Poor gut health and dysbiosis have been linked to depression, migraines, eczema, IBS, SIBO, leaky gut, and more. If you suffer from these or other gut health issues, you may benefit from taking probiotic supplements. Here are 10 signs you need probiotics and which ones to take.
Probiotics have been defined as “live microrganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. (1)
Our understanding of the role of probiotics – not only in gut health, but in many other areas – has grown exponentially in recent years, and new studies are published all the time revealing more areas of our health that benefit from these powerful organisms.
10 Signs You Need Probiotics
All of the following have been linked to dysbiosis (an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut) and poor gut health, and studies show that all improve with probiotic supplements.
1. Gastrointestinal issues (Gas, Bloating, Diarrhea, Constipation, Dysbiosis, Leaky Gut, IBS, SIBO, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases like Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, Clostridium difficile) (2,3,22,23)
2. Overweight and related conditions such as high cholesterol and fatty liver (4-7, 25)
3. Depression or Anxiety (7,8)
4. Migraines (9a, 9b)
5. Urinary Tract Infections (11) or Recurring Yeast Infections (10)
6. Food allergies or sensitivities (12)
7. Skin issues, including eczema and other rashes (13,14), Acne or Rosacea (15)
8. Autoimmune Disease (21)
9. Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorders (16,17)
10. Recent Antiobitic Therapy (24)
In addition, many scientists, doctors, and nutrition experts (including myself) believe that simply living in today’s toxic and inflammatory world results in some amount of intestinal imbalance (dysbiosis) that may benefit from consumption of probiotic rich foods and/or probiotic supplementation, even if glaring symptoms like these aren’t present.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. By making purchases through these links, you pay the same amount for products, but a small portion of the sale will be sent my way to help support the mission of Back To The Book Nutrition. Thank you!
Which Probiotics To Take
There are a lot of choices when it comes to probiotic supplements. There are three main types of probiotics to consider with some overlap in how they work, but some unique features as well, and more research being published all the time to help us understand what each of them do and when to take them.
1. Lactobacillus/Bifidobacter based probiotics
- Most common and most well studied type of probiotics
- Don’t colonize the gut, but do offer transient benefits as they pass through
- Shown to benefit most of the conditions above
Preferred Brands: Multi-Bio Max Probiotic capsules; Klaire Labs Ther-Biotic Complete Powder (available on Fullscript)
2. Spore Forming Probiotics
- Also called “Soil Based Organisms” (though they exist naturally in both the soil and in the human GI tract)
- Include Bacillus organisms
- May colonize in the gut
- Assist with immune function
- May help repair leaky gut
- Can help relieve diarrhea
- Can help relieve IBS symptoms
Preferred Brands: MegaSporeBiotic; Just Thrive Probiotic
3. Saccharomyces boulardii
- Beneficial yeasts
- Help relieve diarrhea
Preferred Brands: Klaire Labs Saccharomyces boulardii capsules or powder (Available on Fullscript)
Check out this Ultimate Guide to Probiotics for even more details about the best probiotic supplements!
Disclaimer: Information on this site is intended only for informational purposes and is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult with a trusted healthcare provider before implementing significant dietary change. Read additional disclaimer info here.
1. Sanders, 2008. Clin Infect Dis.
2. Ducrotte, et al., 2012. World J Gastroenterol.
3. Guglielmetti, et al., 2011. Aliment Pharmacol Ther.
4. Brown, et al., 2012. Nutrients.
5. Teixeira, et al., et al., Clin Nutr.
6. Sanchez, et al., 2014. Br J Nutr.
7. Messaoudi, et al., 2011. Br J Nutr.
8. Rao, et al., 2009. Gut Pathogens.
9a. DeRoos, et al., 2015. Beneficial Microbes.
9b. Van Hemert, et al., 2014. Frontiers in Neurology.
10. Healthline.com: Can probiotics treat a yeast infection?
11. Chisholm, 2015. Urologic Nursing.
12. Australian Associated Press, 2015.
13. Kuitunen, 2013. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol.
14. Abrahamsson, et al., 2007. J Allergy Clin Immunol.
15. Logan and Bowe, 2011. Gut Pathog.
16. Kalliomaki, et al., 2015. Pediatr Res.
17. Hsiao, et al., 2013. Cell.
18. Sonnenburg and Sonnenburg, 2015. Scientific American.
20. Heller, 2001. Am J Clin Nutr.
21. Liu, et al. 2018. Nutrients.
22. McFarlin, et al., 2017. World J Gastrointest Pathophysiol.
23. Amer, et al., 2018. Altern Ther Health Med.
24. Heczki, et al., 2015. BMC Women’s Health.
Which type of probiotic is best for fatty liver?
Hi Cynthia, A variety of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacter strains of probiotics have been shown to be beneficial for fatty liver (most traditional probiotics contain a blend of these and my Multi-Bio Max probiotic includes 12 strains at 25 billion CFU’s per capsule). One preliminary (animal) study also showed benefits from Saccharomyces boulardii, the beneficial yeast mentioned in the article. For that, I recommend Klaire Labs brand Saccharomyces boulardii (available in powder or capsules) – you can purchase this via Fullscript, an online supplement formulary that purchases supplements directly from the manufacturers to ensure purity and potency. There’s a link to… Read more »
This post is very informative. I have noticed a difference in how I feel when I take a probiotic regularly. It’s time I take it out from under the sink (check the expiration date) and start using it again. Thanks for sharing!
It’s great that you’ve seen great results from taking the probiotic, Ashley!
I just am an addict when it comes to probiotic drinks…i take it daily and my fav one is Yakult 🙂 Great write up and thanks for sharing must try and see if we do get these in India.
Glad you enjoyed the article, Deena…and nice name! 😉
Such a helpfull tips! Many of us don’t know the signs listed are needed a probiotics. I think this kind of product will be really helpful to us! I am glad to know about this.
Glad you enjoyed it, Gladys!
This is a really interesting post indeed. I definitely learned a lot about probiotics and how to tell if one needs to take them. This will surely help people out!
I haven’t been good at taking probiotics in recent years! I definitely need to stock up. Thanks so much for sharing!
You’re welcome, Cecilia – thanks for reading.
I had no idea that autism and autism spectrum disorder could be a sign of gut issues. Also, wonderful information regarding yogurt use. I was in the camp that thought simple consuming yogurt would be enough. Thanks for this detailed post!
So glad it was helpful to you, Lindsay! And yes, addressing gut health can make a huge difference for those with ASD!
Probiotics can be so great for so many people. I just started last year and has truly changed me inside and out.
That’s wonderful to hear, Tosha!
I agree, gut health is at the base of many seemingly unrelated health issues. In my family, we have made probiotic drinks a part of our daily meals and it has really helped a lot. Thanks for this informative post
That’s great, Nandita!
What type of probiotics should I take though? I get UTIs, migraines, and I have mental health problems. I am taking some probiotics right now but I don’t know if they’re the right kind. Does it matter?
Hi August, I sell this probiotic that I believe is a great start for many people, but I suspect that a probiotic supplement may not be all you need to fully address the issues you mentioned. I do see similar challenges in many of my clients, and they very often improve with a comprehensive approach of diet + supplements + testing to identify and address hormone and/or gut health issues. I truly believe you’d benefit from working with a holistic or functional medicine practitioner who could create a personalized plan to guide you. If you’re interested in working with me,… Read more »