5 Uncommon Uses For Probiotics | Chris Kresser
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5 Uncommon Uses For Probiotics

by Chris Kresser

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Soon after the advent of the ‘germ theory of disease’ in the nineteenth century, the idea of voluntarily swallowing a pill full of bacteria would’ve sounded a little crazy. But as we learned more about the importance of the community of bacteria and other microorganisms occupying our intestines, eating probiotics has become the acceptable way to help re-populate our guts after courses of antibiotics or other stressors.

As we’ve continued to learn, it appears that our gut bugs influence far more than our digestive function and our ability to stay ‘regular.’ In fact, probiotics often aren’t that effective at re-populating the gut flora anyway. (Prebiotics tend to work better.) Our understanding of how probiotics work is evolving, and this is broadening the scope of health issues that probiotics can help treat.

We’re learning that the mechanisms behind the effect of probiotics are far more complicated than simply ‘topping off’ our supply of intestinal flora. Our gut bugs (even the transient ones) actually help modulate our immune system, and a robust immune system is necessary for the proper function of every other part of the body. Through the effect on immune regulation, probiotics can influence a number of conditions that may seem completely unrelated to the gut. In this post, I’ll describe five different uses for probiotics that are a bit unconventional but may be quite effective.

The benefits of probiotics go way beyond gut health.Tweet This


If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, using probiotics to treat depression probably seems reasonable. But for the average person whose only knowledge of probiotics was gleaned from an Activia commercial, taking probiotics to treat any sort of mental disorder could seem ridiculous. Unfortunately, the average psychiatrist likely feels the same way.

Despite a lack of accord from the medical community, there’s a lot of research to suggest that probiotics can be remarkably useful in treating depression. I’ve talked in the past about the ‘gut-brain axis,’ whereby the health of the brain and the health of the gut are inextricably linked. This relationship is important and can make a huge difference in the mental health of those with gut dysbiosis.

A basic explanation of the relationship is that imbalances in intestinal flora can lead to inflammation in the gut, causing inflammatory cytokines to be released into the blood. These cytokines can then cross the blood-brain barrier and cause inflammation in the brain, which can create symptoms of depression. Probiotics – even if they don’t colonize the intestinal lining – can reduce this gut inflammation and subsequently reduce the brain inflammation, improving symptoms of depression.

Preclinical and clinical studies have shown reductions in anxiety and depression from probiotic supplements, with a reduction in inflammatory cytokines as a likely mechanism. (1, 2) Another potential connection between the gut and brain is through neurotransmitters produced in the gut. This topic really deserves its own post, but for now, suffice it to say that probiotics are a promising treatment for depression and other mental disorders, especially when combined with other gut-healing therapies.

Nasal Congestion

A lesser-known use for probiotics could be in treating congestion and other sinus issues. Just like everywhere else in your body, your nasal passages are colonized by microorganisms that help maintain the health of their environment, and disrupting that balance of beneficial flora can cause problems. There’s not a whole lot of research on this topic yet, but one study showed that a probiotic supplement (in the form of a ‘fermented milk drink’) decreased the levels of pathogenic bacteria in the nasal passages. Other research indicates that probiotics could be helpful in reducing the congestion and other symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. (3, 4) This is especially interesting because in Chinese medicine, they believe sinus issues are almost always related to the gut. Now modern research is beginning to show a connection!

Oral Health

Probiotics can also play a role in maintaining oral health, which isn’t all that surprising once you consider that your mouth is part of your digestive tract. Although your dentist probably won’t be recommending sauerkraut as an adjunct therapy to basic oral hygiene anytime soon, the relationship between probiotics and oral health has been discussed somewhat extensively in the scientific literature.

The ‘good’ bacteria in the mouth help maintain oral health by producing substances (such as hydrogen peroxide and other antimicrobial substances) that inhibit the growth of pathogens, and by competing with these pathogens for space. (5) If those beneficial bacteria are disrupted, pathogenic bacteria can move in and cause a variety of oral and dental issues, including tooth decay, gingivitis, and halitosis (bad breath).

Numerous trials, both observational and clinical, have shown that supplementation with probiotics can reduce cavities and improve overall oral health by rebalancing the bacteria in the mouth. (678) Although probiotic pills taken internally may very well have a beneficial impact on oral health, the benefits shown by these studies are from probiotics that actually come into contact with and are able to colonize the mouth. This is another point in favor of getting probiotics from fermented foods, such as kimchi and kefir. Studies done with probiotic gum, mouthwash, and lozenges have also shown promise in treating oral conditions.


Acne is another common condition that can be influenced by probiotics, despite its seemingly distant relationship with the gut. In reality, the skin is very closely connected to the gut through the ‘gut-skin axis,’ which I’ve previously mentioned on the blog and podcast. (91011) Just as inflammation in the gut can cause inflammation in the brain, it can also lead to inflammation in the skin. This inflammation can manifest as acne, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, or other skin conditions. So in the same way probiotics ameliorate symptoms of depression by reducing inflammation, they also improve skin disorders through a similar mechanism. (12)

In addition to taking probiotics internally, there’s some research showing that topical probiotics can reduce acne. (131415) The skin is naturally home to beneficial flora that protect the skin from pathogens and regulate inflammation, but these friendly populations of bacteria can be disturbed through harsh soaps and other environmental toxins. Restoring beneficial bacteria through probiotic lotions or spot treatments appears to reduce skin inflammation from the outside, thus improving acne.

Household Cleaners

The last unconventional use for probiotics I’ll mention is in household cleaning products. Natural House is one company that produces these types of products, and they include probiotics in everything from toilet bowl cleaner to all-purpose cleaner. The theory is that while antimicrobial formulas might temporarily sterilize whatever surface you’re cleaning, the pathogenic bacteria will quickly return because there’s nothing to stop them. By using household cleaners containing probiotics, you’re inoculating your house with beneficial bacteria that should make the environment less hospitable to pathogens. It’s the same concept as following up a course of antibiotics with probiotics – antibiotics will likely wipe out a bacterial infection, but if we don’t encourage beneficial bacteria to grow in its place, there’s a strong likelihood that the pathogenic bacteria will return.

There really aren’t any studies proving the effectiveness of these products, but I’d say it’s worth a shot! At the very least, you’ll be avoiding the toxic chemicals that are found in most household cleaners, and that’s reason enough to seek out alternative cleaning solutions.


  • Consume fermented foods and beverages like sauerkraut, kim chi, beet kvaas, kefir (water and dairy), yogurt, cortido, etc. on a daily basis.
  • Consume prebiotic foods that selectively stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria already inhabiting the gut. These include onions, jerusalem artichoke, and fruits and vegetables high in soluble fiber (sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, asparagus, turnips, mango, avocados, strawberries, apricots).
  • If you’re suffering from a chronic health problem, consider adding a supplemental probiotic and prebiotic. There are many considerations that determine which probiotic is optimal for a given health condition, but soil-based organisms are almost always effective and well-tolerated. I suggest Prescript Assist, which you can purchase here. For prebiotics, I suggest a mix of arabinogalactan, beta-glucan, inulin, and oligofructose. My favorite product is Prebiogen, which you can purchase here. (Note: prebiotics are FODMAPs, which may cause difficulty for those with digestive problems. Start with a very small amount and increase slowly.)

What other purposes do you use probiotics for? Share your unconventional probiotic tips in the comments below!


Join the conversation

  1. I had been suffering from moderate eczema (seborrheic dermatitis) on my scalp for 5 years. I was fed up with topical medications, and was looking for alternative tratments when I read somewhere that probiotics can help. The problem with probiotic pills is that there are a lot of brands where the probiotic is not strong and there are only 2 or 3 species of bacteria in them. They also have to be stored at certain temperatures, which is also why some of the products you buy may not help because they simply contain dead bacteria, but you just don’t know unless you test it.

    So I decided to make my own milk kefir, and started drinking it every morning, and guess what, my eczema completely disappeared within 2 months. I could only tell it was getting better after 3 weeks and at 1.5 months it was barely noticable. At 2 months it was just gone. I haven’t had any eczema for a year now. Also, if you buy kefir from the supermarket, just don’t expect it to help if at all.

  2. I started on SBO almost a year ago. I also have to mention I’ve been on MSM & Liposomal vitamin C for the last three months. I wasn’t sure how effective the SBO were until I switched to a high content, expensive, Lacto based probiotic. My candida flared so I went back to Prescript Assist which calmed the Candida and it seems to keep me balanced. I used to have severe acne and depression but not anymore. I wouldn’t be able to say if it’s because of the SBO or the MSM but I love them both!

  3. Note for those looking for using probiotics topically:
    I’ve taken to rinsing my hair and skin with whey from homemade kefir or yogurt.

    Has helped greatly with flaky scalp and with acne/cysts.

  4. I just recently started using your probiotics and blue ice Fclo 6 days ago to hopefully help my acne. So far it has gotten extremely worse and painful. They are deep painful cystic acne where I didn’t have this before. Should I stop taking these or is this normal? I’m at my wits end and in so much pain.

