Probiotic’s: What to use, what to avoid (& why yogurt isn’t enough!)
CATEGORIES: Healing & Herbs Nutrition
A few weeks back I talked a bit more about why I love probiotics and why they could help YOU feel fabulous. Think better immune system, weight loss, flatter tummy, improved thyroid function… the list is endless because you gut health is the foundation of lasting health. ( Click here to catch up and find out why they are so good for you!)
Today I just want to do a run through of the various different types of probiotics that are out there and which one I recommend or use myself and which ones I avoid…
Now the best and cheapest way of getting more probiotics into your life and diet is through food. Eating naturally fermented foods (no that does not include beer alas!) every day will massively help you body heal, reset and generally make it a happy place to be. If you suffer from IBS or any dot of stomach or digestive issue then this is a must.
Here are some great fermented food recipes
- Sauerkraut– don’t knock it till you have tried it!
- Onion Chutney – great with cheese
- Kefir – simple and oh so healing
Also things like kombocha and water kefir are brilliant ways to get more probiotics into your diet – recipes on these coming to you soon!
I also recommend and take probiotic supplements too as when you get good quality ones they are super effective at helping the body heal.
You really want to go for quality, for as with all supplement, I think it makes a big difference. You also want ones with a variety of bacteria strains in it as we need a whole host of bacteria for optimal gut health and you tend to find this variety in the more quality supplements.
Look for the following bacteria strains in your supplements for the following benefits:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus. This probiotic strain is important for maintaining the integrity of your intestinal walls so you can enjoy maximum absorption of nutrients, and it supports a healthy immune system.
- Lactobacillus fermentum. These beneficial bacteria help neutralize some of the toxic products made during digestion and promote a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus. Known as the premier “travel probiotic,” this strain of beneficial bacteria has been found to be extremely effective in reducing occurrences of traveler’s diarrhea.
- Bifidobacteria bifidum. Both your small and large intestine need this probiotic strain for smooth, healthy digestion. It’s especially helpful for proper digestion of dairy products.
- Bifidobacteria longum. This beneficial bacteria strain helps to crowd out bad bacteria that cause discomfort and helps to neutralize everyday toxins in the gut. It also helps efficiently break down carbohydrates without producing excess gas.
I first started taking Bio-Kult which is a good therapeutic strength option and easy to get on amazon. Easy form to take in a capsule and I recommend about 1-2 a day depending on individuals. This would be my ‘gentle’ every day recommendation .
A more therapeutic probiotic that I use a lot with my one to one clients is Prescript Assist. It has 29 strains and has had a lot of research put into it and I have food it to be VERY helpful in my own recovery and with clients.
VSL is another powder probiotic that doctors may recommend for IBS. I havent tried these on myself or any clients but are again a more therapeutic based probiotic and could be helpful.
You mainly want to make sure you capsule probiotics has several billion of a variety of bacteria strains in order to be effective. Don’t go for ‘all in one’ supplements and that will mean the bacteria potency is less. But WARNING the stronger probiotic could make you feel uncomfortable for you or make things worse – which is why you want to work with someone when it comes to supplementation. And I would always first introduce fermented foods for a 1-2 months then introduce Prescript Assist or VSL.
Last year I also got sent a liquid probiotics from a new company called Symprove to try out. I originally got sent their flavour one which I discover was full of sweeteners which upset my tummy big style but I then tried their original flavoured one and that worked fine.
It tasted a bit like water kefir or kombocha so would be great alternative to those if you can’t be bothered to make it yourself or travel lots and are busy but you pay a price for it at £79 for 12 weeks. But we all now if we want to be healthy we either need to invest more time or more money into our diets/cooking.
There has been some research on suggesting that capsule based probiotics don’t fully reach the gut intact and their liquid ‘living’ bacteria are able to really penetrate the gut , Symprove say:
Dairy products containing bacteria are challenged by the pH levels in the GI tract. The manufacturing process for freeze-dried products also places the live bacteria under extreme conditions – something these sensitive microorganisms do not enjoy – as this alters the structure of the bacteria. As a consequence, many of the bacteria are harmed or destroyed during the manufacturing process.
I do think this makes sense and there is some good research to back it up – yet I have felt the tangible difference in taking capsule based probiotics and so have my health coaching clients so the above can’t be the whole picture. Plus I also think that is why it is KEY to eat fermented food too naturally fermented food has live bacteria in it and has been in no way processed. So for me this does not rule our capsule based probiotics and I would rather just consumer some kombohca every day then swallow this stuff.
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is worth a mention here to as it is a natural prebiotic, the stuff that feeds the good probiotic bacteria and helps to promote healthy bacteria levels in the gut. So having about tbsp morning and evening in a glass of water is great to promote all round gut health.
Probiotic Yogurt Drinks
Please don’t buy these. They re filled with sugar and often other crap and often have very little bacteria in them. When you’re looking at probiotics you really want them to be delivering several billion in terms of potency and yogurt drinks are commercially made with cheap ingredient and will never live up to this.
Natural organic probiotic yogurt is an ok choice but again due to it being commercially made its probiotic potency is very weak so it is best not to rely is it as your only source of good bacteria.
Problems with probiotics??
Probiotics aren’t everyone’s friend and they can cause discomfort for lots of people.
Certain strain of bacteria and increase histamine int he body which for many people with small bacterial overgrowth or allergies could be problematic. And often people will find they feel much more bloated for the first week of taking them and then
Make sure you are having probiotics every day, whether that be through food or supplements (ideally both!) good bacteria are essential for healing and health. I generally think daily fermented foods is enough and is the BEST place to start. Lots of clients I work are amazed at the difference regular probiotic makes to their bowels and bloating – plus this is not just for adults kids need probiotics too! Think kefir milkshakes or ‘ginger beer’ water kefir or kombocha.
And when it come to supplement my best advice is to MIX IT UP. Try one brand for a few months then switch to another and then another – keep chopping and changing as we want a diverse ecosystem of bacteria in your gut not just lactobacillus 😉
So read this post to find out more way to get probiotics into your diet and leave me a comment below telling me what your favourite forms of porticoes are and any other questions you have!