Myth-Busting Probiotics

Did you know your eating habits – what you eat, how much, etc – affects your breathing pattern? There are many myths around probiotics and how they can help. So today, I’m going to share some probiotics myth-busters!

When I teach functional breathing, I always talk about diet, the culture of eating, self-care, and self-love that we express by nurturing ourselves with good food

You see, when you eat, it involves your parasympathetic nervous system. Blood flows to the digestive organs, the necessary enzymes are produced, and saliva is abundant (we know, that digestion starts in the mouth).

But when you are stressed, the blood flows away from the digestive organs, no enzymes or hydrochloric acid to churn and break down food are released, and your mouth is dry. So, can you see how important it is to make time to sit down for a meal?

Nowadays, when there is a digestive complaint, the most common go-to for many is #probiotics. While the evolving science of microbiome shows probiotics is good therapy, we’re talking about putting live microorganisms inside our bodies. And I would like to dispel some myths about probiotic therapy.

Probiotics: Myth-Busters

Myth: You can fix your gut issues by taking a probiotic supplement recommended by a naturopath or health food shop.

Busted: The truth is, you could have a small intestinal overgrowth and certain probiotics will actually make your digestive symptoms worse. Your well-meaning friend or health food shop wouldn’t have taken your health history.

Probiotics are all different. Although they have been researched for different health conditions, NO ONE really knows how a combination supplement with a few probiotic strains- even of the same species – will behave and compete with each other and the existing bacteria in your gut.

Probiotics are BACTERIA that we put in ourselves in hopes they are good and will help us fight the bad guys. But they are living organisms. Let’s show some respect. We carry about 2kg of bacteria in our gut (go ahead, use them as an excuse of excess weight ;)), aren’t you curious how they all interact there?

Myth: You can re-populate your gut with good bacteria if you take probiotics long-term.

Busted: You can not. Some probiotic bacteria (those of human origin) will stick around for longer, allegedly giving us more benefit. But staying and colonising your intestines – no. We can only revive whatever was passed to us by our mother.

Myth: A multi-strain product is always superior to a single-strain probiotic use.

Again, nobody knows how all those strains in your capsule are going to behave in your gut TOGETHER. The research is only about single strains.

For example, Yakult – a product you see on supermarket shelves – contains a single bacterium Lactobaccilus casei Shirota (the last word is the name of the strain, casei – species. Lactobacillus – genus).

This strain has been heavily researched for its benefits for mental health. I wouldn’t recommend this product though, because of the sugar content (old version) or artificial sweetener (new purple bottles). The point I want to make here is that putting anything live inside you should be done with careful consideration of your health goal and your state of health.

In the long run, taking any probiotic product won’t damage your health (only short-term exacerbation of your digestive symptoms may play out). But you might literally be flushing your money down the toilet.

A quick money-saver for you: if there’s no STRAIN specified on the bottle, don’t waste your money. On a good probiotic product, there should be THREE nomenclature names – Genus, Species and STRAIN. Strain name normally looks like a code – capital letters, sometimes mixed with numbers. Example: Lactobacillus rhamnosis GG.