    • Typically things will worsen before getting better anytime one begins any type of detox. Try to ride it out a lil while. Also can clean skin with apple cider vinegar. You don’t say how many days you have been doing this… I believe typical time frame is 10-14 days…

  5. What pro/prebiotics should you avoid with SIBO? Is homemade Kombucha ok for SIBO? Have you heard of probiotics from a company called Biotrust? Thanks!

  6. I had a bad case of acid reflux and my doctor prescribed some kind of medication.I came across a probiotic and the condition has cleared up and I no longer take the medication.

  7. Try taking Florajen and Florajen 3 together. You have to buy them refrigerated directly from your pharmacy. Don’t buy them from anyplace that doesn’t keep them refrigerated from time of manufacturer to the time it gets to your house. This makes a huge difference. 30 day supply is about ten bucks. Worked a lot better than any shelf version for me. I feel twenty years younger and my mood is gone from being somewhat down to always happy. I suppose everyone is different but good luck.

    • I to take probiotics (floragen3) and it works, the dry ones on the shelf works but not anywhere near floragen 3, I take one a night forever, yeast almost had me down but I am recovering nicely. it took many years to get candida and will take a few years to get rid of it. doctors don’t talk about CANDIDA but it’s real and will attack any weak organ in your body, and can kill you. I also use coconut oil capsules with my meals. the proof is in you, how does it help you, doctors (some) are not willing to talk about candida and it’s damaging affects on your organs over time. I stumbled on to it by accident and works for me, curing Candida is easy and time consuming ,but you should try to control it.

  8. Any probiotics specifically that help with yeast overgrowth? I took prescript assist but really didn’t notice anything.

  9. Are you saying that so called great probiotics recommended by Chris are just another scam!
    Chris, please comment on this!!!

  10. I am thinking about the effect of a so called “alkaline” diet in fixing the digestive problems, which is not so often discussed.

    It was shown a long time ago how a “banana diet” could heal celiac disease. Then later this was assumed to be the result of bananas being monosaccharide food and that the problems was related to starches, so it evolved into the “specific carbohydrate diet”, then later it has evolved into the GAPS diet, and by each step the diet gets increasingly more complicated so that the GAPS diet is now suggested to take as much as 2 years even for children to get rid of the serious digestive problems and it is unnecessarily complicated in my opinion, and often times it does not work at all.

    The specific carbohydrate diet also was used earlier to treat autism and such. The problem is that bananas contain a fair amount of starch and so a banana diet would contain a fair amount of starch, unless the bananas are black as charcoal, and so in my opinion this kind of refutes the whole specific carbohydrate diet idea. The other thing about this banana diet is that it was able to heal the condition without any probiotics.

    According to this acid/base balance theory and the potential renal acid load (PRAL), cow milk is relatively balanced, but somewhat acidic due to its very high phosphorus content, while cheese is extremely acidic as it is almost completely absent of potassium. Same goes for egg yolks.

    I think many people have observed the fact that “gas” goes away on a fruit only diet over time even as it is very high in soluble fiber, while a meat based diet, also cheese, egg yolks, with whole grains (acidic) cause frequent gas. Even the mix of much whole grains with even more fruits and vegetables seems to take care of the gas issue.

    One thing that has happened over the past 40 or so years is that while dairy product consumption has been relatively constant we now eat more (hard) cheese and drink less milk. Given that hard cheeses is the best source of vitamin K2, we now ingest far more vitamin K2 than 40 years ago, we also eat less fruits and vegetables, so the diet is more acidic now.

    It seems to me that many of these autistic children eat very little fruits and vegetables, while are heavily addicted to cheese more so than milk. Their diet is usually very acidic.

    The longest living people today like the Italians or the Japanese have a very alkaline diet due to high vegetable consumption, plus only refined grains (white bread, pasta for Italians, white rice for the japanese). Sunshine provides much vitamin D which is indirectly an alkaline component in that it increases calcium levels, and it seems to help autistic children too.

    Instead of all the focus on troublesome components in the bran of grains etc, we could also consider if a major problem is just the very high phosphate content of grains. People like Ray Peat seems to believe this is a major cause of the atherosclerosis / calcium plaques (and it´s a bit like the kidney stones that was in the past thought to be caused by excessive calcium while we now know that it is kind of opposite).

    It seems reasonable to me to try and follow a diet that somewhat mimics that of human milk in terms of acid/base balance. Human milk is very very low in phosphorus and also in protein, therefore while low in potassium, it is very alkaline, far far more than cow milk.

    To obtain the net alkaline level found in human milk, one may need to eat as much as 5 pounds of fruits and vegetables per day on a typical diet. This can be greatly reduced by consuming milk rather than cheese, or by reducing protein intake in general.

    Example: daily intake

    Potential renal acid load:

    500 ml milk + 4
    50 gm cheese + 10
    200 gm meats/fish + 16
    2 egg yolks/eggs +10
    White rice, pasta etc, +5
    total PRAL +45

    Human milk 2700 kcal: -20.

    100 gram fruits/vegetables, around -3. Potatoes, carrots, tubers (without skin), usually slightly higher, typically -4 to -5.

    Example needed to balance the above: -65
    1 pound potatoes/tubers -20
    2 pounds fruits/berries/orange juice: -25
    2 pound vegetables: -25

    This is very hard for most people. It is far easier to just reduce the protein intake and avoid cheese etcetera.

    Another point is, however, I believe that protein can have a certain “stimulating” effect that can balance out excessive starches (so it will not lead to weight gain, insulin issues).

    This is not the case for the Kitava people with low protein and very high starch intake, however, but the consumption of relatively high amounts of coconut fat (45 grams daily) can partially compensate, likewise for their heavy smoking. The consumption of fruits I also believe are more stimulating than starches and so one can get by with less protein.

  11. My daughter has had two outbreaks of MRSA, one on her face one one behind her knee over the last 9 months. Now she is dealing with repeated outbreaks of folliiculitis in her armpit. Treatment for these has been antibiotics which I fear are destroying all the good bacteria on her skin making her even more susceptible to these outbreaks. Any advice?

    • Judith, I highly recommend doing a harmful organism/parasite cleanse while also taking a great deal of probiotcs. For skin problems you can use coconut oil and other anti-bacterial oils. If you end up using some essential oils do not forget to dilute it with coconut or olive oil. Please email me @ [email protected] and I can let you know what we have been doing in reference to parasite cleansing and beneficial bacteria intake.

  12. Quote ” I don’t understand how you can recommend Prescript Assist when it contains Bacillus subtilis, that produces a long list of antibiotics and thus is killing other bacteria.” Unquote
    Probiotic is a bacteria that don’t kill other bacterias. Bacillus is a comopetitor not a killer. Bacterias that kill other bacterias are antibiotic. I hope this help!
    Note: Probiotic Action is a topical probiotic that work on the skin as a competitor.

    • Bacillus Subtilus was what people took before antibiotics and they still take it in Europe. In fact, during WW II apparently there was a digestive disorder that struck the military guys it was fatal and it was decimating them, so scientist were sent out to figure out a cure fast… anyhow long story short it was bacillus subtillis that saved them, a substantial amount of military men would of died if not for this probiotic.

      Interesting to note now is something ND and Chinese Medicine doctor have known for a long time is that good flora being a significant factor in health, Now it is going mainstream medicine is now realizing sinus infection may be relieved by balancing the flora in the nose , and of C , diff is cured by fecal transplant.

      Next step is instead of antibiotics ,perhaps we will see mega probiotic to cure all type of illness

      • I firmly agree Grace! If you search “TED Bacteria” on youtube there are about 8 videos of microbiologists and scientists talking about how vital our gut flora is to our overall health as it is linked with an incredible amount of disease; neurological diseases, gut diseases, diabetes, etc.

  13. Hi Chriss, I don’t understand how you can recommend Prescript Assist when it contains Bacillus subtilis, that produces a long list of antibiotics and thus is killing other bacteria. Maybe it kills some pathogens, but surely good ones too. And I would not think it is healthy to kill other bacteria like this…? One producer of a probiotics containing this strain says: “One very interesting function of Bacillus Subtilis is its ability to produce nearly 12 strong antibiotics that are potent fighters of opportunistic and harmful bacteria.”
    I have learned that antibiotics can’t distinguish between all our bacteria (the good and bad)? So I hope for an answer as I have been taking both Prescript Assist and other probiotics with this strain (and with Bacillus Licheniformis that has similar abilities).

    • Goodness, where in the world did this information about Bacillus subtilis come from? It is not true. I have taken Body Biotics with Bacillus subtilis in it for about 15 years and Prescript-Assist for about 5 years. I am 77, totally healthy and never, ever get sick. I sell both products and get wonderful feedback from my customers.

    • I have been fighting toe nail fungus for several years with no help, I was at my doctor visit (podiatrist) the other day and he said” 1 part white distilled vinegar to 8 parts water(warm) let it soak for 10 minutes or more”. it has done wonders for my big toes fungus. the Dr. was at the VA hospital. he also said for milder cases use Vicks vapor rub on the nails

      • Interesting… I have read in numerous posts, articles etc. that it must be Apple Cider Vinegar soaks to reduce/ eliminate toe nail fungus. This worked for someone I know.

