state. Saccharomyces Boulardii does exactly that and it also contains probiotic yeast that has a positive synergistic effect on the intestinal tract. This makes it a good option to be used in cases of unnatural bowel movements like diarrhea.
The probiotic has no wheat, gluten, soybeans, dairy, egg, fish, shellfish, peanuts or tree nuts. The strain S. boulardii is one of the most effective probiotics to normalize gastrointestinal disruptions of various kinds.
MOS refers to select binding site decoys for unfriendly and harmful bacteria that can cause infections in the gut. This is an added advantage of this Jarrow Formulas product which gives it an extra edge over the others with regard to getting rid of unwanted bacteria. It makes sure that harmful microorganisms do not adhere to any random place in the epithelial cells lining the intestine and reduces their multiplication.
In addition to the usual occasional diarrhea such as that occurring due to infected food, these capsules are also beneficial for antibiotic associated diarrhea. The acid resistant S. boulardii organism is known to reduce the amount of sodium secretion in the body which prevents the loss of extra water from the intestinal cells during diarrhea.
Research has indicated that a regular usage of this probiotic has eventually resulted in fewer cases of inflammation and bowel issues. Every capsule intake will provide 5 billion viable organisms to the body. Also, it is dairy free so can be consumed by lactose intolerant people but people allergic to yeast need to be careful while consuming this probiotic.
An additional advantage is that the combination of S. boulardii and MOS is not affected by antibiotics and other bacterial probiotics. It remains viable at room temperature, making it travel-friendly. But just to increase the shelf life, it can be refrigerated too. The recommended dosage is 1-2 tablets per day that can be taken anytime.
In case of children or people on medication, it is advisable to consult a medical physician before use.
Things We Liked:
- Has a positive synergistic effect on intestinal health
- 5 billion viable organisms in each capsule
- MOS – binding site decoys for harmful bacteria
- Can also be used as a dietary supplement or for any type of diarrhea
- Acid resistant boulardii prevents loss of extra water by reducing sodium secretion
- Free of wheat, gluten, soybeans, dairy, egg, fish, shellfish, peanuts or tree nuts
- Remains stable at room temperature
Things We Didn’t Like:
- Contains yeast which might be an allergen for some
As per the Nielsen xAOC January 2018 survey, Culturelle is the number one selling probiotic brand in the world. Its full line of products includes digestive health and wellness products in addition to probiotics designed especially for kids and babies.
This Digestive Health Daily Probiotic from the Culturelle brand is meant to keep your digestive system stable and provide support to your intestinal health on the whole. It is a convenient way to combat problems like occasional diarrhea, bloating or gas issues.
The probiotic contains Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) which is a powerful and proven probiotic strain that works to energize and balance your digestive system. Since LGG is capable of surviving the high acidity content of the stomach, it works effectively against most problems of the gastrointestinal tract.
Each capsule gives you 10 billion live active cultures of CFUs. This is a big plus point of Culturelle probiotics since the naturally sourced live cultures are very efficient in combating gut infections of any kind.
It is free of any wheat, soy, gluten, milk and contains no added preservatives. With its natural ingredients, these capsules give three benefits in one serving – they promote heart health, support the immune system and improve the digestive health as well.
Culturelle Daily Probiotic capsules are also good dietary supplements and they can be taken by kids as well as adults. The usual dosage is 1 tablet daily which gives you the equivalent of good bacteria contained in 10 cups of yogurt in a day.
The fact that it does not require any refrigeration makes it a travel friendly companion for those occasional bouts of stomach upsets. You just need to ensure it is stored in a cool, dry place that is away from direct sunlight.
This Culturelle Daily Probiotic comes in different sizes: 24 chewable tablets, 30 capsules and 60 capsules. As an added benefit, it takes care of your heart health as well as keeps your immune system on the right track. It is recommended to consult a registered medical practitioner before consuming the probiotic in case of young children or patients in an immune-compromised condition.
Things We Liked:
- 10 billion live active cultures of CFUs
- Promotes heart health, immune system & digestive health
- Treats occasional diarrhea
- No refrigeration required; travel friendly
- Soy, wheat, gluten, milk & preservative free
- Contains the powerful LGG probiotic strain
- 1 tablet is equivalent to good bacteria in 10 cups of yogurt
Things We Didn’t Like:
- Relatively stronger than other probiotics (may lead to minor side effects)
- Kids might dislike the taste (chalky flavor)
Nature’s Bounty is a name dedicated to quality and consistency in the making of vitamins, probiotics and nutritional supplements. This Probiotic GX is a patented strain from the same brand that is helpful in getting relief from problems like abdominal gas and bloating, in addition to diarrhea. A single pack contains 25 capsules.
