Probiotics are possibly the most important part of your Candida treatment program. A good probiotic, combined with the correct diet and some potent antifungals, can slow down and reverse your Candida overgrowth.
Probiotics attack your Candida in a couple of different ways. Firstly, they restore your intestinal system to balance by replacing the good bacteria that were lost when your Candida overgrowth started. Secondly, probiotics actually keep your Candida under control by inhibiting its growth. Research suggests that this is thanks to antifungal substances secreted by the bacteria. The bacteria also release small amounts of lactic and acetic acid that help maintain your stomach acidity.
How do you choose a probiotic?
There are thousands of different probiotics on the market, all with varying potency and different ingredients. So how do you choose between them? Here are a few things that you need to look for when choosing your probiotic.
How many billion bacteria per capsule?
You can buy probiotics with anything from 1bn to 100bn or more bacteria per capsule. Generally the more the better, but if you are starting your treatments it is advisable to start with a lower quantity. Once you feel comfortable that they are not causing a severe Die-Off reaction, you can increase the dosage. Also note that soil-based probiotics will generally have a much lower bacteria count, as they are much more resilient and survive the journey to your gut much more easily.
How many different strains of bacteria?
There are probiotics that contain a single strain, and others that contain 15 different strains or more. Many naturopaths believe that more strains will have a better chance of getting your Candida overgrowth under control, but this is really about finding what works for you. As long as the probiotic contains a few of the most potent strains (including L. Acidophilus or B. Bifidum), and at least 5 individual strains, it should work well.
Which strains of bacteria does it contain?
This is where you see a great deal of variety between probiotics. Probiotic products tend to contain a large number of friendly bacteria (often many billions per dose), and several different strains. Here are some of the strains you should look out for:
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus is the most popular strain of probiotic. Research has shown it to enhance your immune system and cut down the duration of a Candida overgrowth. Taking probiotics like this continually will reduce the chance of Candida overgrowth ever happening.
- Bifidobacteria Bifidum is another strain that you will often see in probiotics. It helps with digestion, supports your immune system, and aids in the synthesis of B vitamins.
- Note that the above lactic acid-based bacteria will not generally be present in soil-based probiotics. A soil-based probiotic like Prescript-Assist contains 29 different soil-based strains.
Any other ingredients?
Some probiotics contain ‘prebiotics’, non-digestible foods that feed the probiotics. Inulin is one example. Not all probiotics contain these, and most of the time your normal diet will provide all the prebiotics that you need. Chicory coffee is also a good source of Inulin, as well as being caffeine-free, so this is a great beverage to drink on the Candida diet.
Capsule or powder?
Probiotics can come in capsule or powder form, and capsules are usually best. Its important that the probiotic has some kind of delivery system to get the bacteria into your gut without too many being destroyed in your stomach. Taking your probiotics with food will also help.
Choosing a good probiotic is not always easy. In my Ultimate Candida Diet treatment program I have written a detailed guide to finding a probiotic that will work with your Candida treatment.