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You've got to love friendly bacteria

One of the first steps for anyone with digestive issues is to look for a good quality source of Friendly Bacteria.  They may be called Probiotics, Acidophillus, or simply friendly bacteria however they are likely to contain various strains of bacteria whose role is vital in a healthy digestive system.  Hopefully you are lucky enough to not need a top up, however below we discuss why you may need extra, and which ones to use, should you need to.

Why would you need them in the first place ?

As with many IBS related issues, we may not know why some of us need an extra dose of these bacteria, however there are many ways we can damage their numbers.  The most aggressive way of destroying the numbers of internal bacteria, is through the use of antibiotics.

Friendly bacteria is often recommended after courses of antibiotics and with good reason.  Many people develop IBS after course of antibiotics and with good reason.  Antibiotics do not discriminate which bacteria they destroy, thus it is always useful to replenish the bodies store of these vital bacteria.

Thereafter common sense is applied.  Heat, and certain chemicals such as alcohol have a negative effect on the numbers of bacteria in the body.  Dehydration can also significantly effect the health of friendly bacteria.  If you think of things which would damage a delicate organism then you can not go far wrong in ensuring the health of your friendly bacteria.  One which is not always considered is tap water which has been highly chlorinated.  If you do have severe IBS and are taking a strong dosage of friendly bacteria it is worth drinking mineral water when taking your source of bacteria.

What to look for when buying friendly bacteria

The key thing for an IBS sufferer to look for is the number of viable cells.  The research on probiotics is sketchy and there are many conflicting reports on their health benefits.   However we do state that using the right Acidophillus/Probiotic will yield an improvement.  The key is to be patient and find the one that works for you.

The amount of viable cells generally goes from the millions through to the many billions.  There are probiotic replenishments which offer 75+billion cells.  It would be rare to need these, however it is really important to state that you have to find your own way on this. Some will not have enough cells to make a difference, research has clearly proven that low dose probiotics fail to survive the journey through the digestive tract.

The temptation will be to go for a very high dose, however they can leave you bloated and uncomfortable.  Finding the right balance is the key.  Speaking personally, I take a dose of 20 Billion cells daily.  I change the types of bacteria every few months, however it is the quantity of cells which matter not the brand.

This will vary for each and every single person, and it is imperative to re-state that too much is often as bad as too little. Whatever your needs it may take a while to find the perfect balance, however when you the benefits are clear to see.  We have put a page together with the top rated probiotics from, if you follow this link.

Wikipedia definition of friendly bacteria:

According to one definition offered by an expert committee convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization, probiotics are live microorganisms that may confer a health benefit on the host.[1] Alternative expert review indicates there is insufficient scientific evidence for supplemental probiotics having a benefit.[2]

Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and bifidobacteria are the most common types of microbes used as probiotics, but certain yeasts and bacilli may also be used. Probiotics are commonly consumed as part of fermented foods with specially added active live cultures, such as in yogurt, soy yogurt, or as dietary supplements. Probiotics are also delivered in fecal transplants, in which stool from a healthy donor is delivered like a suppository to an infected patient.[3]

Etymologically, the term appears to be a composite of the Latin preposition pro ("for") and the Greek adjective βιωτικός (biotic), the latter deriving from the noun βίος (bios, "life").[4]

Probiotics may beneficially affect the host by augmenting its intestinal microbial population beyond the amount already existing, thus possibly inhibiting pathogens.[citation needed][5] Studies are examining whether probiotics affect mechanisms of intestinal inflammation,[6] diarrhea,[7] urogenital infections[8] or allergies.[9] Through 2012, however, in all cases proposed as health claims to the European Food Safety Authority, the scientific evidence remains insufficient to prove a cause and effect relationship between consumption of probiotic products and any health benefit.[2]

When a person takes antibiotics, both the harmful bacteria and the beneficial bacteria are killed. A reduction of beneficial bacteria can lead to digestive problems, such as diarrhea, yeast infections and urinary tract infections. The possibility that supplemental probiotics affect such digestive issues is unknown, and remains under study.[10]

Probiotic tips for IBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome