Probiotic Strains Matched to the Illnesses They Heal

by Melanie Christner Natural RemediesComments: 43

probiotic strains are not created equal

By Melanie Christner NTP, CHFS, CGP of Honest Body

Imagine you are at the doctor’s office for help with a specific health concern. After a full examination, your doctor pulls out a prescription pad to write you a script for – gasp – a probiotic strain.

The prescription is handed to you, and you take a look at it.  Looking up in surprise, you ask the doctor if the recommendation is indeed for a probiotic rather than an antibiotic.

The doctor nods his/her head and explains that the particular strain recommended for your ailment has been found to have an 86% success rate as tested in a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study.

You ask about side effects, and your doctor replies that there — ARE NONE.

You are (understandably) amazed. You take your prescription, fill it, take as directed, and your condition is taken care of…with minimal discomfort. You even experience other health issues clearing up — that you thought were completely unrelated.

Sound like a far-fetched scenario?

Depending on how up-to-date and open minded your health provider is, this may already be a reality. And it may become more of a reality in mainstream medicine in the future.

The reason?  Researchers are taking quite an interest in probiotic strains and their effects on human and animal health. In recent years there has been a surge in the study of probiotics, the human microbiota, and other related applications.

The World Health Organization defines probiotics as “live organisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit to the host”.

Some of the Ways Probiotics Keep Us Healthy

Probiotics have the ability to hinder or kill pathogens by strain-specific processes such as:

1. “Crowding Out” Pathogens

When probiotics are taken in sufficient and therapeutic amounts they can do the work of crowding out pathogens and using the nutrients and space that would otherwise be used by the pathogens.

2. Secreting Beneficial Chemicals

Probiotics produce and secrete molecules like bacteriocins (a protein produced by bacteria of one strain that is active against those of a closely related strain), hydrogen peroxide, antibiotics and more, that control the growth and survival of surrounding microorganisms.

3. Positive Stimulation of the Immune System

Probiotics “chat” with the immune system part of the gut (epithelial cells, Peyer’s patches M cells, and immune cells) encouraging them to have a response to pathogens and to contribute to the mucosal barrier, among other beneficial activities.

Specific Strains for Specific Issues

All this research has really exciting implications. Probiotics, rather than harmful prescription drugs with their many, dangerous, and even life-threatening side effects could become common and be used effectively by both mothers and health care practitioners alike. As consumers and patients let us be asking, no demanding, these kind of solutions for our family!

Below I have given 8 examples of specific conditions helped by specific probiotic strains (stay tuned for why the specific strain is important).

If your particular health challenge is not listed, please refer to my book a Mother’s Guide to Probiotics for a complete list of ailments matched to the best probiotic strains(s) as determined by the scientific research available today.

Antibiotic Associated Diarrhea

A meta-analysis of 34 double blind, placebo-controlled, randomized studies that included 4,138 people, concluded that the probiotic strain, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG,  when given at the same time as antibiotics, had a greater than 60% reduced risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

Probiotic strain tested to help:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG

Which can be found in these brands:

  1. Culturelle –  USA, UK, Canada
  2. Ethical Nutrients – Australia

[Source]

Below are further examples of common conditions — and the probiotic strains tested to be effective in treating them.

Anxiety

Yes! There are even probiotics for anxiety. Our digestive tract has a profound effect on our mood and anxiety is no exception.

Probiotic strains tested to help:

  • Lactobacillus helveticus R0052
  • Bifidobacterium longum R0175

Which can be found in these brands:

  1. Eagle CytoPro Balance (AU)
  2. Pure Encapsulations ProbioMood (USA)
  3. Xymogen ProbioDefense (USA)

[Source]

Colic

This all too common, “normal” condition is anything but normal and is a sign of distress and imbalance in baby. These probiotic strains have been found via research to help alleviate baby’s pain.

