Are you thinking about trying a probiotic supplement to reduce any digestive symptoms you might have? Here’s a guide on how to choose the best probiotic for you that works!
3 Steps To Choosing An Effective Probiotic
Step 1: Find Out the Strains It Contains
When you look at the back of a probiotic label, there should be a list of which probiotics are in the supplement. If there is a claim of 10 billion bacteria per serve, but no list of which strains or species are in the product, avoid it! You don’t know what you’ll really be getting.
Genus? Species? Strain? What does it all mean? Here’s a quick run-down:
Genus = a certain subgroup of bacteria. e.g. Bifidobacteria or Lactobacilli.
Species = the next subgroup after the Genus is established e.g. Lactobacillus rhamnosus.
Strain = a differentiation between different bacteria within the same subgroup of species. e.g. Lactobacillus rhamnosus Gr-1 vs Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG.
The bits you’re looking for are those letters and numbers on the end, there – Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG. The important part is the LGG – it tells you that this is strain-specific and you will know exactly what you’re getting. Click here for more on how important it is to choose the best probiotic for you based on the strain.
Step 2: Choose Strains With The Right Evidence
There is so much research out there on probiotics and what they might do for your health! It’s confusing!
How To Know If This Is The Right Evidence
Check If It’s Been Tested On Humans
All research on probiotics is done on animals, just like with medications and herbs. The next stage is to then test these in humans. What happens, though, is that some probiotic strains are taken to market with no human trials done first.
It isn’t known whether the animal trials will translate to humans without testing them in humans.
It’s important to know that the strain you’re taking was trialled in humans. If it’s only tested on animals, that’s not how to choose the best probiotic for you (or any human)!
Check If It’s Proven To Work For Your Condition
Digestive symptoms can be so individual and unique. It’s essential that the probiotic you choose is going to actually address your symptoms. Throw any old strain in to see what sticks and you’ll be wasting time and money with this approach!
Make sure your probiotic is actually trialled in humans for the condition or symptom you’re experiencing. Then, you can take the plunge and pick up your probiotic.
Step 3: Take A Therapeutic Dose
There’s no use in taking a probiotic as medicine if there isn’t a high enough dose!
Dosing: A Guide
As a rule of thumb, bacterial strains need to be dosed at 1 billion CFU (Colony Forming Units) per day for a proper effect.
There are some exceptions to this rule. I recommend much higher doses for clients who have certain needs (sometimes hundreds of billions are needed over short periods). There are also times when the dosage needs to start below that 1 billion CFU mark and increased slowly over time.
Working Through The Confusion
A strain-specific probiotic prescription will almost always form part of a treatment plan for patients of mine.
Doing the above will be a lot of hard work (and believe me, reading through the research is tough enough with a Bachelor Degree in Health Science!) don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!
Book now for a FREE 15-minute Discovery Call and Gut Health Assessment with me where we will discuss where you’re at with your health and where you’d like to be. We’ll discuss how to choose the best probiotic for you in more depth.
Nutritionist & Naturopath