How to Choose the Right Probiotic

If you went Paleo because of digestive health issues or other severe conditions of the intestines like Crohn’s disease, IBD, or ulcerative colitis, you’ve probably been taking probiotics. In fact, many who switched to a Paleo diet for autoimmune reasons, chronic health reasons, thyroid problems, hormone issues, or other conditions involving the stomach eventually start focusing on leaky gut and overall gut health, and for good reason. If your gut isn’t protecting your body from an onslaught of toxins and chemicals, you’ll always be fighting an uphill battle toward better health.

While there are certainly dietary sources for probiotics, including sauerkraut and kombucha, two Paleo superfoods, many also turn to supplemental probiotics to bolster gut health more quickly.

VSL#3 Is Not Paleo Any Longer

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One probiotic that has gained traction in the Paleo world is VSL#3. You’ll find it recommended in many books about specific autoimmune conditions, and up until now, it was an excellent source to use as a stopgap in the journey toward gut healing. Recently, however, they added cornstarch to all of their products. Corn, of course, is not a Paleo food, but beyond that, corn is an inflammatory ingredient that many are sensitive or allergic to. It’s disappointing that such a high quality product has become compromised in this way, but there are other probiotic options that are Paleo-friendly.

The 3 Best Probiotic Supplements for the Paleo Diet

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If you’re looking for a probiotic supplement that contains no non-Paleo fillers, there are three really great options. They include

  • Prescript Assist
  • Renew Life Extra Care Ultimate Probiotic
  • Metagenics Ultra Flora Spectrum

There are other top-quality probiotics out there, too. When determining if a probiotic is compatible with a Paleo diet, the best thing to look for are the inactive ingredients. Cornstarch, for example, is a dead giveaway of something not being Paleo-friendly. Other names for corn that can show up in supplements include dextrose or maltodextrin. You’ll also want to avoid dairy-based probiotics if you have a dairy allergy, but otherwise, in much the same way that many Paleo eaters are content with grassfed whey protein, or grassfed butter, some dairy probiotics can also be beneficial.

How Many Probiotics Do You Need Each Day?

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The answer to this question is different for everyone. If you’re suffering from a severe chronic or inflammatory condition, like an autoimmune disease, adding high-dose probiotic supplementation to your dietary plan can have some great results. If you’re just looking for a maintenance probiotic to keep your gut nice and healthy, you won’t need as many daily CFU’s (colony forming units).

The best way to know exactly what you need in a probiotic is to consult a nutrition professional who can advise based on specifics in your health and diet. Averages for people with IBD or other intestinal condition will be in the billions of CFU’s per day, while average health maintenance may be 10 million or even less.

When you’re considering probiotic supplements, strains matter. But you don’t have to lose yourself down the rabbit hole of worrying about specific strains—a good rule of thumb is to keep variety in mind. Unless you’re dealing with a very specific condition, taking a broad-spectrum probiotic, and changing up the brand and the strains that you take every few months, can be an excellent addition to a whole food, Paleo diet.

Comments

  1. Howdy,

    I am trying to find a good probiotic now that I can no longer take VSL # 3. Everything was going great on it and then BOOM ER visit later and I find out that they use cornstarch now. I’ve got severe gluten intolerance/wheat allergies and corn/rice/other grain glutens and I do not mix. Total surprise. I wish they had put that on the bottles now. My gastroenterologist was surprised at how quickly it hurt me. In any case thanks for your article. It will help me narrow down my field.

    1. Hi Cherryl,

      I am sorry for such an awful reaction! I too have the same severe allergies that you mention. I do very well on Renew Life 100 billion, or their 90 billion women’s probiotic.

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