Probiotic strains tested to help:

  • Bifidobacterium breve PXN 25
  • Bifidobacterium infantis PXN 27
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus PXN 35
  • Lactobacillus casei PXN 37
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus PXN 39
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus PXN 54
  • Streptococcus thermophilus PXN 66PXN 37
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus PXN 39
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus PXN 54
  • Streptococcus thermophilus PXN 66

Which can be found in this brand:

  1. Bio-Kult (Source from practitioners or directly from Bio-Kult)

[Source]

Constipation

Constipation has many causes, from the top — to the bottom. Brain function, poor chewing, poor bile flow from the gallbladder, insufficient dietary water causing the colon to re-absorb what little water there is, to name a few. Probiotics play a part in stimulating motility (movement), and secretions that help bowel movements proceed normally and regularly.

Probiotic strains tested to help constipation:

  • Bifidobacterium breve PXN 25
  • Bifidobacterium infantis PXN 27
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus PXN 35
  • Lactobacillus casei PXN 37
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus PXN 39
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus PXN 54
  • Streptococcus thermophilus PXN 66PXN 37
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus PXN 39
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus PXN 54
  • Streptococcus thermophilus PXN 66

Which can be found in this brand:

  1. Bio-Kult (Source from practitioners or directly from Bio-Kult)

[Source]

Another probiotic strain tested to help constipation:

  • Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12

Which can be found in these brands:

  1. Standard Process ProSynbiotic (USA)
  2. MediHerb Probiota (Australia)

[Source]

Dental Caries (Cavities)

Dental health is a hot topic in alternative health circles. Initial evidence strongly indicates that probiotics may play a role in healthy teeth.

Probiotic strain that helps prevent cavities:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG

Which can be found in these brands:

  1. Culturelle –  USA, UK, Canada
  2. Ethical Nutrients – Australia

[Source]

Eczema (Treatment)

Eczema can be one of the trickiest skin conditions to treat. It is typically a multi-faceted approach (internal healing and external lifestyle changes combined) that often does the trick.

Probiotic strains tested to help:

  • Bifidobacterium breve PXN 25
  • Bifidobacterium infantis PXN 27
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus PXN 35
  • Lactobacillus casei PXN 37
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus PXN 39
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus PXN 54
  • Streptococcus thermophilus PXN 66PXN 37
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus PXN 39
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus PXN 54
  • Streptococcus thermophilus PXN 66

Which can be found in this brand:

  1. Bio-Kult (Source from practitioners or directly from Bio-Kult)

[Source]

Infant Ger (Reflux)

Probiotic strains proven to help:

  • Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis

Which can be found in these brands:

  1. Blackmores Digestive Bio Balance (AU)
  2. BioGaia Protectis baby drops or chewable tablets (Canada, USA, & worldwide)

[Source]

Mastitis (Breast Infection)

Ouch! Mastitis is painful, and usually comes when you are at your most vulnerable — breastfeeding a little one. Right now there are only a couple of probiotic strains tested for effective use against mastitis, and the one probiotic product that contains it is only available in Australia. I am hopeful that will change in the future.

Probiotic strains proven to help:

  • Lactobacillus fermentum CECT5716

Which can be found in this brand:

  1. PureMedica Qiara

Complete List of Ailments Matched to the Best Probiotic Strains for Healing Them

If you want to learn more about specific strains and conditions…and why the specific strain counts, OR if you need help with selecting a probiotic brand, matching up probiotics strains with your specific objectives, with tips on dosing for kids and adults, I recommend you pick up a copy of my ebook, the Mother’s Guide To Probiotics.