        • Also, kudos to your podiatrist. They usually prescribe a TOXIC antifungal drug which according to our podiatrist is “effective 50% of the time” which may be an inflated claim and definitely not more effective than natural treatments.

  14. I’ve been taken probiotics for a month and a half now, and my period is nearly four weeks late, can it be related to probiotics?

    • I really don’t think the probiotics you are taking can effect you period. I take probiotics especially for women and nothing has changed with my periods. My daughters periods stopped when she became vegetarian but I have been vegetarian for many years and no problems for me. If you are not pregnant or getting towards menopause I would see my doctor

  15. There are certain bacteria that thrive in places where oxygen is available, hence the term aerobic, whereas there are also bacteria that thrive through fermentation rather than cellular respiration.  There are some probiotics that do not need oxygen to live, which the probiotics which are found in yogurt. Those probiotics will not do anything to your skin if applied as yogurt because they cannot survive in the presence of oxygen; they are the anaerobes. However, there are certain bacteria, these are the probiotics in Probiotic Action, that do need oxygen to survive, and those are the ones you want to put on your skin. Not all probiotics are the same and it’s important to know the difference

  16. Chris,

    I was told by someone who works for a company who sells IBS supplements….that I am not to have FOS because of my SIBO and IBS or INULIN….which flares me up whenever I take it. I have heard great things about Prescription Assist but am hesitant to buy it because of these 2 ingredients. Also, I have seen a probiotic and prebiotic that has 3 layers to bypass stomach acid….is this also a feature in Prescript Assist? Please let me know…I am anxious to start something, since I have been having flareups lately.


    • My family takes Prescript Assist and one of us got diarrhea from 1/2 capsule. When in doubt, take a TINY FRACTION of a capsule and titrate up very gradually. She worked up to 1/2 capsule so far and is fine. Our functional doctor says to rotate soil based probiotics with your other probiotics, rotating every 4-8 weeks. Please research Chris’ website for your situation. It sounds like your SIBO needs to be treated. Most practitioners agree SIBO should be treated with herbal antifungals but I hope you have a good practitioner to help you specifically.

  17. I am searching for help for my 13 year old granddaughter who has eczema inside her elbows. She is trying the no dairy, no sugar diet, and a product called Candikill. With school fast approaching we are wondering what we can pack for her lunch. Can you suggest something to help her in healing? Thank you.

  18. Hello,

    I have been trying to find a solution for my left ear. The past 10 years I have suffered a itch crusty ear that would come and go. My previous doctor would give me ear drops, my new doctor said to just manage my allergies with medication (which I don’t want to do.) I am fairly new to the Paleo diet and all that I have done so far has really helped with digestion and decreased my seasonal allergy symptoms. But, I have noticed my ear allergy getting worse this past year. I do have some hearing loss in my left ear, don’t know if that matters? I have looked all over the internet for natural ways to help my ear and I can not find anything. I need so help on this one. Thanks!

    • I have helped my ear problem just by drinking Actimel yogurt drink with probiotics. I make sure I get all round my mouth.

    • My daughter had in one ear a skin buildup had to clean it every day. The doctor prescribed many different ear drops and creams to no avail.
      My German shephard has in a one ear chronic yeast and don’t know what’s causing it. Well, I ask my daughter family doctor to prescribe a yeast cream for people and she did. Well I applied it to my daughter for a couple of days and guess what! The ear skin is back to normal. I check her ear once a week to make sure it did not come back. I will try this cream on my dog. If you need name of this yeast cream let me know.

    • I had the same exact thing. After going to a bunch of MDs…..for 2 years…..and various prescriptions that were no help, I finally discovered it was a form of head lice (yikes!). A pharmacist told me it’s a growing problem, and frequently misdiagnosed. Telltale signs: crusting itchy ears and back of neck……Because I had them so long, it took months to get rid of them!!

  19. Now there are aerobic probiotic that thrives on the skin. Rosacea, acne and eczema can be reduced if applied where the acne or rosacea is present. Find probiotic action in Google.

  20. I’ve had success kicking a nagging sinus issue with probiotics in my neti pot. I think it was a low grade infection but it’s the second time this has worked for me.

    • have had 3 sinus infections this year ( 2 viral and 1 bacterial). I have a deviated septum and some mucosal thickening. Can I put a probiotic into my neti pot, and how would I do that?

      • Yes, I do it usually once a week. Just open a capsule and put the powder in with the salt you usually put in also, but not as much salt as usual. When you do it you should sniff as much as possible up into the nasal cavity. Works wonders for my sinuses.

  21. I’d like to repost Ally’s comment and ask you to please address it. It seems the most relevant yet unanswered on the page.

    Ally Gobi
    MAY 15, 2014 AT 1:59 PM

    Can you address the controversy around SBO probiotics, namely whether or not they might become pathogenic in the gut?

    “Soil-based organisms reproduce differently than other bacteria that are normally part of our flora in that they are spore-forming. Because of these spores, if a person does not have enough of their own healthy gut flora to compete with the SBOs, it opens the door for them to become pathogenic.”





    • Thanks for this article! This may be one reason our functional doctor said to rotate Prescript Assist soil based with our other probiotics, rotating every 4-8 weeks. I assume rotating is necessary for some people, but helpful for anyone (?)

  22. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and believe there is a leaky gut connection there. My inflammation issues started in my sinuses when I was very young and have been chronic my whole life. Fast forward many years… I started experiencing intestinal issues, then RA in my 40s, and digestive issues are getting worse. I am taking probiotics but am not sure if it’s the right strains. I’d consider fecal transplant if I could find a willing, experienced doctor. I want to avoid the toxic methotrexate and prednisone my Rhematologist insists I take. Any experience with RA success?

  23. Laura or Chris: I was wondering if you have thoughts as to how long one should be on SBPs? In other words, if one is consuming them daily along with potato starch and other probiotic/prebiotic foods, should there come a time when the SBOs are no longer required? And how would one know? Or does it make sense to take them on a permanent basis? Do either of you take them?

    I’d really appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks so much.

  24. Hi, probiotics (I believe), built my immune system up to a degree where I ‘fought off’ a plantar wart (verruca) I’d had on the sole of my foot for 20 years. I’d tried to get rid of it by various means, including the podiatrist, to no avail. I’ve been taking them 1.5 years now and I’ll not stop as I’ve had no colds and have felt better than I have in years.

  25. Can you address the controversy around SBO probiotics, namely whether or not they might become pathogenic in the gut?

    “Soil-based organisms reproduce differently than other bacteria that are normally part of our flora in that they are spore-forming. Because of these spores, if a person does not have enough of their own healthy gut flora to compete with the SBOs, it opens the door for them to become pathogenic.”





  26. Hi Chris,
    I am looking for a good pre/probiotic but my main concern is I cannot tolerate any form of diary, eggs, yeast, gluten whatsoever and tend to opt for vegan brands like Now foods but I wondered if the pre biogenic or prescript assist would be a good option for me. As I suffer chronic sinus, bad breath, anxiety and acid reflux… I’m not sure what suggestions may have please?

    Thank you

  27. Hi Chris,

    I just started taking Prescript Assist (2 capsules per day) about 4 days ago. Since then, I’ve felt a little more sick to my stomach than I usually feel… as though it’s upset & I just can’t calm it. Is this normal as a transition period? I don’t take any other medications, except I do supplement with magnesium (Natural Calm).

    • I’ve been told by every holistic practitioner we’ve been to that probiotics shouldn’t make you feel sick. This means you’re taking too much and need to titrate up gradually. Some people can handle only a small fraction of a capsule at first. Some can titrate up quickly. Also, did you read Byron Smith’s post above? (posted on July 13)

  28. Hi Chris – Thanks for your helpful website! I ran across your site and suggestion of taking Prescript-Assist last week and started it a few days ago at 1/3 capsule/day. I was taking it alongside Xifaxan for a 7 month bout of chronic diarrhea. I stopped because all of the sudden, my symptoms seemed to multiply. I should also mention that I’m 5.5 months pregnant. I’m desperate to heal my gut. I looked back at your recommendation and decided I should maybe start with one whole pill/day and increase like you suggest. Would you agree for someone who is pregnant? Will the higher dose cause a “die off” which is maybe what was happening and is it safe for baby?

  29. Hi!

    My 15-year-old son has had gastritis due to unknown causes for over a year. It’s not h-pylori, crohn’s, or celiac–he’s been tested. He is now on a gluten free diet, which seems to have had the most effect, but it is not completely disappearing. At one point I also gave him 18-24 oz of cabbage juice/day, which helped but didn’t cure.

    He is also taking a probiotic, and I am trying to figure out, does a probiotic helps stomach-based gastritis at all?

    Also would a soil-based probiotic be of even greater assistance?

    If so, what are the soil-based probiotic strains, so I can compare ingredients in the probiotics?

    Any other ideas for gastritis assistance?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Has your son been checked for other food allergies? I also had that issue. Turns out I was far more allergic to Eggs, dairy, and legumes than gluten. I feel so much better!!!!

  30. Hello Chris,
    Can probiotic survive / live on skin, like armpit environment or skin flora?
    Which probiotic can kill bad bacteria?

