Probiotics Are Not Always a Good Idea...

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I have been getting A LOT of feedback from you guys. So, so many of you are struggling with digestive issues.

As you know, I totally get it. I've struggled with issues for years. But then things got worse and it forced me to delve deep into the newest research on what IBS actually is. And how many of us (over 75%) with IBS have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) as well.

If you want to learn more about what IBS is, SIBO and how to deal with these issues, join our Nourishing Minds Tribe. On Friday, I posted a video all about these issues and how to get testing and heal for good.

Today, I wanted to focus on a common mistake I see many people with IBS and/or digestive issues make.

And that's taking or eating probiotics.

Say what?!?!

You talk about probiotics all the time (see evidence here and here). Yes, I LOVE probiotic rich food!

But here's the thing, if you are taking probiotic supplements or eating a ton of fermented foods, you are not going to fix the dysbiosis of gut flora and you could potentially be making the issue worse, especially if you have SIBO.

Probiotics Are Not Always a Good Idea

You have trillions of microorgranisms in your large intestine, many of which are bacteria. With SIBO, these bacteria begin to invade the small intestine, an area of your digestive tract that should be sterile. This invasion of bacteria into your small intestines is of both the good and bad guys...so often taking probiotics or eating fermented foods is just adding flame to the fire.

This is also why FODMAP sensitivity generally becomes worse with SIBO, as its feeding all the bacteria in the small intestine, in a place where it shouldn't be. Hence all the intense bloating, gas, pain, belching, reflux and sensitivity to almost all foods, but especially FODMAP rich foods and carbohydrates in general. If you read this post, I had realized I had SIBO so to manage symptoms I temporarily took carbohydrates out of my diet until I could figure out how to solve the issue.

The answer is taking a breath test to confirm SIBO, and from there treating with antiobiotics or antimicrobials (herbal antiobiotics). Probiotics cannot kill off the overgrowth or dysbiosis (unless using very specific strands in high doses, something I will do for clients who do not wish to do testing and an antimicrobial protocol). Taking probiotics and/or eating fermented foods IS something I do with clients, but not until we have treated the SIBO or dysbiosis of gut flora. This is the final stage of healing, where we recolonize the gut flora using probiotics and prebiotics supplementation.

So for the general population without digestive issues, consume fermented foods (or take a probiotic supplement if you do not enjoy these foods). Slowly increase your intake to help your body get used to this. They are CRUCIAL to improving your immune system, encouraging your bowels to keep moving via the migrating motor complex.

If you believe you have SIBO, I would stop fermented foods and/or probiotics supplements as you could be making the overgrowth worse. I would recommend seeking help in getting testing and treatment, and once treated you can add these foods back in!

If you have ruled out SIBO as the cause of your IBS and believe it may be dysbiosis of your gut flora, probiotics can be consumed as they help improve your migrating motor complex (MMC), but I would keep in smaller amounts and know that you still have to treat the dysbiosis- probiotics alone cannot do this (again unless using very specific types and strands).

Got questions? No worries, I was SO confused when learning this. Email me at thediehardfoodie@gmail.com if you are interested in learning more or if you would like to work together to heal your digestion and reclaim your life!