2

votes

Food probiotics or supplement?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 04, 2012 at 3:28 AM

What's more effective for your gut flora? Real food probiotics like fermented foods or taking a supplement? The supplement is more convenient but not natural, opinions?

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on August 04, 2012
at 10:04 PM

Good discussion below. One thing that wasn't mentioned is that store-bought sauerkraut and kimchi might have all kinds of nasty ingredients added, so read the label.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on August 04, 2012
at 06:22 PM

Perhaps the legitimate live-bacteria types are superior in terms of number of bacteria and variety of species, but are they necessary for the average mostly-healthy person, and are they worth the cost especially if they are to be taken indefinitely? Cost/benefit analysis is going to be different for each person, depending on their budget, health conditions and goals, and whether or not they want to take pills for the rest of their lives, but I'd say in most cases there is no need to shell out the money for the pills and take whatever binders and things are also in them.

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 04, 2012
at 05:53 PM

Gio, it doesn't matter if you take probiotic supplements or not. You ALWAYS need to keep feeding your gut flora. High-quality, FOS/MOS-containing, multi-species probiotic supplements are superior to fermented food (a lot of people don't like to believe that science can make anything superior to mother nature, but this is one of the few cases where human ingenuity trumped Mama Nature.)

1e36119906da54831601a7c23674f581

(698)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:55 PM

Also:http://coolinginflammation.blogspot.com/2012/06/dr-oz-on-gut-flora-repair.html

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on August 04, 2012
at 05:09 AM

I agree, VB, that when possible whole food is best, especially when cost is an issue, but that there are cases that need a boost. I would never advise anyone against seeking some additional help, if they can afford it and if there is a specific need they have for the supplement, whether it's a vitamin or probiotics. Whole food first, when reasonable, and supplements when needed. Never say no to something that you need just because "cavemen didn't have it" or anything similar!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on August 04, 2012
at 05:02 AM

True, food is always better, but only for relatively healthy people. However, for people with totally messed up flora only food is not enough sometimes and they need professional strength probiotics. But it is a challenge to find a good brand with alive cultures and without any additives.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:54 AM

Yeah luckie, you're right. Besides it's a more natural approach. Supplements should only be used when absolutely necessary.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:52 AM

Or i could just eat sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir. I'm on the fence about this. I heard that flora varies from person to person. What if, when i finish the probiotics, all the bacteria planted in my gut dies off. You have to keep feeding it, right?

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:50 AM

I do agree that some, very optimal, pill-form probiotics can be helpful if they are the type you mentioned, that has live bacteria and food for them while in the bottle. But if it's the choice between one or the other, I'm going to go with the whole foods approach every time. Both for the "not-so-well-known" strains that you mentioned and the cost. There ARE some decent pill-form probiotics on the market, but when it comes to cost/benefit I'm still going with the food every time, though if the cost is not an issue and there is a specific need, I'd say go with both. :)

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:24 AM

I use the Swanson brand. Swanson's Signature which has 66 billion CFU AND very varied strains AND it has FOS in it.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:19 AM

It has fermented milk and soy ingredients. It has cellulose(vegetable fiber) as the coating.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:18 AM

I was thinking about buying Ultimate Flora critical care 80 billion cells with 14 different strains.

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:15 AM

Not necessarily. Probiotic supplements can reach several BILLION CFU, most fermented beverages and foods do not reach this amount of live CFU. The bacteria are only going to be dead if you get a probiotic supplement that does not contain MOS/FOS. If your probiotic supplement doesn't have some type of food for the probiotic, skip it. Otherwise food is superior. Food also has the benefit of having some of the not-so-well-known bacterial strains that are not commonly put in probiotic supplements.

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3 Answers

5
61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on August 04, 2012
at 03:40 AM

FOOD. Preferably home fermented.

The bacteria in many of those pills are dead. Dead bacteria do little, if nothing, to enhance for gut flora. Additionally, there's the cost aspect. Sauerkraut, for example, is as expensive as some good cabbage (can be had around here for less than $1/lb, easily) and some quality salt, and maybe about 20 minutes prep and burp time, depending on your fermentation vessel. Eat a few ounces a day at pennies per serving. How much are the real pills, the ones that contain real live bacteria, and how much do they cost per dose? More than cabbage and salt, that's for sure. Also, how long are you really going to keep that up? If you find a fermented food you like, whether it's kimchi or sauerkraut, you won't want to stop eating it a few times a week.

