Should I Take A Probiotic?
One of the questions that I get most often is should I be on a probiotic and if so, what kind? One of the first questions that I ask back is – have you ever felt any difference from taking a probiotic (good or bad). Patients come in on all types of probiotics. If you go to the probiotic aisle at the health food store, there’s so many to choose from, it gets super confusing and overwhelming. There’s different dosages, different strains, and different scientific codes associated with probiotics.
One of the things we have to realize about probiotics is we haven’t been using them too long (in capsule form).. If you study the healthiest populations around the world, they’re not sitting around popping probiotic capsules – they learn to feed their gut. This applies to our ancestors as well.
It is important to highlight first and foremost, probiotics can be beneficial and most of research suggests that it is beneficial to use probiotics. However, for some people, it can flare up digestive symptoms and make patients progressively worse. The important thing to remember about probiotics is your body has to be ready to accept the probiotic. Your internal environment has to be conducive to the strains coming in. If you’re just taking a probiotic for months (or sometimes years) and you’re feeling no different or the second you go off of it, you start to feel worse, you have to realize how your microbiome works. A lot of people that take probiotics daily actually have a bacterial overgrowth inside of them. They can have too much of a certain groupn of bacteria and they could actually be feeding this overgrowth.
There’s 3 criteria I tell everybody to look into when they are considering a probiotic. Above all else is going to be QUALITY. You want to make sure that your probiotic is shelf stable and it can survive room temperature. If it can’t survive room temperature, and it has to be kept in a refrigerator, it’s not surviving your gut. Your stomach is very, very acidic and these bacteria not only have to survive room temperature but this giant barrier. If you’re not getting the probiotic to where it needs to get to, you are missing the majority of the benefit.
The second issue is going to be QUANTITY. You want to make sure that you’re taking a high enough number, and most importantly, that the company that you purchase from can guarantee you a certain amount of viability. You want a full dose of the probiotic bacteria to reach your intestines, however many times, what you’re actually getting in the pill is a fraction of what’s actually listed on the label. Out of that fraction, a smaller fraction will actually seed in your large intestine. Probiotics have to go from the mouth all the way to your large intestine (your rear end) That’s a pretty long journey – it’s about 25 feet.
The third variable to consider is TIMING. If you mistime when you’re going to take a probiotic, this can really backfire. If you add a probiotic in too early sometimes it’s going to do nothing at all or make you worse. If you add it in too late, you’re going to miss the benefit of probiotics. You want to be very careful with when you time it. Ideally, you want to create an internal environment first where you’re eating healthy foods, you make sure you’re getting the right amount of enzymes, and you make sure you’re infection free. This ensures when you do bring in the probiotic, it’s actually going to become a part of you and have a sustained benefit.
These are three very important and vital components to choosing the right probiotic. If you are unsure of probiotic usage and if it is right for you, consult with a trained functional medicine provider.
Author: Dr. Ricky Brar
Dr. Brar understands how crippling poor health can be and the physical, mental, emotional, and financial burden of feeling unwell. His passion is to empower and guide as many patients as possible to get back their health and live the life they were meant to live.
Dr. Brar has worked with hundreds of patients, delivered many powerful talks, wrote a best-selling book, and has also mentored hundreds of practitioners in clinical protocols and outcomes.
In his spare time, Dr. Brar enjoys being outdoors in nature, playing hockey, and furthering his (average) guitar playing skills. He also loves to advance his own well-being by spending time researching the latest news in functional medicine, fitness, mindset, and nutrition.
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Dr. Ricky Brar
Dr. Ricky Brar is a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner, best-selling author, speaker, and clinical mentor. His passion for Functional Medicine began with his own journey at the Living Proof Institute.
After working with over 10 practitioners over his 14 year journey, he arrived at the doorsteps of Living Proof Institute exclusively as a patient. Within a short period of time, his health transformed and the chronic digestive challenges and mental health symptoms that plagued him resolved completely. What surprised Dr. Brar the most was the radical difference in the Living Proof approach – he was looked at like a human being and the goal was to make him healthy in all areas, not just the previously diagnosed ones.
Our Mission at The Living Proof Institute is to address the root cause of your health issues and restore your health and vitality. Through partnering and education, you will receive the tools and direction to live an extraordinary life.