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Multiple Probiotic Strains

The gut is an ecosystem for bacteria but, often, people overlook this as they focus more on the benefits of probiotics and the number of genus or strain it has. Adding more genus or strain is not always worthwhile, as this can lead to unbalanced gut flora.

As living organisms, they compete for resources. They fight to survive and thrive in one ecosystem. Experts refer to this phenomenon as antagonistic coevolution- each species is struggling in one environment.


Probiotic vocabulary


  • Multiple strain: Refers to one genus with many strains like acidophilus, L. brevis, and L. plantarum combined.
  • Single strain: Refers to one genus or one species like longum or L. acidophilus.
  • Multi-species: Refers to different genus combinations like Lactobacillus, Saccharomyces, and Bifidobacterium.


The differences between multi-strain and single-strain probiotics


When shopping for probiotic supplements, you will find either single or multi-strain options alongside each other at a supplement store. Picking between the two options is likely to be one of your first considerations. So, it may be best if you know the differences between the two before deciding on which is more suitable for you.


  • Multi-strain

Multi-strains probiotics are more effective than a single strain. It has a broader range of effects and more mechanisms of action. Multi-strain probiotics have beneficial effects on multiple health conditions while boosting overall gut and immune functions. Multi-strain probiotic supplements are highly effective at calming certain gut conditions. At the same time, it boosts immune performance and overall gut health.


  • Single strain

Some of the most popular probiotic strains available on the market today only contain one strain. One major benefit of single strain supplements is that consumers can select and increase the health-promoting organisms of their choice.

Research also shows that probiotics with single-strain bacteria have been associated with better results than those with multiple strains. For example, S. boulardii on its own is great for people who have IBS.

In cases of H. pylori infection, the use of one strain leads to a 0.66 day reduction in diarrhea, whereas a two-strain combination results in a 0.41-day reduction. This suggests that a single-strain can eliminate infection a lot quicker.


Is multiple strain better?


Multi-strain probiotics are best as an everyday supplement to support gut health. Most high-quality, multi-strain probiotic supplements contain 5 or 6 different bacteria genus or species but not more than that.

Although very little is known about how different species of bacteria interact with each other, experts believe that different species of bacteria can inhibit each other. The problem here lies with failed transportation. When multiple strains are packed in one container unrestrained, not all of them will reach their ultimate destination.


How much is too much?


An ideal probiotic supplement must contain fewer strains for good reasons. Fewer strains mean better balance in the GI tract and less competition. There is no point in adding more and more strains if they will only compete and cancel each other out.

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