Probiotics for women have gained a lot of media attention thanks to folks like Jamie Lee Curtis in her yogurt commercials (tell me someone else still remembers those “gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now!).

I’m 100% ok with that because I believe it’s an area that can help a lot of us resolve digestive issues. In fact, over the last few years as I’ve interviewed more nutritionists or RD’s the one supplement they almost universally agree that people should use: probiotics.

Did you know that digestive issues are on the rise in the US?
Did you know that STRESS is one of the biggest culprits behind digestives issues?

That’s right many of our stomach problems are caused by our lifestyles. I can vouch for this based on what I’ve learned over the last decade. It’s never easy to own up to causing your body to feel unwell and it’s not terribly easy to change those patterns, but we can…and we must!

Why We Must Pay Attention to Our Gut Bacteria

I’ve written a much longer post on huge impact of digestive health on our health from appearance to mood {check it out if you haven’t!}, I won’t recap it here, but it’s a key element of why probiotics for runners are important.

This is a great graphic from Paleo Hacks on our gut impacting us:

What are Probiotics?

I started using probiotics after cutting dairy from my diet. Interestingly I think I would have felt better long before cutting dairy by adding them in! Why?

Here’s what a probiotic actually is…bacteria. Yup, more bacteria. Your gut consists of 70-80%  bacteria and probiotics are the good bacteria, which we naturally produce. However, through all the things listed above they can get squished down and we want to supplement to give them a boost!

Benefits of Probiotics for Women and Running:

Not that these don’t apply to the gentlemen, but most readers here are ladies and it does seem we go through more phases of digestive distress due to hormonal shifts. Here are some of the ways runners and athletes in general will benefit from a probiotic:

  • Used consistently showed a reduction in runner GI issues (aka trots)
  • Reduce the length of respiratory infections
  • Deliver “good bacteria” to the intestines to balance out all that stuff listed above
  • Mood improvement (extra helpful if we have to miss a run!)
  • Improve nutrient absorption
  • Help maintain blood glucose levels (less sugar crashes)
  • Good gut health is now partially linked to runners being able to more quickly clear lactic acid, which might fight muscle fatigue

This one of the high quality probiotic that I opt to use because it’s easy to take it with me for all of the traveling that I do. I don’t have to worry about putting it in or on my food, it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and with the layered coating it won’t melt or do something weird in my luggage!

Probiotic foods are always important as well! However, we don’t always have access to them (or we have a food sensitivity to dairy) and that’s one reason I find the pill so easy.

Probiotic food options:

  • Keifer
  • High quality yogurt
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Sourdough bread (my personal favorite)
  • Bars and snacks that have them added in (like my Vega Sport Powder and Good Belly bars)

The other thing you might notice is that a lot of the above options also have sugar. That’s another reason, I started opting for the pill form.

Can Probiotics Help You Lose Weight?

But can probiotics really help us slim down as is often advertised? According to a number of studies the answer seems to generally be yes, if you are experiencing some digestive issues {most American’s are} then it’s almost 100% going to help.

probiotics for weight loss

But, it might not be what happens on the scale. It could be a visual change from a reduction in bloating. All right here is the nitty gritty of how a probiotic for weight loss:

  • Food sensitivities cause our bodies to retain water due to inflammation – probiotics are thought to help calm this and thus “debloat” you
  • Poor digestion from eating bad foods, eating too quickly, too much stress can be aided by probiotics – again if you get things moving through the colon it’s going to “debloat” you
  • They may help to limit the absorption of excess fat (study) – this is going to help you flush out that excess instead of holding on to all of it.
  • Probiotics may also help to increase your satiety hormone, allowing you to eat less more easily.
  • Lactobacillus gasseri is the probiotic in studies, which has most often been linked to weight loss, particularly belly fat.

As with anything, you’ll need to be consistent in your use of probiotics, especially if you have a lot of the risk factors listed above because your gut ratio of good to bad, will quickly tilt back out of alignment.

Beyond taking a probiotic and digestive enzyme there are some lifestyle changes that can have a big impact as well on your digestion, which can indeed lead to not only BETTER RUNNING, but weight loss when that’s your goal.

  • Chew – Sounds ridiculous every time I say this, but seriously. Stop shoveling in your food and chew.
  • Relax – Checkout this post on 8 ways to overcome the “must do” syndrome and take time to relax
  • Yoga – Many twisting yoga postures are good to help get things moving, checkout BexLife for a great free series
  • Eat more fermented foods – sauerkraut, pickles, miso, keifer, kombucha
  • Mindfulness – You can meditate or you could incorporate more mindful running in your routine

What are some ways in which you create healthy digestive habits with your busy schedule?

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