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Travel probiotics for a happy, gut healthy holiday!

Discover the best probiotic for travel

In today’s fast-paced world, with our on-the-go lifestyle, maintaining optimal gut health can be a challenge. Especially when travelling abroad for a much needed holiday or important business meeting. Therefore, we’ve researched the best probiotics for travel, so that you can stay healthy ‘on the go’!

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What’s more, when even the British Triathlon Team doctors are looking for the best probiotics for travelling to the all important Paris Olympics, then we know they’re onto something! Join us as we examine what the science says about the best probiotics for travel abroad, as well as general gut health.

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

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If you want to skip the background and go straight to the best probiotics for travelling, click here:

What‘s the benefit of probiotics for travel?

Gut health plays a crucial role in our overall health. In fact, it is increasingly recognized as a key factor in maintaining both physical and mental well-being.

Above all, improving gut health should be easy, effective and fit into busy schedules. As a result, we’re increasingly looking to the benefit of probiotics for optimal gut health, immunity and well-being.

So, what’s the potential benefit of probiotics?

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Probiotics, often referred to as ‘good bacteria’, are live microorganisms that can provide a wide range of health benefits, if consumed in the right amount.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

These beneficial bacteria help maintain a healthy balance in our gut and influence digestion, nutrient absorption, plus immunity. Other benefits include mood, sleep and skin health (to name a few!).

Probiotics are naturally found in certain foods, such as kefir, live yogurt and sauerkraut. They can also be taken as dietary supplements

Here we’ll take a closer look at the potential benefit of probiotics. Read on to help make informed choices about the best probiotics for travelling and general gut health.

The role of probiotics in gut health

Probiotics work to restore and maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut, known as your gut microbiome. They help improve digestion, enhance nutrient absorption, support immunity, mood and more!

Additionally, probiotics help prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the gut. This may reduce the risk of digestive issues like diarrhoea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Probiotics may also play a role in easing the symptoms of certain gastrointestinal conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The potential benefits of probiotics for travelling abroad

Travelling can disrupt digestion due to changes in diet, water quality, and exposure to unfamiliar bacteria. This can lead to common travel-related gut issues, such as bloating and traveler’s diarrhoea.

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By finding the best probiotics for travelling that suit your specific needs, and incorporating probiotics into your travel routine, you can support your gut health and minimize the risk of these issues.

Probiotics help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your gut, boosting your immune system and increasing your resistance to harmful germs you may encounter while traveling.

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Furthermore, probiotics have been found to have a positive impact on other travel-related issues. For instance, studies reveal some of the best probiotics for travelling may help reduce the risk of respiratory infections, such as the common cold.

Many will know that unwelcome feeling of a cold coming on, just as you’re starting a well-earned holiday!

Part of the problem is that during travel we’re close to lots of other people and strangers, and we’re exposed to different environments and new types of germs.

One possible benefit of incorporating the best probiotics for travelling is some protection from food-related issues. For example, probiotics may help strengthen the gut barrier, making it more difficult for harmful bacteria to invade and cause infections. This can be particularly helpful when visiting countries with different food safety standards and practices.

Jetlag and probiotics for traveling abroad

In addition to their immune-boosting properties, there is some evidence to suggest probiotics may help with jet lag. Jet lag can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, and digestive disturbances.

While there are no studies specifically investigating the effects of probiotics on jet lag, some research has shown that prebiotics, which serve as food for beneficial gut bacteria, can promote resilience to body-clock disruptions from things like jet lag. 

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Additionally, a healthy gut supports a healthy brain, and research shows that it’s important to offset the impact of jetlag on our gut bacteria.

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Probiotics have been shown to help regulate our sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm (the natural patterns of physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle). This in turn could potentially reduce the severity and duration of jet lag symptoms.

Certainly, scientists looking at the best probiotics for sleep confirm the potential benefit of probiotics for better sleep. Although it should be noted, this only applies to specific strains or types of probiotic for sleep.

Overall, choosing the best probiotics for travelling, based on evidence, can benefit your gut health and overall well-being.

Whether you choose to eat probiotic-rich foods or consider trying some of the best probiotics for travelling below, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage and strain of probiotics for your specific needs.

