Which Probiotic is Right for You?

Reader Contribution by Devin Morrissey

Most of us are well aware of the proven health benefits of probiotics. Although some bacteria are harmful and can make us sick, beneficial bacteria can boost immune systems, help with weight loss, treat infections, ulcers, gastritis, and even improve symptoms of depression. You might be taking a probiotic right now. But are you sure it’s the right strain of bacteria for your conditions?

Even beneficial bacteria, when grown out of proportion, can have negative or just plain uncomfortable side effects. It’s important to ensure you’re taking the right probiotic for you, and to ensure you’re taking it the right way. In this article, we’re discussing the benefits and uses of different kinds of probiotics, and how to properly take them. As always, it is advisable to seek guidance from your doctor before making any major changes.

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Which Probiotics Should You Take?

Just when you thought you had it all figured out, you reach the probiotics section of the pharmacy and find a ton of choices facing you. Should you take a supplement or up your intake of natural sources for probiotics? Do you take Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium? The right probiotic could depend on the conditions you’re dealing with. We’ll cover some options here.

Probiotics are a powerful natural remedy for conditions such as yeast infections and bladder infections. For these conditions, try to increase your intake of probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut. Lactobacillus is the probiotic found in yogurt and other fermented foods, which can help treat yeast infections. Bifidobacterium can help treat irritable bowel syndrome, among other conditions, and can even boost the immune system.

If you are dealing with symptoms of an STD like herpes, look for Del-immune V® brand probiotics. A study on mice found that this brand of probiotics can possibly help improve survival rate in mice that were injected with herpes simplex type 1 virus. The study did not include human subjects, so further research is needed. However, probiotics can improve many symptoms and it’s worth asking your doctor if you could benefit by taking one.

Probiotics can even help counteract some of the negative side effects of painkillers and other medication like antibiotics. Painkillers work by preventing the creation of prostaglandins which help protect the lining of your stomach and GI tract. This could cause the bacteria in your stomach to become unbalanced. Taking a probiotic can help reduce inflammation and irritable bowel symptoms that can result from taking painkillers.

Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium work similarly, the important thing is to find a supplement containing “live bacteria.” Most probiotics are considered generally safe, especially for healthy individuals, however it is always advised to consult your doctor before making any major changes to your diet or supplements.

When to Take Probiotics

Determining which probiotic to take is only half the battle. To really benefit from the effects of probiotics, you must ensure that you take them properly and consistently. A study conducted at Institut Rosell Inc. looked at how different probiotics were affected if they were taken before, during, or after meals, as well as how these probiotics were affected by different meal types.

They found that the beneficial bacteria from probiotics had the best chance at survival when consumed during or 30 minutes before a meal that had contained some source of healthy fat. Healthy fats are frequently consumed with breakfast, which often includes dairy, eggs, or avocado. However, some find that taking your probiotic in the evening helps the bacteria to latch on to the stomach lining.

Whichever way you cut it, the best time of day to take your probiotic is when you will always remember it. Whether that’s morning or night, try to take it with some foods that are high in healthy fats.

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