Sources

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3182331/
  2. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2012.05104.x/full#apt5104-sec-0015
  3. Videlock, E. J. and Cremonini, F. (2012), Meta-analysis: probiotics in antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 35: 1355–1369. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2012.05104.x
  4. Hawrelak, JA. (ed). Probiotic Advisor. Illuminate Natural Medicine, 2015 https://www.probioticadvisor.com/advisor/. Accessed 30 September 2015.
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21114493
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11799281
  7. http://drprobiotikum.hu/docs/synbiotics-in-managment-of-infantile%20colic.pdf
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20974015
  9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3446166/

More Articles on Probiotics

Probiotics Protocol for Healthy Traveling

How to Repair Your Gut After a Round of Antibiotics

How to Choose the Best Probiotic for Your Family

How Prebiotics Benefit Gut Health

Taking Probiotics  for Maximum Benefit

Comments (43)

  • Wellness Home Specialist

    Great information! Eating cultured veggies is a great natural way to get pro-biotics. Are you aware of any studies of the different strains of pro-biotics in different cultured veggies?

    June 23rd, 2016 4:50 pm Reply
  • Sabina Najafi

    So, which probiotic will you recommend to keep candida low? Which probiotic strains resist candida overgrowth and thus do not let candida to overgrow?

    April 27th, 2016 6:14 pm Reply
  • Mike Harper @Probiotic Strains

    Aside from inhibiting harmful bacterial growth, these microorganisms help in promoting good digestion, healthy intestinal activity, and colon regularity. When there’s a bacterial imbalance caused by stress, aging, and poor eating habits, you’ll become susceptible to infections. Probiotic-fortified supplements and food products are one the rise in markets to help replenish the good bacteria in your system.

    April 26th, 2016 10:22 am Reply
  • Ken Lassesen

    You are missing the E.Coli probiotics (Mutaflor and Symbiofor-2) as well as Miyarisan, GeneralBiotics Equilibrium and Prescript Assist. As well as other non-bifibo, not-lacto probiotics..

    April 17th, 2016 9:17 am Reply
    • Sarah

      The list was not intended to be all inclusive.

      April 17th, 2016 1:47 pm Reply
  • RealFoodLover

    What would be the best strain/brand for a probiotic enema? And how often is recommended/safe for doing one? I thought I read that Dr. Perlmutter said S Boulardi was best, but I can’t find the article now!

    Great post! Thank you!

    April 16th, 2016 9:07 am Reply
  • Krista

    I also read a study on pubmed (sorry, don’t have the link handy) that indicated lactobacillus rhamnosus as having an effect on GABA levels and, therefore, being useful for anxiety and depression.

    April 13th, 2016 9:56 pm Reply
  • Debbie Driza

    My adult daughter has been on the Autoimmune protocol and supplements (the current probiotic is sauerkraut juice)for five months with good results treating her autoimmune reactive condition and what was debilitating social anxiety. Today she has more energy, less joint pain, cleared a psoriasis outbreak and has lowered her anxiety by roughly 25%. A visit to a local functional medicine doctor suggests knocking out the bad bacteria (understanding that the good goes with it) with a series of antibiotics followed by heavy probiotics. She tells us that the gut is balanced in three months – a far cry from the two years on the very difficult AIP that my daughter is on now. CONFUSED. So now she is faced with two opposing functional medicine views. Can anyone offer research that supports or rejects the use of antibiotics to treat leaky gut and probiotics to balance the gut, continuing the nutritional management and supplements, healing the lining in three months? This doctor says she has been treating leaky gut successfully for six years using this treatment.

    January 14th, 2016 11:29 pm Reply
  • Sarah

    Please could you tell me if Mediherb Probiota is suitable for those of us following the GAPS protocol? I am already taking the therapeutic dose of Bio-Kult and am still suffering with constipation. I have been on GAPS for well over a year, with the addition of low carb. It seems for me that low carb = CONSTIPATION. I need to remain low carb and hope to find something that will mean I can stop depending on my trusty enema bucket for any movement.
    Thanks, Sarah.