    • Dear Josie,
      1. Probiotics don’t kill bacteria. If a bacteria kill another bacteria, then is an antibiotic. Probiotics are competitors.
      2. For those of you confused about the whole probiotics in yogurt and in water and the ones you eat/drink and what not, here’s the deal: probiotics is bacteria, and just like human cells, bacteria have the ability to produce energy in an aerobic and anaerobic manner. What does that mean? There are certain bacteria that thrive in places where oxygen is available, hence the term aerobic, whereas there are bacteria that thrive through fermentation rather than cellular respiration. I know there are a lot of biological terms here, but the point is that there are some probiotics that do not need oxygen to live, which are the ones found in the yogurt. Those probiotics will not do anything to your skin if applied as yogurt because they cannot survive in the presence of oxygen; they are anaerobes. However, there are certain bacteria, probiotics of course, that do need oxygen to survive, and those are the ones you want to put on your skin. The other forms will live inside your body where oxygen is not available (fyi oxygen travels through the bloodstream to the multiple cells of our bodies that encompass all of our bodily structures, such as our organs, tissues, etc, and is not found inside the stomach, intestine, or any part of the alimentary canal). So to recap, if you want to treat acne with probiotics, do it with ones that live with oxygen and not with ones that you eat and live inside of you. Hope this helps!!

  31. I recently began taking a probiotic (Keybiotics) 37.5 billion CFU and 14 strains of bacteria. It is dairy, soy and gluten free. I am breaking out like crazy. Expecially on the chin around my mouth. Hard, cystic acne. I usually don’t have a problem with breakouts and my skin just exploded overnight. I have been researching and from what I have gathered is that I am purging toxins from candida and possibly other “bad” bacteria. That was what I immediately thought of when I saw the acne lesions beginning. My question is, if this is the case and I am having a “die off” how long will the side effect of the acne continue? My immediate instinct is to stop because I am an esthetician and acne is really bad for business not to mention I just hate it. If this is something that will eventually calm down I want to try to stick it out. Should I maybe cut back from the recommended dose of 1 per day to every other day?

    Kelly T

    • Hi Kelly T,
      If you decide to keep taking the probiotic (or even if you stop), you should seriously consider what you are eating. Eliminate all gluten, dairy, sugar, bad oils (anything except coconut oil, butter and olive oil, basically), fried and processed foods. You can also take vitamin A and it will help reduce the oiliness of your skin. A nutritionist told me I could take 30,000 IUs per day for up to three months at a time. You should also look into things that support getting rid of candida if you think it is that. Candex works.
      I hope this helps!

  32. Hi everyone,

    I’ve been taking Molkosan as a prebiotic. It’s made from organic whey and is rich in L+ lactic acid which I guess acts as a prebiotic. I noticed Chris’s Prebiogen has very different things in it and now I’m wondering if I should add that in along with the Molkosan (I’ve been feeling great on this supplement) or substitute it.


  33. What are your recommendations for children? I have 3 kids – 6, 4 and 1.. the 1 year old (despite being the only one primal-from-birth) has been sick ALL winter – ear infections, whooping cough, congestion, etc. She eats 1-2 yogurts a day, but that is obviously not helping.
    Would you recommend a probiotic supplement? Is there a difference between adult and children’s probiotics (other than the added sugar)?
    What about for the other kids?

  34. HSHi Chris

    I’m 24 and developed food intolerance to wheat dairy and sugar it’s frustrating that everything i seem to eat even a little will give me a breakout mainly on cheeks and sides of chin,i have started to take digestive enzymes and probiotics hoping it will help but I’m also scared of a detox reaction..could i please have some advice should i stick with it how long before results?oh yes i was also diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 18…thank you for any help

  35. Hello Chris, I was wondering if you could tell me if Florastor would work to help with Bacterial Vaginosis? I have battled with this for years and have tried all the normal antibiotics usually prescribed but they do nothing. I have also tried different probiotics which also have not helped. I recently was admitted to the hospital and was on Rocephin antibiotics via IV. The doctor also ordered Florastor as a precaution. While in hospital and when I came home my BV was actually cured for first time in years! My gyno does not believe Rocephin would cure BV so I am wondering if Florastor may have done it. Everything I read online only shows it cures GI issues. Thank you!

  36. Thank you so much Chris!
    I had just purchased FLORA, High Potency 8 probiotics, when I noticed that it had potato starch and silicon-whatever… is this even real? or safe? I assumed, having bought it at my local health food store, that it would be the best, as it was VERY expensive. I came online to look it up and found no discerning reviews. That’s when I found your article here.

    What do you think? Should I return it?
    Thanks so much,

  37. I feel sluggish and depressed after eating garlic, which is a prebiotic. Anyone know why? Does this indicate SIBO or something like that?

    I’m wondering if I’ll have the same kind of reaction to pro biotics.

      • There are five different FODMAP sugars. I believe only two of the five can be confirmed by a hydrogen breath test?

        I would go to dietician who specializes in FODMAP issues and get diagnosed. To cut out all five FODMAP sources when you might only have reactions to three of them (for example) would a lot of unnecessary hassle and would deny you nutritious foods.

      • Can you explain what the difference is between SIBO and gut dysbiosis? Is gut dysbiosis just a general umbrella term for all this – SIBO, leaky gut, etc.

    • It could certainly be an allergy. I had a major food allergy test done, and I’m off-the-charts allergic to garlic. Too bad, since it’s a great food, but it’s best to know and to avoid.

  38. Hai chris,can you give me some more indications on dental where probiotics can be used.I am doing studies on probiotics in oral health.

  39. I just started prebiotics and, at the same time, upped my probiotic as I recover from c-diff. I’m taking a tiny amount of Biotagen by Klaire. I seem to feel depressed immediately afterward. Is it possible for a prebiotic (or probiotic) to CAUSE moderate depression? Could this be some sort of herxing that I should work through? Or should I back off? (I haven’t had this feeling with probiotics in the past; it seems to be a result of the prebiotic.)

  40. I heard pro biotic is a best anti biotic that helps to increase the immunity as well as best one against acne skin problems. It is quite effective one for skin disorders like acne.

  41. Hi,

    I’m lactose intolerant and have Hashimoto’s. What do you recommend for a probiotic that is dairy free and gluten free if I should be taking any probiotic at all? Maybe a different strategy would work better for me? I have only tried probiotics once a few years ago and had discomfort so I’m a little worried trying it again. Should a person start out with a lower dose?

    Thanks for your help!

  42. Hi Chris, Thanks for your article. I have a question. My 10 year old was having digestive problems and the doctor has pretty much ruled everything out. During this time I started him on probiotics. I won’t go into details but over the past few weeks I’ve seen big improvements so I think it’s working. Here’s my question. I think that what I’m giving him is working.
    Integrative Therapeutics Pro-Flora Concentrate Probiotic Pearls
    However, once this clears up is this a good overall probiotic to keep him on or should I switch? Thank you!

  43. I tried the Prescript Assist and it is giving symptoms that no one at their company can explain. I’m desperate for an answer as the reaction is the same i’d get from lactose based probiotics, Knots in my back and neck. Also mood swings from tears to anger. I started out slow, 1/4 capsule once a day. I’m only on day three. I’m hoping you have some wisdom for me. Thank you Chris!

    • I would bet it’s pathogenic bacteria fighting back. They’ll create toxins as a defense to protect themselves. I’d keep working on increasing the good flora, as tolerated. I’d also explore the possibility of Lyme disease or other tick-borne infection.

  44. Do probiotics need to be taken between meals (on an empty stomache), or can they be taken together with other food?

  45. Hi Chris
    Can probiotic capsules cause malabsorption please?
    My dad is 83 and has suddenly lost all fat and muscle. He is diabetic. He has been taking probiotic capsules for a year. Extensive blood tests and CT scan show no cause.
    Thanks, Ruth
    He’s been taking probiotic capsules for over a year and I wonder if there could be a correlation?

  46. Love your site Chris! I’m trying to help my severe anxiety and in researching, I have been hearing a lot about the gut-brain axis. I have tried supplementing with probiotics several times (RenewLife, other brands, etc.) and never seem to notice any improvement – usually I tend to feel a bit worse. I may try them for up to 1.5 weeks before I stop due to mood decline. Does this make any sense?? I keep wanting them to work since I know they’re good for you, and hopefully will help my anxiety/depression. Another thing to note, that I find interesting, is that whenever I’ve had to take antibiotics, I notice my anxiety go through the roof after just a few/couple of days.

    Perhaps probiotics are not the route for anxiety/depression relief, at least for me? Am I doing something wrong? On another note, I’m also looking into getting an organic amino acid profile done, as well as have my biopterin/neopterin levels checked.

  47. I take 4 probiotic pills per day. I’ve noticed little success with my eczema, depression, and scalp issue. I want better results though. Should I switch probiotics again, take more, or ingest them differently? Also, when adding prebiotics, can I take them at the same time as my multi vitamin, fish oil, and probiotics?

  48. Dear Chris,

    I have had hidradenitis suppurativa since childhood. I have been diagnosed with Celiac disease as an adult. I am lactose intolerant, might have crohns.

