Probiotics, a Primer

I wrote this for a friend, so thought I would share it with you all.

A whirlwind tour of PBX (probiotics)  and tips for your gut biome health.

I don’t recommend a specific probiotic.

  1. Some probiotic is better than none.
  2. Some say to try to buy them out of the refrigerated section at a health food store. But, some probiotics are specially produced to be shelf stable. One of shelf stable ones, I think and was ok’d by my doc was Nutrition Now’s PB8.
  3. That same doctor wanted me to take a higher powered one: Innate Response (of various strengths).
  4. Look at whether the additional ingredients are working for you such as FOS and inulin. Those can cause gas. Those are pre-biotics. They are FODMAPS, which some people ferment in their guts due to their bacterial profile, causing a gas problem. I THINK the theory goes that you can slowly work your way up. In fact, I’ve been taking the Innate Response because it *doesn’t have FOS/inulin, but I’m thinking about trying to add some of that in more regularly to allow it to help build up my good bacteria. (my stool sample showed very little good bacteria) I think that you can do similar things just eating the FODMAPS foods a little at a time, to your personal tolerance, and begin to build up… I call it “being a gardener of your gut” or your biome. The Nutrition Now’s PB8 has something in it that causes me gas.
  5. Take the probiotics before bed. This may help get through the gassy phase so you’re letting them do that work at night, not when you’re in a daytime meeting.
  6. Some people are into Homeostatic Soil Organisms. The theory makes sense to me, but I haven’t looked closely at the science. A guy who probably did is ChrisKresser.com. If you want HSO’s he might tell you brands (namely, the one he sells), but also Garden of Life is a brand you can get at many stores and almost always contains HSOs.
  7. saccharomyces Boulardii (sac boulardii) is a beneficial yeast. Super good to take this DURING and after a course of anti-biotics (if you really must). Not killed by antibiotics, as the bacteria is. So, it helps to hold the space in the gut, warding off hostile takeover, until you can get off the antibiotics and resume your probiotic. Don’t waste your probiotics during course of anti-biotics. To get s. boulardii, look at the ingredients in your probiotic. Or drink fresh kombucha, now widely available in the refrigerator section at better grocery stores and health food stores.
  8. I like the idea that you rotate between different types of probiotics. This means to look at the varieties of the bacteria you are ingesting and try to get variety. It’s a good way to hedge your bet to try different brands and formulas. Heck, even different stores, just in case shipping, storage, etc. are not quite right at one place.
  9. If you know of a doctor or chiropractor who sells probiotics, grab a bottle and use your FSA or HSA funds to pay for it! I don’t know if this works at Costco Pharmacy, but I would try it! Go through the pharmacy checkout with your HSA electronic card (Visa).
  10. If you are not eating grains and beans, do eat starchy veg like plantains and potatoes (cooked and then cooled before eating–like potato salad). Search on “resistant starch.” ChrisKresser.com People who are on low-carb paleo for a long time end up NOT improving their GI status, and it’s because they are not feeding their gut bugs. If you want to eat low-carb/no-grains/no-beans, at least add in SOME resistant starch. This could be by adding Bob’s Red Mill brand (because it’s easy to find) Potato Starch (it’s cheap). You can mix it in a smoothie, some kind of not-hot beverage, or your chia seed pudding. Whatever you want. Best to take it with your probiotics before bed.

Here’s my doctor’s actual notes after my stool test showed my bacterial count was very low:

  • Probiotic – mixed species of lactobacillus and bifido bacterium – make sure it has lactobacillus rhamnosus. 10-20 billion bacteria. Take with cool or room temperature unchlorinated water in between meals at least 30 minutes before or 2 hours after eating or at bedtime. Inulin and FOS free [this was for me since I told her I get gas from FOS]
    ®Innate REsponse 20/14 – 1 at bedtime can increase to 2 at bedtime if no change after 10 days

Some of the people that I got the following suggestions from needed special probiotics for their messed up guts, so these suggestions are going to be the higher end (this doesn’t mean you have to use them, it just means it’s the only list I have written down);

  1. Innate Response 20/14. Lacto. Rhamnosus strain advised by M.D. at Penny George Institute. 20 billion total with other strains. This doesn’t have soil organisms (I didn’t ask her about HSOs.)
  2. Klaire Labs Therbiotic 4, or Factor 4 Bifidus. Which is all bifidus strains (no spores). My friend E. said: “I’ve been taking Klaire Labs Therbiotic 4, which is all bifidus strains, and it’s helping more than anything else in years.” (E. has SIBO and tends to get super loose stools.)
  3. Prescript Assist – Link goes to Amazon. However, if you take cod liver oil and would be interested in Rosita–if you buy Rosita from Radiant Life that would give you the opportunity to buy other products as well including the Prescript Assist.
  4. AOR 3. cheaper: half cost of Prescript Assist!
  1. MegaSpore – Looks like you cannot get this one except at a clinic. You could ask your ND or chiropractor to get it for you. Kohlls Preventative Medical Clinic, 12739 Q Street, Omaha NE 68137 http://www.gomegaspore.com/
  2. Garden of Life – I cannot do this one as I am sensitive to yeast (Saccharomyces), but this is a good option to put in rotation for most people, containing some soil organisms.
  3. A long time ago, this company http://www.customprobiotics.com/ was highly recommended and I bought from them one time. I megadosed on that one.
  4. Pharmax is another highly regarded therapeutic brand of pbx. They had one with apricot powder in it and you could eat the powder plain, it tasted so good. Maybe a good option for kids who won’t swallow a pill.

7 & 8 should have powders that have minimal ingredients and in powder form so it’s easily mixed how you want.

2 responses to “Probiotics, a Primer

  1. Jane! Well, I haven’t, but I just looked it up and it’s quite possible that since the circular “Delicious Living” is so widely distributed, that Rob may have read it in there. Or perhaps it was on the Dr. Oz show?

    But, let’s turn to one of my favorite health information sources, Mark Sisson:
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/16-things-that-affect-your-gut-bacteria/

    So, yes, Jane, you have brought a great piece of information here!

    My only caveats are:
    3 ounces is quite a lot of pistachios for one day, depending on your personal macronutrient needs (carbs, fat, protein). Their green color could be an indicator of those high phytonutrients compared to other nuts. But, I haven’t personally given them a high dietary value due to possible mycotoxins (which can also be high with peanuts).

    As for daily consumption, I would not discourage you personally from that if it works for you. I do prefer to see more variety in the diet. Anyone who has inflammation and particularly easily sensitized to foods like I do whenever I eat a lot of something, or every day, should avoid eating the same food every day. Every three days is most prudent.

  2. Hi Rachel,
    Thanks for this thorough going over of PB. Rob was always buying me PBS. He also was a firm believer in the handful of pistachios is perfect food for the gut microbes or whatever they are. Had you heard that?!

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