Best Probiotics Strains Worth Having In Your Gut
Best Probiotics Strains Worth Having In Your Gut
How do we know what are the best probiotics strains? Most people know that probiotics are a positive addition to your health regime. But do you know which ones do what?
Let’s find out a little more about what some strains of probiotics can do for us and which ones are worth taking for certain conditions to reap the most benefits of some of the best probiotics strains.
What are probiotics and the best Probiotics strains?
Probiotics are beneficial strains of live yeast and bacteria.
The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics defines “probiotics” as “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. 
Good bacteria are responsible for producing 70% of the energy used by intestinal epithelial cells. They do this by fermenting dietary fibre and making SCFAs (short-chain fatty acids), particularly n-butyrate. 
They are identified by their specific strain, which includes the genus, the species, the subspecies and an alphanumeric strain designation.
There are seven probiotics that are extremely beneficial to our health. They are:
- Bacillus 
What are the benefits of probiotics?
Studies show that consuming probiotics can help support digestion and may offer a range of other health benefits.
Trillions of bacteria and other micro-organisms live in every person’s gut. Research tells us that consuming probiotics can help improve the balance between the beneficial and harmful bacteria that live in the gut. This may help to support digestion as well as provide other health benefits, such as boosting the immune system.
Besides being important in the fermentation of foods and beverages, yeasts have shown numerous beneficial effects on human health. Among these, probiotic effects are the most well-known health effects including prevention and treatment of intestinal diseases and immunomodulatory effects. Other beneficial functions of yeasts are improvement of bioavailability of minerals through the hydrolysis of phytate, folate biofortification and detoxification of mycotoxins due to surface binding to the yeast cell wall. 
In summary, probiotics offer us a wide range of benefits, including:
- improving immune function
- protecting against hostile bacteria to prevent infection
- improving digestion and absorption of food and nutrients
- improving heart health
- strengthening the gut barrier
- boosting brain health
- improving skin health
How do you take probiotics?
Probiotics come in supplement form and it is always important to ensure the brand you are using has the optimal dose and is a high quality product. They may be single strain or multi-strain supplements but for the most part, using multi-strain supplements works well as many probiotics work synergistically with each other.
Some need to be refrigerated and some do not, so its important to follow the instructions so your probiotics are rendered inactive.
It’s best to speak with a Functional Medicine health practitioner to ensure you are using the correct strain and the correct dosage to be most effective. Probiotics can be expensive to buy, so you want to make sure you buy the ones that are going to give you what you need.
Probiotics are also available in foods such as kefir, kimchi, yoghurt, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, kombucha, tempeh, miso, pickles and some types of cheese.
Some of the more researched beneficial strains include:
- Bifidobacterium Bifidum
- Bifidobacterium Lactis
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus
- Lactobacillus Reuteri
- Lactobacillus Rhamnosus
- Saccharomyces boulardii
What are the best probiotics strains to choose when it comes to probiotics?
There are about 170 types of Lactobacillus but one of the most beneficial is L. acidophilus, a probiotic bacterium, occurring naturally in the human gut and other parts of the body.
It assists in breaking down sugars, such as lactose, into lactic acid.
- Protecting against harmful germs as they create an acidic environment that germs do not like.
- Helping to treat symptoms of depression. Studies have found that bacteria in the gut can influence brain chemistry, lowering the risk of getting depression or treating the symptoms of depression.
- Reducing symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome
- Relieving the effects of lactose intolerance by assisting the body in metabolising lactose
- Boosting the immune system by strengthening and balancing the gut microbiota
- Improving symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome by bringing better balance to the gut microbiome
- Managing the symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
- Helping preventing vaginal yeast infections, especially following a course of antibiotics.
Lactobacillus Plantarum is another probiotic of the genus that helps to support general digestive wellness, including nutrient absorption.