Nature’s Bounty Probiotic GX formula supports digestive health and healthy intestinal functioning. The Probiotic GX is a powerful strain with a three enzyme blend that works as a solution for abdominal discomforts of different kinds.
This probiotic doesn’t contain any traces of milk, sugar, lactose, yeast, fish, sodium, starch, added sweetener, flavors or artificial preservatives. Also, it is a non-genetically modified product, making it a healthy option for lactose intolerant people.
Probiotic GX contains probi digestis Lactobacillus plantarum 299v, a special strain that delivers the essential good bacteria back to your system. This reduces the incidence of infections and upsets in the gastrointestinal tract.
It guarantees you 20 billion active live cultures in every serving, making it an effective dietary supplement as well to keep your intestinal health under check. Suitable for both kids and adults, it is recommended to keep this probiotic refrigerated for a longer shelf life.
The recommended dosage for adults is one capsule on a daily basis, preferably consumed along with a meal. A slight downside could be the presence of soy or wheat traces in the probiotic.
Things We Liked:
- Gastroenterologist-tested patented strain
- Provides relief from diarrhea, gas & bloating
- Special probi digestis strain delivers essential bacteria to the gut
- Can also be used as a dietary supplement
- 20 billion active live cultures in every tablet
- Contains no milk, sugar, fish, lactose, yeast, starch, sodium, preservatives, flavors, colors or sweeteners
Things We Didn’t Like:
- Refrigeration recommended after opening bottle
- Might contain some soy & wheat ingredients
Essential Stacks is known to create natural supplement combinations by mixing and matching high quality ingredients to support overall wellness and good health. This Smart Probiotic from the same brand is designed to give you an optimal and enhanced digestive as well as overall health support. It is available in a pack of 30 capsules.
This probiotic contains 12 powerful, exclusive strains that aren’t easily found in other probiotics. Equipped with a delayed release capsule technology and 50 billion CFUs, daily consumption of these capsules ensures a healthy balance of good bacteria in your gut.
An added bonus is the presence of 2 different types of prebiotic fibers which adds fuel to the probiotic. This makes it almost two to three times more effective than other similar probiotics available in the market today.
Certain other strong probiotics are often accompanied with problems like gas and diarrhea. But this particular Smart Probiotic is a mix of high quality strains that ensure no troublesome side effects at all.
The presence of ingredients like Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus salivarius makes it a healthy combination mix for the stomach and intestines as well. Hence, it can be used as a regular dietary supplement too, in order to improve the overall immune health of the body.
Be it any stomach problems like constipation, occasional gas, bloating or diarrhea, this Essential Stacks Smart Probiotic could be a convenient solution to get relief. The probiotic is designed by an intelligent strain formulation process to ensure it has a long shelf life, making refrigeration optional.
One capsule on a daily basis preferably with meals is the usual dosage for an adult. A minor negative point is the presence of dairy, soy or yeast elements in the product.
Things We Liked:
- Contains 12 powerful strains with 50 billion CFUs & 2 prebiotic fibers
- 2-3 times more effective than other probiotics
- Negligible side effects of any kind
- Lactobacillus strains help improve immune health
- Delayed release capsule technology
- Provides relief from bloating, gas & diarrhea
- Suitable for all age groups
- Refrigeration is optional
Things We Didn’t Like:
- May contain traces of dairy, soy or yeast
Any Scientific Research that Supports the Use of Probiotics for Diarrhea?
Yes, there are a number of clinical research studies that support the use of probiotics in cases of diarrhea. A few instances are listed below:
According to the US National Library of Medicine (NCBI), a vast majority of published trials show a statistically significant benefit and moderate clinical benefit of a few, well-identified probiotic strains – mostly Lactobacillus GG and S. boulardii – in the treatment of acute watery diarrhea and results, on an average, in a reduction of diarrhea duration of approximately 1 day. (Guandalini S)
As per ResearchGate, well-controlled clinical studies in the developed world have shown that probiotics can shorten the duration of acute non-bacterial diarrhea. Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum shortened the duration of diarrhea and hospital stay and normalized stool frequency. (Hamid Reza Kianifar, Hamid Ahanchian, Farid Reza, Sistanian Armin)
How Exactly Do Probiotics Help in Getting Rid of Diarrhea?
