Science supports the perks of probiotics, but with so many options to chose from how can you tell what form is right for you?
To begin, a probiotic’s active culture is measured by colony-forming units (CFUs), therefore it is best to choose a formula with billions of microorganisms and several strains, because they all work together as a team.
The following ten probiotic strains each provide their own particular benefits. Take a look and see what ones your body needs most. Then next time you’re selecting a probiotic look for these strains in the formula.
- Saccharomyces boulardii (SB) This aids digestion and gut repair, decreases diarrhoea, counters candida, enhances immunity, increases enzymes and helps synthesise vitamin K and antimicrobial substances. It is the perfect probiotic for a travel kit, because it is heat-stable to 30ºC.
- Acidophilus bacteria Although this dies off quickly in the stomach, the DDS-1 strain can survive for eight days. L. acidophilus can assist acne, hayfever, lactose intolerance, thrush and digestive problems.
- Rhamnosus This clears bacteria that can contribute to diarrhoea and UTIs. One important study has found that pregnant women taking the Rhamnosus GG strain were half as likely to have children with eczema.
- Plantarum Try this anti-inflammatory probiotic for autoimmune diseases, constipation and IBS. It assists antiviral and hormone activity by forming lysine; it also produces antibacterial hydrogen peroxide.
- Casei To reduce anxiety, depression, or diarrhoea, consider casei. A similar probiotic, L. paracasei, helps fatigue, dental health and liver function.
- Lactis This neutralises gluten and lactose intolerance, by minimising damage to the intestinal walls; it has also been shown to improve immunity, ease digestion and lower cholesterol.
- Longum Science shows B. longum’s ability to chelate to metals, neutralise toxins, digest carbohydrates, elevate immunity and decrease constipation. It also assists anxiety and memory.
- Bifidum This has been shown to significantly ease ulcerative colitis.
- Breve Along with its great gut actions, this probiotic can potentially reverse sun damage.
- Streptococcus thermophilus Promotes smoother skin by increasing the lipid ceramide barrier in the dermis. It also breaks down casein in cheese, to reduce allergies.
Caroline Robertson is a naturopath specialising in digestive disorders.