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Should You Be Taking A Probiotic Every Day?

probiotics

If you were putting together a list of all the things you should take every day, the best suggestion is to make that list as short as possible.

That’s because, if you make the criteria too lax about the things you take, you will soon be taking a whole lot of pills that might not be doing much for your health.

There is a lot of evidence surrounding the benefits of probiotics for certain circumstances. It’s important to outline those circumstances, though, for you to know if it applies to you.

Some of the most common reasons why a probiotic might help include:

  • Having ongoing digestive issues
  • Susceptibility to infections

In cases like these, a daily probiotic can definitely have its place.

Today, I want to talk through when a daily probiotic is helpful, when it is not, and which ones might be most useful for you (and what they are good for).

A Basic Summary On Probiotics

Before we begin, I think it’s helpful to give you a basic rundown on whether taking a daily probiotic is the right decision for your health.

probiotics

Essentially, you should NOT consider taking a probiotic if you:

  • Have no digestive issues
  • Have stable thyroid levels
  • Are not dealing with infections
  • Have a good immune system
  • Eat and tolerate carbohydrates

Additionally, you should avoid taking a probiotic if you are on immunosuppressant treatments or chemotherapy (unless otherwise advised by your physician).

There are two main types of probiotics, which include:

  1. Fungal, and
  2. Bacterial

You should be taking a fungal probiotic (what we call Saccharomyces Boulardii) if you:

  • Are taking an antibiotic
  • Take oral contraceptives or hormone replacement
  • Are travelling and prone to travellers’ diarrhea
  • Have unexplained or infectious diarrhea

You should use a dosage containing 10 billion viable organisms, once daily. It can even be taken with or without food, and you can learn more about our recommended product SaccB Support by clicking here (Click Here: Learn About SaccB Support).

Considering a bacterial probiotic (such as L. Acidophilus, L. Plantarum, L. Rhamnosus, L Paracasei, B. Lactis, B. Bifidum) if you have:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Constipation
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Airborne allergies

You’ll need to use one capsule, containing 100 billion viable organisms, once daily. It can also be taken before or with meals, but not 15-90 minutes after meals.

I typically recommend the UltraBiotic100. You can order it by clicking the link (Click Here: Learn More About UltraBiotic100).

Remember this, though, that you should not take a bacterial probiotic within three days of having your thyroid antibodies tested (it may falsely elevate your levels).

Overall, fungal and bacterial probiotics each fulfill a certain role (and they can even be taken together if your situation calls for it). That said, probiotics are safe but they may cause gas and bloating as your flora adapts to the change.

Now that you know the basics, I hope it helps you make the right decision for your health. As we expand on the topic of probiotics, let’s dive a bit deeper into the science and the details on whether you should be taking a daily probiotic.

The “Microbiome Revolution”

If you have been following popular health information over the past decade, it would seem that the microbiome holds the key to every facet of your health.

It might even seem like nearly every disease and body system is influenced by the microorganisms that live in your intestinal tract.

For us to understand how this all came about, it helps to understand a bit about how the “cycle or research works.” Basically, it goes from correlation to evidence.

Science starts with an idea. We have an understanding of how the body works, and how diseases might emerge, and from an idea we develop a hypothesis.

First, we test to see if a hypothesis (basically an expanded idea) is possible. If we form a hypothesis that says our gut flora is tied to diabetes, we can test those with diabetes to understand the different sets of organisms in their bowels.

If the flora showed differences between flora in diabetics and non-diabetics, the next step would be to see if changing the flora changes the nature of diabetes. This is now evidence.

That said, an important thing to know is that while the lack of correlation makes an idea nearly impossible, having some correlation doesn’t mean it is definitely true.

Much like the lottery, you certainly don’t win if you don’t play. But, even if you do play, you still probably won’t win. Correlations are a good start, but they’re not a guarantee.

Your Microbiome & Your Health

So, what role do your microbiome and gut health play in your overall health?

We know now that the microbiome changes greatly in various states of health. Nearly anything that changes in your health will change it, too.

Early on, many thought that if disease shifted your microbiome, you could change your microbiome to shift the disease.

While this can be possible in some instances, it is not a rule. It is clear that our microbiome is important for our health, and so is our diet by extension.

But, our microbiome does not define our health in every single instance. Basically, a probiotic is not a silver bullet that cures all ailments. It has specific applications we need to respect.