    November 18th, 2015 3:54 am Reply
  • Conor at SmartEaters

    I see a big dangers in this specific strain therapeutics thing but guess it’s inevitable … There’s a huge contradiction in what’s coming through now in the research: on the hand, study after study after study is showing that greater health is associated with greater strain diversity: the more complex the ecosystem with the greater variety of strain, the healthier the host … And yet, for reasons of practicality and inevitably funding of course, what are the boffins all working on? Complex multi strain ecosystems as we know to be the hallmark of health? No!! Single strains! Why? Well because it’s just too complex and costly to do much else …. And of course the investment bankers are poised with their cheque books as novel strains can be patented … We’ll see the same exploitation of the microbial world as we have of larger flora on the planet (with the key difference hopefully being that the wee bugs can be farmed sustainably) .. So that’s it. Multiplicity of strain now understood to be key but all the cash is going into single strain work (No money in kefir and kraut!)

    October 21st, 2015 6:21 am Reply
    • Johan Lindén

      Who could disagree with that?

      For me it is obvious that cultured food is much more beneficial until someone proves me wrong.

      October 22nd, 2015 4:29 pm Reply
    • Anne Richards

      Good points, Conor, for sure! And the dangers I readily acknowledge. But perhaps it will be good to have both the particular evidence on each bug as studies are done and whatever experience is gained in whatever manner from a variety of strains. It seems like this conflict between specific chemical aspect vs. whole plant has had its pluses and minuses in herbs with regard to standardized substances vs. “natural” extracts. Both have advantages and give information. And can’t kefir and kraut both be infused with select bugs? Exciting times though!

      November 2nd, 2015 7:13 pm Reply
  • Geo

    Great information. Thanks.

    October 20th, 2015 7:40 pm Reply
  • Steve

    Can you take multiple types or brands at the same time? One brand for anxiety and another for, let’s say, dental carries?

    October 20th, 2015 2:43 pm Reply
    • Ann

      I’ve known people with various complaints say that they fixed a lot of things by buying as many different types as they could and taking them all. Not sure if they did it according to a schedule, or just took one of each kind every day, but among this group of friends, they all saw great results. There was one case of inflammatory colitis, a friend with seasonal and food allergies, one friend had excema, and I had IBS-d. We all saw improvements, and my friend with the ulcerative colitis has never had a recurrence, and that was over five years ago. I still take probiotics, but have pared it down to two that I take daily. I have also not had a recurrence of my IBS-d. My method was to buy three or four brands that had the widest number of strains and take them each day. When that bottle ran out, I changed to another brand or brands and continued like that for about six or seven months I think. Now I take a probiotic that has about eleven strains that are considered “colonizing”, and one that is soil-based, or transitory.

      I’m also planning to try a newer probiotic, called Elixa, for myself and my family. It is an intense, six-day course that is typically used to re-seed the gut after an “altering” event, such as food poisoning, anti-biotics, or drinking binges. Here is a link to their website

      elixa-probiotic.com/

      Over at the Free The Animal Blog, they have been talking about gut health and probiotics for quite some time. This links to the blog lineup of probiotic discussions.

      freetheanimal.com/2013/12/resistant-primer-newbies.html

      October 21st, 2015 6:26 pm Reply
      • Anne Richards

        Thanks so much, Ann! Your comment is really helpful . . . these are such exciting times.

        November 2nd, 2015 7:19 pm Reply
  • amanda

    thank you! i have been scouring sites to find this info! I’ll be checking out your book as well.

    October 19th, 2015 8:46 pm Reply
  • Emma

    The Bioceutical Ultrabiotic Pregnancy Care also contains Lactobacillus Fermentum which is available in Australia.

    October 19th, 2015 4:22 pm Reply
  • Ankit

    Read your book. Mother’s Guide to Probiotics.. amazing it is. hats off

    October 18th, 2015 3:04 am Reply
  • Leslie

    This is super exciting research!! One thing, as I’m on the hunt for a probiotic that will help my baby’s reflux while we’re working on other things to help balance her as well, the brand BioGaia Protectis contains Sunflower oil, medium chain triglyceride oil, silicon dioxide… do you know of a better ingredient brand with this specific strain of probiotic?

