Recommended Probiotic Supplementation

The best time to take a probiotic supplement is with food. This not only helps buffer the probiotics from acidity but provides food to help colonisation.


To generally rebalance your microbiome

Look for a probiotic supplement containing between 5 and 7 resistant strains – at least one of which should be an endospore strain such as Bacillus coagulans. They should be contained in a hard shell capsule and include some prebiotic fibre.

A Colony Forming Unit (CFU) count of a total of 7 billion per day for 60 days should be enough to start rebalancing your microbiome. This number seems a lot, but there is always loss during the journey through the intestinal tract and the residual numbers of each strain needed to build a colony are high.

To control digestive problems

Follow the 8-week regime three times a year, to increase both the numbers and the range of beneficial probiotics in your gut.
This 3 times a year ‘regime’ can be especially beneficial for older people (over 60 - 65) because some studies indicate that digestive efficiency declines with age.

According to NHS England, quoting Dr Anton Emmanuel, consultant gastroenterologist at University College Hospital London, approximately 40% of people have at least one symptom of digestive problems at any one time.

A well designed probiotic supplement can be a healthier, safer and natural alternative to over- the-counter remedies for constipation, diarrhoea and bloating – without side-effects.
Use the 3 times a year regime to combat and help prevent digestive problems in the long term.

After antibiotics

If you have just completed a course of antibiotics (remember – always complete the FULL course), take a total of 14 billion CFUs a day for two weeks, Then take 7 billion a day for 4 weeks.

To prevent Traveller’s Diarrhoea

Take 7 billion a day for 14 days before travel, the same during travel and continue with 7 billion a day for 14 days after returning.

In the case of a candida yeast infection or thrush

Take 14 billion CFUs a day for 4 weeks as soon as you notice symptoms and in combination with any medicines prescribed by your doctor or pharmacist.

As part of a weight-reducing diet

If you are using a probiotic supplement to accompany a weight loss diet the evidence strongly suggests at least 8 weeks of supplementation at 7 billion CFUs a day.

In times of stress

Take 7 billion a day for a 30 – 45 day period. Students should consider taking a probiotic at this level in the 8 weeks prior to taking exams and during the exam period.


For children over the age of 10, a 7 billion capsule every 5 days should be enough to maintain a healthy balance of probiotics. After a course of antibiotics make this 7 billion a day for 7 days.

Safety considerations

Probiotics very rarely cause serious side effects. However, if you take too much too quickly, you may experience a temporary bout of gas or diarrhoea. If so, reduce the dose for a time to allow your system to adjust. If you are under medical supervision for a serious condition, check with your doctor.


Although there is a strong case for boosting the number and variety of your intestinal probiotics with an occasional 60-day booster, it is through food that you should mainly maintain a healthy micro biome.

♦ See the foods rich in probiotics and often with a good prebiotic content too.
The prebiotics feed the probiotics. There is no point in boosting probiotics without providing the food they need every day to thrive and multiply.
♦ See the list of the top prebiotic foods.

One prebiotic fibre that has a very positive side-effect is porridge oats. It not only feeds probiotic bacteria; it also includes oat beta glucans which have been shown to reduce cholesterol.



I believe most people would benefit from taking a well-designed probiotic supplement on a regular basis. Because...

  • Probiotics ‘crowd out’ harmful bacteria, restore a healthy balance in the gut, synthesise some vital vitamins like K2, folic acid and B12, and are crucial to strong immune function. So increasing your intake of fermented foods and taking a probiotic supplement on occasions will contribute to better health.
  • Probiotics need prebiotics to develop beneficial colonies.
  • A well-designed probiotic supplement can be recommended to help restore intestinal health after a course of antibiotics, to improve nutrient absorption in older people, to fight candida, and to prevent traveller’s diarrhoea.
  • Many people find that a probiotic supplement can improve digestion, boost the results of a weight loss regime, improve blood sugar levels and help reduce cholesterol levels.
  • A probiotic supplement can support treatment for IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  • Because there is a clear gut to brain loop, probiotics may also help reduce stress and 
improve mood.
  • A probiotic supplement needs to include several strains, as research clearly shows that a microbiome with a broader range of ‘friendly bacteria’ is linked to better health. In addition, each person’s microbiome is different and more strains give a better chance for the full benefit of improved intestinal balance.
  • A probiotic supplement should include strains with evidence that they can survive the acid of the stomach and reach the parts of the gut where they can colonise.
  • A probiotic supplement should also include some prebiotics to ‘kick-start’ the process of colonisation.
  • A probiotic supplement should be at a minimum of 7 billion a day.
  • Yoghurts are a good and healthy food, but most have limited effectiveness as a probiotic supplement, because heat treatment destroys most of the bacteria – friendly or otherwise.