Probiotics: The Basics

I wanted to start by giving you a general understanding of how our microbiome is imperative to our health, but how it is important in specific circumstances.

So, now that we have a general idea, let’s dig deep into the details.

Starting from the very beginning, probiotic is Latin for “for life.”

We have used fermented foods for a long time, even before it was done on purpose. Before we had refrigeration, we had to find various ways to simply keep food from going bad.

The earliest iteration was buried food, but then we developed methods like curing, smoking, or fermenting things that ended up giving us flora and aid in digestive function1.

Prebiotics

The next thing you’re likely to hear about is prebiotics.

These are variants of fibres that promote the growth of helpful bacteria in your intestinal tract. It includes a pretty full spectrum of different types that you’d want to get (Read More: The Definitive Guide To Fiber For Your Health).

In terms of foods that you can get prebiotics from, one of the best-studied examples has to be from resistant starch. You can get resistant starch from:

  • Supplements (which are only useful if standardized)
  • Potato starch and banana flour (which do not always have resistant starch)
  • RS Complete (the only standardized option for resistant starch)

The benefits of resistant include helping with concerns around:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Colon Cancer

Other examples of prebiotics include:

  • Oatmeal
  • Bananas
  • Beans
  • Berries
  • Asparagus

Synbiotic

As we break things down further, it is important to know a bit more about synbiotics. These are going to be a combination of probiotics and prebiotics.

Biosurfactants

Essentially, these work a bit like soap. They make things “wetter,” and can help combat some of the biofilms that diseases can cause.

A Comprehensive Breakdown of Organisms In Probiotics

The following should serve as a helpful chart to give you an idea of the different organisms we often find in probiotics.

You may be hearing some of these names for the first time, or maybe they are a bit familiar, but it will help to get an idea of different organisms in question:

Yeast Saccharomyces Boulardii
Bacteria Bacillus Coagulans
Bifidobacterium Animalis 
Bifidum
Breve
Lactis
Longum
Longus
Enterococcus Faecalis
Lactobacillus  Acidophilus
Bulgaricus
Casei
Fermentum 
Helveticus
Johnsonii  
Paracasei
Plantarum
Rhamnosus
Reuteri 
Sporogenous 
Streptococcus Thermophilus

Important Strains You Should Know

It definitely helps to learn more about the best-studied strains of probiotics that you may end up needing to consider for your health2.

If we keep that in mind, there are some particular strains that can be especially helpful for you. What follows is a breakdown of each, and how they can help treat certain common conditions:

Saccharomyces Boulardii

This strain can be helpful for:

  • Acne
  • Carbohydrate digestion (especially disaccharide)
  • Antibiotic-associated diarrhea
  • C. difficile
  • H.pylori
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Parasitic infections

Lactobacillus Acidophilus

All of these particular types of strains are generators of lactic acid. In the intestinal tract, this is a good thing! It can help with:

  • Absorption of minerals (calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese)
  • Fighting yeast (vaginal or gastrointestinal)
  • Lowering IBS symptoms
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Benefiting weight loss
  • Preventing cold or flu symptoms

Lactobacillus Paracasei

Building on that, this is another strain that can:

  • Protect against staph aureus
  • Improve allergic rhinitis

Bifidobacterium Bifidum

This is part of the other large family of probiotics. They are strains that can compete with a lot of chronic, low-grade bad bacteria in the body, such as:

  • E. coli
  • S. aureus
  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • H.pylori

In general, though, it can help with:

  • IBS
  • Constipation
  • Ulcerative colitis

Bifidobacterium Lactis

This one, specifically, can help with:

  • Reducing allergic reactions
  • Improving lactose intolerance
  • Improving blood sugar metabolism
  • Lower gastrointestinal permeability

Lactobacillus Rhamnosus (GG)

This version can help with the treatment of:

  • IBS
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Acute Gastroenteritis

Lactobacillus Plantarum

Finally, of the strains we want to feature, we have lactobacillus plantarum, which can:

  • Improve TH1 immunity
  • Inhibit harmful bacteria (like clostridium)

Bottom Line: As you can see, there is truly a range of not only the types of probiotics, but the different benefits that they include. The world of probiotics is fairly vast, which is why it is important to know which one can treat your specific symptoms.