    October 16th, 2015 10:34 am Reply
    • Crystal

      IMHO bioia is garbage as well as culturelle due to the low amount of probtx strains and additives.
      Klaire labs infant probiotic powder has the needed strains for babies. It’s sold on Amazon or (for much more) on pure formulas dot com.
      I use that brand starting early in my babes. It’s a professional line and dairy free which is what u want because most babies have cow milk sensitivities. Plus it contains a strain specific to baby gut (infantis)

      October 20th, 2015 9:48 pm Reply
  • Steve

    Why would you call your book “A mother’s guide” and completely alienate half the population.

    I was interested until I was slapped in the face with such a sexist title.

    October 16th, 2015 9:08 am Reply
    • Kris

      Probably because the author is a mother and she is referring to herself. geesh!

      October 17th, 2015 7:17 am Reply
    • Angie

      I was wondering why they are only talking about a mother guide myself! My doctor gave me a probiotic to take for my Ulcer Active Colitis and my Irritable Bowel Syndrome! So that is nothing to do with pregnancy because my son is 33 years old and I didn’t develop these diseases until 5 years ago

      October 17th, 2015 12:24 pm Reply
    • Robin

      I think it’s not meant FOR mothers, but written BY a mother.

      October 17th, 2015 3:21 pm Reply
    • doesn’t matter

      -Oh yes we can all just feel the alienation seeping into the pores of half the population.

      – “I was interested”….like anyone gives a shit.

      -“Slapped in the face”? well let me grab you a box tissues, oh that’s right you already are one

      -“Sexist”? Take your men’s suffrage movement elsewhere, wrong platform.

      -Finally if you don’t have anything useful to add to the conversation like “wow thanks for putting this list and information together” STFU.

      Take you non constructive pointless comments elsewhere

      October 17th, 2015 8:22 pm Reply
      • Geo

        Well said! What a self-righteous bastard!

        October 20th, 2015 7:32 pm Reply
    • Musher

      As women, we see so much sexism that we’ve learned to look past it to get our needs met. I read a very helpful article the other day about how to figure out your son’s learning style. I don’t have a son. I applied the same idea to my daughter and came away smarter for it. You can get offended and stomp off in ignorance or you can look past it and benefit yourself and those you care for.

      October 18th, 2015 9:53 am Reply
      • SgtMom

        As women we commit so much sexism but dismiss ourselves as having sooo much of our own. Male rarely complain, and look what happens when they do…ammi right? All told, it’s at least 50/50, people being people and all.

        It’s isn’t a male suffrage movement – common men already earned the right to vote when they were forced to register for Selective Service.

        A little truth is a healthy thing, Ladies and Germs.

        October 20th, 2015 11:02 am Reply
    • Ann

      If the topic is truly of interest to you, and you think you would benefit from it, why would you let the title of the book dissuade you? Really? You are willing to let your own sexist insecurities keep you from this information?

      Ever heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”??? That’s still sound advice.

      October 21st, 2015 6:30 pm Reply
    • AK

      … What a big, sensitive baby. Honestly.

      March 17th, 2016 10:09 pm Reply
  • Megan

    This is very helpful. Do you have any suggestions to help combat morning sickness that lasts all day using probiotic?

    October 16th, 2015 8:06 am Reply
    • Crystal

      If youre body isn’t used to probiotics and u are new to them then it will cause increased nausea from die off (herxheimer effect) of bad bacteria in gut.
      In which case try decreasing probtx by 1/2 or 3/4. Can open capsule and sprinkle powder in applesauce etc or put under tongue. Up the amount each week until at full dose and u should be ok.
      If it’s or caused from die off then morning sickness can be caused from lack of protien and fats. Look in to the Brewer diet

      October 20th, 2015 9:58 pm Reply
  • Diana

    Is there a chance that probiotics can treat ra?

    October 15th, 2015 10:36 pm Reply
    • Shirley burley

      I know people with a who’ve had success not with supplementing with probiotic but by starving out the bad gut bacteria on the specific carbohydrate diet or through breaking the vicious cycle.

