Should We All Be Taking Probiotic Supplements?
I was recently asked if we should all be taking probiotic supplements.
The answer is not so straightforward.
Personally, I would always push for getting everything you need from food over taking supplements where you can.
Examples of natural probiotic sources
Often the probiotic nature of some foods gets wiped out by stomach acid - if you are intending to target lower gut areas like the large intestine then supplements may be more successful for you. Also, if you are taking or have recently taken or are about to start taking antibiotics then probiotic supplements are a must! Antibiotics wipe out all the good bacteria in the gut causing all sorts of issues in the body.
How probiotics are beneficial...
In general probiotics are good for a whole load of things, from mental health (they are mood boosting, general cognitive function improvements, anti depressants, aid insomnia), To helping acne/skin issues like eczema They are good for most gut/bowel related issues (IBD,IBS, constipation, diarrhoea), & yeast infections (eg candida - thrush).
It is not recommended to take probiotics if...
If you have SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth) or think you might have it (go get tested first) - probiotics can make it worse.
If you are taking probiotics, never take them forever or your body will get lazy and stop making them yourself. 3 weeks on 1 week off is a good method. Usually if you take a normal course of antibiotics, 6 months worth of probiotics would probably be good for you!
How to find the best probiotic supplement
Here are some hard and fast rules for helping to pick between the many available online:
You want lots of bacteria (go for 25-50 billion minimum)
The more individual strains in there, the better
Look at how many bacteria there are guaranteed by a defined expiry date (if absent may show they aren’t good quality)
Vegan (the non-dairy based ones are better)
Delayed release capsule - i.e. not to get broken down by the stomach acid so it can get to the correct place in the body (large intestine)
I would generally refrigerate probiotics but usually its a good sign if they can survive outside the fridge
Lots of love,
As always, for more information or to book a nutrition consultation you can find me at:
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