These the top four foods in which you can find Lactobacillus abundant:
- Sourdough bread
Studies on B. bifidum shows promise in treating the following conditions:
- infection by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
- irritable bowel syndrome
- restoration of intestinal bacteria after chemotherapy
- lung infections
- ulcerative colitis
- certain kinds of diarrhea
- necrotizing enterocolitis, a type of infection in the intestinal lining caused by harmful bacteria
- pouchitis, a complication of surgery for ulcerative colitis 
There are three main beneficial Bifidobacterium. These are:
Bifidobacteria Animalis – found in some yogurts and probiotic strains. It helps with immunity, digestion, and fighting food-borne bacteria.
Bifidobacteria Breve – found in the digestive tract and the vagina. In both places, it fights off infection-causing bacteria or yeast. It can help your body absorb nutrients by fermenting sugars. It also breaks down plant fibres to make them more digestible.
Bifidobacteria Longum – found in the digestive tract. It helps break down carbohydrates and also can be an antioxidant. 
There are several ways to consume B. bifidum, including:
- yogurt with added cultures
- kefir, a fermented milk drink
- fermented foods including kimchi, tempeh, miso, and pickles
- cured meats
- certain wines
- sourdough bread
- some vinegars
Saccharomyces is a probiotic yeast that protects the normal microbiota of the human gut. It was previously identified as a unique species of yeast, but is now believed to be a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker’s yeast).
Several studies have declared S. cerevisiae var. boulardii a biotherapeutic agent due to its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-carcinogenic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune-modulatory properties.
S. cerevisiae is very effective in treatment against gastrointestinal diseases, particularly in the treatment of diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBD, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis), a bowel disorder called relapsing Clostridium difficile colitis, and bacterial overgrowth in short bowel syndrome.
You can take Saccharomyces in the form of a supplement.
Streptococcus thermophilus (S. thermophilus) is a type of probiotic that produces lactic acid in the gut. It helps break food down, absorb nutrients, and fight off pathogenic organisms that can cause disease.
This probiotic is useful for treating diarrhea, colic and constipation.
S. thermophilus is commonly used to produce fermented dairy foods such as yoghurt. You can also find it in supplement form.
The Enterococcus genus is known for being mainly pathogenic, causing serious illness and resistance to antibiotics. But there are safe strains of Enterococcus faecium spp. that have been extensively studied and tested, allowing them to be safely used in the production of food.
This probiotic is used in the making of fermented foods, such as cheese, sauerkraut and tempeh, and is particularly useful in stopping the growth of pathogens.
One of the major benefits of including Enterococcus faecium as a probiotic is that it’s very well suited to surviving the digestive process and flourish in the gut. It also competes with harmful organisms for adhesion sites — areas on the surface of cells to which other cells and molecules can bind. Harmful microorganisms exploit these sites and infect healthy human cells. Probiotic bacteria protect these sites by taking up position and establishing a protective barrier in the gut. 
The bacterium Escherichia coli is often thought of as a pathogen, but it’s typically found in the intestine as a regular part of gut flora. Studies have now found that it’s a vital part of that microbial community because it helps cells absorb iron. 
More research is needed on how to safely ensure levels of this probiotic are beneficial to health.
Bacillus subtilis is a soil-based probiotic that has numerous benefits to our health, including:
- Keeping the gut healthy and heal the intestinal lining
- Treating Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
- Treating IBS
- Improving immune system function and fat metabolism
- reduce inflammation
It’s found in our soil and water supply but as these days, we don’t interact with the soil and environment in the way we used to, our natural exposure to these beneficial bacteria is greatly reduced. 
You can find soil-based probiotics in supplement form.
How we can help
Probiotics are a natural, powerful way to reduce uncomfortable or painful symptoms or simply give you the boost you need to reclaim your health and live well.
Probiotics are transient, they only stay in your gastrointestinal tract for a few weeks at best. Sometimes probiotics can make symptoms worse for people that are suffering from gut related symptoms. We always recommend testing your microbiome to assess exactly what bacteria are present in your gut (both good and bad), then tailor a targeted regime to rebalance and diversify your microbiome.
At Advanced Functional Medicine, our team of experts will investigate your symptoms, provide you with a diagnosis and where appropriate, recommend the best probiotics strains, in the most optimal dosage, for you.