Diarrhea usually passes off on its own in a couple of days if left untreated. Lots of water and fresh juices along with a bland, low fibre BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast) is the typical and most common way of getting your bowel functions back to normal. But, if you are making very frequent trips to the bathroom with accompanying loose motions, it could result in severe dehydration which can be dangerous.
Probiotics work to combat diarrhea by addressing the root cause of the problem, instead of simply masking its symptoms like most commonly available over-the-counter medication. Our gastrointestinal tract is a mix of both good and bad bacteria. By consuming a regular dose of probiotics, the percentage and variety of the beneficial microflora strains is increased in the gut. This results in healthy functioning of the digestive system on the whole, a lesser probability of contracting infections as well as better fighting ability even if you get diarrhea due to an external cause.
In a nutshell, here are the main ways in which probiotics help in getting an upset stomach back to its normal, healthy state:
- It suppresses the growth and multiplication of harmful, disease-causing bacteria by not allowing them to adhere to the intestinal walls.
- It works to destroy and get rid of the harmful toxins released by the bad bacteria that can lead to loose motions.
- It stimulates the functioning of the healthy cells of the intestinal lining to fight against the bad bacteria.
- By enhancing the functioning of the immune system on the whole, probiotics gear up the defences of the body in fighting against a diarrheal infection.
- An additional bonus is that probiotics signal the gut cells lining the intestines to enhance the production of mucus, which acts as an effective barrier against any kind of infection.
- It reduces the perception of pain when the gastrointestinal tract is in a state of flux as a result of the toxins.
How to Choose the Right Probiotics for Diarrhea?
1. Causative factors for diarrhea
It is best to first figure out the root cause of your diarrhea or upset stomach before opting for a particular probiotic. This is because different strains of probiotics act differently, depending on the causative factor of your irritable bowels. A registered medical practitioner will be able to guide you better in this regard. Here are the major types of probiotics that help in cases of diarrhea:
- Saccharomyces boulardii: This is a probiotic yeast that works well for different types of diarrhea, specifically antibiotic-induced gastrointestinal upsets or diarrhea caused by rotavirus. It helps in restoring the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus: Useful in cases of diarrhea caused by contaminated food or water, more commonly known as traveler’s diarrhea.
- Lactobacillus plantarum: Especially suited for patients suffering from colitis, this is used extensively in cases of diarrhea and intestinal inflammation caused by the difficile strain of bacteria.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG: This could be another good option for treating antibiotic related diarrhea.
2. Scientific research on specific probiotic strain (genus and species)
Since different probiotics may respond differently over a variety of diarrhea cases, it is important to try and match the particular probiotic strain you are planning to consume with published scientific research from a credible source. This ensures higher efficiency of the probiotic to suit your particular problem. Hence, it is advisable to read the label of the probiotics bottle carefully before purchasing.
3. Probiotic delivery system in the body
This refers to the form in which the product is manufactured (capsule, powder, syrup) and how it reaches the affected part of your body (gut, in this case). Controlled or delayed release capsules are a good option, since they tend to remain unaffected by the stomach acid and begin their action once they reach the intestines.
Probiotics need to be packaged properly since some of them are living organisms that can be adversely affected by exposure to light, heat or moisture. Once you have zeroed in on the particular probiotic that will work for you, try to opt for thick and opaque bottles with desiccant pouches to keep the probiotic free of moisture or packed blister packs in the case of capsules.
5. Storage information & expiration date
Though all probiotics need to be kept away from heat and moisture, some need to be refrigerated for a longer shelf life while others can simply be stored at room temperature. Depending on your requirements, opt for a non-refrigerated one if you wish to take it along while traveling or a refrigerated one if it is meant for regular consumption at home.
6. Number and type of organism strains
Live and active cultures are generally more effective than other probiotics. A larger number of CFUs and unique strains usually work better but this may differ from person to person depending on the causative factors of your diarrhea problem.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are all probiotics well-suited to combat diarrhea?
