All right, so you already understand that probiotics benefit just about everyone: they boost immunity, increase weight loss, decrease bad breath, tackle acne, increase vitamin absorption, battle frequent UTIs, and help set leaky gut straight.
But where do you go from there? Search probiotics on Amazon and hundreds of brands pop up, totally overwhelming. Now, don’t just click buy on the first one you see! There are a few secrets I have to share with you before you ever make a purchase…unless you like lighting your money on fire.
Not all probiotics are created equal, in fact many of the brands you find at your local store or favorite internet site are quite useless. The strains are incorrect for your needs, 3/4 of the bacteria are dead by the time you get them home, and the ones that are alive don’t make it past your stomach because the acid kills them. It’s no wonder many of us feel no effects from probiotics! How can we expect to feel any different when only 4% of the bacteria actually make it to their destination?
1. Know The Strains YOU Need
First red flag is if your probiotic doesn’t list the genus, species, and strain of bacteria…toss that crap away. Which leads me to my next point.
Know what strains you are looking for, for your particular needs. Each probiotic supplement is a blend of multiple types of bacteria and each bacteria supports a particular function in our bodies. Are you looking to support your urinary health and battle UTIs? Then you’ve gotta get a probiotic with Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri. Trying to ease digestion issues like gas and bloating lactobacillus acidophilus is right for you. Have major digestive issues and poor immunity a spore forming bacteria like Bacillus subtilis will help suppress growth of the bad guys and support immunity. Do your research and don’t just buy whatever looks good off the shelf, turn that bottle over and read the strain types to see if those are the ones YOUR body needs.
2. SBO's vs traditional probiotics
Soil Based Organisms are bacteria that are super tough and found in soil. They have a natural protective coating around them that makes them super stable, even in our harsh upper GI tract. They are also shelf stable for two years. Those of us looking to really kick leaky gut in the butt or are needing to repopulate our guts after antibiotics, illness, or chronic GI issues should use SBO probiotics for a few months, they can also be used in conjunction with non-soil based probiotics. Once symptoms start to improve or those of us looking to keep our guts in tip top shape should be able to suffice with non-soil based probiotics, like these.
3. Don't Overdo It
If you're a probiotic virgin, start slow. Reintroducing good bacteria into your gut needs to start slowly and also increased slowly (this is especially true for soil born bacteria probiotics). Only take one capsule each day at first and then increase to your desired dose. If you go too quickly you can risk getting diarrhea. Yuck!
4. They Are Dying Just Like Us
Bacteria die as they are sitting on a shelf, so look for two key factors that ensure survivability. The patent LiveBac increases the shelf stability and slows the bacteria from dying for 18 months at room temperature. Companies like Hyperbiotics use this technology so that their products are guaranteed to stay potent. Secondly, like I mentioned above SBO’s are naturally much hardier and don’t require refrigeration or LiveBac. The best SBO probiotic is Prescript Assist. Lastly, all probiotics start to die once the bottle lid is opened however, buy storing the bottle in the fridge the rate of death is decreased, keeping them potent for longer.
Keep the Colony Forming Units or CFU (amount of bacteria) in each pill high. Look for 15-100 billion CFU per pill, which should be on the front and back of the bottle.
6. Give that bacteria some food!
Every probiotic needs a prebiotic, confused? Let me explain. Prebiotics are a type of fiber that are food for the bacteria…probiotics eat prebiotics. Your probiotic pill should be formulated to also have prebiotics in the capsule. That way when they get to their destination they have something to eat and then multiply with. Here are just a few examples of prebiotics too look for on the labels: Leonardite, fructoogliosaccharides (FOS), kiwi fruit, inulin, banana fiber, or chicory. You can also eat foods high in this type of fiber when you take your probiotic. Those would be raw garlic, raw or cooked onion, banana, and raw dandelion greens.
7. Get Them To Your Gut Alive!
Know the bacteria’s destination and how to get them there alive! First off, probiotics need to go past the stomach into the intestines to have effect (unless you're taking them for oral health, more on that here). Without protection approximately 4% of bacteria make it past the stomach. Bacteria are delicate things and the harsh stomach acid is no match for many of them.
SBO’s can survive the stomach because they are hardy bacteria so no need to worry if you take something like Prescript Assist which is entirely SBO’s. However, for the delicate strains that most of us also need look for Bio-tract, a technology that encapsulates the bacteria is a gel which protects them and increases the amount of bacteria that survive to 60%. Bio-tract also allows for the bacteria to be time released over 8 hours, that way the bacteria are spread throughout the gut as it moves down the intestines. Hyperbiotics is the company that I have in my home and uses this technology.
8. Multiple Strains
For gut health look for probiotics to have at minimum of 10 strains in the formula. This way you are getting a diverse population of bacteria setting up shop in your intestine. This is also a reason to take both SBO's and traditional probiotics. With intestinal bacteria diversity is the key.
One caveat is that if you are targeting specific health concerns like feminine imbalances or frequent ear infections having less than 10 stains is ok. This is because you will be looking for a few specific strains for each of those issues, not to repopulate the general GI environment. (Wondering more which strains those might be, this post will tell you about oral health and this one about feminine health.)
That’s it! I hope these tips clarify the sometimes mystifying topic of probiotics. What are your favorite brands of probiotics?
Still stumped about probiotics? Leave a comment below and I am happy to help!
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Disclaimer: The information found on cleansthenewblack.com is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any illness/disease. Nor is to intended to supplement the advice of a licensed physician or the like. You should not rely upon the information in this blog to make medical decisions prior to consult with your medical doctor.