How Often Are Probiotics Prescribed?

A large survey performed at Stanford found that around 61% of practitioners do recommend probiotic food or supplements. The most common reason for doing so was the prevention and treatment of antibiotic-resistant diarrhea3.

Are Probiotics Safe?

Generally, probiotics are pretty safe.

There have been cases, though, of bacteremia in immunocompromised hosts. This is rare, and occurs especially in the cases of lactobacillus casei and rhamnosus4.

That is why it is best avoided by those on chemotherapy, immunosuppressant medication, and HIV, without careful medical guidance steering the conversation.

Do Probiotics Affect Your Thyroid?

In general, the use of probiotics may cause a need to reduce your thyroid medication dosage.

A clinical trial showed that the benefit of probiotics might mean that your thyroid is performing better (and, therefore, needing less medication).

In this study, they compared two groups of around 40 people. For around two months, one group was taking a probiotic, whereas the other was not (while tracking thyroid function).

Those on the probiotic group lowered their dosage by four times. The other group, though, had to raise their medication several times.

This is pretty shocking stuff, and encompassed a pretty short timeframe to see such a large shift in each of the patients’ needs5.

Another clinical trial tracked those who were defined as hypothyroid, tracked for a couple months, and what they found were significant changes in their scores6.

The average changes included:

  • Lower TSH
  • Higher fT3
  • Lower dose of LT4

Again, this is all pretty promising stuff for those with thyroid disease. Another study showed that probiotics may lower the risk of constipation in those with hypothyroidism7.

There have also been animal studies showing that probiotics can act as immunostimulants. While it may not be a concern, we do see certain versions that can skew lab results8,9.

The Big Benefits of Probiotics

Now that we know more about probiotics, the forms they come in, and how they interact with our thyroid, what are some of the studied outcomes that relate to various diseases?

The following is a collection of various conditions and how probiotics may play a role in managing or dealing with symptoms and complications.

Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea (AAD)

This is likely the most well-studied use for probiotics, and for good reason!

There is lots of evidence that you will want to take a probiotic along with your antibiotic. While there was a study that I saw suggesting otherwise, the outcomes were not meaningful10.

We have a lot of data showing that AAD can be fatal for a lot of people. That is why it is worth preempting with using a probiotic.

Key Insight: If you have to choose one, saccharomyces boulardii is likely the best choice11.

If we get really precise, we do not want to take these pills at the same time. They should be taken more than two hours apart, and should be used as long as you are taking a probiotic (even an additional two weeks after taking it)12.

Atopic Disease

The use of probiotics can help allergic rhinitis, although there are no clear benefits when it comes to eczema or asthma in the body.

Ergogenic Effects

While there have been a lot of studies focusing on the ergogenic effects of probiotics, of the 16 high-quality studies there hasn’t been much to suggest it has any.

Although there are likely benefits for general health and recovery for athletes or older people, it will not help people perform any better or run any faster13.

GI Health

In the case of IBS, there have been a lot of strong studies suggesting that it may help some, especially those with diarrhea-predominant symptoms14.

If we build it out a little bit further, here are some others to consider:

  • C. Difficile – No clear benefit has been found
  • Constipation – Most effective in adults, not as much in children or those 75+
  • Crohn’s Disease – No clear benefits for remission or symptoms15
  • Celiac Disease – Probiotics can help break down gluten and improve indigestion16,17
  • H.Pylori – Can help in children and lower AAD in adults18
  • Infectious Diarrhea – Beneficial for adults and children
  • Ulcerative Colitis – No large studies done but generally some degree of benefit (along with higher rates of remission)19
  • Lactose Intolerance – Inconsistent but possible benefits do exist20
  • Pancreatitis – Probiotics are not recommended as studies show it can increase mortality in patients with acute pancreatitis21
  • Periodontitis – Safe and effective in managing this condition22
  • Protein Assimilation – A 6% improvement was found in one study23
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – No clear benefit based on several studies24

Probiotics and Weight Loss

When to take probiotics

It has been known for some time that the flora of those who struggle with weight loss is simply different from those who do not.

Animal studies have even shown that flora transplants lead to either proportionate weight gain and loss in most instances.

In general, it comes down to what we call the firmicutes/bacteroidetes ratio. This ratio is such that, those who are lean have less of the former and more of the latter, with the opposite being true of those who are heavier.

