If you’ve made an effort recently to increase your intake of probiotic-rich foods or have started taking a supplement, you might be wondering how long it’ll take to notice results.
As these organisms get to work in your digestive system, it can be hard to see what they’re up to, so we must look for other signs.
How can I tell if my probiotics are working? There are some signs you might notice that indicate your gut health is improving, including more regular bowel movements, fewer digestion problems, a better mood, and weight loss.
Each person reacts differently to probiotics and the different strains of good bacteria, so it may be only some of the signs you notice.
For those on a healthy dose of vegan probiotics, we’ve made it easy for you to tell if the bacteria is really making a difference in your body with some positive signs you can look out for.
With this guide to vegan probiotics, you’ll see why they’re just as effective and how to know when they’re getting to work in your gut.
Why Are Probiotics Important?
To get a better understanding of how probiotics work, it’s best to start in the gastrointestinal tract, commonly referred to as the gut.
Within the gut, there are billions of bacteria living, both good and bad, and it’s like a delicate ecosystem that requires the right balance to keep you healthy.
The good bacteria within the gut are responsible for things like good digestion, a strong immune system, and a heightened ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins.
The bad bacteria can spread due to intruders like medications and stress, causing us to feel ailments like upset stomach, recurring allergies, and issues with digestion.
Although our bodies can do a lot of work for themselves, they often need help balancing this bacterium out so that our gut microbiome becomes healthier.
We want more of the good bacteria and less of the bad, which we can gain by taking supplements or eating foods that are rich in probiotics.
Thankfully, there are lots of healthy and delicious options out there, including kombucha, tempeh, miso, and sauerkraut.
6 Signs Probiotics are Working
Whether you’re taking a new dose of probiotic supplements or eating more coconut yogurt and kimchi, you might be wondering when you’re going to start seeing results.
Here are a few signs that the good bacteria have started to balance out in your gut microbiome, thanks to your probiotic intake.
#1 You Become Regular
Many people take regular bowel movements for granted until they stop, that is.
If you’re already suffering from digestive issues this is probably one of them so as soon as you start fixing the imbalance in your GI tract with some probiotics, you’ll notice an improvement there.
After just a week of eating healthier and increasing your probiotic intake, you should see your bowel movements becoming regular once again.
Regular can mean different things to different people, but as long as it’s consistent and feels healthy to you, it’s likely all okay.
People also report less frequent bouts of diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and general stomach upset, so there is a lot to be excited about.
#2 You Crave Less Sugar
If you were to look at the bacteria in your gut right now, there would be some in there that prefer to feed on sugar.
When the balance of this goes out of whack, you could have more of this sugar craving bacteria than others, which leads you to crave sugary drinks and foods more often, further feeding the organisms.
When you’re able to balance the flora of your gut, you might find that your craving for sugar reduces as these sugar-loving organisms do.
Some people can break the cycle of sugar cravings when they start paying attention to their gut health, which is a great sign that your probiotics are working.
#3 You Feel Better Mentally
It’s not just your body that you’ll notice an improvement in when you start taking probiotics, but your mind as well.
Numerous studies have shown that there is a link between the brain and the gut, with the bad bacteria increasing when we’re stressed.
We also know that our digestive tract products up to 90% of our body’s serotonin, the hormone that helps us feel good.
Adding more probiotics to your diet can help to introduce more good bacteria to balance the bad ones, which help you feel less stressed and anxious, and a lot happier.
It may be worth starting a diet to write down how you’re feeling emotionally on day one of taking probiotics versus a few weeks down the track to see how much of a difference it’s made.
#4 You Feel Smarter
With the link between the brain and the gut being evident, it makes sense that improving our probiotic count can help us to feel more switched on as well.
Loads of studies have proven that probiotics can directly impact individuals with cognitive dysfunction like Alzheimer’s disease, so you’ll be doing good for your mind as well.
After just a few weeks of taking probiotics, you might feel as though your memory has improved, you pay attention more closely, and you can process information faster.
All of these things are possible when you balance your gut health and your brain will thank you for it.
#5 You Lose Some Weight
While not everyone will lose weight when they start eating probiotic-rich food, it is a possibility that you can get excited about.
The science behind this is still being discovered, but some studies have found that there are certain types of bacteria in the guts of thinner people versus heavier people, indicating that their presence has some effect.
Another bonus that has to do with your weight refers back to the reduced sugar cravings we mentioned earlier. Less sugar intake means fewer calories, which almost always leads you to healthier and more sustainable weight loss.
Are Vegan Probiotics as Effective?
One of the biggest misconceptions about probiotics is that they can only come from dairy-based sources, like yogurts and milk kefir.
However, there are many powerful vegan-friendly probiotics that you can incorporate into your everyday diet.
The presence of cow’s milk is not solely what creates a probiotic, so looking for other sources like fermented vegetables and soy products is best for vegans.
You can snack on kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, tempeh, miso paste, and even probiotic supplements to build up the good bacteria in your gut, proving there’s no need to harm any animals in the process.
Another bonus that vegans have going for them is that they naturally consume more prebiotics, which is the fiber that probiotics feed on.
Prebiotics are found in fruits and vegetables and as these make up a huge portion of a plant-based diet, there’s a good chance your gut health will be better as well.
A Healthier Gut for a Healthier You
Although probiotics do their work in your digestive system, you’ll feel the benefits from them through your entire body and mind.
Give it time for the good bacteria to get to work and make other efforts to improve your health in the meantime, and you’ll be feeling a lot better in just a few weeks.
There are plenty of vegan-friendly ways you can increase your probiotic intake without reaching for a supplement, and benefits for your whole body to enjoy.
To learn more about probiotic-rich foods that can improve the health of your gut, we’ve answered some commonly asked questions that might help.
What is the Best Time to Drink Kombucha?
The delicious taste of kombucha can be enjoyed at any time of the day, but some people believe that drinking a glass first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is ideal.
This allows your gut to get access to the probiotics without anything getting in their way, but there is no scientific confirmation to back up this theory.
Lorraine Pinnix is a passionate nutritionist and loves seeing people living healthy, and fulfilled lives. She believes that food is an essential piece of staying fit and strongly believes in going vegan. PureGrowthOrganic is a passionate work that details her research in helping you go on complete organic diets. She is available for questions, comments, and follow-ups.