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Why should I take a probiotic? And what should I look for in probiotics for the best result?

With research and better understandings of the connections of the gut microbiome accumulating, there are, in our opinion, more and more substantial reasons to take a multi-strain probiotic on a daily basis. Research is filling in the complex mystery of the physiological connections between the bacteria in our intestines and the rest of the systems of our body.

One particular study explains and assesses the connections between a healthy microbiome and heart disease, particularly in contributing to or reducing atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Gut microbes' influence on human emotional response, mood, and behavior is also accumulating understanding. More recent studies are looking more closely at ways of protecting against age-related cognitive decline by improving gut microbial health, while other studies are accumulating and improving our understanding of how gut microbiome health affects neurological development in humans. And finally, a recent review shows modest improvements in hay fever allergic rhinitis quality of life for patients taking probiotics.

A common theme in this area of research is the connection between chronic inflammatory disease and a dysregulated gut microbiome. The take-away, for us at least, is that there are too many indicators for reasons to support gut microbiome health, and very few reasons not to focus on this area of preventive medicine.

It is for these reasons that we ourselves take a daily probiotic with multiple strains of well-researched bacteria, and we recommend our patients take one as well. It is especially important for pregnant mothers, people suffering from chronic pain and chronic inflammatory diseases, and anyone suffering from mental health challenges.

Which one should you take? Well, the evidence supports multiple strain combinations over single strains. So find a room-temperature stable, non-sugar containing, multi-strain probiotic with an enteric coating, preferably with at least 5 billion cells, per capsule. Combining this with a diet high in fiber (fruits and vegetables, or fiber supplements), and low in processed sugars will improve and maintain gut microbiome integrity. There is also evidence that combination with Chines herbal formulas, can support selective growth of strains associated with health.

We hope this answers questions you may have and helps you make a more informed decision about probiotics and your health.

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