Key Insight: Beans have become known as one of the most powerful foods to raise bacteroidetes and lower firmicutes.

The last meta-analysis performed showed that those who used probiotics lost more weight and lost a greater percentage of body fat than those who did the same exercise and diets but did not use probiotics25.

Probiotics: Summarized

After our discussion today, what I want you to know is that not everyone needs to take a probiotic. This is especially true if your pill count is already high.

If you do not have a specific reason for taking a probiotic, or if it has not been recommended to you by a health practitioner, then do not add it to your daily list.

This is especially true if you:

  • Have no digestive issues
  • Have stable thyroid levels
  • Are not dealing with infections
  • Have a good immune system
  • Eat and tolerate carbohydrates

Key Insight: Probiotics should be avoided by those on immunosuppressant treatments of chemotherapy unless advised by a physician (to avoid rare cases of infections).

Overall, fungal and bacterial probiotics have some overlap in that they both may help with ADD, and both may help treat IBS (although bacterial versions are better researched).

You should consider taking a fungal probiotic if you:

  • Wish to improve your resistance to infections
  • Have ongoing chronic infections
  • Are taking an antibiotic
  • Take oral contraceptives or hormone replacement
  • Are traveling and prone to travelers’ diarrhea
  • Have unexplained or infectious diarrhea
  • Struggle with acne

Key Insight: Be sure to use a dosage that contains 10 billion viable organisms, one daily. It can also be taken with or without food.

Consider a blended bacterial probiotic if you have:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • High stress levels
  • Unstable thyroid levels
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Constipation
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Airborne allergies
  • Fatty liver

Key Insight: Take one capsule containing 100 billion viable organisms, once daily. It can be taken before or with meals (but not 15-90 minutes afterward).

Understanding Probiotics For Your Health

I hope today’s conversation has helped you to learn a bit more about the utility of probiotics, and how in certain instances they can be beneficial for your health.

That said, the first thing you need to do is understand if they are right for you. This can include gaining a better idea for your overall health.

While probiotics may help benefit your thyroid, you need to know if they are right for you. The first may include taking the Thyroid Quiz (Click Here: Take The Quiz Today).

This can help you understand the state of your thyroid, and the action steps you can start taking today to help improve the way it is performing and how you are feeling.

To your health, your thyroid’s health, and your gut’s health, too!

1 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24912386/?from_term=probiotic&from_pos=7
2 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5949321/
3 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28618862/?from_term=probiotic&from_pos=3
4 – https://www.exeley.com/exeley/journals/polish_journal_of_microbiology/67/3/pdf/10.21307_pjm-2018-044.pdf
5 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5694461/
6 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31987229
7 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32363616
8 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16084270
9 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21831795
10 – https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(18)31108-5
11 – https://www.uptodate.com/contents/clostridioides-formerly-clostridium-difficile-infection-in-adults-treatment-and-prevention/abstract-text/22570464/pubmed
12 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22570464
13 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6925426/
14 – https://www.uptodate.com/contents/probiotics-for-gastrointestinal-diseases/abstract-text/19232285/pubmed
15 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=17054217
16 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=24774670
17 – https://www.uptodate.com/contents/probiotics-for-gastrointestinal-diseases/abstract-text/14631461/pubmed
18 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28681177
19 – https://www.uptodate.com/contents/probiotics-for-gastrointestinal-diseases/abstract/21,24,65,66
20 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=27207411
21 – https://www.uptodate.com/contents/probiotics-for-gastrointestinal-diseases/abstract-text/18279948/pubmed
22 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27224284/?from_term=probiotic&from_pos=9
23 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29196920/?from_term=probiotic&from_pos=4
24 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29094223
25 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29047207

P.S. Whenever you are ready, here is how I can help you now:

1. Download and use my Favorite Recipes Cookbook Here
2. Check out my podcast Medical Myths, Legends, and Fairytales Here
3. Come see one of my Doctors that specialize in Thyroid Care Here

Dr. Alan Glen Christianson (Dr. C) is a Naturopathic Endocrinologist and the author of The NY Times bestselling Adrenal Reset Diet and The Metabolism Reset Diet.

Dr. C’s gift for figuring out what really works has helped hundreds of thousands of people reverse thyroid disease, lose weight, diabetes, and regain energy. Learn more about the surprising story that started his quest.