Probiotics

I’ve been talking with a post-op who has been going through – well, putting it bluntly – intestinal hell.  After sitting and talking with her for quite some time something became blaring obvious – to me, anyway.

This lady was in drastic need of some honest assessment of her lifestyle AND a good round of probiotics.

She looked at me blankly when I asked, “Have you tried probiotics yet?”

She really wasn’t even sure what they were, and why the heck she ought to try them.

So we talked some more, and we came to an understanding.  She was willing to adjust her lifestyle a bit AND try a round of probiotics.

I heard back from her the other day.  She was a little weepy – as in, with GRATITUDE.  She couldn’t believe what a huge difference those little adjustments made and wanted to know why more post-ops didn’t know about probiotics and how to take them.  I promised her I’d post something here on the blog about them.

Here’s the thing – you don’t have to be in intestinal hell to consider making some healthier adjustments and incorporating more probiotic-rich foods in your diet.  It makes a lot of sense, actually.

So there are some basic things to understand.  Like – there are different types.

Yeah, I know a total ‘duh’ for some – but it wasn’t that many years ago that I didn’t know that.

Yes, there are many different strains in each TYPE of probiotic as well.

You may need one TYPE of probiotic.  You may need a specific strain of a particular type of probiotic.

Yes – a lot of people find great success with one brand or the other.  Just because it doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean that you should write off probiotics altogether.

There are dairy TYPES of probiotics (reuteri, culturelle, etc.).

There are soil TYPES of probiotics (Primal Defense Ultra, and another that I can never consistently find, so I won’t even mention it!).

There’s an interesting theorem out there that if you were a vaginally born breast-fed baby that you have a lesser need in general for supplemental probiotics.

Also interesting, the fact that most of the soil based probiotic in the United States has been obliterated by the chemically based farming that has been going on for so many decades.

So why would you need probiotics to even begin with?

There are these great little microorganisms in your gut – bacteria, actually.  Some of ’em are good, some of them not so good.  If you get an imbalance it can seriously mess up your gut (and world).

Reasons the bad bacteria might gang up and try to take over the world?

  • A course of antibiotics may well eliminate the healthy colonies of intestinal flora in your gut.
  • Chronic dehydration often plays a starring role in this – supports just the type of environment the bad bacteria love.
  • Sugars and processed/refined foods (aka simple carbs) feed the bad bacteria.
  • Insufficient dietary fiber intake.


…to name a few.

So – if you need to restore order to your gut there are some basic things you can try doing.

  • Cut out all sugars and simple carbs.  Yeah, I know – not easy.  But is restoring order worth it to you?
  • Get and stay hydrated.  That means you should be getting in somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 to 120 oz of non-sweetened fluids daily.  That means no artificial sweeteners.  That means no “natural” sweeteners.  That means NO sweeteners of any kind.  You want iced coffee?  Sure, why not.  You want iced tea?  Go for it.  You love iced water with a slice of lemon in it?  Perfect.  This is a super, extremely, monumentally important part of getting everything set to rights.
  • Consider adding some probiotic-rich foods into your diet:  Greek yogurt, kombucha, water kefir, fermented and cultured vegetables, etc…
  • Add in one or both types of probiotics to your world.


Here’s the thing with adding in probiotics… there’s a “better” way of getting there….

Start with adding one of the dairy based probiotic first thing in the morning every day for a week.  If everything is going fine, then….

Add in one soil based probiotic at bedtime every night for a week.

If that is going well, but you still feel like things have not “righted” then move to the next step.

Add one additional dairy based probiotic each morning – for two total each morning, every morning for a week.  If everything is going fine, then…

Add in one additional soil based probiotic at bedtime every night for a week.

If that is going well, but you still feel like things have not “righted” then move to the next step.

Add one additional dairy based probiotic each morning – for three total each morning, every morning for a week.  If everything is going fine, then…

Add in one additional soil based probiotic at bedtime every night for a week – for a total of 3 at bedtime.

Sense a trend there?

Here’s the thing – it requires that you do something that most of us have been trained NOT to do:  LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

This is not a quick fix.  BUT – most of the patients that I work with on this DO find a happy place and then find a good maintenance level.

I’ve got one post-op that works up to taking EIGHT probiotic a day to get things “righted” – and then comes the work of tapering off…  It’s pretty much just the same as taping up, just in reverse.  Assuming it took getting up to 4 of each type of probiotic to get things straightened out…

First week – take 4 dairy based probiotic in the morning, take 3 soil based probiotic at night.

Second week – take 3 dairy based probiotic in the morning, take 3 soil based probiotic at night.

Third week – take 3 dairy based probiotic in the morning, take 2 soil based probiotic at night.

Fourth week – take 2 dairy based probiotic in the morning, take 2 soil based probiotic at night.

Fifth week – take 2 dairy based probiotic in the morning, take 1 soil based probiotic at night.

Sixth week – take 1 dairy based probiotic in the morning, take 1 soil based probiotic at night.

Seventh week – take 1 dairy based probiotic in the morning, take NO soil based probiotic at night.

Eighth week – no more probiotics.

On the taper down, if you find that you hit a point in time when things go wild again, then go up to the week prior and hold there for a couple of weeks and then try going down again on the taper.

The goal is to get things righted – and then live a lifestyle that doesn’t require the use of probiotics except occasionally.  (i.e., like after a round of antibiotics, or a particularly stressful season in life, or a total junk out, etc.)

OF COURSE – there are some folks who find that life for the most part is gonna include probiotics on a daily basis.  Ideally, they should come from healthy food choices.  In the event that doesn’t work for you – then find your maintenance level and live there.  That’s real life.

So – think about it.  Consider getting real with yourself about your lifestyle, and decide if maybe adding some probiotics into your daily diet isn’t maybe something you should give a whirl.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Tracie says:

    This was a patient post, so obviously written to educate me, and not to preach down to me. Two questions:
    1. What were the lifestyle changes your friend needed to make?
    2. Can’t we just take some pills?

    *Smile*

    Great post.

    1. Dina says:

      Tracie,
      Lifestyle changes she had to make: eliminate a bunch of sugars from her diet for a couple of weeks, and then from then on – make educated/informed choices about when she will incorporate them in the future. (i.e., not indulge at every whim, as she’s been accustomed to doing for the past several years of her post-op life).
      And the super biggie for her: get and stay hydrated. As a post-op she was getting in maybe 30 oz of water a day. SO not okay.
      She was doing a passable job with dietary fiber before all of this, but making a concerted effort to actually really get in what she needed consistently (not hit and miss) has helped tremendously as well.
      The pills will help – and yeah, I guess you could just not make the lifestyle adjustments – but the results are just so far superior when you do the whole approach, most people don’t have any desire to go back.
      *smootch*

  2. Maudie says:

    can you give examples of the food that is soil probiotics?

  3. Lisa Lauenberg says:

    Okay – so why that order – dairy in the morning, soil at night? And why start with dairy? (You know me – I gotta know the logic behind things)

    1. Dina says:

      It’s not important – the order. What’s more important is different times. Why start with dairy? A lot of people respond quickly/easily with that one – and find they don’t have to go to the soil based probiotic. However – if you make a shift to a probiotic-friendly gut in general and incorporate probiotic rich foods in your diet daily – you may not need ANY pill form probiotic!

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