The most doctor-recommended supplements among all existing supplements are probiotics. This is because of the many health benefits of probiotics. However, not all probiotics are created for the same purposes and there are actually some contraindications to taking probiotics.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are good bacteria that help to keep your gut healthy. In theory, if you have sufficient good bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract supporting your immune system, the bad bacteria are kept in check. I usually recommend probiotics to my patients and I also recommend that infants enjoy the benefits of probiotics when indicated.
Unhealthy Ways of Getting Probiotics
One thing you should understand is that you are not going to get enough bacteria in your body by eating yogurt. Yogurt typically contains at most about a 100 million bacteria. This means that if you’re going to take probiotic supplementation, you need to be closer to 15 billion bacteria, even in kids. Babies usually need probiotics in smaller amounts.
Another problem with yogurt is that it is made from dairy. Dairy is on the top two lists of the most highly reactive and highly inflammatory foods. This shows that this is not the best option for those with dairy sensitivity, who are trying to eat yogurt to get probiotics. Now, yogurt is being made from coconut milk or soy milk, but still, yogurt is not your best source of probiotics.
Another problem with yogurt as your source of probiotics is that yogurt is usually sweetened with sugar, which is bad for the good bacteria in your gut. Sugar feeds and fuels the bad bacteria, which is going to create a higher bad overgrowth by eating sugar in general. Some probiotics sold in stores contain sugar. They contradict each other, i.e. mixing of beneficial bacteria with sugar. A lot of medication such as oral contraceptives and birth control also disrupts good bacteria in the gut.
There is something more prevalent nowadays called SIBO – Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth. SIBO is quite different from Yeast Overgrowth. Oftentimes, when you have yeast overgrowth, you are most likely going to have SIBO. With the yeast overgrowth, if you are treating it with medication, it is advisable to use an antifungal medication, while for bacteria overgrowth, you have to use certain types of antibiotics.
Usually, I refer my patients to a gastroenterologist I work with and he does the SIBO test on them. What is being measured is methane gas. If methane gas is present in your gut, you have an overgrowth of SIBO and if you have an overgrowth of small intestinal bacteria, then it is recommended that you avoid any probiotics containing acidophilus. I usually treat my patients for dysbiosis before prescribing acidophilus to them.
What dysbiosis means is there could be an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria in the small intestine. This anti-fungi will kill the bad bacteria that are in the gut, and the release of toxins takes place in the process. These toxins, if present in the gut, can make you bloated, nauseous, create rashes on your body, intestinal pain, etc. These are not reactions but bad bacteria in yeast dying off in the small intestine. Some people get activated charcoal to reduce the uncomfortable bloating that they are experiencing.
If you suspect any of these symptoms, get a test done, it is usually a breath test.