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You’re probably wondering what the deal is with probiotics and what they are. Should you even care? They’re probably just another fad with no real basis, right?

When I started taking probiotics ten years ago, I was very resistant. My resistance came from all the bad side effects I’d had with taking other supplements. Finally, my stomach was in such disarray that I was willing to try anything. And I do mean anything.

My sister recommended probiotics. I honestly don’t even remember what brand she gave me, but it was instantaneously life changing. I remember how quickly my stomach started to feel better—almost as quickly as taking a Prilosec (omeprazole) or Pepcid (famotidine) but without the cancerous side effects. This moment was the beginning of my obsession with probiotics.

So what are probiotics? Easily put, they are good bacteria. Your body is made of trillions upon trillions of bacteria. I know, it’s weird and crazy to hear that or visualize bacteria (good and bad) living inside of your body. But it is what it is. In fact, we actually need bacteria.

We’re still learning a ton about what strands of bacteria are best for which condition and how many you actually need. When my patients ask me these questions, my bottom line response is, “Listen to your body.” Your body will give you signals if what you’re doing is working for you. Your body is always communicating with you. You just have to listen.

The things I personally look for when trying a new probiotic are the following:

  • Did I notice less bloating?
  • Did I notice easier digestion?
  • Did I have less acid reflux?
  • Did I have less burping?
  • Did my breath smell better?
  • Did my morning trip to the bathroom improve?

The point is, you should notice something beneficial. If not, try a different brand or a different strand of bacteria. Different strands of bacteria are known to treat different things. Your ailment or diagnoses will help guide you towards the correct probiotic.

As of now, my favorite go-to probiotics include Digestive Enzymes + Probiotics by Zenwise, Align, Saccharomyces Boulardii, and VSL #3. I take a combination of different probiotic brands because they all have different strands of bacteria.

Choosing the Right Probiotic

So what probiotic do you need? It all depends on your symptoms and diagnoses. Different strands of bacteria treat different things. The following guidelines are based on level 1 and 2 evidence-based practices. These are the types of guidelines people in the medical field often rely on before recommending a particular treatment.

You can find additional information at

For supplement quality testing, check out Supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so always use caution with any supplement and listen to your body.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Oral Health (Candida, Cavities, and Throat Infections)

  • Dentaq Oral and ENT Health Probiotic Complex: bacteria strands S. salivarius BAA-1024, L. plantarum SD-5870, L. reuteri SD-5865, L. acidophilus SD-5212, L. salivarius SD-5208, and L. paracasei SD-5275
  • Gum PerioBalance: bacteria strands L. reuteri ATCC 55730 and L. reuteri ATCC PTA 5289
  • OralBiotics: bacteria Streptococcus salivarius K12 recommends Dentaq, Gum PerioBalance, or OralBiotics. I was not able to find Amazon links for them, so I’ve listed alternatives:

  • Hyperbiotics PRO-Dental: bacteria strands S. salivarius K12, salivarius M18, L. reuteri, and L. paracasei
  • Dental Probiotic: bacteria strands S. salivarius BLIS K-12, S. salivarius BLIS M-18, L. paracasei, and L. reuteri

Travelers Diarrhea

Diarrhea Caused By Clostridium Difficile (C-diff) or Prevention of Diarrhea while on Antibiotics

  • Bio-K: bacteria strands L. acidophilus CL 1285, L. casei LBC8OR, and L. Rhamnosus CLR2
  • HMF by Genestra: bacteria strands L. acidophilus CUL60, L. acidophilus CUL21, B. bifidum CUL20, and B. lactis CUL34
  • Florastor: bacteria strand Saccharomyces boulardii lyo CNCM 1-745
  • NatureMade Digestive Probiotic for Travelers: bacteria strand Saccharomyces boulardi lyo
  • Ultra Probiotic Complex by GNC: bacteria strands L. acidophilus CUL6O, L. acidophilus CUL21, B. bifidum CUL20, and B. lactis CUL34

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Ulcerative Colitis and Pouchitis)

  • Mutaflor: bacteria strand Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 (from Germany?)
  • VSL #3: bacteria strands L. acidophilus SD5212, L. casei SD5218, L. bulgaricus SD5210, L. plantarum SD5209, B. longum SD5219, B. infantis SD5220, B. breve SD5206, and S. thermophilus SD5207


  • BioGaia ProTectis: bacteria strand L. reuteri DSM 17938
  • Metabiotic: bacteria strand B. lactis BB-12
  • VSL #3: bacteria strands L. acidophilus SD5212, L. casei SD5218, L. bulgaricus SD5210, L. plantarum SD5209, B. longum SD5219, B. infantis SD5220, B. breve SD5206, and S. thermophilus SD5207

Helicobacter Pylori Treatment

Vaginal Health (Vulvovaginal Candidiasis and Bacterial Vaginosis)

Pediatric Probiotics

The following have the most evidence-based research for GI issues:

Tips for Lowering the Cost of Probiotics or Getting Them for Free

  1. Some insurance companies will cover the entire cost of your probiotics if you have a prescription. Call your insurance company to find out. If that’s the case, kindly ask your primary medical provider for a year prescription of your favorite probiotic. Pick a brand that you can find at a pharmacy because it will technically be a prescription.
  2. If you have Health Savings Account (HSA), you can use your HSA Visa to purchase probiotics. Be sure to save your receipts because you may have to show proof.
  3. Certain probiotic brands are covered by a qualifying diagnosis made by your medical provider. An example of this is VSL #3. If you have a diagnosis of an inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis), insurance companies will pay for the powder version of VSL #3 (not the pill version).
  4. Google the price of probiotics online before purchasing. Some websites and stores will sell a particular brand cheaper than others.
  5. If the probiotic brand you’re looking to buy is too expensive, look at the strand of bacteria it contains and try buying a similar strand of bacteria made by another brand. For example, Jarrow Formulas Fem-Dophilus, ProB, and UltraFlora Women’s all have the same bacteria strands of L. rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14. However, the ProB brand is significantly cheaper.

Warning: According to our information (the website most medical professionals go to for up-to-date information), it’s not advisable to start probiotics while having acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).

The information in this post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Talk to your medical provider before starting any new supplements or medications.


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  • Dottie
    August 26, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    I’m liking the info. Gonna try to get all the stuff for the turmeric drink TODAY. I did notice that taking the SBO probiotic every other day is not working for me. So beings I’m almost out I’m gonna go buy align. Now that’s great info on what to buy because of the numerous companies promoting their brand making it hard to choose which one you should choose.

    • Lindsay
      August 26, 2017 at 9:03 pm

      Are you referring to Dr. Axe’s SBO probiotic?

  • Kristen
    November 29, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    My stomach has always had a problem with protein shakes and I have tried every kind of protein shake. After reading this I ordered the zenwise and added it to my vegan protein powder and it helped big time!

    • Lindsay
      December 1, 2017 at 12:39 am

      Yes, LOVE the Zenwise. You can add it into fresh juices too!

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    […] have started to circle back to our fermenting roots. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of probiotics, but I’m even more excited by fermented foods. Many say that if you heal the gut you can heal the […]

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