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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

probiotics: local civilians and special forces ?

This is an attempt to understand why so many different types of probiotics are available.

When taking probiotics, the most obvious type would seem to be the main friendly 'locals' of the human gut. Usually thats thought to be lactobacillus acidophilus (small intestine), and bifidobacteria (longum ? bifidum ? ) in the colon. And yet there are lots of other types of probiotics on the market.

One possibly theory is that, if you regard your 'gut' as the local neighborhood (your gut flora can weigh around 3 lbs), then the 2 types mentioned above are the 'locals'. With dysbiosis, the neighborhood has been taken over and the locals driven out. Possibly some of the other types of probiotics marketed are supposed to be 'special forces' that can fight the 'baddies' much more effectively. Or perhaps it's just that they can patent their own newly found strains of probiotic and make more money.

One example is Saccharomyces boulardii. This is a yeast. You would expect it to be the worst thing to take to fight candida in the gut. And yet it is promoted as such. One theory suggested is that it is so good at out-competing candida that it aggressively wins back the neighborhood. Florastor is one such brand. Dr Hyman suggests taking this along with the normal human probiotics.

Other examples are lactobacillus sporogenes, Lactobacillus casei Shirota (the probiotic in yakult. Presumably patented), rhamnosus, etc etc.

So perhaps one categorisation of probiotics could be the 'friendly locals' and 'special forces' (or perhaps not).

None of the above should be regarded as recommendation.

Dr Hymans probiotic suggestions for IBS:

I don't usually recommend brands, but for these probiotics the quality varies so much that I suggest taking two specific brands. Take one packet of VSL3 (http://www.vsl3.com/) twice a day for 1 to 2 months, which has over 450 billion organisms per packet. I also recommend one to two packets of Florastor (http://www.florastor.com/) twice a day for 2 months, a special probiotic that helps further normalize gut function.

http://ultrawellness.com/blog/curing-ibs-without-drugs

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