Probiotics – are they the be-all and end-all of gut health?
You may be surprised to learn that I don’t prescribe probiotics for everyone. Now, they can be extremely helpful for some conditions and symptoms, but I generally advise against anyone and everyone taking a daily broad-spectrum probiotic, usually found at the chemist, often poor quality and commonly quite expensive. Why? Because sometimes probiotics can have the opposite effect if they’re not prescribed correctly.
For example, the majority of IBS sufferers also have SIBO, and if you take a general probiotic when you have this condition it may actually make you feel worse. Some probiotics are not suitable if you have constipation or an inflammatory bowel disease and some probiotics can exacerbate candida overgrowths.
Often when we take a general, broad-spectrum probiotic in the hope that it will improve our microbiome and/or resolve our IBS symptoms we are expecting them to recolonise our gut bacteria and be a magic cure for our gut issues.
Due to misleading marketing most assume that the more strains and the higher count you throw at your microbiome, the better. But in fact, probiotics only stick around in your intestines for about two weeks and thanks to more recent research we now know they don’t actually recolonise your gut. Further, research seems to suggest that our bodies can’t even hold or use the higher counts found in these probiotics so you could be pooping out half of your expensive probiotics.
So, what does regrow beneficial bacteria?
A fresh, whole food diet rich in pr-E-biotic foods! Eating a diet rich in a variety of whole foods can have positive effects on your microbiome within hours. And this combined with practitioner prescribed, strain-specific probiotics for your individual condition and symptoms is what will work to modify your microbiome for the better and get you long lasting results.
If you’re unsure whether you need a probiotic at all, why not book in for your free 15 minute chat here and we can discuss a treatment plan to guide you to gut health success.