Are pill-based probiotics really effective for digestive health? Maybe for some people, but not everyone. For example, one clinical study showed that up to 40% of patients taking probiotic supplements did not have any signs of colonization—and subsequently, any related digestive benefits. These results reflect what many health practitioners observe regularly: A significant number of patients don’t achieve relevant results using standard probiotic supplements.
As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I always recommend food first when possible, for achieving optimal health. For those who are allergic to or don’t like food sources of probiotics – yogurt and fermented foods, such as kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, and fermented vegetables – you may need to consider taking a supplement to ensure you are on track for a healthy microbiome.
Unfortunately, not all supplements are created equal! Since the FDA does nothing to ensure safety and efficacy of dietary supplements and leaves the responsibility with the individual product manufacturers, it makes it challenging for consumers to find products that are safe, effective and worth the cost. Here are some general guidelines to help you navigate the dietary supplement marketplace:
- Don’t decide on nutritional supplements based on cost alone. You truly get what you pay for in this case.
- Avoid ordering your supplements from Amazon. Many counterfeit goods are sold by third parties on Amazon. It’s not worth saving a few dollars if you can’t be sure of the contents in the container.
- Buy products from high quality companies. High-quality companies will pay for third-party testing to confirm the presence of ingredients, the potency of ingredients, and the absence of contaminants. Quality companies go above and beyond the requirements of cGMPs (current good manufacturing practices) and get third-party certifications related to their manufacturing practices.
- Consult a qualified and trusted health practitioner, meaning someone who has formal academic training in Nutrition with credentials and knowledgeable of your health condition and needs.
When it comes to Probiotics, I have a few specific recommendations:
- Choose a supplement with a high number of different strains. Your gut contains over 500 species.
- Consume adequate doses to achieve desired results. Effectiveness varies but 5 to 10 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) per day is a good target.
- Ensure your supplement contains live strains of bacteria. Probiotic bacteria need to be alive to be effective.
- Take your probiotics with a source of prebiotic fiber (see food sources in my recent Microbiome blog post) can help to “feed” the good organisms in the gut.
With hundred of probiotics out there, it can be overwhelming to choose one even with the above guidelines. I highlighted a new product, SynerGI, from my Wellevate Supplement Dispensary that’s worth trying.
Botanically-Enhanced Probiotics with POS (pectic-oligosaccharides) by Clinical Synergy Professional Formulas. This live-fermented, synbiotic beverage delivers advanced, fast-acting support for digestive health and microbiome vitality.
SynerGI features a powerful liquid delivery system that provides live clinically-tested lactobacillus strains, fermented with 19 organic digestive-supporting herbs, organic berry juice, and pectic oligosaccharide (POS) prebiotic nutrient to support a healthy terrain. SynerGI is non-GMO and contains no artificial preservatives, sugar, gluten, dairy, or lactose.
SynerGI contains 8 strains of live beneficial bacteria that deliver a broad-spectrum of digestive, immune and overall health benefits. For example:
- Bifidobacterium lactis supports nutrient absorption and healthy bacterial populations. B. lactis converts carbohydrates into lactic acid, vitamin B, and other key nutrients, and encourages an optimal low pH environment for healthy microbiome populations to thrive.
- Bifidobacterium longum promotes a healthy gut environment and supports GI lining integrity; converts carbohydrates into lactic acid and prebiotic oligosaccharides into energy.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus produces vitamin K and other nutrients that support a healthy microbiome. L. acidophilus also promotes metabolic balance, immune function, and other areas.
As a live-fermented, synergistic formula, SynerGI provides multi-targeted support for key areas of digestive health:
- Supports a healthy microbiome
- Relieves occasional diarrhea and constipation
- Supports long-term digestive function and motility
- Promotes nutrient absorption
- Supports GI lining integrity
- Supports Immunity
Clinical Synergy Formulator Dr. Isaac Eliaz has been using this unique synbiotic to provide advanced digestive and immune support for his patients. This revolutionary formula is now available through the Clinical Synergy Professional Formulas line. You can save 10% by ordering SynerGI through my online store.