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How Long Does It Take for Probiotics to Work?

Posted by Meghan Wilson on
How Long Does It Take for Probiotics to Work?

At Cleveland Kitchen, our passion is introducing people to the excellent flavors, essential nutrients, and healthful probiotics found in our fermented veggies.

In our discussions with customers, we often find they understand the importance of high-quality, fresh foods and the value of critical nutrients to living a happier, healthier life.

Conversely, probiotics remain somewhat of a mysterious topic.

People sometimes wonder what exactly probiotics are and how to consume them. More often, they understand these principles but struggle to grasp how probiotics work and how quickly they can positively affect their bodies.

For some introductory insight into these topics and a basic understanding of what determines the pace of probiotic efficacy, read on for our Cleveland Kitchen Guide to How Fast Probiotics Work:

What Are Probiotics?

In basic terms, probiotics are live forms of bacteria that, upon consumption, directly increase the population of beneficial microorganisms in your microbiome (gut).

When taken responsibly and consistently, probiotics benefit many bodily systems by boosting your natural presence of healthy bacteria, eliminating harmful bacteria, and strengthening the trillions of essential microbes in your gut.

For a strand of live bacteria to be a probiotic, it must:

  • Be safe to consume
  • Not be derived from humans
  • Survive in the intestine
  • Provide some benefits
  • How Many Types of Probiotics Are There?

    There are thousands of probiotic variants, and the most common strands fall into groups like:

  • Lactobacilli
  • Yeasts
  • Bifidobacteria
  • Within these groups, specific strands of these live bacteria thrive in different environments.

    In fermented foods, like sauerkraut and kimchi, three of the most common types of probiotics are Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus brevis, and Leuconostoc mesenteroides.

    These strands can offer a variety of health benefits, as we discuss in our blog post on the positive influences of common probiotics

    Healthy Sources of Probiotics

    Now that you understand what probiotics are, let’s dive into practical and healthy ways to incorporate them into your lifestyle. 

    Many people view probiotics as akin to a vitamin, mineral, or supplement they should take in the form of a daily pill, chewable tablet, capsule, etc.

    While probiotics are available in these styles, we think it’s better to consume them in their natural form of healthy foods as part of your daily diet.

    Probiotic-rich foods aren’t scientifically better than probiotic supplements, but they often offer nutritional and dietary value that a standard pill or capsule simply cannot match. 

    Plus, delicious foods always taste better than pills!

    Some of our favorite healthy and flavorful food sources of probiotics are:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Yogurt
  • Kombucha 
  • Kefir
  • Potential Benefits of Probiotics

    Many scientists and doctors preach the value of probiotics because of the benefits these microorganisms can bring to the human body.

    While many nutrients, vitamins, minerals, etc. aid humans in all sorts of ways, few can match the multifaceted, positive influence of good bacteria.

    Some of the most prominent potential benefits of probiotics are:

  • A Strengthened Microbiome
  • Boosted Immune Function
  • Improved Digestion
  • Alleviated Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Distress
  • Enhanced Healing from Vaginal and Urinary Tract Infections
  • How Long Probiotics Take to Work

    As with any nutrient, mineral, vitamin, microorganism, etc., numerous factors affect the speed and efficacy of probiotics. 

    To keep things simple, let’s break down three of the primary forces influencing how quickly probiotics can benefit you:

    Type and Quantity of Probiotics Consumed

    It’s no surprise that the source and amount of probiotics you ingest will significantly influence the speed at which they work.

    Generally, you — an adult — want to take 10-20 billion colony-forming units of probiotics per day in the form of probiotic-rich foods or supplements to see the quickest, best results in your body.

    When you consume probiotics in these recommended quantities, you give your microbiome the support it needs to quickly and effectively reap the benefits of good bacteria. 

    The Issue(s) You Hope to Address with Probiotics

    As stated earlier, probiotic consumption can offer many benefits to the human body.

    However, the rate at which you see these benefits will depend on what improvements you are seeking:

    Let’s say you’re hoping to add a nutritious serving of sauerkraut to your daily diet to help soothe some stomach discomfort. In that case, it’s absolutely possible that you could see beneficial results of your increased healthy bacteria levels within a few days -- ditto for minor issues involving your immune health.

    Conversely, if you’re looking to resolve long term bodily issues, probiotics can take much longer to work or even fail to completely resolve your medical concerns:

    For example, let’s say you’re in the second month of a wave of indigestion that negatively affects your day-to-day life.

    In that case, a daily serving of probiotic-rich sauerkraut can aid symptoms of your distress, potentially leading to noticeable improvements and a happier digestive system within weeks.

    Furthermore, the more serious your medical concern is, the more essential it becomes for you to seek the immediate advice of a qualified medical professional (i.e. your doctor or a registered dietitian). 

    They might recommend a course of action involving probiotic consumption, but they also may suggest a more rigorous medical plan that involves additional treatments, medications, etc. 

    The State of Your Microbiome

    A final major determinant of how long probiotics take to work is the overall state of your microbiome (gut).

    Factors like your diet, sleep, exercise, regular medications, and the general state of your health all can have profound impacts on the health and effectiveness of the trillions of microbes found in your gut. 

    While more research continues to pour in on this essential topic, the scientific consensus at the moment is fairly clear:

    Treating your gut right by consuming a nutritious diet and taking care of your body through your daily routine (sleep, exercise, avoidance of smoking/drug use, limiting stress) can help probiotics work faster and more completely.

    All of Cleveland Kitchen's dressing and sauerkrauts

    Cleveland Kitchen’s Probiotic-Rich Foods

    Now that you understand what influences how fast probiotics work, it’s time to check out Cleveland Kitchen’s nutritious and gut-friendly selection of probiotic-rich, fermented foods.

    Using locally sourced, natural, and delicious ingredients, we proudly offer three kinds of fermented foods and condiments to satisfy your microbiome and taste buds:

    First up, we have our uber delicious, crunchy sauerkraut, offering an ideal combination of nutrients and probiotics across our six diverse flavors (and bonus option!): 

  • Gnar Gnar
  • Classic Caraway
  • Beet Red
  • Curry Kraut
  • Roasted Garlic
  • Whiskey Dill
  • Bonus: 4-Kraut Variety Pack
  • Next, we have a mouthwatering crowd favorite: classic kimchi. If you’re looking for fermented veggies with a thick, crunchy cut, Korean-inspired flavors, and invigorating notes of spice, this one’s for you.

    Inspired by our love for Korean cuisine and culture, this spicy delicacy can brighten all manner of snacks and meals with a satisfying crunch -- plus, 20% of online sales from Classic Kimchi are donated to support our AAPI community through asiaohio.org

    Last but not least, we have our fermented veggie salad dressings, the unique, versatile condiments you never knew you needed.

    With five delicious options full of natural flavors, vital nutrients, and probiotics, you can’t go wrong:

  • Veggie Caesar
  • Sweet Beet
  • Miso Jalapeño 
  • Garlic Italian
  • Backyard Ranch
  • Bonus: 4 or 6 Dressing Variety Pack
  • For more on Cleveland Kitchen’s mission to bring fermented foods to the American diet, keep up with our weekly blog, check out our recipes, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to find more delicious ways to incorporate probiotics in your diet!

    Medical Disclaimer: All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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