Most of us now understand that a healthy gut is dependent on keeping your gut flora healthy. Gut health is the foundation of your overall bodily health, your immune system, and directly affects your mood. This is why I want to break it down for you, and show you exactly what to look for when shopping for a top-notch probiotic supplement.
When you go to the drugstore or the health food store to look for a probiotic supplement, the choice is now crazy, right. You can find probiotic in liquids, pills, capsules and even gels. So, how do you know what to get for your specific health needs?
First let’s look at the 5 different species to look for:
- Lactobacillus plantarum
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus brevis
- Bifidobacterium lactis
- Bifidbacterium longum
These different species provide different benefits such as strengthening your intestinal lining (and thus reducing leakage), reducing inflammation, fighting against bad bacteria, and increasing an important brain hormone called BDNF.
While there’s a good deal of controversy about whether the delicate strains in a supplement are even able to stay “alive” and thus remain viable when taken orally, I believe that if you take the right kind (and often enough), you can make a significant change to your overall health.
Okay, so you are at the health food store – what exactly should you look or ask for? I would print out this post, and tell them that you are looking for a supplement that contains all of the above 5 strains. Also make sure that the supplement brand you go for is marked “hypoallergenic”.
I also recommend you find one that has at least 10 billion strains. You can also get 30, billion 50 billion, and 90 billion strain formulas.
Does Everyone Need To Take A probiotic supplement?
I would say yes! Unless you’ve rarely if ever taken antibiotics and lead a totally stress free life. Stress, antibiotics and a diet that does not include loads of prebiotic foods can compromise your gut health. Studies have found that stress, in particular, can affect trigger an inflammatory response in your gut.
I know this to be the case first hand because in my twenties I was in a very stressful relationship, and developed IBS really badly. When the relationship ended the IBS, which was characterized by painful bloating, completely disappeared.
Is there anyone who shouldn’t take probiotics?
If you have severe intestinal issues, or any other serious health issues, you may want to check with your doctor first. Also, if you experience bloating after taking your supplement, cut back on the amount, and if you still experience bloating and discomfort, discontinue and go have a chat with your doc. It’s unusual for this to happen, and in most cases flooding your gut with good bacteria will sort out digestive issues, but some people need a little more hand-holding when it comes to dosing etc.
How to take your supplement?
Take it either 30 minutes before, or during a meal. The meal should contain some kind of fat to help the probiotic absorb. I take mine with my morning smoothie, which contains nuts and seeds and thus give me all the healthy fat that I need.
Make sure you take it with filtered water. The chlorine in unfiltered water could kill some of the good bacteria, which you have spent your hard-earned money on.
Follow the directions on the container as to how many, and how often.
Don’t cheap out when it comes to a probiotic supplement. There are a few brands that I like, and which you can find at the health food store or online, for example: Renew Life, Jarrow.
Don’t be cheap about your probitic supplement, because you largely get what you pay for. Take your time, and read the label carefully.