Choosing the best probiotic for travel and gut health

With so many probiotic products available on the market, choosing the best probiotic for international travel, that’s right for your specific needs, can be overwhelming. However, by considering a few important factors, it is easier to make an informed decision.

Factors to consider when choosing the best probiotics for travelling

Strain diversity: Look for probiotic products that contain a variety of strains, as different strains offer different health benefits. Aim for a broad-spectrum probiotic that includes strains such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium as well as Saccharomyces boulardii.

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The keystone strain probiotic Limosilactobacillus​ ​reuteri (formerly known as Lactobacillus reuteri) is effective for general gut health.

Research suggests that a diverse range of probiotic strains may be more effective in supporting gut health. Each strain has its own unique characteristics, so multiple strains may provide a wider range of benefits.

Colony Forming Units (CFUs): CFUs indicate the number of live bacteria in a probiotic product. Higher CFU counts generally indicate a more powerful and effective product. Look for products with CFU counts of at least 10 billion.

However, it is important to note that higher CFU counts may not always translate to better results, as individual responses to probiotics can vary.

Storage: Do check storage requirements. The best probiotics for travelling won’t need to be refrigerated, they’ll cope with different climates and may be taken with other common travel meds. Do check the label and consult a healthcare professional as needed.

Also bear in mind there is a chance that probiotic supplements can cause stomach ache, bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation, especially during the first few days of use. These side effects are usually mild and go away as the body gets used to the probiotics. 

To reduce the likelihood of side effects, it is recommended to start with a low dose of probiotics and slowly increase to the full dosage. Even the best probiotics for travelling may take some getting used to for your stomach. Therefore, consider starting your probiotics before you travel.

The best probiotics for travelling: 4 probiotic strains and their specific benefits

1. Lactobacillus acidophilus: This strain helps maintain healthy digestion and supports the immune system.

Lactobacillus acidophilus is one of the most well-known and extensively studied probiotic strains. It is commonly found in yogurt and other fermented foods. This strain has been shown to promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria, improve digestion, and boost immunity.

2. Bifidobacterium longum: Known for promoting the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome, and therefore better gut health.

Additionally, Bifidobacterium lactis is another commonly used probiotic strain. It has been shown to help alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and promote regular bowel movements. This strain may also have a positive impact on gut health by reducing bloating and improving overall digestive comfort.

3. Saccharomyces boulardii: Saccharomyces boulardii is a unique probiotic strain that is actually a yeast, not a bacteria. It has been extensively studied for its ability to prevent and treat diarrhoea. Saccharomyces boulardii can help to prevent or treat diarrhoea, especially when travelling abroad. It can also support the health of your gut microbiome and immune system.

4. L. reuteri: Research shows that the probiotic Limosilactobacillus​ ​reuteri (formerly known as Lactobacillus reuteri) can enhance the body’s natural defenses, which can help when the gut encounters new or unfamiliar bacteria. 

This strain works by restoring the balance of gut bacteria and supporting the integrity of the intestinal lining.

An important benefit, which makes Saccharomyces boulardii one of the best probiotics for travelling, is that it doesn’t need refrigeration, so it can easily mixed with food and beverages, and its easier for transport.

Consult with a healthcare professional if necessary, to help select the most appropriate probiotic strain and dosage for your individual needs.

The 7 best probiotics for travelling

What are the best probiotics for travelling?

Below we’ll look at what might be the best probiotic brands for international travel and how to prevent travel-related stomach issues.

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1. OptiBac Travel Abroad Probiotic

OptiBac Travel Abroad Probiotic contains Saccharomyces boulardii, a yeast-based probiotic that can prevent traveler’s diarrhea.

In addition, it contains Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52. Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52 may help support digestive health by promoting a balanced gut microbiome. It can contribute to the breakdown of food and the absorption of nutrients in the digestive tract.

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Bifidobacterium longum Rosell-175 may help support digestive health by promoting the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiota. Optibac note that its Travel Abroad probiotic is “suitable alongside travel medications and for a range of climate conditions”.

Image by maryannandco photography from Pixabay

2. Viridian Travel Biotic

Viridian Travel Biotic contains Saccharomyces boulardii, which has been shown to help prevent traveler’s diarrhea. 

Travel Biotic is formulated by nutritionists and provides a unique type of friendly yeast, Saccharomyces boulardii, in a one-a-day capsule. Because it is heat resistant there is no need to refrigerate, making it very convenient to carry and therefore one of the best probiotics for travelling.