    I have been reading about SIBO and the SCD diet. I have also seen the immune protocol from Rob Wolfe. I am not a bit confused about taking probiotics for my HS condition which is debilitating. Will taking probiotics help my acne OR will it make it worse? I’m very confused. If I should take it, should I take a particular strain or strains?

    Thank you,

    • Hi Beth,

      Did you ever get an answer to this question?
      I too suffer from HS and am keenly interested
      in whether the prebiotic / probiotic will help or hurt…


      • Hi Paula,

        I am a long time HS sufferer. I’ve been taking probiotics for a month. Coincidentally my HS is dormant and skin generally better. I need to do more deduction, but it’s either a lucky coincidence (I’ve had a lot of antibiotics too) or magic after 20 years of looking for answers.


  49. Hi, I used Prescript Assist last Spring and I really felt great with it. I want to use it again, but right now I have a cavity so I wanted to spend my money on a dental probiotic. Could you please recommend one? And do you think the Prescript Assist helps oral health too? Thanks a lot!

  50. Is it a good idea to rotate among the various microbial strains marketed as probiotics? I have been taking bacillus coagulans for quite awhile, wonder if others might be beneficial. Thanks!

  51. I have had some success taking Enzymatic Therapy Pearls IC (with treating IBS caused by fructose malabsorption) and was wondering if I should be taking it twice a day. Thoughts?

  52. I recommend a probiotic with L. Reuteri. It is human endogenous, and even passes through breastmilk, but it is highly susceptible to antibiotics. It is immune modulating, has antioxidant effects, and also produces a broad spectrum anti-microbial that discourages pathogens in the body. It has eliminated colic in babies, and has a host of emerging evidence of the symbiotic relationship of this probiotic with the animal kingdom at large. Check it out!

  53. We all know the great importance of having a healthy supply of beneficial intestinal bacteria, but I wonder what the repercussion of bacterial imbalance in other parts of the body. For example, in the armpits and the genitals we have hair to trap, and provide homes for bacteria. I wonder what the repercussion of shaving these regions has on one’s health? For example, could there be a link between genital shaving and increased yeast infections? I’ve also heard one doctor’s theory that women who shave their armpits in the shower, and then apply toxic deodorants shortly after, increase their risk of breast cancer, as the clean shave provides easy absorption of said toxins. What I wonder, is if shaving armpits could significantly reduce the amount of bacteria living in this region. Presumably, yes. If so, what are the repercussions? Reduced detoxification capabilities? If this is the case, then toxins would be increased in this region of the body and in the lymph nodes, perhaps increasing susceptibility of breast cancer.

  54. Another off-label use for probiotics: to prevent and treat cirrhosis of the liver.
    SIBO is one of the preconditions for cirrhosis. Diabetogenic diet, with excess dietary cholesterol, and/or alcohol, and/or chronic viral infection are others. But SIBO, leaky gut, high endotoxin levels, and consequent inflammation of already fatty liver appears to be the coup de grace. Some probiotics seem to be protective.





    Patients and Methods: A total of 22 nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and 20 alcoholic liver cirrhosis (AC) patients were enrolled in the study and compared with 36 HCV- positive patients with chronic hepatitis without (20, CH) or with (16, CC) liver cirrhosis. All patients were treated with the probiotic VSL#3. Routine liver tests, plasma levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-6 and -10, malondialdehyde (MDA), and 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE), S-nitrosothiols (S-NO), were evaluated on days -30, 0, 90, and 120.

    Results: Treatment with VSL#3 exerted different effects in the various groups of patients: in NAFLD and AC groups, it significantly improved plasma levels of MDA and 4-HNE, whereas cytokines (TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-10) improved only in AC patients. No such effects were observed in HCV patients. Routine liver damage tests and plasma S-NO levels were improved at the end of treatment in all groups.

  55. Chris, is there a specific way you prefer “Prescript Assist” and “Prebiogen” be taken to optimize their benefits?

    Morning, evening, before food if so how long, with food, after food?? Most pro & prebiotic supplements have very specific consumption instructions. Any input is gratefully appreciated.

      • Thank you Chris for your reply and link. I’ve been taking a probiotic supplement for the past five years that only includes B. subtilis, S. boulardii, and some other lactic acid bacterias. The product also contains humeric and fulvic acids. I’m interested in the product you introduced in your blog. Thanks for the food suggestions in your blog to help maintain healthy gut flora without having to pop pills. I’m a food first person and find people depend too much on supplements.

  56. Hi Chris,

    Great article. I’ve been following your protocols for gut health and started taking Prescript-Assist about three weeks ago. So far I haven’t noticed any results and am wondering where I’m going wrong. A bout of gastroenteritis last year left me with bloating, pain and chronic constipation. Jarrow EPS helped initially, as did switching to a low FODMAPs diet.

    What dosage do you recommend for Prescript-Assist? Any other suggestions?

    Many thanks.

  57. Hi Dr. Kresser.

    Can I ask why you recommend soil based microorganisms? From what I can tell there are very few to no human trials on SBOs – surely its important to choose a probiotic which has actually been scientifically tested on humans (in double-blind, placebo-controlled etc etc studies)!

    I take a British brand which I find to be very good, and they certainly seem to use well researched strains – http://www.optibacprobiotics.co.uk/resource-centre/faq/category-optibac-probiotic-faqs/289-do-you-have-clinical-trials-on-your-probiotics.html – what do you think?


  58. Hi – I’m just wondering if there is any difference in the effectiveness of probiotics that need to be stored in the fridge as opposed to those that don’t. Cheers, Tara.

  59. Hi, thanks for covering this topic! I’ve taken probiotics for many years and highly believe in them. Last year I was diagnosed with autoimmune urticaria angioedema. I never had an allergy in my life. Since I was diagnosed I find now that I’m sensitive to many foods and probiotics. I have cut a lot of foods completely out of my diet but have had some challenges with reintroducing probiotics back into my diet. I really want to take some for my overall health. Some seem to mess with the histamine intolerance I’m currently having. Chris, can you tell me which probiotic you think would be the safest for me to take that won’t conflict with this problem?? Thank you so very much!!!!

  60. I make homemade lotion. How would you suggest I add probiotics? I never thought of probiotics in skin treatments. I would love to start making this a regular part of my lotion batches. do I just take a capsule, open it up and mix the powder into my lotion?

    Also, thanks for the cleaning products recommendation. I make a homemade vinegar-based cleaner, but would love to try the probiotic cleaners.

  61. Good article, but in the case of those who have gut dysbiosis, is prebiotic consumption recomended? Don’t prebiotics feed pathogenic bacteria just like sugar? What’s the diffference? Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, for instance, recommends that those who suffer from intestinal dysbiosis avoid all potential prebiotics, for as much as possible, in order to starve pathogenic bacteria. That means avoiding starches, sugars, fiber. What’s your opinion?

  62. The microorganism Saccharomyces boulardii (which is a yeast rather than a bacteria) is one I use In my practice…It’s been around 50 yrs and is available at CVS as FLORASTOR (although expensive)..I use a product from NUTRI-SPEC called IMMUNO-SYMBIOTIC …it has S. boulardi and L.reuteri and 3 prreboitics . I would be curious as to your opinion Chris. Some people are afraid of using a yeast as a pro-biotic b/c of fears of yeast overgrowth Thanx for the great site/info.
    Dr. Ezra

  63. Hi Chris,

    This is great information as always-however im really confused at the moment about fermented foods and probiotics in regards to migraine…isnt there a possible link with triggering migraines? If so should migraine sufferers forgo the benefits of probiotics?

  64. Chris,

    As ever, this is an excellent article. Since I discovered your website a few months ago it has quickly become my “go-to” resource when I’m confused or need clarity on health information. The comments that accompany your articles are also extremely valuable, and I think people really appreciate the time you take to post replies. Your podcasts are also excellent, too!

    On the issue of gut health, do you have any plans to write an article on candida overgrowth? There is so much confusing information on the internet regarding how to overcome this problem that it would be great to hear how you approach this problem in your patients.

    Many thanks

    • Hello Heidi

      Your daughter must be going through a really traumatic time.
      1. Going gluten and dairy free (Paleo diet) is a start.
      2. Helminthic Therapy – I highly recommend this

      Put her on a diet of 25 raw pasteurized eggs per day.
      5 eggs 5 times per day. Together with each of these 5 meals, give her one teaspoon of raw unpasteurized honey. Monitor her progress for one month.
      Don’t be afraid of salmonella or any anything of that sort.

      Eggs must be raw because it will digest very easily and will reduce inflammation in the gut.

      If she is comfortable eating raw eggs. Prepare steamed meat and veggies for her. Don’t cook her food using high heat. Steamed food is much less inflammatory.
      Don’t give her cooked eggs. From my experience cooked eggs, no matter how they are prepared, causes inflammation in my body.
      Whole eggs are a perfect food source because it has every nutrient that creates a living organism. Most of the nutrients are in the yolk so she should eat it whole.

      Get her to chew her food thoroughly before swallowing. You’d be surprised what a difference this can make. Don’t let her overeat. Too much food causes excessive expansion in the gut and leads to inflammation.

