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What You Need to Know About Probiotics



Whether you're a newcomer to the world of wellness or a seasoned participant, the conversation surrounding probiotics and gut health is likely familiar territory.


You've probably heard that probiotics are one of the keys to helping your gut... which is kind of true...


You may have even gone to your local drug store and purchased some at some point in your life. You may look at the bottles and wonder what strains you should take, how much you should take, and so on... It is all very personalized depending on what is going on in your gut.


As an expert in gut health and Autoimmune Diseases in functional medicine, I regard probiotics as one of the select supplements universally beneficial to most individuals, irrespective of their health specifics. Navigating the vast array of choices available can be overwhelming to say the least, especially with terms like "soil-based" and "spore-based" complicating the decision-making process.


My role is to clarify these distinctions, enabling you to make informed decisions about your health.


Probiotics are essential because they contribute to the diversity and balance of our gut microbiome, which is a complex community of bacteria, yeast, and fungi. This ecosystem plays a pivotal role in various aspects of our well-being, from weight management to immune function.


Factors such as stress, antibiotics, and diet can disrupt this balance, leading to dysbiosis. Probiotic supplements introduce beneficial microorganisms to either maintain a healthy bacterial balance or counteract harmful overgrowths.


The spectrum of probiotics includes:

  1. Traditional Probiotics: These supplements are cultivated from live microorganisms, often sourced from fermented foods or specific, well-researched strains beneficial for gut health. Common strains include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Lactobacillus casei.

  2. Soil-based Probiotics: These contain microbes indigenous to soil, reintroducing a diversity of soil-based bacteria into our systems, akin to our ancestors' exposure. Known for their resilience, these strains, such as Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus coagulans, often don't require refrigeration.

  3. Spore-based Probiotics: Distinguished by their dormant, spore form, these probiotics are adept at surviving the gut's harsh conditions. Upon reaching the gut, they activate, offering targeted and stable supplementation. Noteworthy strains include Bacillus clausii, Bacillus coagulans, and Bacillus subtilis.

When selecting a probiotic, consider strain specificity, dosage, and delivery method, as the right choice varies based on individual health needs and goals. Not all probiotics are equal, and personalization is key to achieving optimal health outcomes.


In my telehealth functional medicine practice, we employ advanced gut health labs to discern the underlying conditions affecting your gut. This diagnostic approach informs our recommendation on the type of probiotic—traditional, soil-based, or spore-based—that would best suit your needs, guiding you towards sustainable gut health.


I recommend having a GI Map done to see what is actually going on in your gut before spending the money to buy probiotics that may not help you - or even worsen your gut. If you have dysbiosis going on and you take strains that you already have an abundance of, this can make your symptoms and balance even worse. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.


For instance, there are commensal (friendly) bacteria in the gut that when we have too much can actually directly cause Autoimmune Diseases. Interesting, right?


For more information on how to choose the right probiotic for you, reach out to us today.


A recipe for gut health full of probiotics >> Sauerkraut & Chickpea Bowl



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