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Which Probiotics to Choose?

Updated on November 24, 2014

Taking probiotics are becoming increasingly more important as more and more people are experiencing gut flora imbalances. Also there is an increase in autoimmune diseases and food sensitivities of which both cases where probiotics can be of benefit.

One way to get your daily dose of probiotics is to eat fermented foods. Another way is through supplements.

However, there are so many different type and brands of probiotics supplements that it is difficult to figure out what to pick. Some people like the ones that are refrigerated. Other like ones that are multi-strain. Other like ones that have some protection from stomach acid so that the probiotics can get to the small and large intestines intact.

Different authorities will have different favorite brands that they like -- some of which are mentioned below in the article. Some believe that it is best to rotate brands so that you get a more diverse strains of probiotics. Some say that the probiotics should contain at least lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. Other say start with lactobacillus acidophilus.

If you have any particular food sensitivity, look for ones that say gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free etc.

Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli are our friends

Post on says to look for lactobacillus and bifidobacterium in a probiotics. Dr. Tim Gerstmar thinks the everyone needs a probiotics. And the minimum dose that he uses is 8 billion/dose.

Chapter 6 of Digestive Wellness has a wealth of information on probiotics. It writes ...

"Beneficial bacteria do not permanently stay in the gut, so we need to regularly get them from foods, such as yogurt or kefir, or use a supplement."

The book Clean Gut writes ...

"The most beneficial species of good bacteria include lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus thermophilous, lactobacillus bulgaris, lactobacillus casei, saccharomyces boulardii, and bifidobacterium longum, though there are many others."

If you can not find a probiotic that contains all these, then you can rotate among various brands that contains subsets of these.

The book The Immune System Recovery Plan suggests ...

"add to your diet anything with live active cultures that include the following bacteria: lactobacillus species (such as L. reuteri, casei, rhamnosus, or acidophilus) and bifidobacterium species (such as B. infantis, lactis, longum, breve, or bifidum)."

"Old Friends"

Chris Kresser mentions in his podcast that ...

"there is probably more than one mechanism for how probiotics work, but I think that perhaps the main way that they work is through this kind of “old friends” effect, by stimulating immunoregulatory mechanisms and activating these ancient pathways that have been part of our physiology long before we were human, that probably originated with the emergence of mammals, which was a really long time ago."

He also mentions that prebiotics (food for the probiotics) may also be beneficial...

"prebiotics and soluble fibers and fermentable fibers may be more effective at actually increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut, whereas probiotics may have a more potent immunoregulatory effect."

Dr. Michael Wald talks about probiotics in the below presentation video. He believes that probiotics should be taken with meals. And that acidophilus is an acid-loving probiotic and can survive the stomach acid.

Douglas Labs Multi-Probiotic 4000 has multiple strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum. It also has prebiotics of FOS (fructooligosaccharides).

Ortho Molecular Products also have Ortho Biotic containing strains of lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus paracasei, bifidobacterium lactis, bifidobacterium bifidum, lactobacillus plantarum, lactobacillus rhamnosus, and saccharomyces boulardii.

DBCNaturalHealth video says that they use the UltraFlora line (by Metagenics).

New Chapter also has some probiotics created by culturing.

Probiotics are safe, but ...

Mary Shomon write in her book The Thyroid Diet Revolution ...

"Some brands I like include Natural Factors, Enzymatic Therapies Probiotic Pearls, and Flora-Key from Uni Key. You will want to make sure that your supplements includes, at minimum, the probiotic bacteria lactobacillus and bifidobacterium."

She comments on the safety of probiotics by writing...

"Probiotics are generally considered very safe, but those with a history of mitral valve prolapse or heart valve irregularities should check with a practitioner, because there have been a few cases of heart infection linked to probiotic intake in people with preexisting heart conditions."

A post in writes that the best way to start is with lactobacillus acidophilus because ...

"Before we get into the good stuff we have to touch on Bifidobacteria. It’s a hot topic in the SCD community for the reason that it can “take over” and cause health problems in some cases. It is a beneficial bacteria, but the problem is, it’s just not a good neighbor at times. So sometimes it can overgrow in and of itself. So just to be on the safe side we usually recommend avoiding it in the beginning of the healing journey, but later on it can really help…"

In that post, Steven Wright mentions the probiotics by "Klaire Labs".

There are some (including Dr. Thomas O'Bryan) that say that if you have Anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies (ASCA) -- and many with Crohn's disease do -- they should not take probiotics containing S boulardii. Cyrex Labs has an array that tests for ASCA.

What About Soil Based Probiotics?

While some mentions that soil based probiotics more closely replicate what our paleo ancestrers had consumed. However, Elizabeth Lipski says in her book Digestive Wellness that she can not recommend them at the time of the writing due to the possible disease potential -- see page 64 of 4th edition.

Other Probiotic Mentions

The as well as many other in the Paleo diet community mentions Bio-Kult. On their site is an article on how to choose a probiotic.

The book Digestive Health with Real Food has a list of "Probiotic Supplements" on page 192.

Others have mentioned GutPro by Organics3.


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