General Nutrition

Probiotics Primer

Did You Know

Probiotics can be very confusing, especially because there are so many different strains and amounts you can take. Probiotics are bacteria that naturally live in your gut. Depending on your diet, your gut bacteria balance may have more bad than good bacteria, especially if you have constipation, bloating, or diarrhea. Sometimes supplementing your diet with probiotics using foods or a dietary supplement is a wise idea.

The first thing to remember is that probiotics should always come from food sources rather than a pill. Eating vegetables and fruits daily and a low sugar diet is the best way to keep your gut bacteria in good balance and healthy. Naturally occurring probiotics are found in kefir, yogurts, and fermented foods. Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, coconut kefri, natto, kvass, miso, komucha, and organic fermented vegetables are your best sources. Good Belly probiotic drink and Kefir are also good ways to drink your probiotics.

If you find that a supplement is the best way for you to do this, then consider buying a refrigerated supplement so you know the strains are alive and active.  Check that the CFU count (colony forming units) is over 15 billion) and that it has more than one bacterial strain.  Also check to see if the brand you are considering has been researched and proven to work.  For more information, ask your dietitian or refer to this helpful article by Dr. Josh Axe at:

WARNING:  Probiotics are NOT safe for some people and can actually be fatal. Anyone who has a compromised immune system, terminal cancer, leaky bowels, has no spleen, is taking corticosteroids, or has pancreatitis should NEVER take probiotics (even from food sources) unless advised by their physician otherwise.