3. BioGaia Immune Active

Containing L. reuteri, one of the most researched probiotics in the world, BioGaia’s Immune Active could be one of your best probiotics for travelling abroad. It contains Vitamin D as well as L. reuteri for optimal immune health, digestive health and overall wellbeing.

Personally, I’m currently taking BioGaia Gastrus Probiotic Chewables, which contains L. reuteri ATCC PTA 6475 and L. reuteri DSM 17938. They are chewable, with a light mandarin flavour, which I find makes them easy to take.

BioGaia states that “Our probiotic supplements have been shown to reduce the risk of developing travel-related digestive issues. By promoting the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract, L. reuteri can reduce the duration of digestive symptoms and improve your ability to ward off the onset of diarrhea in the first place.

Adding a good quality probiotic supplement to your diet, you can help to recolonize your gut and enhance your body’s immune response. This allows you to travel and explore new ​​environments knowing that you’re looking after your digestive health and wellbeing with one of the best probiotics for travelling abroad.

4. LactiPlus Travel

When we travel to foreign countries our stomachs encounter a bacterial culture in food and water that our intestinal system is not familiar with. In fact, according to Travel Barometer, almost 50% of all travelers suffer from some form of “travel tummy”.

LactiPlus™ TRAVEL contains a combination of live lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria combined with the unique lactic acid yeast S. Boulardii. S. boulardii has been thoroughly researched and are today known all over the world.

5. IDOFORM Travel

IDOFORM Travel is specially adapted to travel. It’s a chewable tablet that you can take without liquid, which makes it one of the best probiotics for travelling and being ‘on the go’. Therefore, you can quite easily take 3 billion live lactic acid bacteria with you on your journey. What’s more, it’s suitable for the whole family (3 years+).

Note that lactic acid bacteria are also found in dairy products such as cheese and yogurt. Certain types of lactic acid bacteria are also found naturally in the human gut flora.

6. FutureKind

Healthnews recommend FutureKind. They highlight its “impressive mix of probiotic strains — including Lactobacillus rhamnosus known for its efficacy against traveler’s diarrhea — it ensures gut health during trips. Its 30 billion CFU potency may offer a robust defense against unfamiliar food and waterborne pathogens”.

7. Populator Probiotic

The Populator employs advanced patented delivery and shelf stability technology to ensure maximum potency and viability.

Available via the HUM2N Clinic, here are seven of its key benefits:

  • Prevention/alleviation of traveler’s diarrhea
  • Prevention/alleviation of diarrhea and constipation in infants, adults and elderly
  • Immune defense at the intestinal and systemic level
  • Minimize allergic responses
  • Alleviate inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) / ulcerative colitis (UC)
  • Alleviate atopic dermatitis (eczema)
  • Improve digestion of lactose

Your gut health while traveling

When traveling, it can be challenging to maintain a healthy diet and routine.

However, there are simple tips you can follow to ensure that your gut health remains a priority. What’s more, the best probiotics for travelling may help prevent bloating as you concentrate on enjoying the journey!

Photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash

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Tips for taking the best probiotics for travelling

1. How to pack probiotic supplements: Consider packing probiotic supplements in a travel-friendly container to ensure you have a convenient supply throughout your trip.

2. Keep probiotic-rich snacks handy: Opt for easy-to-pack snacks like yogurt cups or probiotic granola bars, which provide a delicious and nutritious way to maintain your probiotic intake.

3. Drink kefir: Kefir travels well and whilst it’s not a studied probiotic for traveling abroad, as such, it may boost your general gut health. A high quality kefir should be low in sugar and without artificial additives, such as the top kefir brands listed here.

In addition to incorporating some of the best probiotics for travelling into your holiday routine, there are other steps you can take to prevent and overcome travel-related gut issues.

Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps maintain digestive regularity and prevents dehydration, a common travel-related issue.

Eat mindfully: Be cautious of consuming street food and raw or undercooked ingredients, as they may increase the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Practice good hygiene: Regularly wash your hands with soap and water to minimize the risk of infection from harmful bacteria.

Manage stress: Try to avoid excessive stress, as it can disrupt the equilibrium in your gut and contribute to digestive problems.

