Why You Shouldn’t Take Probiotics Every Day

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Probiotics, probiotics, probiotics.

It seems like everyone is on one these days. Heck, I tell you to take probiotics because ‘gut health is everything’.

While that’s true, there is more to the story.

I am not against probiotics, but here are a few thoughts you should consider when using them.

Dr. Zach Bush, a triple board-certified physician with expertise in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, Metabolism, Hospice and Palliative Care, has some fascinating thoughts on what probiotics actually are, what they can do for you and other solutions for your gut health instead.

Probiotic Problems: Why You Shouldn’t Take Probiotics Every Day

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The Probiotic industry is a 30-billion-dollar industry and with more and more people hearing about the benefits, everyone is reaching for one. This is making more companies make probiotics because of the hipe, but not all are created equal and some can actually do more harm than good.

Certain strains and additives can make people worse

The point of taking a probiotic is to improve gut health, but many probiotics on the market contain ingredients that could actually do the opposite.

Especially if you are sensitive, certain strains found in probiotics can cause acidosis or histamine reaction.

Many people are also sensitive to the ‘prebiotics’ and other added ingredients such as inulin, maltodextrin, magnesium stearate, silica, titanium dioxide etc.

Too Many Copies of the Same Strains

Here is an incredibly interesting thought Dr. Zak Bush mentions. . .

Our gut *should* have somewhere between 500-1,000 species of bacteria living in it, yet most probiotics usually have less than 10 species of bacteria total, that you’re introducing at extremely high numbers.

If you start taking 3 or 10 species of bacteria at 60 billion copies a day, you will very quickly move AWAY from a complex integrated ecosystem of 1,000 species and instead create a “monoculture” of these 3-5 species.

It is possible that being on one single type of probiotic long-term, is the exact opposite of what we want.

We want DIVERSITY of different species, not billions of just 3-10 species. It’s not about having a high amount of good bacteria, it’s about having the right balance and a diverse amount of bacteria.

I have had many clients who were overdoing it on the probiotics which actually made their problems worse.

The Facts on Probiotics

Probiotics can:

  • Have a positive “reset” effect on the gut
  • Prevent bad bacteria from taking over
  • Provide great short-term benefits, like after an antibiotic wipe out
  • Help digest food
  • Promote gut healing
  • Protect you from viruses and disease
  • Improve your mood
  • Improve digestion
  • Heal the skin
  • Prevent many common alignments that occur in childhood

Probiotics can also:

  • Overwhelm the gut eco-system with one species of bacteria, creating a monoculture
  • Build a temporary environment in your system on a daily basis because they can’t colonize the human gut

Probiotics don’t:

  • Increase tight junction function, the velcro-like proteins that allow the body to absorb the nutrients it needs and block the toxins it doesn’t
  • Produce diverse ecosystem of bacteria
  • Generate communication between your gut and its cells

I would like to bring up another interesting thought – Dr. Bush also explains why some people see good results with probiotics at first, but then those results stop:

“You may have had 5-7 dominant species that were really, NOT beneficial to your health, then you overwhelm those species with 5-7 other species that had more of a health benefit, so you feel an initial improvement. If you separate out the placebo effect there is a percentage of people that have some sort of measurable benefit in that first couple weeks on a probiotic.” Talk to those people in 6-12 months? It will probably be somewhere around the same.

How to Properly use Probiotics

Beneficial bacteria are important.

Now, how we get those beneficial bacteria is where we need to pay attention. Please research and decide what is best for you, below is just what I have been doing.

1 . Get outside as much as possible

Dr. Bush believes that the most important thing we can do for our gut health and the best way to get beneficial bacteria is to go outside as often as possible.

The best bacteria for our immune system comes directly from the environment. We breathe it in, we absorb it through our skin, so the best ‘probiotic’ we can get is outdoors and you can only get it in nature. Which is one of the reasons gardening and getting outside with no shoes on is so incredibly healing to the body.

Related Article: Benefits of Grounding

2. Rotate and don’t take it every day

Taking the same probiotic every day may not be best as you can create an ecosystem of just a few strains of bacteria. Depending on what is going on in my life/body, I take probiotic supplements 1-3 times a week. Sometimes I even take 1-2 weeks off.

I also rotate each week/month to ensure diversity of strains.

If you are dealing with a specific issue, therapeutic, targeted probiotics can really help bring the body back into balance, but overdoing it can bring it out of balance.

3. Fermented Foods

I do eat fermented foods every day. I believe this is a great way to get beneficial bacteria into your body because it’s how nature intended it. Fermenting your own veggies in your own environment will give you hundreds of specifics of good bacteria that can transform your gut.

Things like kimchi, beet kvass, and sauerkraut.

Like anything though, don’t overdo it. Depending on what is going on in your gut, he may need to do some healing before consuming fermented foods.

3. Get Quality Sources

When you do take a probiotic supplement, make sure it’s a quality one. Check out my post on how to choose a probiotic for more details.

My favorite ones include:

Fermented greens powders and protein powders 

Prescript assist probiotic 

 Corganic probiotics

SBO Probiotic

4. Take RESTORE

I like to take this almost every day for gut health.

Restore is a supplement that

  • Increases tight junction function, the velcro-like proteins that allow the body to absorb the nutrients it needs and block the toxins it doesn’t
  • Produce diverse ecosystem of bacteria
  • Generate communication between your gut and its cells

I like to look at this supplement as protection from the toxins that are inevitably in our food as well as helping my body create a diverse ecosystem with the right bacteria my specific body needs at the time.

Read more about RESTORE here.

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2 Response Comments

  • Kelly  April 10, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    I get Dr. Zach Bush’s emails as well and the article you refer to in this blog is incorrect. In his article it says…”A healthy gut should have 20,000 to 40,000 species of bacteria, plus fungi and beyond.” That’s cut and pasted from his article. Not sure why but you said 500-1000 species. Just so far off from what his article said I couldn’t not say something ?.

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