      • I had some contact with some researchers in a biology department a number of years ago. They were using egg albumin (egg white) to completely and irreversibly bind B vitamins. I don’t believe that the diet of 25 raw eggs is safe, especially since the daughter will not be able to absorb any of her B vitamins. It also may trigger an egg sensitivity if she has leaky gut. I would worry about salmonella (my mom was a microbiologist who tested food for contamination – she would never eat raw eggs.)

        Read about the connection between gut health and acne. I think that Paul Jaminet’s site (The Perfect Health Diet) has an article on acne that might be helpful. I also agree with going gluten and dairy free to see if there are food-related issues. Often there are hormonal imbalances. The key is solving the daughter’s particular problem.

        • While I agree that 25 raw eggs is probably excessive, it is only the avidin in raw egg whites that binds to only biotin, not other b vitamins. Certainly eating 25 raw egg whites/day would cause a massive biotin deficiency unless she were getting large amounts of biotin some other way. Cooking the egg white inactivates the avidin and cooked egg whites do not cause biotin deficiency. However, eating raw egg yolks only would not cause a b deficiency at all. In fact raw egg yolks are excellent bioavailable sources if choline, b12, and biotin (and many other wonderful nutrients). Also, it is extremely rare for salmonella to be a problem in raw eggs – especially from humanely raised chickens. Salmonella only occurs in the eggs of sick chickens and happy free range chickens are much less likely to be sick. However, I agree that eating 25 raw eggs a day, one would probably come across salmonella eventually at some point and this might be a concern for a young child. But from what I have read, salmonella poisoning from raw eggs is usually not very serious like it could be with getting it from something like chicken. I do know that having healthy gut flora balance will lessen the effects of salmonella.

          Acne can be caused by hormone problems (e.g. insulin, bad estrogen), gut flora imbalance (e.g. yeast overgrowth), food allergies (to nuts, gluten, dairy, seeds, etc), and poor digestion. I would first start by getting her gut flora healthy and strong and balanced and then go from there. That may be all she needs.

          Matt, I am curious why you think so many eggs would be good for acne? Can you explain? Thanks in advance.

  65. I use probiotics for ALL of the above and I also take them for my immunity and because well, my digestion is miserable, thanks to not having a large intestine. They have helped tremendously, however they’re not a 100% cure all, which I didn’t expect, but to who anyone who does, don’t be upset if they don’t fix EVERYTHING completely.

  66. Hi Chris,

    Helpful information! The other area where I insist folks incorporate a variety of probiotics in their life plan is obesity: http://www.drdeborahmd.com/solutions-obesity.

    It’s of course hard to know which probiotics are exactly to blame, but there has been a fair amount of research linking antibiotic use and the inevitable gut flora disruption, to weight gain. And some early work showing that supplementing with probiotics can help with weight loss http://www.livescience.com/24917-probiotics-burn-fat.html.

    I generally recommend that people with a significant weight problem start with the basics, like Integrative Therapeutics’ Probiotic Pearls and some good fermented sauerkraut. Once those are well tolerated, I encourage them to experiment with a variety of complex probiotic products, either from Standard Process, Klaire, or Bio-Immersion.

  67. Hey Chris! Thank you so much for all you do with this blog. It is my number one source for health information – especially when it covers my favorite topic: the microbiome! I wondered if you could comment on some of the controversy surrounding soil-based organisms. I haven’t been able to find much “real” research on this, but there seems to be concern that soil-based organisms are spore-forming and could eventually become pathogenic in the human microbiome. Most of this information seems to be coming from Natasha Trenev, the owner of Natren, so I’m not sure how credible it is. However, I have also heard that the makers of Primal Defense have reduced the strains of soil-based organisms in their products. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this as much of it is a little over my head.

    • I’ll cover it in more detail at some point, but I did a lot of research on this topic when I was investigating Prescript Assist. In short, I think the SBOs in Prescript Assist and now Primal Defense are safe, and probably come closer to mimicking our ancestral exposure to these organisms than most other probiotics.

      • Chris,

        Thousands of people (and probably more) read your blog and benefit from your research. Can you get back and cover this in more detail to provide some clarity?

        The spore question seems to be a hot button issue.


  68. hey! I submitted a question awhile ago wondering if having a good nasal flora could be a source of “probiotics” for the gut, and what probiotics we should snort! Although you didn’t answer it directly, this is kind of along those lines! Cool.

    Perhaps eating fermented foods like a food conoisour is the way. that is, while the food is in your mouth exhale through your nose to “taste” the subtle odours that the taste buds can’t sense.

    I have had some luck fixing bad breathe with a combo thera breath mouthwash (it’s a peroxide) with jameisen’s chewable probiotics. It worked quite well. I still carry them instead of gum or breath fresheners.

  69. I take Pharmax HLC high potency capsules. It get them from my chiropractor or a Pharmaca (a local integrative pharmacy that carries some practitioner brands. I believe these are very high quality. The Episencial Babytime skincare products contain probiotics. The a good for age 0-150 yrs http://episencial.com/.

  70. Probiotics must be human strain as only human strain will deposit. Animal probiotics will not stayed planted. Otherwise you have to keep taking them. If you eat conventional food (sprayed GMO) then it is vital for you to stay them as Glyphosate will interfere with a particular pathway found only in gut bacteria and will kill them. Also the Vitamin d issues has to do with a enzyme interference that is also cause by glphosate that prevents the synthesis of cholesterol which vitamin d, sex hormones (another question) is made from.

    • The issue of colonization isn’t really relevant, since probiotics don’t need to colonize the gut to exert their beneficial effect. They work primarily by promoting T-regulatory cells and modulating the immune system. This happens regardless of whether they are transient or human colonizing species.

      • But wouldn’t you want them to colonize? I’ve read that’s the difference between yogurt and kefir – kefir will colonize.

        I have had good results with Dr. Ohhira’s five year fermented probiotics – the only ones that have done anything for me – but I continue to take them almost daily.

        I am now making my own raw goat milk kefir (to make quark cheese) and while it doesn’t seem to be upsetting my digestive system (I was off dairy for years), it seems to be making me break out a little, but I really want to stick with it as I wasn’t happy about being vegan (I seem to have an intolerance to eggs as well as dairy – and gluten, btw).

  71. Hi Chris,

    Fantastic post as always! I recently tried Organic Pastures raw kefir (although I suspect I have some dairy intolerance and avoid pasteurized dairy) and so far, I haven’t felt any adverse effects from the raw kefir. I also mix it with some organic amalaki powder and raw neem honey for a face mask and my hypersensitive rash-prone skin is loving it! I was disappointed that my local Sprouts only carries the fat-free kefir as fat-free milk products are an oxymoron, but what are your thoughts on the OP raw kefir? Is it enough if taken daily or does one still need to supplement?

    • Could you please reply with what brand and types of probiotics you used for this, and if possible, your method?

      Thank you so much!

    • I would love to hear more about your results with probiotic enemas. After reading about fecal implants, I decided to put my health into my own hands and try this as well. I have done 4 in the last 2 weeks with my homemade sauerkraut juice (only an once each enema) and have felt major detox symptoms! Moving and pain to relief in my gut, releases in my liver and spleen areas, moving fluids in my lymph. Now I think I am killing something off because I’ve been getting a bloody nose & blood in my throat. Curious if a big worm or candida “jelly” is going to come out one of these days. Any tips/advice..

  72. Hi Chris,

    Great Article! I have been making water kefir daily and have been consuming around 4 cups daily for the last 4 months. The enamel in my teeth feels weak now. Is there any link between water kefir consumption and tooth decay?Does the lactic acid weaken the tooth enamel?

    Thank you in advance for you input!

    • Renee, it’s most likely the combination of sugar (there is definitely still some left post-fermentation) and acid (acetic and lactic). The same thing can happen from consuming too much kombucha too frequently. A quart a day sounds like a lot to me (I also make and consume water kefir as well as kombucha, milk kefir, fermented vegetables, gluten-free sourdoughs, miso, etc.). You might try switching things up and drinking less water kefir each day and more of other fermented foods that are less sweet to keep the probiotic benefits. I’ve also heard that FCLO can help restrengthen tooth enamel.

  73. Hi Chris.
    Great post! On the point on depression: I recently had the misfortune to require some long postponed surgery to correct a problem acquired many years ago before I changed my lifestyle to a healthier one. Suffice to say I had tried every natural alternative but surgery was my only option.
    While in hospital (the best place to go if you want to get ill!), I got an infection with an elevated temperature and general lethargy and before I knew it, I had a drip in my arm and was being pumped full of antibiotics. After 5 days, I was allowed to come home and I can’t begin to tell you how screwed up my mind was. I was: yelling at my husband, who had spent the last week solely looking after our daughter, the house, visiting me everyday and working full time from home; crying for no reason (I don’t do that!!); throwing things (seriously, I threw my daughters school lunch box and broke it and the plastic clothes hamper had to be dumped after I finished throwing it across the kitchen) and feeling generally hopeless and useless and like I would never be able to get on with life as it was. I know some of it was due to post surgery recovery but I can’t help but feel that the emotional problems were due to the AB’s.

