How To Take Probiotics

Biocare have recently upgraded all their probiotics. Most of you take either the Biocare Bioacidophilus, Bioacidophilus Forte or Nutrigold’s Pro-otic. I thought this was a good chance to explain a bit about the different products so you can choose the ones that best suit you.

First, Pro-otic is a multi-strain product which you can keep stable at room temperature. It is a lower dose probiotic but very useful. It IS grown on a dairy substrate so I tend not to advise it for dairy intolerants (although actually I have never known anyone react to it, but best to be safe). Prof. Lawrence Plaskett (who trained me) has written a very technical 16 page newsletter about probiotics called Bowel Flora, which you may find a useful and fascinating read so check it out if you need convincing why probiotics are so important to wellbeing and health. The resulting product is Nutrigold’s Pro-otic, which is why I like it.

The Biocare ones are all dairy-free and come in several different types for adults and children.

Basically, all the Bio-acidophilus products actually contain the two key beneficial strains: bioacidophilus and bifido bacteria. The difference is in the strength.

The standard one (Bioacidophilus) is now 10 billion bacteria cells per capsule (was 8 billion), the Bioacidophilus Forte is now 30billion (was 24) and a new product has also just been launched: Bioacidophilus Forte Plus, which contains a whopping 75 billion per capsule.

I normally recommend 1-2 caps per day of the Bio-acidophilus, but as you can see from the prices, sometimes it can be cheaper and easier to just take 1 capsule of a stronger one. Depends on your preference and needs.  I quite favour dividing dose in general so that you get some in the morning and some at night.

To help, I attach Biocare’s latest Probiotics Update leaflet which describes each of the products for adults and children, with prices. Try working out how much you pay per capsule – could you save money by buying a larger size or a stronger version? Probably.

For adults, the minimum level I normally prescribe for maintenance is about 5-10 billion per day. Anything that talks in millions by the way is usually a complete waste of time unless you take lots if it. That said, I do like the children’s straws idea –  just give them a couple a day.

For treatment of a suspect gut, I would recommend a minimum of 20-30 billion per day. After antibiotics, I would normally recommend a month of high levels eg. the new Plus product at 75billion 1 a day would be ideal here, or just take 2 of the Forte ones to give 60 billion.

For pregnancy, the Pro-otic or 1 capsule of the Bioacidophilus would be fine, more if you need it. In the last 3 months, you also need to add Bifido Infantis to start providing the baby with the right bacteria for a healthy immune system.

For babies, Bifido Infantis or Trenev’s Lifestart is the right choice up to 6 months and then I like to recommend a combination of this and the banana or strawberry acidophilus powder up to a year. For older children, the acidophilus powder is fine on its own, or use the Nutrigold Pro-otic if they are OK with capsules, or MindLinx if there is any sign of allergies like eczema, food intolerance or whatever as it contains glutamine to help heal an early leaky gut.

Always take good quality probiotics. There are many on the market which are not worth the money you pay as they have generally not been manufactured or stored properly and are dead long before you open them.  Particularly do not think that probiotic drinks are a good substitute for proper probiotics; they are not. Why would you want to give probiotics in a sugar and dairy-laden drink that contains very little of the right bacteria cells? Good marketing. Not so good for health, in my opinion, although I suppose some is better than none!

Always take probiotics on an empty tummy if you want to get the most from them. The stomach acid you produce at the time of eating will destroy some of what you take so to get as much as possible to seed your gut, it’s always best away from food. That said, sometimes people take them with food as it can help digestion. See whatever suits you.

I hope that helps. Probiotics are ALWAYS part of any wellbeing programme I recommend. They are crucial for your digestion, absorption and immune system, to name just a few of their benefits. Remember to read the Bowel Flora factsheet above for more in-depth info.

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