No, all probiotics are certainly not well-suited to combat diarrhea. It is important to also note that certain select probiotics work in turn only on set types of diarrhea. Here are a few examples:
- Infectious diarrhea bouts caused by rotavirus (very common in kids) can be cut by half a day to 2 days approximately by a certain mix of probiotics like Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Saccharomyces boulardii.
- Diarrhea resulting from a course of antibiotics from an upset balance of good bacteria in the gut can also be combated with Saccharomyces boulardii and certain Lactobacillus
- Probiotics may or may not work in cases of diarrhea caused as a result of contaminated food and water, depending upon the infection.
- In cases of colitis and accompanying diarrhea, certain combinations of Saccharomyces and Lactobacillus will probably help.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or Crohn’s disease patients suffering from diarrhea usually do not show efficient results when put on probiotics.
2. Are probiotics the actual cure or mode of treatment for bouts of diarrhea?
It is important to keep in mind that probiotics cannot legally claim to be the cure or treatment for diarrhea or any other health condition, since they are not regulated by the FDA. However, if you are on a regular dosage of probiotic supplements and/or ensure you consume naturally occurring probiotic foods on a daily basis, there will definitely be a lesser probability of contracting diarrhea. This is because the probiotics work to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut at all times. In addition to that, the duration of diarrhea is likely to shorten even if you get loose motions when you are on probiotics.
3. Is probiotic consumption for diarrhea suitable for all ages, young and old?
Yes, probiotics are safe to be taken by patients of all ages, young and old. If your kids are unable to swallow a probiotic capsule, you can always opt for a powder or liquid form that is also readily available in the market.
4. A certain probiotic worked to reduce the duration of a bout of diarrhea for me one month ago. But now, the same probiotic is not showing the same results with my child. How is it possible?
This is perfectly normal since the same probiotic supplement can show different effects on different people. This is because each individual’s gut bacteria and ecosystem is different, leading to varying effects of the same probiotic strain on them.
5. Are there any precautions that I need to keep in mind before using probiotics for my diarrhea problem?
As mentioned above, certain probiotics work better for a particular kind of diarrhea, so it is advisable to read the labels on the bottle carefully. In case you are on any other medication, it is recommended to take the advice of a registered medical physician before consuming any probiotics. Also, you must be careful to follow the prescribed dosage in case of administering the probiotics to infants.
6. What are the side effects of taking probiotics?
Minor symptoms like bloating or gas issues might occur for those taking probiotics for the very first time. But these generally pass away on their own with regular probiotic consumption lasting upto 2-3 weeks. In certain rare cases, enhanced symptoms like headache, joint pains or nausea may occur. This is commonly known as the Jarisch-Herxheimer (Herx) reaction but it is nothing to worry about. It occurs when the harmful gut bacteria are dying off but the body is unable to release the resulting toxins at a rapid rate. In such cases, take your doctor’s advice. He will usually cut back on the probiotic dosage for a couple of days till the body heals itself.
7. It is said that prebiotics also promote good gut health. Are they the same as probiotics? If not, which one is better in cases of diarrhea?
Though ‘prebiotics’ and ‘probiotics’ sound very similar, these have different roles on the human digestive system.
Prebiotics are usually the fibrous, non-digestible parts of food like bananas and garlic that pass undigested through the small intestine and get fermented in the large intestine. This is beneficial because the fermentation process increases the population of healthy bacteria in the gut by feeding the bacterial colonies.
On the other hand, probiotics consist of the live, beneficial bacteria that are naturally created in the process of fermentation itself. They directly help to attack and get rid of the harmful, diarrhea-causing bacteria and eliminate the infection from the body. Hence, probiotics are much more efficient and scientifically studied than prebiotics, making them the preferred option.
8. Are there any probiotic-rich foods that can be included in my daily diet to help prevent diarrhea?
Yes, there are some probiotic-rich foods that can help. Examples are yogurt, miso soup, kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, soft cheeses, sourdough bread or sour pickles. An alternative to taking probiotic capsules orally is by dissolving a probiotic powder in milk, especially for younger kids.
Few words before leaving…
Maintaining good digestive health needs to be an essential part of our daily lives. This is possible by following a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, keeping the body well hydrated at all times and ensuring a healthy, balanced gut microbiota with a regular intake of probiotics. Rest assured, your immune system will always be prepared to handle any gastrointestinal upsets like diarrhea with a good population of natural probiotic strains in the gut.
Do share your experiences and questions with us in the comments section below. We will get back to you as soon as possible.