Probiotics are possibly the most important part of your Candida treatment program. A good probiotic, combined with the correct diet and some natural antifungals, can slow down and reverse your Candida overgrowth.
Probiotics help to fight Candida in a few 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 such as lactic acid that are secreted by the bacteria. Lastly, lactic and acetic acid released by the bacteria help maintain your stomach acidity.
If you are following our Candida treatment program and have reached the point where you need to add some probiotics, you have three choices. You can take some probiotic supplements, eat lots of probiotic foods, or do a bit of both. The third option, combining probiotic foods and supplements, will generally give you the best results. Probiotic, fermented foods contain lots of beneficial bacteria, but supplementation can help to increase the number of strains and CFUs that you are consuming.
How Do You Choose A Probiotic?
There are thousands of different commercial 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 250 million to 100 billion or more Colony Forming Units (CFUs) per capsule. As a general rule, the more bacteria the better. However, if you are just starting your treatment then it might be advisable to begin with a lower quantity. Once you feel comfortable that the probiotics are not causing a 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 health professionals believe that more strains will give your immune system 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 in total, it should work reasonably 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 it can help you to cut down the duration of a Candida overgrowth too. Taking probiotics like this on a consistent basis will reduce the chance of Candida overgrowth happening in the first place.
- Bifidobacteria bifidum is another well-researched 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. None of those will be bacteria that you’ll find in a regular, lactic acid-based formulation.
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. The best time to take probiotics is just before or during a meal. Eating food reduces the acidity in your stomach, which allows more of the probiotic bacteria to pass through to your gut unharmed.
Choosing a good probiotic is not always easy. In our Ultimate Candida Diet treatment program, Dr. Eric Wood and I have written a detailed guide to finding a probiotic that will work with your Candida treatment.