What is the best probiotic to take?

What is the best probiotic to take? The Gut Clinic Sara Knight Newcastle Naturopath New Lambton Herbalist

I'm often asked, "Which probiotic should I take?" 

Which is a great question as I am thrilled that people are taking the health of their microbiome seriously - for which I think we should thank Dr. Michael Mosely. 

It is not a simple answer as it really depends on each individual and their current circumstances. 

Before we talk about these circumstances, let me be clear that probiotics have an amazing therapeutic benefit for many people. But not all people - those on immune-suppressing drugs, for example, should speak with their specialist before taking probiotics. People undergoing cancer treatment as well as people with certain autoimmune conditions. Again, speak to your specialist first before starting probiotics. 

For all others, I start with a key question: What are you hoping to achieve by taking probiotics?

1)  Most say general health. A medium to high dose multi-strain probiotic is perfect. Say 8-50 billion of at least 8 strains. I also encourage you to look at natural probiotic foods such as kefirs, kombuchas, saurkrauts, miso soup, tempeh, apple cider vinegar, pickles and olives (brine) etc to naturally boost and diversify your microboime.

2) Others will say they have just come off a course of antibiotics and want to replace what has been killed off. Go for a high dose (30-50 billion CFU) multi-strain (8-12 strains) probiotic - continue for 30 days following antibiotics. 

3) Or maybe you are about to start taking an antibiotic. You can take the probiotic at the same time, just separate the dose by two hours. So if you have an antibiotic at 7am, then have a probiotic at 9am. Research shows that yes the antibiotic does kill off some of the probiotics but some do survive which is a benefit to the microbiome balance. I also suggest you double the dose - take two a day instead of just the recommended one.  Careful though as this can be recipe for diarrhoea. if so, bring it back to two capsules every other day. 

And then we move into specific conditions such as:

  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Reocurring UTI's
  • Fungal infections - ringworm, tinea, etc
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • and the list goes on and on...

As we look to condition specific treatment, we need to look to strain specific probiotics. And the research in this area grows every day. And this when getting professional help is needed.

I personally think this is an extremely exciting area of health research. When you have more bacteria cells in your body than our own human cells, you can start to appreciate the therapeutic power that working with our microbiome can have on our mental and physical health.

Sara Knight