What Are the Signs Your Gut Is Out-of-Whack and Can Be Improved With Probiotics?

In our Asking for a Friend series, we’re teaming up with Renew Life®—makers of digestive wellness supplements for over 20 years—to answer W+G readers’ most-pressing questions about digestive health. Below, we tackle key strategies to reap the benefits of a probiotic-supplement regimen.

If you've ever dealt with day-ruining digestive health issues (ahem: constipation or gas) or had to unbutton your pants after eating out (hello, bloat), you may have asked yourself: “So...should I be taking a probiotic?

Ask and you shall receive. To get you up to speed, we tasked nutrition pro Nathalie Rhone, RD with giving us the lowdown on the obvious and not-so-obvious clues that your digestive system could use a lift from a probiotics—and how to actually choose the right one for you.

Keep reading for the common yet unexpected signs of your digestive health is out of whack—and how probiotics can help.

Photo: Stocksy/ Trinette Reed

Surprising signs of a gut on the fritzand how probiotics can help

Okay, so when you're dealing with bloating (or worse) shortly after mealtime, the gut-and-wellness connection is pretty obvious. But when your body is sending you hints that your gut is out of unbalanced through your complexion or mood? That's not so crystal clear.

But here's why it might be connected: "The gut microbiome is incredibly complex and is connected to our immune system, mood, weight, digestion, and overall wellbeing," Rhone says, noting that an unbalanced gut could potentially lead to issues like not-fun skin conditions or even mood swings and fatigue.

Another clue that your microbiome might be run-down is if you’ve ever been on antibiotics, which Rhone considers one of the most common causes of a gut that's run-down. “Antibiotics wipe out both the bad and good bacteria that colonize your gut, throwing the microbiome way off-balance,” she says.

So can taking probiotics help? For healthy adults, boosting the number of do-gooder microbes with a probiotic supplement can support digestive function and give your overall wellbeing a boost. "I recommend that most of my healthy clients take a daily probiotic supplement," she says. "Yes, we get probiotics through some foods but it’s also helpful to take a supplement to make sure our gut is loaded with the healthy bacteria we need for optimal health."

Photo: Getty Images/ Miguel Sanz

What to look for in a probiotic supplement

You may go with your gut in the clean-beauty aisle but when you're shopping for in the digestive health aisle, you want to look for something specific. "When selecting a probiotic, choose one that has a variety of strains of live probiotic cultures, and even better one that contains a combination of prebiotics and probiotics," Rhone says.

Pro tip: Go for a variety of strains. "Not all probiotic supplements are the same,'" Rhone says. "There are many different strains (such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium), which serve different purposes."

Case in point, Renew Life’s Ultimate Flora Extra Care Probiotics, which contains 30 billion CFUs (colony forming units) and 12 purposefully selected strains to reflect your gut's natural diversity.

Probiotics Renew Life
Photo: Stocksy/Mihajlo Ckovric

How to reap the most out of a probiotics habit

To get the biggest bang for your effort, you gulp down your post-workout protein shake within an hour of putting down weights—and you should treat your daily dose of probiotics the same way. With once-daily, delayed-release probiotic formulas like Renew Life’s Ultimate Flora Probiotics, pop one first in the morning on an empty stomach (ideally 15 minutes before a meal).

"That way, the probiotics have a chance to make it to your gut and do their job without any interference," Rhone says. Plus, with Renew Life's targeted release capsules, your probiotic is full-on protected against your stomach lining, which means it retains its gut-boosting powers to deliver optimum results. The same just can't be said for food—unless you'd like to feel hangry, and that's one emotion we really try to avoid.

Gut renovation, complete.

In partnership with Renew Life®

Top photo: Getty Images/ Maskot

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