Also, if you do it yourself, you can be sure that what you're getting is natural, not some mass-spread probiotic that got concocted in the Activia laboratory that they now have dibs on. Anther concern is the inactive ingredient in the pills. What other ingredients are in them? Soy binders, cornstarch, etc? If you make it yourself, you KNOW what is in it.

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:24 AM

I use the Swanson brand. Swanson's Signature which has 66 billion CFU AND very varied strains AND it has FOS in it.

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:15 AM

Not necessarily. Probiotic supplements can reach several BILLION CFU, most fermented beverages and foods do not reach this amount of live CFU. The bacteria are only going to be dead if you get a probiotic supplement that does not contain MOS/FOS. If your probiotic supplement doesn't have some type of food for the probiotic, skip it. Otherwise food is superior. Food also has the benefit of having some of the not-so-well-known bacterial strains that are not commonly put in probiotic supplements.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:54 AM

Yeah luckie, you're right. Besides it's a more natural approach. Supplements should only be used when absolutely necessary.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on August 04, 2012
at 05:02 AM

True, food is always better, but only for relatively healthy people. However, for people with totally messed up flora only food is not enough sometimes and they need professional strength probiotics. But it is a challenge to find a good brand with alive cultures and without any additives.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:52 AM

Or i could just eat sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir. I'm on the fence about this. I heard that flora varies from person to person. What if, when i finish the probiotics, all the bacteria planted in my gut dies off. You have to keep feeding it, right?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:18 AM

I was thinking about buying Ultimate Flora critical care 80 billion cells with 14 different strains.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:19 AM

It has fermented milk and soy ingredients. It has cellulose(vegetable fiber) as the coating.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on August 04, 2012
at 06:22 PM

Perhaps the legitimate live-bacteria types are superior in terms of number of bacteria and variety of species, but are they necessary for the average mostly-healthy person, and are they worth the cost especially if they are to be taken indefinitely? Cost/benefit analysis is going to be different for each person, depending on their budget, health conditions and goals, and whether or not they want to take pills for the rest of their lives, but I'd say in most cases there is no need to shell out the money for the pills and take whatever binders and things are also in them.

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 04, 2012
at 05:53 PM

Gio, it doesn't matter if you take probiotic supplements or not. You ALWAYS need to keep feeding your gut flora. High-quality, FOS/MOS-containing, multi-species probiotic supplements are superior to fermented food (a lot of people don't like to believe that science can make anything superior to mother nature, but this is one of the few cases where human ingenuity trumped Mama Nature.)

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:50 AM

I do agree that some, very optimal, pill-form probiotics can be helpful if they are the type you mentioned, that has live bacteria and food for them while in the bottle. But if it's the choice between one or the other, I'm going to go with the whole foods approach every time. Both for the "not-so-well-known" strains that you mentioned and the cost. There ARE some decent pill-form probiotics on the market, but when it comes to cost/benefit I'm still going with the food every time, though if the cost is not an issue and there is a specific need, I'd say go with both. :)

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on August 04, 2012
at 05:09 AM

I agree, VB, that when possible whole food is best, especially when cost is an issue, but that there are cases that need a boost. I would never advise anyone against seeking some additional help, if they can afford it and if there is a specific need they have for the supplement, whether it's a vitamin or probiotics. Whole food first, when reasonable, and supplements when needed. Never say no to something that you need just because "cavemen didn't have it" or anything similar!

1
6f7dff370a9178fc54125dc9ccde5c36

on August 04, 2012
at 04:43 PM

Good supplemental probiotics need to be refrigerated in store,shipment, and warehouse. There are very few companies that do this. Otherwise it's all marketing because bacteria due at room temperature.

0
1e36119906da54831601a7c23674f581

(698)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:55 PM

If you are going to buy a probiotic, give Dr. Ohhiras a try. I swear to god they are one of the best on the market.. absolutely ridiculous.

1e36119906da54831601a7c23674f581

(698)

on August 04, 2012
at 04:55 PM

Also:http://coolinginflammation.blogspot.com/2012/06/dr-oz-on-gut-flora-repair.html

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