Ask a Doctor: Which Probiotic is Right for You?

June 22, 2014 Updated: June 23, 2014

Q: These days the shelves are full of different probiotics. Do you have any guidelines for choosing among them? Do you recommend any brands in particular?

Dr. Ann Corson: Probiotic choices depend on the individual patient’s needs.

Diagnostic stool testing can reveal deficiencies in different classes of probiotic organisms. Diet plays a huge role in which probiotics may be needed as does prior medical history and medication usage, especially antibiotics.

The American diet is high in processed foods full of sugar, inflammatory fats, and GMOs. This often leads to yeast, fungal, and abnormal bacterial overgrowth. The widespread use of gastric acid inhibitors can result in bacterial overgrowth of the stomach. Low fiber diets can contribute to imbalances in normal colon bacteria.

If you are considering buying a probiotic, first examine your own diet. Eat fresh organic vegetables, fruit in season, and dairy. Eat only grass-fed meat, free-range poultry, or wild-caught fish. Drink pure water. Do not eat any processed foods, grain-fed factory-farmed animals, fish, or dairy.

Fresh fruit should be your main source of sugar. Use other sweeteners such as organic honey sparingly. Limit grains and use only organic non-GMO varieties. Eat naturally fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kefir. Eat lots of fiber.

If you still want a probiotic, buy one with a large variety of strains with high potency.

Dr. Ann Corson is a board certified family medicine and integrative holistic medicine doctor who specializes in treating chronically ill patients.

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