Will Probiotics Help Your Hormones & Gut Issues?
Probably not. Yes, they provide some extra good bacteria, and prebiotics (usually found in probiotic blend) feed good bacteria as well, but essential for our health? Sometimes, yes, sometimes no.
Probiotics have gotten a lot of press, as we have about 4 pounds of gut bacteria, and it can be hard to keep that all in balance! However, it's not just about replacing bacteria, but understanding the many reasons why there may be an imbalance such as:
- High estrogen, or normal estrogen in the case of low progesterone; imbalanced hormones
- Poor diet (e.g. lots of sugar, carbs, soda, artificial sweeteners, processed foods)
- Stress (e.g. always on the go, emotional, poor sleep, other concerns that haven't been addressed)
These multiple concerns also demonstrate that it's not just about replacing good bacteria, but there's more to bringing back those good critters such as a healthful diet, stress management, hormone balance, etc. There's no out supplementing a not so healthy diet/lifestyle.
Whenever I give supplements, it's usually in a therapeutic range to heal, generally multiple strains, except sometimes in certain cases like post antibiotics (anti- kills bacteria, including what's in our gut) where Saccharomyces Boulardii is the best strain replace bacteria (take in between antibiotics, or after your course). Some Lactobacillus strains have been studied for for skin conditions (skin is a reflection of what's going on inside), and there's many other strains and dosages upwards of even 50-100 billion (maintenance tends to be about 15-20) for more targeted conditions.
Good news! Sometimes a maintenance dose can be beneficial if we just need a little extra support (think around the holidays.. haha), but we can get enough from our food.
Before you reach for that next supplement, consider adding some of these probiotic rich foods to your diet:
- Dark chocolate (preferably above 72%)
- Green peas
- Green olives
- Apple cider vinegar (the liquid)
Bottom line- get them through food. If you feel there's a number of underlying concerns that could be related to/affecting your gut, which is possible, then those concerns need to be addressed as well in a well thought-out plan.