Incorporating probiotics into your daily routine

In addition to taking probiotic supplements, you can incorporate probiotic-rich foods into your diet to support your gut health, in advance and while travelling.

Probiotic-rich foods for a healthy gut

Yogurt: Choose plain, unsweetened yogurt with live and active cultures to reap the full benefits of probiotics.

Kefir: Kefir is a fermented milk drink that contains multiple strains of probiotics and is often well-tolerated by individuals who are lactose intolerant.

Sauerkraut: This fermented cabbage is an excellent source of probiotics and can be enjoyed as a side dish or added to sandwiches and salads.

Probiotic supplements: what you need to know

While probiotic-rich foods are a great addition to your diet, supplements can provide a more concentrated and targeted approach to support your gut health. When considering probiotic supplements:

  • Choose a reputable brand that ensures the quality and potency of their products through independent testing
  • Check the expiration date and storage instructions to ensure the viability of the live bacteria
  • Consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice, especially if you have specific digestive concerns or are on medication

Debunking common myths about probiotics

1. Myth: All probiotics are the same – While probiotics have similar benefits, different strains and formulations can provide varying specific health benefits.

2. Myth: Probiotics need to be refrigerated – While some probiotics require refrigeration, many shelf-stable options are available and maintain their potency at room temperature. Choose probiotics that can handle heat and humidity for travelling.

Expert advice on probiotics and gut health

When it comes to gut health and the role of probiotics, experts agree that a well-balanced diet, regular physical activity, and stress management are equally important.

Consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to develop an individualized approach to support your gut health.

By discovering and incorporating the best probiotics for gut health into your daily routine, you can optimize your digestion, support your immune system, and enjoy better overall well-being – even when travelling.

FAQs: Common questions about the benefit of probiotics for travel

Yes, while probiotics are generally considered safe and beneficial, they can cause side effects, especially when starting a new regimen during travel, according to Healthnews. They advise that some individuals may experience:

  • Digestive symptoms. Initially, as the gut flora adjusts, some people might face bloating, gas, or mild stomach upsets.
  • Headaches. Certain probiotic strains produce amines, which in sensitive individuals can trigger headaches or migraines.
  • Increased risk of infection. Immunocompromised travelers might face a heightened risk of infections from probiotic bacteria.
  • Adverse interactions. Probiotics can interfere with certain medications like immunosuppressants, antibiotics, or anti-fungal drugs, impacting their efficacy.
  • Over-stimulation of the immune system. In rare cases, some might experience an immune system reaction.

It’s essential to choose the best probiotics for travel, starting with a lower dose and monitoring any adverse reactions.

Proper storage is important for maintaining the effectiveness of probiotics. The best probiotics for travelling abroad will be suitable for a range of climates and won’t need refrigeration.

In addition to supplements, if you’re travelling you might want to incorporate probiotics into your diet with foods like yogurt, kefir milk, or fermented vegetables.

Is it best to take probiotics before travelling, during, or after the trip?

Taking probiotics for travel can be a game-changer for digestive health, but timing and dosage can make a difference. 

  • Begin taking your chosen probiotic before travel, ideally a few weeks before departure
  • Consistency is key. Continue the same dosage throughout your journey
  • Continue taking the probiotic for a few weeks post-travel. Your body might still be adjusting to the return, so this can help a smoother transition back to your routine

Healthnews recommend FutureKind, which includes Lactobacillus rhamnosus, known for its efficacy against traveller’s diarrhea.

Do ask an expert travel physician for advice that is tailored to your specific destination. They’ll also be able to advice on the best probiotics for travelling, depending on where you’re going.

Going the extra mile when preparing for travel will pay off because nothing disrupts a long trip like a dodgy tummy!

Happy travels! And do let us know how you get on if you decide to try some of the best probiotics for travelling, when you’re next heading off on holiday!


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Further reading & resources:

https://healthnews.com/nutrition/vitamins-and-supplements/best-probiotics-for-travel/

https://www.news-medical.net/health/Should-You-Take-Probiotics-Whilst-Travelling.aspx

Lactobacillus reuteri in digestive system diseases: focus on clinical trials and mechanisms – PMC (nih.gov)

Yoghurt and disinfectant: Team GB’s plan for Olympic triathlon swim in Seine | Triathlon | The Guardian