What Can’t Probiotics Do?


After birth, our gut is colonised by trillions of micro-organisms called probiotics which we are supposed to have for life. These micro-organisms, mostly beneficial bacteria, are important to the health and wellbeing of our bodies and carry out numerous functions which include enhancing immunity, digesting food and manufacturing energising B vitamins. Each of us have a unique probiotic profile which is influenced by genetics, gender and age, all of which cause it to change throughout our lifetime. This probiotic profile is of course also influenced by our diet and lifestyle.

With increasing research, we are finding out that many probiotic species have specific roles to play in the body including elevating mood, preventing gum disease as well as protecting our heart. So which probiotic supplement should you take? And can you take more than one probiotic supplement?

A probiotic for overall health and immunity

For the overall health and wellbeing of the body, I would normally recommend a broad spectrum probiotic supplement such as Mega Probiotic ND by Food Science of Vermont. Mega Probiotic ND is a non-dairy probiotic supplement containing eight species of friendly bacteria that can colonise the gut after passing through the harsh environment of the stomach. These bacterial species within the formulation include ones that work in the upper and lower half of the gut offering the body multiple benefits of enhancing immunity, digestion and so on.

Mega Probiotic ND is what I would call your core supplement which the whole family can take for the overall wellbeing of the body and you can then add an extra specific probiotic supplement if you have any of the concerns listed below knowing that probiotics can be used alongside any conventional medications without fear of side effects.

A probiotic for low mood

There are many communication pathways between the gut and the brain and so it does not come as a surprise that the gut influences our emotions. The vagus nerve passes through the chest and abdomen connecting the nerves from key organs to the stem of the brain and is thought to be one of the pathways. Another pathway for altering mood is the ability of these probiotics to produce neuroactive compounds that communicate with the cells in the brain which produce the mood elevating and nerve calming serotonin.

Florassist Mood Improve was used in human studies and showed a 50% plus decrease in low mood scores and a 55% improvement in anxiety scores.

A probiotic for your heart and cholesterol

Researchers are now discovering that an important strategy to prevent cardiovascular disease may lie within our intestinal tracts. These beneficial bacteria are a key interface between the body and its genetic structure. The result of these interactions determines our cardiovascular risk, energy metabolism and lipid levels in the body.

Optibac Probiotics For Your Cholesterol contains specific strains of probiotic micro-organisms which have been shown to help maintain normal cholesterol levels. This is turn is heart protective since deposition of cholesterol onto the arteries is a leading cause of high blood pressure leading to cardiovascular disease.

A probiotic for preventing gum disease

Large numbers of the adult population have some form of gum disease. This includes gingivitis which is inflammation of the gums without tooth loss or periodontal disease with receding gums leading to tooth loss. The problem with gum disease is that the infecting bacteria move to the other parts of the body causing inflammation which is why gum disease is linked to heart disease and numerous other concerns.

Florassist Oral Hygiene contains specific probiotics strains which have been shown to compete against the pathogenic bacteria which reside in pockets of gum tissue and hence this supplement may help prevent and treat gum disease.

A probiotic for inflammatory bowel disorders such as IBS & Colitis

Although many general probiotic supplements may work to detoxify and rid the gut of inflammatory compounds and hence help alleviate the symptoms of IBS and other inflammatory bowel disorders, for those suffering from chronic symptoms, the probiotic supplement Ultibio contains the well documented probiotic strain, Lactobacillus plantarum LP299V®. This particular strain has been found to be missing from the gut of those suffering from IBS and its usage was found to help many people free from both upper and lower intestinal problems.

A probiotic for travel

Traveller’s diarrhoea is invariably caused by contaminated or tainted water, poor hygiene by food handlers or food which has been contaminated by insects and/or bacteria. The bacteria responsible for traveller’s diarrhoea include Salmonella, Campylobacter and various strains of E. coli. Normally antibiotics are prescribed but these are not without side effects.

For those seeking to prevent traveller’s diarrhoea, Travel Biotic by Viridian Nutrition may be of benefit. Travel Biotic contains a unique non-pathogenic yeast called Saccharomyces boulardii. It helps to increase the numbers of bacteria residing in the gut and in turn these bacteria produce lactic acid which prevents pathogens from thriving. The idea is to use this supplement to prevent and to treat diarrhoea.

A probiotic for the intimate area

Vaginal thrush and other bladder infections may arise as a result of a lack of beneficial bacteria residing in the urinary tract. Optibac Probiotics For Women contains two very specific researched strains of beneficial bacteria which have been proven to reach the intimate area. There is often an increase in recurrent bladder infections during menopause and pregnancy and For Women is perfectly safe to take in both these transitions of life.

A probiotic for problem Skin

Maintaining healthy levels of beneficial bacteria has benefits beyond digestion. Introducing these beneficial bacteria might help to prevent or treat certain skin complaints such as acne, rosacea and eczema. It is theorised that these bacteria reduce inflammation which can trigger many skin concerns.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, a probiotic strain originating from the human intestinal microbiota, has been the subject of more than 760 scientific studies and 260 clinical trials. This particular probiotic strain has been found to be of benefit for skin disorders such as acne, eczema and allergies associated with food sensitivity.

