Are probiotics good for IBS and which probiotic should you take?
The term probiotic is used widely in gut health. We know that gut bacteria plays a huge role in your digestive health, so it makes sense you may need to help this using supplements.
However, you will also likely be confused. There are so many different brands and formats – which one is best?
Some are also quite expensive, so it is important not to waste your money!
In this post I will use science to explain why probiotics can help IBS symptoms. I will also recommend some products which have been scientifically proven to work.
Please note that this post contains affiliate links.
Do Probiotics Help IBS Symptoms?
With so many supplements out there claiming to help your symptoms, it is important to find out which ones are worth it.
Luckily, probiotics do help IBS symptoms!
BUT… you need to wary of a few things;
- Just because a product contains healthy gut bacteria, does not make it a probiotic.
- Only some probiotics have been proven to work in IBS.
- Not everyone will see a benefit – take the probiotic for at least 1 month to find out.
- You only get the benefit whilst taking the probiotic.
If you want to find out more about how probiotics work, check out my other post.
Are Fermented Foods Good For IBS?
You will want to go natural over taking ‘pills’ any day. So you will be wondering if eating foods like kefir or kimchi can help your IBS.
Sadly, these foods have no proof that they help IBS.
Yes, they contain healthy gut bacteria, but whether they help IBS symptoms has never been proven.
Which Probiotics are Good For IBS?
If you are in the UAE, US or Australia – this product will be called Align.
Alforex 35624Ⓡ is a probiotic which contains a single strain bacteria – bifidobacterium infantis 35624Ⓡ live cultures (2).
Unlike other strains of probiotic, Alflorex also has the added benefit of not having to be refrigerated. This makes it more flexible for taking at different times of the day or when you are traveling.
If you have IBS- D (diarrhoea dominant IBS) then Bio-Kult may be the probiotic for you (6).
Bio-Kult is another multi-strain probiotic.
In a study of 400 people, Bio-Kult was shown to improve symptoms by 69% in comparison to placebo at 47% (6).
WARNING: not suitable for those with a milk allergy.
VSL#3 contains 8 different strains of freeze-dried live bacteria (7).
In all types of IBS, the VSL#3 probiotic has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms. It has also been shown to reduce abdominal pain and bloating whilst increasing quality of life (8).
VSL#3 has been shown to restore levels of bifidobacterium in those on the low FODMAP diet (4). This is could potentially make the low FODMAP diet more effective than when used on its own.
Symprove is an easily available probiotic which contains 4 strains of bacteria: Lactobacillus rhamnosus NCIMB 30174, Lactobacillus plantarum NCIMB 30173, Lactobacillus acidophilus NCIMB 30175 and Enterococcus faecium NCIMB 30176 (9).
It is recommended that you take 70mls/day and it comes in either an original or mango and passion fruit flavour (10).
In a 12 week trial of this probiotic, it showed to reduce all symptoms of IBS in those with moderate to severe symptoms but the largest change was seen in reducing pain scores (11).
Probiotics can help you to improve your IBS symptoms. Just be careful which ones you choose and be patient to see results.