I mentioned in previous posts that I have always had digestive issues, but when you live with a chronic situation, you learn your triggers, how to deal, what to expect, etc. You learn to ride the waves. My stomach and I had a relationship and an understanding.
Then in 2014, I turned 30.
The gift bestowed to me on that day was nothing I’d ever experienced. It was as if a balloon blew up in my gut, leaving me farty, bloated, and occasionally constipated. Come on! I eat [mostly] healthy! I work out! What gives? Thanks to my job and speaking with numerous customers, it turns out I am not the only girl who isn’t feeling “thirty, flirty, and thriving.”
I now have two BFFs that I take daily – probiotics and digestive enzymes. I also have a few other friends who are occasionally invited to the party. Allow me to share how I remain comfortable in my skinny jeans.
A probiotic can be beneficial in balancing your intestinal flora. Very simply put, you want the good microbes to help break down your food; you want less “bad” ones which can attack your immune system and leave you feeling farty and bloated.
Picking out a probiotic can be daunting because there are SO many to choose from. But it’s not scary, if you can narrow it down, knowing what you need. Think of it as a choose your own adventure!
Probiotics usually have to be refrigerated, but several companies offer ones that don’t. Look at your lifestyle. If you travel a lot for work, or if you race out the door every morning barely brushing your teeth, purchasing a shelf-stable probie would be a swell option.
Look at the back label directions. It will either say “Take on an empty stomach,” or “May be taken with or without food.” This is crucial. Personally, I am ravenous when I wake in the morning, so the thought of taking a probiotic and waiting for it to nest comfortably in my gut before eating sounds like pure torture. But now that I’m in my 30s, I know this isn’t the case for everyone.
Once a day? Twice a day? At every meal? Be realistic with yourself and what you will actually remember and follow through with.
Powder? Capsule? Tablet? Liquid? Chewable? Gummy? Thanks be to science.
I know, I know. I wrote this entry (and the following entries) about GI support, but I gotta throw out a nod to my girls with vag/UTI issues. Lucky for you gals, supplement companies made it real simple like fo us lady folk. Hint: look for the pink boxes.
It’s true; if you suffer from yeast infections and/or UTIs, there are specific probiotic strains formulated just for you to help combat the cause. If this is you, hooray! Pick a pink box and you’re done! If you’re on this journey to achieve unicorn toots, have no fear, there are specific strains which help address colon health, and you must continue on your journey for the perfect probiotic.
This is where it gets tricky. Hopefully you received a doctor’s recommendation, but if you were generally advised to “Get a probiotic!,” here’s a general recommendation from a general grocery store employee who once dated a guy in med school, who should have gone to med school instead of trying to be a comedic actor.*
If you are typically healthy, with generally no to minimal digestive issues, 5 – 20 billion counts should do the trick.
For those of you that are generally healthy, but experience regular discomfort after eating, try 20-100 billion counts.
For my friends who are regularly sick and/or on anti-biotics, there are 100 billion+ count probiotics with your name on it.
Congratulations, you’ve made it this far on your quest for better digestive health! Once you’ve narrowed it down to meet all your qualifications, it really doesn’t matter. Choose the one that’s on sale; that’s what I say.
For those who need a bit more hand-holding (no judgment!), feel free to read the review of probiotics I’ve used, and see if they might work for you.
*Hopefully I covered my booty enough with the DSHEA Act so no readers will take legal action against me. ALWAYS talk to your doctor!