People ask me questions to do with Probiotics all the time, so I thought I’ll give you a quick rundown of the key points.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics, such as L.acidophilus, are responsible for creating a healthy balance of ‘friendly bacteria’ in your gut.
They are beneficial live microorganisms that basically build a protective layer in your body by lining your intestines. That’s how they prevent harmful substances from getting into your bloodstream. Since more than 70% of the body’s immune system are based in the gut, these friendly little helpers are fairly important.
When your count of probiotics is low this results in digestive upsets as you are lacking essential enzymes to break down food. You might also get ill, as the naturally occurring harmful bacteria in your body are not kept in check.
Top Probiotic Foods
Allowed on the Candida Diet:
- Sauerkraut & Kimchi (fermented cabbage)
- Tempeh (fermented Tofu – useful for vegans on the candida diet)
- Algae (Spirulina, Chlorella…)
- Kefir (fermented dairy or similar beverage like coconut milk; containing many beneficial cultures including Lactococcus lactis Rosell-1058 which works antimicrobial)
- Live cultured Yogurt (preferably goats’ yogurt as easier to digest and less likely to cause allergic response)
These really are the best probiotics you can take food-wise.
It is well worth learning to make your own fermented probiotic foods. Then you can slowly phase out the expensive probiotic supplements you have been taking.
Best avoid these if you have Candida:
- Kombucha (fermented tea that due to it’s acidic and mildly alcoholic nature is not ideal for Candida sufferers until virtually no symptoms are present)
- Pickles (generally contains vinegar that is not allowed on the candida diet)
- Miso Soup (fermented soup from soy beans – not recommended during stage 1 and 2 of the diet as high in sodium and can cause allergic response)
When do you need to take Extra Probiotics?
- When you’re taking antibiotics you should also take probiotics (antibiotics kill all bacteria in your gut, even the good ones).
- When you suffer from dysbiosis. (An imbalance of good & bad bacteria that manifests itself as bloating, trapped foul smelling air in your tummy and constipation – The best probiotic strains contain Bifidobacterium bifidum Rosell-71 and Fructooligosaccharides “prebiotics”, which work as food for the probiotics and improve transit time)
- When you are taking antifungals (kills good micro-organisms, too).
- When you suffer from IBS or Crohn’s Disease (digestive health issues that disrupt the healthy gut flora)
- When you have skin conditions like eczema or acne (sign of leaky gut or impaired immune system)
- When you are suffering from prolonged stress, trauma or moving to a different climate and habitat with exotic foods (all these events cause a massive strain on your immune system, so you benefit from an extra probiotic boost).
Probiotics & Candida – Should you start taking them when you begin the Candida Diet?
The idea is to start with a low dose of probiotics (around 5 billion CFU). Then you work your way up to a higher dose of 20-50 billion CFU. And if your immune system has been taken a proper knock you might even have to take probiotics as strong as 100 billion CFU.
But don’t let that concern you when you first start the candida diet. Initially you don’t need to take a probiotic supplement at all.
If you were to take high strength probiotics this would most likely over-burden your liver and make you sick.
Even natural probiotics such as Kefir or Yogurt are generally not well tolerated. They can cause you sniffles, a sore throat or give you a slight feeling of nausea. So in my opinion to give your body the best chance of uninterrupted healing, don’t have yogurt initially.
And even when you decide to re-introduce yogurt 2-3 weeks into the candida diet, go easy on it. Start with no more than 2 table spoons (no sugar) and work your way up to more if no side effects. The last thing you need now is some allergy symptoms on top of everything else! The easiest to digest is sheep’s yoghurt (and it doesn’t even smell as if a goat had breathed in your face like goats jogurts generally do, ha!)
Take them at least 3 hours apart from your Antifungals
- For instance you could take them first thing in the morning 20 mins before breakfast with a big glass of water (advisable if you have probiotics that need to be kept in the fridge).
- Or towards the end of your meal (because then your stomach produces the least amount of acid, so the probiotics have a better chance to get to where they are supposed to go).
- If you have forgotten to take your dose or it would have been too close to your antifungal intake then you take it mid morning or mid afternoon with a big glass of water (unless otherwise stated on the packet; some work better with food).
- Always take them away from very acidic/highly spiced foods or hot beverages (Swallowing it with a big gulp of coffee or steaming soup is a big nono. These little buggers are very sensitive and die easily. They like an alkaline environment, so take them with some vegetables or a glass of water works best.)
How long do you need to take them for?
Many people feel so much better from taking probiotics that they are reluctant to stop taking them for fear of getting ill again. Especially if you are leading a hectic lifestyle it can be a good idea to take probiotics preventatively to support your immune system.
That said, I am a firm believer in real food, and that given a chance, the body becomes strong enough to keep candida in check on its own.
I think once you have treated your digestive issues, removed any allergens and created some balance in your life, whilst enjoying a varied diet with fermented vegetables then you won’t need to take supplements any more.
Fermented food is the best probiotic – Try it! And whenever you do feel a bit under the weather or you feel a yeast infection coming, you can still up your probiotics’ intake temporarily with help of supplements. Otherwise if your body gets used to the high amounts of probiotics, then you’d really be forced to carry on taking them, to avoid a relapse. This can become very expensive.
Mini Buying Guide – What is the best Probiotic to get?
Look for these 3 Main Criteria:
- Buy them from a probiotics specialist, who can demonstrate years of research & experience in selling probiotics. (Here’s a list of reputable brands. Don’t be tempted to buy cheap supplements from your supermarket or no-name brands online. They tend to be far less effective.
- They have 6 – 15 different strains of probiotic organisms.
- They have 20 billions + microorganisms and are coated in such a way that they survive contact with bile and stomach acid.
What does CFU mean? How many strains should they have?
CFU stands for Colony Forming Units, basically how many microorganisms one capsule of your probiotics contains for instance 20 billion.
Which Probiotic is the Right One for You?
Decide what probiotic to take based on the severity of your symptoms and how they manifest themselves. Different strains of microorganisms live in different areas in your body and do different things.
- For instance there are strains that help to make your stomach flatter, wohoo!
- Others promote regularity (they help you poop!)
- Others overrule bad bacteria in your intestines- boosting your immunity.
- Again, others predominantly regulate the acidity in your stomach. So if you’ve been experiencing a lot of stomach pain, indigestion, heartburn or acid reflux, then perhaps you might want to concentrate on creating a healthy flora in your stomach first, before you look into alleviating other symptoms.
A good probiotic should definitely contain Lactobacillus acidophilus and several other well researched strains for instance Bifidusbacterium and Lactococcus lactis (which is naturally present in Kefir yogurt and has strong antimicrobial properties), that are bile resistant and adhere to the gut walls to make it impermeable to bad bacteria.
Ideally you are working with a specialist who can prescribe you the best probiotic for you.
But let’s face it, most people have long lost face in the health system, and either can’t bear seeing another “specialist” or they are simply broke, like me, hah!
Either way you can still find highly effective probiotics that help you heal.
Do You need to Rotate them?
It’s a good idea to rotate your probiotic supplements from time to time, as the yeast organisms in your intestines can otherwise adapt to even the best probiotic over time.
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The Best Probiotic Supplements & My Personal Experience with Taking Pro- and Prebiotics