Probiotics: Supporting Gut Health While Traveling


If you’re planning a trip abroad after the pandemic, it’s important to remember to take care of your gut health as well. Traveling can expose you to a higher risk of developing traveler’s diarrhea (TD), which can easily ruin your trip. By incorporating travel probiotics into your routine, you can potentially avoid the misery caused by TD and ensure a healthy gut during your travels.

Why Traveler’s Diarrhea Occurs

When harmful bacteria, viruses, or parasites enter your gut through contaminated food or tap water, they can lead to traveler’s diarrhea. Pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoan parasites are the cause of up to 85% of TD cases. Among these, bad bacteria are responsible for 90% of cases, while viral pathogens and protozoan parasites account for the remaining 10%.

The most common bacterial culprit for traveler’s diarrhea is Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is typically contracted from consuming contaminated food and water. Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), a strain of E. coli, is responsible for 30% to 60% of all TD cases. ETEC colonizes the small intestine’s surface and produces enterotoxins, harmful proteins that damage intestinal cells. This damage leads to the release of chloride ions, water, sodium, and other electrolytes, resulting in watery diarrhea.

Precautions for a Healthy Gut While Traveling

To safeguard yourself against traveler’s diarrhea, follow these tried and tested precautions:

  • Avoid consuming raw seafood, undercooked meat, and cooked food that has been left at room temperature.
  • Steer clear of unpasteurized dairy, cream-filled desserts, ice cubes, tap water, and raw leafy greens in salads if their safety is questionable.
  • Try new foods only at restaurants that adhere to good hygiene practices.
  • Take a probiotic supplement to proactively support your microbiome.

The Benefits of Probiotics for Gut Health

Probiotics, which are live microorganisms administered in adequate amounts, offer numerous health benefits to the host. Imbalances or alterations in the intestinal microbiome can make you more susceptible to diseases and gastrointestinal infections. By introducing specific probiotic strains at appropriate doses, such as Lactobacillus Plantarum, Bifidobacterium Longum, Bifidobacterium Bifido, and Lactobacillus reuteri, you can reduce the duration of diarrhea and maintain a healthy gut.

Escherichia coli

Escherichia coli after adding Lactobacillus ruminis

When you take a probiotics supplement, you introduce new bacterial strains to your digestive system. This may cause temporary side effects such as gas, indigestion, bloating, or an upset stomach as your GI tract adapts to the new strains and incorporates them into your microbiome. However, these side effects usually subside within a few days or weeks.

Probiotics and Traveler’s Diarrhea

In 2019, over 45 million people traveled overseas from the US, and approximately 10% to 40% of these travelers experienced TD. By taking travel probiotics, you can prepare your gut for your upcoming trip and ensure the best digestive health while abroad. Probiotics, once limited to fermented foods, are now available in functional foods like yogurt (Streptococcus thermophilus) and as supplements.

Taking a probiotic daily before and during your trip can prime your gut for traveling. It allows the friendly bacteria to establish a healthy balance and support your digestive system. Moreover, probiotics can help prevent post-inflammatory irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS), a long-term health challenge that can occur after traveler’s diarrhea.

Choosing the Best Probiotics for Traveling

When selecting probiotics for your travels, prioritize those that boost your immune system and help suppress the growth of pathogenic microbes. Additionally, ensure they maintain gut motility to protect you from travel constipation. DHPL Travels offers a range of high-quality probiotics, including Ideal Immunity, Antibiotic Antidote, and Sugar Shift, designed to support your gut health and immune system.

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Don’t let traveler’s diarrhea or constipation dampen your travel experiences. Incorporating travel probiotics into your routine can provide the support your gut needs during trips. By choosing the right probiotics and following the recommended precautions, you can maintain optimal gut health and enjoy your travels to the fullest.

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