People ask, “What is the best probiotic?” But the number and variety of probiotic supplements available today is staggering. On one of our websites, docgut.com, I rate them according to various objective criteria. I should clarify: I rate but don’t recommend, because everyone of us is different.
Why do some people find that their gut health improves with simple probiotics, while others experience no effect? Which are best friendly bacteria? What quantity of bacteria is enough? Should they be coated? When we take an oral probiotic, it must pass through our stomach acid and intestinal enzymes before reaching the colon where most gut bacteria reside. Once they make it there, they have to compete with 30 trillion existing bacteria in an already complex ecology. It is impossible to determine which probiotic might be the best for each person. It seems that trial and error is the only reliable guide. I suggest that you methodically try different probiotics over a few weeks and if you can identify one that seems to improve the condition of your gut, that is your starting point.
Traditional systems of health around the world have included probiotics as a regular part of the daily diet, in yogurt and other fermented foods. There is an enormous interest today in the positive benefits of probiotics, in part because of our growing understanding of the gut microbiome. Many clinical studies are being conducted to verify their benefits.
Prebiotics are foods which feed bacteria. They include such food as asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, and dandelion greens. Foods like these have a hard time being digested in the small intestine and generally move on to the large intestine and colon, where they feed the bacteria living there. Prebiotics are sometimes included with a probiotic supplement as a source of food so they will have a better chance of surviving in our highly competitive gut environment.
Probiotics are often prescribed following antibiotic treatment to help replace any “good” bacteria that may have been destroyed. They might also be prescribed for a number of specific disorders of the digestive system including: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), infectious diarrhea (caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites), and antibiotic-related diarrhea. Well-controlled clinical trials have conclusively demonstrated that probiotics help some of these conditions.
Since diet is one of the most important factors in determining the composition of the gut microbiome, it is recommended that we eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruit (foods with fiber) since this will increase the diversity of microorganisms in our gut microbiome and help improve our overall health and longevity.
All disease begins in the gut
Try out different probiotics and determine if you feel any improvement in your digestion and gut health. If you are experiencing good effects then stop the probiotic for a number of days and notice if your digestive problems return. This experiment will help you decide which probiotic might be best for you. Some people prefer to take foods like yogurt or lassi that naturally contain probiotics whatever works.
Check it Out:
The new Audible version of The Rest and Repair Diet
Our new website at biohacklongevity.com.
New article: Improving the Gut Microbiome
- Wilkins T, Sequoia J. Probiotics for Gastrointestinal Conditions: A Summary of the Evidence. Am Fam Physician. 2017 Aug 1;96(3):170-178. PMID: 28762696.
- Kim SK, Guevarra RB, Kim YT, Kwon J, Kim H, Cho JH, Kim HB, Lee JH. Role of Probiotics in Human Gut Microbiome-Associated Diseases. J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2019 Sep 28;29(9):1335-1340. doi: 10.4014/jmb.1906.06064. PMID: 31434172.
- Gut Crisis: How Diet, Probiotics, and Friendly Bacteria Help You Lose Weight and Heal Your Body and Mind by Robert Keith Wallace, PhD, and Samantha Wallace, Dharma Publications, 2017
- The Rest And Repair Diet: Heal Your Gut, Improve Your Physical and Mental Health, and Lose Weight by Robert Keith Wallace, PhD, Samantha Wallace, Andrew Stenberg, MA, Jim Davis, DO, and Alexis Farley, Dharma Publications, 2019
- Your Healthy Gut Course: MIU Continuing Education
- Improving the Gut Microbiome
Wishing you great good health and happiness,
Dr Robert Keith Wallace and the Biohack Longevity, Doc Gut, Dosha Guru, and Dharma Parenting Teams