Reply To: Settling into probiotics

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Rebecca wrote: I didn’t want my gut flora maintained – that was the whole point of having one. Having suffered virtually all my life with anxiety, panic and then later IBS, with hindsight all probably caused by candida, I wanted the clean sweep that a colonic would provide. I knew it would wipe out all the flora and I saw this as a good thing, so that now I have a healthier diet and am taking all the right supplements I can create a healthy and good balance from scratch. Out with the good went a whole lot of bad and I will work to replace the good and get it better than I ever had it before.

With respect I’ve already had the colonic so I can’t go back and undo it. I’m not planning on having more or often, but as I say, I wanted an extreme clear out to begin again and do it right this time. What I was asking for was some advice as to whether I should be doing anything else at this stage, how long people generally take to settle into their probiotics and whether or not I should be worried about the slight unsettled feelings I’ve had this last few days. And for the record my colonic hydrotherapist is also a nutritionist and as this whole candida protocol is built on the foundations of good and thorough nutrition I don’t think anyone here can claim that nutrition isn’t ‘real’.

When I say “maintain integrity”, I’m referring to keeping hold of what beneficial bacterial species you can, which should number in the 100s. Reducing diversity only benefits pathogens, and once a species is gone, it won’t come back unless it’s replaced, and no supplement can achieve such a thing. Typical probiotic strains represent a minor fraction of what would be found in a healthy gut, and won’t be found in the top 50 most populous species, if they’re indigenous at all. You can learn more about the complexity involved in replacing gut flora on Dr. Ayers blog.

I’m not saying you’ve necessarily wiped out any bacteria, and you probably don’t need to worry if you don’t plan on having any more. I was just taking the opportunity to share my thoughts on colonics because I came close to having one, and now feel incredibly sceptical about unproven, invasive treatments that people are happy to provide for a lot of money. Also, I’ve read books written by nutritionists and I’d be extremely sceptical about them too.

Maybe I should apologise for not directly addressing your post as a result. I’d say it’s quite typical to experience bloating when taking strong probiotics. Many people experience the same on much lower doses than 75bn. Any change you make to your gut through diet, enemas, introducing bacteria etc will involve some period of adaptation. Simply increasing vegetable consumption is enough to give people similar symptoms for 1-2 weeks, as can suddenly eliminating other foods. You also had pre-existing issues, so there are a lot of factors involved, and you may need to be prepared for periods like this as you experiment to find out what helps and what doesn’t.

I wouldn’t assume it’s candida at this point, and would finish off the bottle while maintaining the diet. Like Latka said, people with IBS don’t tend to react well to FOS (or any kind of FODMAP), and this might be something you’ll have to consider while trying to treat yourself. In terms of fibre and prebiotics, a quality over quantity approach might be beneficial. More doesn’t necessarily mean better, and even friendly strains of bacteria can cause issues if they get out of control.