    I’ve been busy repopulating the “farm” with all sorts of fermented and fibrous foods but I know it will take a while. My mind (2 weeks after finishing 2 types of AB’s) is clearer and I am almost back to my old self.
    Thanks for you fabulous information.

    • My cousin’s dog went on a course of antibiotics after a dog fight and was not the same dog personality-wise until she started feeding him kefir over some time. It did the trick and restored him to his old self. She said he wasn’t that keen on it but ate it as he knew she really wanted him to.

  74. Love learning more about probiotics. This question is a little similar to above but would SBO and fermented food (sauerkraut or water/milk kefir or yoghurt) be suitable for someone with long term mildly active IBD?

  75. Great information, Chris! I’ve been taking the prescript assist probiotic based on your recommendation. Do you recommend a dosage and optimal time to take – with food, without, morning, night, etc?

  76. Hi Chris,

    I have Ulcerative Colitis. I control it with a strict diet and take no meds. My diet consists of protein, fat and well cooked veggies. I am apparently fructose intolerant, any fruit (or high sugar veggie) and my symptoms appear in a day or so. However, it appears every time I try fermented veggies or eat too much greek yogurt (which I now purchase, years ago I strained my own yogurt), my symptoms begin to reappear. I am sorry if this is TMI, but my symptom is mucus. Why would that be? I thought probiotics should be a good thing for someone like me with UC. No?

    • You’re not the only one. I found that my IBS improved and food sensitivities decreased once I stopped taking probiotics in capsule form. I tried many, many different brands, but nothing helped until I stopped taking them. After giving my body time to heal from the onslaught of “good bacteria” I now find that I can eat some probiotic foods weekly, such as plain yogurt, kefir or pickles etc. I will probably avoid taking commercial probiotics from now on. My digestion became so messed up on them that I could hardly eat anything and became extremely food phobic because everything made me sick. I lost a huge amount of weight and looked like a cadaver. I originally started taking the probiotics to recover from antibiotics. I just kept taking them for several years thereafter thinking it was a good thing.

        • Thanks for the link. I’ve tried many probiotics, including IBS specific with bifid bacterium and lactobacillus but it just must be too much for me. It’s been six months since I have stopped probiotic supplements and its amazing how much better I feel. It’s not that I don’t get probiotics in my diet now. I eat yogurt, kefir, and Bubbies pickles several times each week. Just not every day or large amounts. It’s a small part of my diet. It seems that my system just does not tolerate large, massive amounts of concentrated probiotics. That might have been appropriate after I had taken the antibiotics, but maybe it unbalanced my system to continue for years afterward. I developed Gerd and IBS. In addition, two months ago I started taking a new enzyme supplement, Digest Gold, and that has made a huge difference.

      • I tested negative for SIBO. I think I caused problems for my self by overdoing it with probiotics and not realizing that I also needed digestive enzymes. Cutting out probiotic supplements but still eating fermented foods, in small amounts, and making sure I was digesting everything by using a good digestive enzyme, has made a huge difference for me. I can eat! Also gaining back some weight, have good energy and brain fog is gone. I’m soooo happy that I made these two small changes in my life.

  77. Thanks Chris. I have doubts about probiotics for “nasal congestion” though. I have been suffering with chronic sinus infections – obviously fungal – for 4 years. I have tried pretty much everything – including your past suggestions in terms of breaking thru biofilm with xylitol – and so far nothing has gotten rid of the problem. (NutriBiotoc Nasal Spray with GSE has helped a bit but no killing of the fungus) Candida diet and antifungals haven’t done it either. I have constant post-nasal drip and yucky yellow mucus in my nose each morning. Been taking probiotics (flora, Udo’s choice, Super 8 Hi-Potency Probiotics, refrigerated) for a couple years and they help my gut, but not the congestion and fungal situation. 🙁

    • Question can I snort probiotic capsule powder to cure a lingering sinus infection??? I’ve used it as a suppository vaginally for bacterial vaginosis and it worked. Assuming it’s the same type of bacteria it should clear up too. I tried apple cider vinegar just hurts my gallbladder. It did clear up my ear recently because I lost hearing for a day. Let me know please!

  78. I can turn standard Lactobacillus plus Bifidus probiotic capsules into equally active yoghurt, which goes further (and is far superior to normal yoghurt) by mixing them will milk and fermenting in an Easiyo hot-water yoghurt maker. Once it’s ready keep it in the fridge and save money on probiotics.

  79. My dr. has had me put the contents of a probiotic capsule in my sinus rinse when I get sinus infections…works wonders!

    • hey adriann, what specific strands or combination of probiotic strands or product did you use for intranasal purposes? did your dr. reccomend a specific one? and did it eliminate or alleviate the sinus swelling and congestion?

      • He said that any would work. Just make sure they are a good quality brand…not drugstore. I use PB8 brand…open the capsule and empty into your sinus rinse. It works great for me. Anytime I feel any sinus crud coming on, I do this. My Dr. recommended doing it for 3 days.

            • Adriann, where in Michigan is your doctor, and what is your doctor’s name? I’m looking for someone good, especially if he has experience with candida issues. Thanks!

              • His name is Dr. Walter Woodhouse. He is in 9050 Lewis Ave

                Temperance, MI 48182

                (734) 850-8902 (Office)

                (734) 850-8934 (Fax)

                Map & Directions ›

                Hope this helps!

  80. Not sure on the cleaning products, but the rest of this is all excellent information. Inflammation in the gut leads to inflammation in the brain??? No wonder so many people seem to have mental illness.

  81. Hey Chris, are coconut kefirs safe for those who are histamine intolerant? Also, have you ever heard of any toxicity regarding probiotic supplementation (I’m sure there are many variables here depending on the individual) but do you think it could be problematic for me to take 1 tbsp. of coconut kefir (100 billion organisms) while also using a probiotic lotion or soap, etc? I’ve looked into this and gotten mixed answers, but I appreciate your time and dedication! I look forward to your response, thanks again!

    • Derek: some of the microorganisms in kefir may be histamine producing, but the answer to your question will depend on your overall sensitivity to histamine. The only way to know is to remove it for 2-3 weeks, then add back in.

      No, I don’t think 1 TBSP of coconut kefir with probiotic lotions or soaps is toxic. Remember that our ancestors consumed milligram quantities of microorganisms from untreated water, soil and fermenting plant matter on a daily basis.

  82. I have treated my hayfever with a different loop. Following work showing that xylitol helps dental health by changing the mouth bacteria, I have used xylitol nose spray to try to change the sinus bacteria. All I can say is that this year, I have NO reaction to grass pollen – the first time in 50 years. I am still reacting to tree pollens but not nearly as much as most of my friends who I used to be similar to..

  83. Love this article! I’m taking probiotics for the benefits… I still know so little about my Auntoimmune Atrophic Gastritis, I am wondering if probiotics help in that department in any way??? Thanks for posting the other uses… I had no idea probiotics had so many uses! 🙂

  84. Grow your own probiotics, and then they will be suited to your microclimate. My kombucha is doing wonders for my allergies!

  85. Awesome post, I am starting to get a bit of an obsession with probiotics.

    I have just decided that once all my current cleaning products are gone in my house, I will be switching to probiotic products, and had just come across the Natural House brand website. Chris, I assume you have tried these products? How well do they work? I know they will kill pathogenic bacteria no problem, but what about stains?

    Also, What are your thoughts on Primal Defense probitics? This product has SBOs also. I tried the Prescript Assist brand but it is much harder to come by than Primal Defense.

    I actually wrote about some uses for probiotics, including their effects on seasonal allergies and protection from the damages of alcohol consumption.

    • well, kinda…. i use systemic enzymes, and when i discovered an old blood stain on some linens, i opened a capsule and rubbed a little into the moistened spot. sure enough, it came clean. lacking encapsulated enzymes, i’d sure try probiotics for this application.

  86. That’s cool that you included household cleaners in your uses of probiotics. I have been fermenting lemons in plain water and use that for cleaning (microwave and conventional ovens, countertops, shower room, sink, etc.), and even use it as a replacement for LemmeShine. I love that it does the job, and I don’t have to suppress breathing while cleaning up. Now I gotta try using that for cleaning toilet bowls as well. I thought it was a revolutionary idea I had, until I saw your link!

  87. Hi Chris, What kind of dosage of probiotics would you recommend for someone taking it for anxiety/depression?

    By the way I heard a very interesting story on the NPR radio show Radio Lab where they did a piece on probiotics and a study that people were involved in to treat anxiety. They said that the treatment was very effective but that the participants were taking the probiotics in incredibly high doses that were not available to consumers. I normally use JarroDophilus.


  88. Chris,
    I’ve been reading about resistant starch lately. I would love to see you blog something about this subject as it relates to probiotics, gut health, etc. Is it really all it’s made out to be? The information about RS seems really lacking. It’s hard to find out how much RS various foods have. Food producers are inconsistent in labeling – ie, if they count RS as fiber on the label or not. Some things I read claim that RS has more effect on gut health than soluble fiber. If so, why is there so much pushing of the health benefits of fiber instead of RS in its various forms… RS-1, RS-2, RS-3, and RS-4.