      October 18th, 2015 12:34 pm Reply
      • Ann

        Unfortunately, while this approach may work short-term, studies have proven that starving the gut of carbohydrates also starves a lot of the good strains as well, some of which can never be replaced via conventional means.

        Honestly, in a case where a person’s gut is so compromised that they are dealing with autoimmunity as a result of serious SIBO, I honestly wonder if a fecal transplant isn’t the best answer.

        Narrowing the diversity of the diet does just that to the gut microbiome. While a agree that cutting out grains, beans, seeds, and nuts can help in healing leaky gut, and frankly, there is nothing in grains that we cannot get from vegetables, cutting the starchy vegetables and fruits is really starving the gut of some much-needed and diverse types of starches that are feeding some of our most beneficial bugs.

        October 21st, 2015 6:36 pm Reply
    • amanda

      drinking probiotics through water kefir helped my ra. have you looked into the benefits of bone broth? when I make my own bone broth and drink/ use it in meals a least once a day for about two weeks, my ra disappears.

      October 19th, 2015 8:49 pm Reply
    • Crystal

      Ra is autoimmune. Which is leaky gut.
      Functional medicine doctors specialize in autoimmune issues so u may want to search one out.
      Google functional Med docs in your area.
      Also look in to paleo diet or autoimmune paleo diet to decrease inflammation.
      U may ALSO consider naet treatments. It’s acupressure which can get rid of the toxins from past vaccines that stay in body as well as help body to stop attaching self which is what autoimmune (ra and others) are caused from. The body is in a state of chaos

      October 20th, 2015 9:53 pm Reply
      • melissa kibler

        What was the accupressure stuff called? I wanted 2 look it up thanks!

        May 21st, 2016 3:17 pm Reply
  • Christy

    Thanks for this interesting post and the links you included. Are you aware of any of these helpful strains occurring naturally in raw foods such as yogurt?

    October 15th, 2015 2:15 pm Reply
  • Eliz

    Although taking a probiotic seems like enlightened thinking next to taking an antibiotic for a cure, using any one thing to cure a symptom is still the same traditional medicine mindset.

    A symptom is a red flag that the individual is out of balance, and unless the person already has a healthy gut and therefore a fully functioning immune system, a tweak here and there may resolve the symptom (and that may be important), but it will pop up as something else at a later date.

    The number of people with compromised, and often severely compromised guts (immune systems), is high. This is a multi-generational problem that is now showing up as autism in the young, Alzheimer’s in the old, severe allergies, and numerous other auto-immune diseases in the general population. A tweak isn’t going to do it in the long run. You have to go back all the way to food. Read Dr. Campbell Mc-Bride’s GAPS book.

    October 15th, 2015 1:20 pm Reply
    • Joanne

      I could not agree more with you, Eliz regarding food. Dr. Campbell McBride’s Gaps book does stress the proper food and probiotics made from food, in addition to gently detoxing. But, in addition to the probiotic foods like sauerkraut, she also stresses certain probiotics supplements taken for enhanced recovery back to health and also to stay healthy. In fact, the author of this article, Melanie Christner, is a certified Gaps Practitioner. She conducts online classes and teaches individuals on the ins and outs of the Gaps diet. If you click on the “Honest Body” link next to her name at the top of this article, you will see how well versed she is in the Gaps protocol and also the additional probiotics that she writes about in the article in her book. I know she will also agree with you that food is the ultimate medicine.

      October 16th, 2015 12:09 am Reply
    • Tracey

      Total agree with your comment! I also have this book. I cured my sons eczema by changing the food he eats and healing the gut, but this is still work in progress.We are living in a ticking time bomb for gut health- very sad.
      Also if you research chemtrails which are globel these are also helping with this timebomb because when ingested/absorbed they kill the good gut bacteria and push out copper-nice!!!! Toxicity in pregnancy plays a big part in Austism. I think all women should do a heavy metal test and Candida Test before deciding to have a baby

      October 16th, 2015 5:46 am Reply

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