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In Probiotics: Take One, I recommend taking probiotics for general health, cycling through various high-quality brands (do your research!) in periodic, well-planned intervals throughout the year. This will introduce a wide array of strains to your body and provide general and comprehensive support.

However, when attacking a specific condition, more targeted support by specific probiotic strains with proven efficacy for that underlying condition proves helpful.

Below are five common health issues, each with specific recommended probiotic strains to provide support (based on extensive research and published studies):

Please note: There are thousands of probiotic strains and only a small fraction have been studied. Therefore, the following information is not an exclusive solution. Other combinations may work. But these specific strains have shown effectiveness in these specific cases and would go a long way in helping those afflicted with the below problems towards recovery.

Respiratory Illness

Lactobacillus Fermentum VRI-003

Lactobacillus fermentum VRI-003 was shown to (i) improve mucosal and systemic immune support (ii) substantially reduce recovery time and (iii) reduce the severity of respiratory illness for 20 elite male long distance runners as published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (during a double blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial conducted over a 4-month period of winter training).

Lactobacillus Rhamnosus (or Lactobacillus GG)

This strain is known for helping children.

Lactobacillus GG (or “L. GG”) is a wonderful probiotic because it can also survive stomach acids, making it an effective treatment for traveler's diarrhea, colitis, candida and overall immune support.

Two studies I found show that L. GG may be effective for eczema in children, if the child's mother ingests it while she's pregnant, and, according to a 1999 study in Finland, children drinking milk with L. R. had fewer respiratory illnesses.


Lactobacillus Acidophilus DDS-1, Bifidobacterium Bifidus and Bifidobacterium Longum

Let me preface by saying there is no singular/combined probiotic treatment that on its own can defeat the infamous "Candida Albicans." If anyone tells you otherwise, he or she is mistaken or misinformed. This condition requires a multi-pronged, therapeutic approach, individually tailored to the biology of each person.

That said, a good place to start is with a blend that contains high doses of strains in the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families, more specifically L. Acidophilus, B. Bifidus and B. Longum.

Please research and educate yourself about what exactly is in that tiny little pill or mouthful of yogurt you’re ingesting and whether or not it will actually give you what you need!

GI Tract Issues & Protein Digestion

L. Salivarius

This is a special strain for heavy meat-eaters, especially those who swallow their food without properly chewing. L. Salivarius (found in mothers’ colostrum) is a proteolytic probiotic that actually breaks down undigested protein. This action assists in the detoxifying of the GI tract and helps minimize food putrefaction that occurs from undigested protein in the gut. A recent University of Nebraska study showed that this species may help prevent colon cancer.

IBS, Crohn’s & Colitis

L. Plantarum

L. Plantarum (found in Korean kimchi, sauerkraut and human saliva) has been clinically tested for its impact on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Subjects administered L. Plantarum showed decreases in pain and other related symptoms. Lactobacillus Plantarum was also shown in a study published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology to possess potential cholesterol-lowering effects.

Antibiotic Use

L. Acidophilus DDS-1

The L. Acidophilus DDS-1 strain can be taken during, and for weeks subsequent to, antibiotic use to help prevent diarrhea, allergic reactions and dysbiosis. The American Journal of Gastroenterology reported the L. Acidophilus DDS-1 strain to be highly resistant to commonly prescribed antibiotics such as penicillin, streptomycin and aureomycin.

photo credits: irene suchocki, zong ye quek, maya fiala grau

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