How to Choose Your Probiotics

Before we get into choosing a probiotic, it’s probably best that we go over what a probiotic is. Well, a probiotic, by definition is a microorganism introduced into the body for its beneficial qualities. There are many beneficial aspects of taking probiotics, such as improved digestive health, immune health, mental (anxiety and stress-related disorders as well as depression), oral health and skin health, as well as helping with weight loss.

But how do you pick the perfect probiotic for you? There are hundreds upon hundreds of helpful bacteria living in the human gut. To find specific strain imbalances in your colon, a comprehensive stool sample can help create a treatment plan that works for you. It can also tell you if you have an excess of certain strains as well. Doing this before you purchase can help you financially so you don’t buy an ineffective probiotic for your body, and help you feel healthier and happier faster. Here are some easy steps to follow to pick a good probiotic for you:
• Choose a formula with multiple strains
• Choose a potent probiotic by looking at the CFUs (Colony Forming Units)
• Try to pick a shelf stable probiotic (one that doesn’t need to be refrigerated)
• Make sure you check the expiration date
• It is recommended to take your probiotic before you go to bed (if you are taking a once a day dose)

You can also get great sources of probiotics by eating fermented foods. Fermented foods are found in cultures all over the world, although the Mediterranean diet is one of the most researched diets in history and it is thought that the probiotic-rich diet is one of the causes for the high quality of health in people that eat this diet. You can either make your own fermented foods with probiotics, or buy them from your local health foods store. Some of the most common options are:
• Miso
• Sauerkraut
• Yogurt
• Kefir
• Kombucha
• Kimchi

The length of time that probiotics will work for has been highly debated, and some say that the beneficial effects will only last while you are consuming them. By ensuring that you have a daily dose of probiotic-rich foods or a supplement, you can make sure that your gut stays happy and healthy all the time. Probiotics are a new and highly researched field, and something that we learn new things about all the time. After discovering that more of us is made out of bacteria than any other type of cell, more and more people are considering bacteria a new frontier in healthcare. Some studies have even suggested that bacterial imbalances may be some of the cause of things like obesity, cancer, autoimmune diseases, as well as a laundry list of other conditions.

If you need help deciding if you should take probiotics, or which one would be most beneficial for you, please feel free to contact Flourish Integrative Health at or 415.721-2990.