We often recommend probiotics in our practice. Every day, we answer questions regarding the importance of probiotics, the best brands and how and where to purchase them. There are other considerations that we would like to share with you.
Probiotics are microorganisms that have been shown to prevent and treat illnesses. They are often referred to as “good” bacteria or bugs. Recent studies have shown that healthy bacteria not only affect our gut health, but also have broader implications in brain, mood, weight, and the immune and hormonal systems.
So, if you are considering taking a probiotic, or if you have been on the same one for a long time, consider these points:
- Strain Matters. One question we get asked all the time -which probiotic is right for me? The answer depends. What issues or symptoms are you having? Are you taking any medications? Every strain has a different function, so taking the right strain for the objective is imperative. Currently we have been matching strains to symptoms in our office and seeing phenomenal results. This is an individualized plan that we incorporate into your supplement plan
- Quality Matters. Probiotics are live bacteria, and exposing them to higher heats could damage or render them ineffective. When purchasing a probiotic make sure the company and the source are reputable. If it is much cheaper from one website (or seller on Amazon) question their handling or storage procedures. If the probiotics are stored in a non-refrigerated facility they will be destroyed and ineffective. You get what you pay for when buying supplements of any kind.
- Timing Matters. Taking a probiotic with food is better than on an empty stomach: it ensures a greater survival rate due to more alkalinity in the stomach. Also, studies show that taking a probiotic with a dairy medium ensures the best survival rate. Also, probiotics should be taken at a separate time from the antibiotic.
- Diversity Matters: Probiotics found in food sources are necessary for diversity. For thousands of years fermented foods have been a part of the diet. Unfortunately, our culture doesn’t encourage fermented foods enough. Therefore, many of us have not developed the pallet for tart or sour flavors of fermented foods that is produced by the healthy bacteria. A benefit of fermented foods is that they include a wide spectrum of strains, many of which haven’t been studied or identified. So, they naturally encourage diversity -which is one of the keys to overall gut health. When targeting a specific condition or symptom fermented foods alone are not enough and one needs to consider a probiotic. For more information on fermented foods, click here.
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