T Nation

Probiotics Recommendation


#1

I have searched on here and haven't had much luck finding anything recent. I have IBS and I know some people have had luck with probiotics. Any recommendations? There are so many on the market and I suspect many of them are useless. Any info is appreciated!


#2

Unfortunately I can’t answer your specific question on recommending a brand of probiotic, as my work in this area hasn’t been related to IBS.

In the course of other work however some part of it does have to do with IBS.

Briefly, the human gut microbiome normally has 1000 or more types of bacteria, in an amount such as 100 trillion cells. Relative to this, for example a product which provides say 6 types of bacteria in a total amount of say 10 billion CFU’s (which pretty much is “cells”) is pretty much a joke. Even if every single bacterium made its way safely into the intestines, they’d be outnumbered 10,000 to 1 by what’s already there. At least if comparing on a total basis: if considering only the proximal small intestine, then the outnumbering would not be as bad. However even then we run into the issues that administered lactobacilli, for example, are found present for only about 3 hours. And basically, bacteria that are capable of colonizing the intestine will already be there, unless one has never been exposed to it before. As the probiotics are generally common bacteria, usually one will have been exposed before anyway. (Or when the probiotic is comprised of unusual bacteria, this tends to be with no evidence behind them and chosen apparently just because they’re easily cultured and commercially available.)

However, despite these problems, IBS is one of the few things for which probiotics have shown benefit in some instances, more towards alleviating specific symptoms rather than generally overcoming the condition. A general review is here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3785618/

On specific products, I cannot now recall if I have read a reference on VSL#3 and IBS. I did read one about that product recently on a completely different subject, which is why it comes to mind now. At least the number of bacteria of that product is plausible.

Certainly part of the problem is adverse balance of bacteria. Agents reducing amounts of problem bacteria could be of as much help as introducing, usually transiently, some beneficial bacteria. One method is treatment with rifaximin: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21208106


#3

I don’t have IBS but I do suffer from a uncomfortable gut when I have to eat outside my normal diet.

The thing that I found to help me is drinking a couple of serves of Kombucha a day for a week or so. Especially if I’m travelling I try to keep getting Kombucha and it seems to help a lot.

I’d look into fermented foods, not sure if it helps IBS but definitely has helped my guts.


#4

OP,

I don’t have IBS but I have found my gut health has improved by incorporating a little bit of fermented foods daily.

1 tbps of Raw apple cider vinegar in the morning and again in the evening.

You can also try Sauerkraut and Kimchi as well


#5

Unfortunately, storebought sauerkraut and kimchi are often pasteurized and devoid of living bacteria. And with sauerkraut, sometimes the liquid is vinegar instead of fermented brine, so even if not pasteurized it’s of no probiotic value. Unless sure of the source, homemade is the way to go with fermented vegetables.

Commercial yogurt is also of little value, and large-scale commercial kefir is of much less value than homemade, or made by a small, quality supplier.


#6

This has been helpful. Thanks guys!

Bill, in a post from a couple of years ago I see you mentioned making your own probiotics by putting a pill in a carton of ultra-pasteurized milk. Can you talk more about this?

Dave


#7

That is something I did a few years back but lost interest in. Great memory! I’d forgotten about it myself till you mentioned.

The reasons for becoming disinterested were:

  1. If a bacterial strain is capable of colonizing the GI tract - which requires that it on average reproduces at least as fast as it’s swept downwards - then it won’t have to be re-administered, re-administered, re-administered. If a product requires this, then the bacteria are not natural commensals in the human microbiome anyway. As it turns out, the bacteria used in commercial probiotics usually (not always) have a lot more to do with commercial ease of production than with being genuine commensals. Studies have shown they remain present only for brief periods. The products I was buying to culture further didn’t hold up when I researched them further.

  2. I didn’t notice a benefit.

  3. At some later point I started making kefir and while continued use also surely isn’t proving me any true commensals I don’t have in my system already, I like it. Even if drinking further of the bacteria does nothing for me, which it might not, the kefiran (a polysaccharide that is produced) has health value.


#8

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Unfortunately, storebought sauerkraut and kimchi are often pasteurized and devoid of living bacteria. And with sauerkraut, sometimes the liquid is vinegar instead of fermented brine, so even if not pasteurized it’s of no probiotic value. Unless sure of the source, homemade is the way to go with fermented vegetables.

Commercial yogurt is also of little value, and large-scale commercial kefir is of much less value than homemade, or made by a small quality supplier.[/quote]

Fair enough, though raw apple cider vinegar (with mother) is definitely not pasteurized. It’s pretty cheap too (get Bragg’s).

I’m going to give homemade kimchi a go


#9

3 - Why is ACV not pasteurized?
Use the Bragg’s ACV Drink regularly to enjoy all the health benefits of ACV (consult your physician or healthcare giver for your specific suitability and use).

