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Choosing A Probiotic: A Personalized Approach

Probiotic Strains Best For You

Do you find yourself wondering – is the probiotic I’m taking the best one for me?

While we don’t have clear answers about whether a particular kind of diet stabilizes a healthy gut environment, we can assert that making these bacterial shifts could possibly lead to a longer-term microbiome balance.

Nutrients, Nov 2014

And that’s where the use of probiotics comes in…because a supplement is the most efficient way to consistently feed your gut BUT you want to make sure it’s appropriate and SAFE for you. Here are my 5 top tips for you to consider when choosing a probiotic.

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Specific Strains

If you want to prevent, prevent a recurrence, or are fighting a particular kind of cancer, please know that there the specific strains linked to cancer cell type. Here’s an example:  Enzymes produced by some gut bacteria can impact circulating and excreted estrogen levels, so microbiota imbalances may result in an increased risk of estrogen-driven cancers like estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. In fact, Bacillus SERIOUS cereus is elevated in breast cancer patients and researchers have suggested that this strain may prompt the growth of cancer.

Cancer Res, Feb 2000

On the other hand, Lactobacillus and Lactococcus are more common in healthy breast tissues than in cancerous tissues, and may have a role in breast cancer prevention. For example, Human studies have shown that consuming Lactobacillus casei reduced breast cancer incidence.

Immunobiology, Jun 2014

Here’s an interesting animal study demonstrating a symbiotic relationship (so this is where probiotics and food working together) . A fermented soy milk beverage containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and bulgaricus, Streptococcus lactis, or various Bifidobacteria inhibited the growth of estrogen-receptor positive human breast cancer.

J Med Food, 2007

These kinds of studies demonstrate that the use of probiotics may complement the cancer prevention profile that cannot be achieved using food alone. If you want more information about how the gut microbiome can fight cancer, watch my youtube clip where I talk about how to eat for a healthy microbiome.    

HERE’S SPECIAL CAUTION: If you are a cancer patient on a PD-1 inhibitor (SO ask your doctor if you’re NOT sure) the newest research suggests that taking probiotics during immunotherapy treatment could actually reduce the chances that your treatment will work. So, until further studies are conducted, I recommend that people undergoing immunotherapy do not take probiotics unless they are specifically called for in a clinical trial (2019 AACR Meeting).

Probiotics only address one aspect of gut health.

If you are having serious gut issues, consider an advanced protocol to inoculate your gut with healthy strains WHILE creating a protective gut barrier. This is going to support your immune system as well. At Cancer Nutrition IQ, our dietitians recommend the Total Gut Restoration kit. It’s a 3-month protocol that SERIOUSLY addresses digestive function and immunity. So, head over to our website and click on SHOP to learn more and you’ll get a discount. Here is the link:

Colony Forming Units

Pay attention to how active your bacteria is….look for CFUs…this stands for colony-forming units AND look closely at the expiration date. If you don’t get enough probiotic activity, you might not get the results you want. Now, the CFU count might be given at the time the capsules were manufactured, so as the product ages, you could be getting far less benefit. That’s the reason we like shelf-stable products, and some guarantee a CFU count for up to five years!

Spore Probiotics

Choose a spore-based probiotic which has Better shelf-life and stability because they don’t require refrigeration and they have much longer shelf-life ratings. One of the most impressive studies has found spore probiotics can improve gut permeability and stop inflammation associated with leaky gut.

World J Gastrointest Pathophys, Aug 2017

Take your probiotic at the right time.

Generally, probiotics are best taken on an empty stomach when the acid content in the stomach is at its lowest and this way the bacteria and yeasts have a better chance of making it into the gut. In most cases, the best time to take probiotics is at bedtime or first thing in the morning. Now, this is not a concern at all if you take spore probiotics because they can survive the harsh acidic environment of the stomach. Visit the SHOP section of this website to learn more about our top recommendation for spore probiotics.

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