Digestive complaints are never fun, whether you fall on the "too slow" or "too fast" side of the spectrum. Many people turn to probiotics, or "good" bacteria supplements, to help restore a digestive balance, and Align probiotics have shown especially promising results in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. According to nutritionist Christine Avanti, probiotics are almost universally safe. According to the clinical trials, however, Align probiotics are even safer than most.
Align probiotics are formulated from a patented bacteria called Bifidobacterium infantis, marketed as Bifantis. It has been shown to be the only probiotic bacteria strain that effectively reduces the symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome, with a lower incidence of side effects than other probiotic strains such as lactobacillus. In fact, during the clinical trials, side effects did not occur any more frequently in those taking Bifantis than in those taking a placebo.
Possible Side Effects
If you do experience side effects, they will be nothing more than mild gas and bloating and will generally go away as treatment continues. Most probiotics can have this effect because you're basically introducing a foreign bacteria into your gut. At first, your body's natural beneficial bacteria may try to fight it off, thinking it's an invader. Eventually, as the Bifantis population rises in your digestive tract, things will settle down and you should experience better bowel function as your natural bacteria and the Bifantis work together to keep your intestines healthy.
The reason Bifantis causes side effects so rarely is because it isn't totally unfamiliar to your body. Bifidobacteria populate your intestines within days of your birth, making up 95 percent of the bacteria in your digestive tract. The levels drop as you age, and by the time you're an adult, your Bifidobacteria levels may be as low as 3 percent. They're still there, though, so your body doesn't see Bifantis as a stranger, more as an old but unfamiliar acquaintance. As long as you take the supplement as directed, your body will eventually get used to high levels of Bifidobacteria again.
Even though probiotics are "good" bacteria, they are still bacteria. Taking antibiotics can decrease the effectiveness of probiotics, because antibiotics are made to kill bacteria. Bifantis in particular is vulnerable to most common antibiotics such as penicillin drugs, gentamycin and cyprofloxacin, so you may experience stomach upset while taking these drugs together with probiotics. On one hand, probiotic supplementation can help prevent antibiotic-related diarrhea by keeping "good" gut bacteria at normal levels, but on the other hand, the antibiotic may target the probiotic. Everyone's gut bacteria population is different, which accounts for the variations in the occurrence of side effects.
- Align Probiotic Supplement: Align Product Information
- Bifantis.com: Bifidobacteria
- "Reviews in Gastroenterological Disorders"; Bifidobacterium infantis 35624: A Novel Probiotic for the Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Brenner DM, et al.; Winter 2009
- Christine Avanti Nutrition: Side Effects of Probiotics