Rotating Your Probiotic Supplements
Probiotic rotation is based on the idea that we need a broad range of unique bacteria in our gut to help facilitate digestion. It’s a great idea and deserves consideration. It also makes sense that taking multiple strains rather than a single strain is better. However, it’s much more complicated than that.
What’s the problem with single-strain probiotics?
Bacteria in the gut usually live for 3 to 7 days. They reproduce quickly but environmental factors and competition can harm them. This is why we take probiotic supplements to replenish what has been lost.
One common reason why people choose to rotate or alter their supplements is that most probiotic products available today are single-strain formulations. What’s wrong with this?
Your microbiome is like an ecosystem in which diversity is essential. Having a diverse blend of beneficial bacteria will help to create a healthier microbiome. There are clearly pros and cons for single and multi-strain probiotics, but generally, multi-strains are good options for supporting a healthy gut on a regular basis. Mixed strains can provide a broader range of effects and a greater variety of mechanisms of action. It may sound great, but it’s not as simple as that. In fact, too many strains can also make probiotics ineffective because of competition.
Is it okay or not?
It all depends on the type and quality of probiotic supplements you are taking.
- Some argue that taking high-quality probiotics supplements not only populate the gut with specific strains of bacteria but is also believed to encourage other friendly bacteria to thrive. Benefits are measured by how much a probiotic help the other bacteria in your gut. Therefore, it is advisable not to rotate.
- Some studies show that the benefits people receive from taking a supplement over a period of time do not improve. Therefore, it is suggested that you shouldn’t take probiotics for more than a couple of weeks to a month or two, but this also depends on your age, genetic makeup, what you eat, and your activity level. That's why it makes sense to rotate.
Getting the right strain for your condition
Whether you choose to rotate your supplements or not, the most important thing to take into consideration is to find the right strain for your condition. Instead of adopting the” the more the merrier” approach and opting for supplements with many strains, choose one with a strain that targets your specific condition.
The quality of the supplement you choose also matters. A quality probiotic supplement should be protected until they reach the intestinal tract. Examples are slow-release formulation, coated tablets, and capsulized form.
Why is this? Friendly microbes must overcome the acidic environment of the stomach when taken orally. Among the reasons why the pH of our stomachs is low is to destroy bacterial and viral pathogens that are ingested with our foods. This means that most of the probiotics you consume will die before they can finally reach their destination. So, only 1,000 probiotic bacteria may survive when one billion are needed in a cheap supplement.