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All About Probiotics

August 30, 2022

Thank you to Kelly Foster (Naturopath), for sharing this blog on Probiotics.

Ever wonder why probiotics are not working for you or even making your symptoms worse? ? 

That is because probiotics work via very intricate mechanisms of action that are body system specific.  

Recent research has shown that using strain-specific probiotics to address conditions and symptoms rather than broad spectrum probiotics, is much more effective.  

Lactobacillus reuteri B-54 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 are your go-to’s for Urinary tract Infections, whereas for Vaginal thrush the strains to use would be Lactobacillus acidophilus NAS/LA5, Lactobacillus crispatus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1/GG and Lactobacillus Reuteri RC-14. Probiotics can even be tailored to address conditions as specific as Liver Cirrhosis with Escherichia coli and Lactobacillus casei Shirota.  

In some cases, taking a broad spectrum probiotic can even make symptoms worse, particularly if histamine is apart of the picture. Some probiotic strains actually aggravate histamine intolerance/excess such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus.  

That is why talking to a practitioner to understand which probiotic is best for your unique situation is so important! 

Let’s talk about more probiotic specificity and how we can use them to treat various conditions. 

Constipation: Bifidobacterium animalis, Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12, Escherichia coli Nissle, Lactobacillus casei Shirota, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG. 

The Why: These strains have clinical evidence to show their effectiveness at increasing bowel motion frequency, improving stool consistency, reducing occurrence of hard stools and improving ease of passing.  

Allergies: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM, Bifidobacterium lactis BI-04, Lactobacillus gasser TMC0356, Lactobacillus salivarius 

The Why: These strains work on modulating the immune response and reducing activation of host defence pathways (release of eosinophils, mast cells and IgE production) resulting in allergy reactions. Also supporting histamine metabolism and degradation. 

Atopic Eczema: Lactobacillus paracasei F-19, Lactobacillus reuteri MM53, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001, Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12, Lactobacillus fermentum VRI-003 

The Why: Clinically shown to reduce IgE-associated Eczema. Helps reduce low levels of short‐chain fatty acids, possibly leading to aberrant T‐helper type 2 cell (Th2) responses and Eczema development. 

Urinary Tract Infections: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1, Lactobacillus reuteri B-54, Lactobacillus acidophilus NAS 

The Why: These strains have shown to modulate uropathogen activation resulting in bacterial overgrowth.  

Some probiotic tips/myth busting:  

  • Consuming on an empty stomach versus with food: Consuming on an empty stomach allows for probiotics to travel further down the digestive track without encountering high levels of stomach acid which can degrade them before reaching their destination. Ideally consume first thing in the morning or before sleep.  
  • Probiotic powders/fortified foods: Bacterial content degrades with moisture. Not to say they are not worth consuming but something to keep in mind with powdered probiotics that are continuously exposed to air. 
  • Shelf stable versus refrigerated: Manufacturing technology allows for shelf stable probiotics to maintain their desired bacterial colony content. Refrigerated does not mean better. 
  • Less is more: As discussed previously, taking a triple strength broad spectrum probiotic does not mean you will more effectively address your symptoms. The body responds better when tailored probiotic strains are supplemented to address specific Imbalances/conditions.  
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