Probiotics during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding

Many pregnant women suffer from digestive concerns which may include constipation, heartburn, diarrhoea and stomach cramping to include a few. Incorporating probiotics from food sources such as live yoghurt and kefir helps promote healthy intestinal function and relieve many of the digestive concerns during pregnancy.

Probiotics are generally regarded as safe to take during pregnancy however because of the wide range of probiotic strains and the limited research, it is stated that there does not appear to be any risk associated with probiotic usage.

Optibac Probiotics For Babies and Children is a probiotic supplement which can be used during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding to enhance the health of the baby’s immune function.


Probiotics are certainly the cornerstone of good health. Introducing these beneficial bacteria through the use of fermented foods such as sauerkraut, live yoghurt, tempeh and kimchi is a good idea however supplementing can help to keep you in the best possible state of health.

This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner.

Gut Health, Shabir Daya | , , , , , , , ,
  • Susan

    Do you have an alternative recommendation for the Food Science probiotic, I’ve been taking it for a little over 30 days and I haven’t seen a difference at all with this particular probiotic do you have another brand you can recommend?

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Susan, unless you have a digestive disorder, you would not notice immediate benefits taking a probiotic. If you do have any digestive concern, then you may wish to consider Probi 20 Billion or 30 Billion. Best wishes Shabir

  • Claire S

    Hi Shabir, great article. Do you have any recommendations on which probiotics to take if you have SIBO? Would it be the same as the IBS recommendation? Thanks

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Thank you Claire. In a pilot study, a broad spectrum probiotic containing L plantarum with some other species found an 82% improvement in this condition. So I would recommend Mega Probiotic ND as the first choice. Shabir

  • Claire S

    Brilliant, thanks Shabir!

  • Jean Harris

    Hi Shabir, very interesting reading. I have high cholesterol 5.8 doctor not concerned, but I am. Can you recommend something that will help. Also I had a nasty fall on some black ice 3 weeks ago. Fell on the sacrum which is still bruised and still painful, all the nerves are irritated can you recommend anything. I would be very grateful, I don’t want to take Tramadol for the pain. Many thanks, Jean

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    You are welcome Claire.

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Jean, I would start using a supplement called CholestSafe by Food Science of Vermont which contains red yeast rice and policosanol – both these have been found to reduce elevated cholesterol levels by almost 30% within eight weeks usage. With reference to the alleviation of pain, please use Ultra COX-2 Combo by Swanson which contains herbs that act in a similar fashion to some conventional anti-inflammatories without gastric disturbances. Shabir

  • Woodley_Kid_Too

    Shabir, Have you heard of runners diarrhoera? This is a problem which occurs to runners and walkers who after about 10-15 minutes of exercise need to use the toilet very urgently. Do you think that a probiotic supplement would assist and stop this?

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi, I have heard of this and there are many possible reasons. For endurance athletes it may simply be a case of stress hormones that cause inflammation in the gut. For more relaxed exercise with the same symptoms, it could possible be leaky gut syndrome. In either of the cases, a probiotic would certainly not be detrimental and may perhaps help. Shabir

  • Hazel addison

    Hi , i have fibromyalgia , artheritus and arterial fibrillation , I’m on tablets HRT and beta blockers and orimorph for pain , I have digestive problems including hiatus hernia and ulcers from all the medication I find it really difficult to lose weight and sleep and get toilet problems IBS and constipation , would you recommend a pro biotic ? I’m 50 !! Thankyou .

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Hazel, Probiotics are not going to worsen any of your concerns and actually some of the ones mentioned such as Probi 20 Billion may be of value for inflammatory bowel concerns. Shabir

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Leonora, glad to hear that everything is on track. The Optibac probiotic and apple cider vinegar are great supportive products but at this moment in time I would suggest that we consider the use of CholestSafe capsules by Food Science of Vermont. This supplement contains red yeast rice and policoosanol both of which have been studied extensively and found to reduce cholesterol levels by a substantial amount within eight to twelve weeks usage. CholestSafe also contains artichoke and guggul known to support healthy liver function because this is where cholesterol is manufactured and ultimately destroyed. Please take one capsule in the morning and two before bedtime since cholesterol production is higher during the early hours of the morning. I would after twelve weeks get a cholesterol check done so we can see the impact of using this supplement.
    Best wishes,

  • http://www.searchwells.com Leonora

    Will do! Fingers crossed. Will order now! Thank-you again, as always!!

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    You are very welcome Leonora.

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    For elevated cholesterol, definitely CholestSafe. Olive Leaf helps stabilise BP within a 24 hour period but its impact is nowhere near as good as red yeast rice and policosanols which are known to reduce high cholesterol markedly.