    • I’ll be covering it briefly in my book. The only whole foods that contain significant amounts of RS are white potatoes that have been cooked and cooled for 24 hours, green bananas, green plantains, plantain flour and cassava flour. The green plantains can be dehydrated and eaten as chips; plantain flour could theoretically be mixed with water, but it doesn’t mix well. Cassava flour is goitrogenic unless cooked, and when it’s cooked it loses RS. That is why many people are using potato starch to obtain RS; it has about 8g per TB, it mixes well with water, and it’s cheap. Get the Bob’s Red Mill variety.

      • Thanks Chris. How is it that potato starch retains the RS in processing but not casava flour? Do you know if the RS crystals re-form if you make a paste/dough from the casava flour and then allow it to cool?

      • Btw, my understanding is that all industrially produced casava flour has been cooked, otherwise it would be harmful. Not only goitrogenic but has some poisons in it as well. Where I live they also call it manjioca, aipim, and tapioca flour.

  89. Hi Chris,
    Are soil based probiotics safe to take once or twice daily? I wonder how diverse they are and if they could create another kind of imbalance? I can’t tolerate any other probiotic so that is why I ask. Are they equal in health benefits?

    Thanks so much!

    • I think they’re safe and beneficial. Our ancestors likely consumed milligram quantities of saporophytic mycobacteria and other microorganisms from untreated water and soil every day.

  90. There was an interesting article published on natural news.com (http://www.naturalnews.com/038783_probiotics_maltodextrin_GMOs.html) back in january stating that many probiotic supplements contain genetically modified flow agents and fillers that are intentionally not listed as ingredients. I would guess this is illegal, but something to be aware of. Mike Adams recommends Sunbiotics organic chewable probiotic supplements (http://store.naturalnews.com/Sunbiotics-Organic-Potent-Probiotic-Prebiotic-Tablets–30-count_p_215.html) – might be a good option for children because they are chewable.

    I think as with most nutrition, getting probiotics from whole fermented foods or kefir is always the best way to go, but unfortunately it is not practical sometimes especially for children, so finding a good supplement is a good idea. One thing I have found that works well is fermenting young coconut water and creating a kefir out of it. Coconut water has so many benefits anyway and fermented coconut water kefir is a powerful natural whole food probiotic as well and tastes decent. You can add a little stevia or mix some into a yummy smoothie for a child. Also, goat milk kefir sweetened with stevia actually tastes really good and my children love it. Raw organic goat milk would be the best to make kefir out of – if you can find it. I would not recommend most of the goat milk kefir in health food stores unless it is unsweetened – they typically have way too much sugar.

    It is also good to be aware that prebiotics (including fiber) may have negative effects on your gut flora balance if it is out of balance in the first place. The prebiotics and fiber can feed the pathogenic bacteria and make the imbalance even worse. So it is important to balance the gut flora first or along with prebiotics and then the prebiotics will enhance the gut flora and serve the purpose they are intended for.

  91. Thanks for this article. It’s interesting how the science on probiotics and prebiotics has evolved over the few years I have been learning about natural health.

    Seven years ago I saved an article from Dr. Mercola which recommended downing as much as a whole bottle (only if necessary) for acute diarrhea. The recommendation was to take a high potency strain every 30 minutes until experiencing relief. I shared the idea with friends and used it myself with success. As I eat better I have fewer episodes of acute illness.

  92. Chris
    I have started taking probiotics mostly because of the positive things I have read hear and other sites. I have a couple of questions maybe you could touch on or direct me to some help.

    I was/am asymptomatic to any gut problems. Is there any way to verify their benefits? Should I expect any more-or-less obvious changes/indicators of the beneficial effects? How long before I should expect any of them to manifest? I am willing to give it some time but still looking to justify $ vs benefit.

  93. When soil based pro-biotics first came out several years ago we used them and looked for a less expensive alternative….some internet research led me to Effective Microorganisms….used for industrial waste, mold remedation, water treatment, agriculture use, composting, human pro-biotics, food/beverage fermentation, (makes a pretty good wine with bottled organic concord grape juice!) etc….. http://www.scdworld.com

  94. I have found that adding some paprika/chilli powder and olive oil makes sawerkraut ( home made ) more palatable…Luis Mtz. Mexico

  95. Is there an sense in using maybe three or four different probiotic products and varying those, in order to constantly expose the intestines to new and beneficial organisms?

    All of these organisms compete against each other, so by varying them up you would be destroying the organisms you had previously taken in.

    I wasn’t clear from the article when do you take prebiotics and when do you take probiotics? Are you recommending taking both?

    • Yes, I’m recommending both because they have different mechanisms. Probiotics stimulate T-regulatory cells and have an immune-modulating effect (among others); prebiotics selectively stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria already in the gut.

      I think SBOs + fermented foods probably most closely mimics our ancestral exposure.

      • Do you recommend taking the prebiotic at the same time as the probiotic? For example, take the probiotic with breakfast and then put the prebiotic into tea or some other liquid that you drink after breakfast.

      • Regarding prebiotics, I understand there is some controversy. There are “experts” who say that prebiotics can stimulate the growth of all bacteria. If one is already presenting with a lot of dysbiosis, how would you proceed with using prebiotics?

  96. Hi Chris,
    If one were to take a soil based probiotic as there only probiotic is that a safe route to go? Wondering if it is diverse enough not to create another kind of imbalance. Are they ok to take once or twice daily? I ask because it is the only one I can tolerate. Thank you so much.

  97. Hi Chris, thanks for this interesting post. Could you guide me towards the probiotic that would help with Gallbladder issues.

  98. During years of tummy issues, I purchased many probiotic supplements, which never seemed to make any difference. Then, thanks to R Nikoley, I tried kefir. The positive effects were significant enough that I now culture it myself (plus, I really like the taste so I drink a lot, and prefer full-fat, and I’m too cheap to pay for ready-made when I can even find the full-fat version). I have used it (applied like calamine lotion) for cuts and scrapes, and it seems to speed healing. I forget how I stumbled on to this use, but a web search for “kefir wound healing” turns up a lot of information.

    I’m now (also thanks to R Nikoley) also using 4T unmodified potato starch daily, at bedtime, as a prebiotic. I find that in addition to a further reduction of tummy issues/discomfort, I am also sleeping more soundly.

    • You can open a fresh probiotic capsule and mix with lotion for your skin. Personally, I would mix it fresh each time. We plan to experiment with different probiotic strains at the same time (dividing up areas of skin with acne) so we can see the differences. And testing different lotions. Also will try mixing probiotics with a tiny bit of olive oil or coconut oil which have skin healing properties in themselves.

      • There is a distinct difference between aerobic and anaerobic bacterium. Many people think of aerobic and anaerobic in terms of exercise, or for the more scientifically inclined, in cellular activity. What many people don’t realize is that this process affects bacterium as well.
        There are certain bacteria that thrive in places where oxygen is available, hence the term aerobic, whereas there are also bacteria that thrive through fermentation rather than cellular respiration.  There are some probiotics that do not need oxygen to live, which the probiotics which are found in yogurt. Those probiotics will not do anything to your skin if applied as yogurt because they cannot survive in the presence of oxygen; they are the anaerobes. However, there are certain bacteria, these are the probiotics in Probiotic Action, that do need oxygen to survive, and those are the ones you want to put on your skin. Not all probiotics are the same and it’s important to know the difference.”

  99. How long do the probiotics live in ferment foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut? I’ve wondered if they increase of decrease in number with storage (once the jar is opened)?

    • I’m guessing it’s like a bottle of probiotic capsules in the fridge- you repeatedly open it and it’s fine as long as it’s kept cold. A jar of Bubbie’s sour kraut gets eaten within a week or two at our house anyway so I never worry about that 🙂

  100. Hi Chris, would you recommend a brand? I am currently using the JarrowDophilus, which is great according to my research..

      • Hi Chris, you wrote that you recommend Prescript Assist for most people…. Who should not take it? How about the Natren Healthy Trinity?

        • Hi
          If you want to maintain a healthy gut you take it for the rest of your life. Probiotics are like vitamins and minerals that you need it everyday to replenish your gut flora.
          Hope this helps:)

        • I suggest to read http://freetheanimal.com/2014/05/resistant-problems-ignorance.html
          The author, a health care worker, wanted to get rid of chronic salmonella and took a mix of 3 soil-based probiotics. After 10 weeks, the salmonella was gone and as a side effect ALSO the old gluten intolerance was gone and the bloodsugar was significantly less.

          And to give a more direct answer to your question: I think it depends how much is necessary and for which period. Some need a strong mix for 10 weeks and others may need less. You have to trust yourself. Basically you do not have to ask a docter ‘doc, I feel fine, all symptoms are gone. Can I stop with the treatment?’. So take the probiotics until you feel fine.

        • Jon- I’m not familiar with Klaire Therbiotic, but I do know from our nutritionist that people with SIBO should not have certain strains such as lactobacillus acidophilus. Even if you don’t have SIBO, some people shouldn’t have acidophilus like my daughter who has no noticeable problem with acidophilus but shouldn’t have it due to something that showed up on her testing, according to our CN. So she takes the PrescriptAssist soil based and now we’re all taking it (started with a fraction of a capsule and went up gradually like we do with any probiotic).

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