There are as many as 500 to 1,000 species of bacteria living in your intestines. There are roughly 100 trillion microorganisms within those species. As you can see, your gut is home to literally trillions of live bacteria, most of it friendly, but not all. There are so many of them that they even outnumber human cells in your body by a ratio of 10:1. This is what scientists call the gut microbiome .
Sometimes bloating can occur from a slight imbalance of bacteria in the intestines. If bloating is chronic (a long lasting, ongoing complaint), then it's possible your good to bad bacteria balance is out of whack.
All these species and strains of bacteria in your gut are essential to your existence. Each of your good bacteria plays a crucial role at maintaining health and wellbeing. This means you need to have more of the “good” bacteria and less of the “bad.” When everything is in good balance you get to enjoy strong, healthy digestive and immune systems.
Dysbiosis (also called dysbacteriosis) is a term used in the medical profession to describe abnormal make up of colonic bacteria. Any upset to the healthy balance causes an imbalance between the good and bad bacteri .
This “imbalance” can result in a few unpleasant digestive health conditions including:
Probiotics have shown time and again how they can help to restore the bacterial balance in the body. The problem is that not all products are equal and not all people react the same way to various strains. When it comes to bloating, bifidobacterium infantis is one probiotic strain that studies have shown to be effective, but it's not the only one .
There are a few things that can cause dysbiosis including poor diet, high sugar levels, antibiotics, aging and stress. Whenever bloating is a symptom of dysbiosis, probiotic supplements can help. Most people just look for medications to treat the symptoms of bloating, but this is little more than a band aide. Probiotics, on the other hand, get to address the root cause of the problem.
Common Causes of Bloating
If your stomach or tummy feels bloated, it could be due to something other than an imbalance in colonic bacteria .
Common symptoms of bloating include:
- Excess wind (caused by foods and sodas)
- constipation (diet)
- Swallowing too much air (from talking while eating etc)
- Coeliac disease
- Food intolerance (bowel doesn’t empty properly)
- Irritable bowel syndrome, IBS
Regarding that last point, an intestinal infection or imbalance can cause IBS. But stress, depression and anxiety can also cause the condition. It's always important with bloating to understand the root cause of the problem before applying a solution.
Probiotics in Yogurt
One of the most popular ways to maintain gut health with probiotics is to consume natural yogurt. You can also use yogurt to treat symptoms of bloating but this isn't like taking a couple of pain killers for a headache. To benefit from probiotics in yogurt, or any other probiotic foods, you have to consume them on a regular basis. If you want to treat bloating with yogurt then you have to be mindful of three things:
- Consume yogurt with probiotics every day for two weeks
- Must be 6-ounce serving with two percent milk fat. There must not be any added sugars or other sweeteners other than fresh fruit.
- If you buy yogurt (as opposed to making your own), it must state live and/or active cultures on the label.
This is fine if you like to eat yogurt every day and don't have a dairy intolerance. Yogurt is perhaps better as a preventative measure though, more so than an actual cure .
Most people prefer to take probiotic supplements to treat the condition. To begin with, you can take a pill in a nanosecond. The other thing with supplements is that you have control of the amounts of bacteria and strains. A quality supplement is also one that has protective coating. This way there's less chance of the probiotics getting killed off by hostile stomach acids.
If your bloating is the result of an imbalance in your gut flora, then the right probiotics can help. You want to try a supplement with well-researched strains (specific types of the bacteria). This should include Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52 or Lactobacillus casei Rosell-215. Both of these have shown to help with bloating.
We don't all react in the same way to every type of supplement. Therefore, talk to someone who's an authority on probiotics before making a decision. Explain your specific symptoms to them. You might get lucky right away or you may need to experiment with different brands until you find one that's right for you.
If your bloating is not too serious, you can always try to restore the balance by eating probiotic foods. Try to ferment your own dairy to make kefir, yogurt or sour cream. You can also ferment vegetables and make sauerkraut and other lactose-fermented veggies .