Pasteurization is the heating process intended to remove potential problem bacteria from consumable liquids such as milk, juices etc. However, this process will also remove delicate nutrients and enzymes that may constitute a major portion of the food value of that consumed. In the case of Bragg?s Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, pasteurization would eliminate the “mother”, a major health giving factor of our vinegar.

https://bragg.com/products/acvFAQ.html#acv_faq2

Highly recommend this stuff


#10

I am interested in making some homemade sauerkraut and possibly kefir too. Time to do some research.

Also, after reading lots of reviews, I did order some VSL#3. Going to give that a try. Need to get back on the ACV bandwagon too. Used to drink it, but haven’t been consistently.

Dave


#11

[quote]ozzyaaron wrote:
I don’t have IBS but I do suffer from a uncomfortable gut when I have to eat outside my normal diet.

The thing that I found to help me is drinking a couple of serves of Kombucha a day for a week or so. Especially if I’m travelling I try to keep getting Kombucha and it seems to help a lot.

I’d look into fermented foods, not sure if it helps IBS but definitely has helped my guts. [/quote]

Considering that IBS is a somewhat generalized disorder, how can you be so sure you don’t have IBS, given that what you described sounds similar to IBS? You say that if you go off your diet your have symptoms… It sounds like you have some unknown tummy problem but have found a diet which works with your body to control the discomfort.


#12

[quote]dbart wrote:
I am interested in making some homemade sauerkraut and possibly kefir too. Time to do some research.

Also, after reading lots of reviews, I did order some VSL#3. Going to give that a try. Need to get back on the ACV bandwagon too. Used to drink it, but haven’t been consistently.

Dave[/quote]

Do you live in a big city?

There’s a korea town where I live and looking into it plenty of places sell homemade kimchi which is presumably unpasteurized. I’m going to find out for sure when I go of course


#13

Does anyone know if having certain pets affects the variety of bacteria in your gut? I’m curious about this and what impact it may have on health.

Also (as Bill mentioned), while 10 Billion is much smaller than 10 Trillion, couldn’t mixing resistant starch with the probiotics turn a couple billion cells into a much larger number (or by consuming probiotics with a meal rich in resistant starch)?

Also, probiotics can be of great value for alleviating/preventing diarrhea.


#14

[quote]BulletproofTiger wrote:
Also, probiotics can be of great value for alleviating/preventing diarrhea.[/quote]

This is good to hear because I do suffer from IBS-D. I take immodium everyday just to manage life. Interestingly, Indigo 3G also seems to help stabilize my stomach. It will be nice if probiotics help and I am curious to see if that will aid in my ability to bulk up.


#15

Have you had a food intolerance test done? If not check out the thread I started it should still be on the first page


#16

[quote]BulletproofTiger wrote:
Does anyone know if having certain pets affects the variety of bacteria in your gut? I’m curious about this and what impact it may have on health.[/quote]

It’s known that children who grow up with pets obtain greater bacterial diversity than those who do not. It appears beneficial health-wise.

Certainly man is adapted to such exposures, rather than microbial isolation.

Do you mean could you culture them yourself (as I used to do with Lactobacillus/bifidobacterium products, which will grow in milk) and thus get more effect out of a given capsule? Quite possibly. But questions would be, what bacteria are in the product and why do we want to add them? If our diet is good, then would the point be to push a given bacterium to an unnatural balance? Perhaps so if we have a disease state and it’s found that this gives benefit, but just as a thing to do for the sake of it doesn’t seem to have much of a point. If it’s already present in our GI tract, then it doesn’t need to be added to get levels that are in balance, given the diet. It will have gotten there itself anyway. If it’s not already present, then it doesn’t take a gigantic supply to introduce it.

And most of the particularly interesting beneficial bacteria aren’t commercially available anyway.

The colonic bacteria will not necessarily culture well if at all in milk.

Or if you meant taking resistant starch along with the commercial probiotic, there wouldn’t be a reason why the commercial bacteria would have a relative advantage in using it over the 100 trillion bacteria already present.


#17

I had pretty severe IBS in 2011-2012 but it cleared with changes to my diet, and treating an underlying bacterial infection. Your IBS could also be triggered from Gluten Intolerance, or an MSG allergy. As other possibilites anyways. In terms of microbiome health and colonization of the gut, you need different strains of bacteria then that in dairy probiotics. There actually is only a small few strains that have a huge impact on the immune system and proper biosis of the gut colony.

I recently have been using Miyarisan, a japanese probiotic strain that is probably the most potent and helpful one I have ever used. Alongside some really other great ones are AOR probiotics, and Prescript Assist. These ones carry the strains more directly tied with long term colinization and proper gut biosis. I personally take these probiotics for the health benefits. The things a great quality probiotic can do actually affect the whole human body.

Check out this site here,

freetheanimal.com/,

Info on Miyarisan ( Clostridium butyricum)

miyarisan.com/english_index.htm, You can purchase it on Amazon.

also a website run from a guy named Chris Kresser has a lot of info on healing the gut, and helping symptoms of IBS.