Consuming probiotics, either in supplement form or through probiotic-rich food and drinks, is an ideal way to restore the good bacteria in your gut.
There is no doubt we still have a lot to learn about how probiotic supplements work. It was initially thought that probiotic bacteria would colonize in our large intestines and restore balance.
Research has now shown that this is not correct, and that colonization by probiotic bacteria is individualized, with some people being more responsive to colonization than others.
However, in a 2018 study published in the prestigious journal Cell, researchers found that even in transit and without colonization, probiotics are able to influence host gene expression and immune function.
Despite not fully understanding how probiotics work, numerous studies have shown clinical benefits from taking probiotics.
There are 3 main classes of probiotics sold as supplements:
- Mixtures of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains
Some of the strains you will see include:
- Bifidobacterium breve
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Lactobacillus plantarum
- Bifidobacterium longum
- Lactobacillus reuteri
- Bifidobacterium infantis
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Bifidobacterium lactis
- Lactobacillus casei
- Bifidobacterium adolescentis
- Lactobacillus crispatus
- Lactobacilus salivarius
- Lactobacillus fermentum
- Clinical trials have shown results with 50 million-900 billion CFUs per day
- Saccharomyces boulardii
Clinical trials have shown results with 20 billion CFUs/1 gram per day
- Spore-forming Bacillus strains
Bacillus coagulans, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus clausii
Clinical trials have shown results with 4 billion CFUs per day
Since all 3 classes of probiotics have shown benefits, I recommend taking a combination of probiotics from all 3 classes.
There are 3 other types of probiotics you may come across:
- E Coli Nissle 1917 (sold as Mutaflor)
- Enterococcus faecium
- Streptococcus thermophiles
You can get lactobacteria from fermented foods so you may not need this class of probiotic. There are a dizzying array of probiotic supplements on the market today, most of them containing lactobacillus and bifidobacterium blends.
Don’t worry too much about which brand you go for. They all contain a mixture of similar strains. Multi-strain is better than single-strain. Reviews seem to be better for brands containing 50 billion plus.
I personally have had good results with Naturelo’s 11 strain blend:
For a cheaper version have a look at something like BioKult which contains 14 strains at a lower dose but consistently gets good reviews on Amazon.
PROBIOTICS FOR LEAKY GUT
A study in 2017 used a spore-forming Bacillus probiotic for 30 days and showed that this probiotic helped reduce the effects of leaky gut. This is the first time that a probiotic has been shown to significantly reduce leaky gut and all the associated immune activation, in human subjects.
The probiotic used in the study was MegaSpore Biotic. If you would like to purchase this particular probiotic please contact me as it needs to be purchased via a practitioner account and you cannot buy it directly. However, there is a cheaper and similar probiotic, which I really like (containing 3 of the 5 strains used in the leaky gut study plus Saccharomyces boulardii) called Probiogen Daily Digestive Balance.
Strains in DAILY DIGESTIVE BALANCE (8 billion CFUs):
- S. boulardii: Yeast probiotic typically used for general digestive health.
- Bacillus coagulans HC™: A spore-forming probiotic, studied and supported by clinical research. Helps to Support Less Gas, Bloating & Discomfort.
- Bacillus clausii: A well-studied, spore-forming probiotic with high efficacy and excellent tolerability. B. clausii can colonize in the intestine in the presence of antibiotics. Helps support healthy immune system responses.
- Bacillus subtilis HU58™: A spore-forming probiotic with the ability to support the decrease of bad bacteria. HU58™ also supports healthy immunity.
As you can see, this probiotic contains strains from 2 of our 3 classes of recommended probiotics. You can buy Probiogen from Biovea.
INDIVIDUAL RESPONSE TO PROBIOTICS
Everyone has a very unique gut ecosystem and as a result will respond differently to different probiotic supplements.
The best strategy is simply to try a probiotic from the different classes and see how you respond. If you experience negative reactions, discontinue the probiotic. If you already have a probiotic that you know works well for you, stick with it.
It’s also a good idea to change your probiotic every three months. You can try a different brand/mixture of strains.
If you have significant gut issues or an autoimmune issue, you can follow a 3-day rotation schedule. This means you want to have three different probiotics on hand and rotate to a new one each day.
If you have an overgrowth of candida or severe digestive issues, you should start off at a slow pace with probiotics. The changing gut ecology brought on by an “overdose” of probiotics is going to send your system topsy-turvy and can lead to many issues, including diarrhea or constipation, fatigue and/or brain fog, body aches, flu-like symptoms, rashes, and possibly a worsening of the symptoms you already have.
This happens when probiotics start destroying the bad pathogens in your gut. As they are destroyed, they release toxins that cause unpleasant symptoms.
- Choose one of the natural ways to boost digestion or consider a digestive enzyme supplement
- Begin adding fermented foods and drinks to your meals (make your own or buy)
- Add a lactobacillus/bifidobacterium blend probiotic
- Add a Bacillus probiotic with Saccharomyces boulardii
Hello, I’m Chloe. I’m a nutrition and health coach and I’m on a mission to inspire & support women so they can go from feeling fatigued to feeling fabulous!
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