The “Straight Poop” About Probiotics

The information provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice.
It is not a substitute for your doctor's care plan or advice.

Loads of information about probiotics. What works, what doesn't, and whether you need them or not.

{Post Updated 8/16:}

Information about probiotics is everywhere.  While they are for sure beneficial to your health, it's important to know how probiotics benefit your health, and also what the best probiotics are.

Gut health is crucial to overall health – and fermented foods and probiotics are apparently 2 things that are very useful for improving gut health. I've had issues with fermented foods in the past, so I have focused mainly on probiotics when it comes to improving the digestive health of my family.

I've been doing a lot of reading about the benefits of probiotics recently while trying to boost the good bacteria count in my intestines.

And what I've been learning is fascinating.

Today I'm going to share some of what I've been learning plus more about my personal experience.

The “straight poop” you might say.

Again, this post is a “lengthy one,” but as you'll see, I have a lot I want to share with you.

10 Gut Facts and Benefits of Probiotics

First of all, you might want to check out my post about Gut Health Facts.

But here are more facts to spark your interest about gut health and probiotics.

1.  You have 400-500 different species of bacteria in your gut, weighing approximately 3 pounds. (Source)

2.  85% of your immune system is gut microbes. (Source)

3.  Good bacteria is passed through generations. As the baby passes through the birth canal, he receives beneficial bacteria from his mother.  That's why it's important for moms to keep up their levels of probiotics, and why C-section babies are bacteria compromised from birth. (Source)

4.  Probiotics have been proven to have a beneficial effect on the immune system (Source)

5.  Good bacteria are supposed to comprise 85 percent of the bacteria in the gut.

6.  In 2011, US sales of probiotics were over $770 million. I contributed a fair bit to that total! (Keep reading for more details.) (Source)

7.  Probiotics have been shown to be effective in treating:

– Lactose Maldigestion
– Traveler's Diarrhea
– Acute Diarrhea
– Anti-biotic induced diarrhea
– Allergies
– C-Diff
– Dental Caries
– Respiratory Infections


8.  Probiotics might result in healthy weight loss. (Source)

9.  Probiotics might have a role in slowing the development of cancer.  (Source)

20.  Probiotics might have a beneficial effect on emotional health. (Source)

No wonder that the word “probiotics” comes from the word for “life.” Truly, our lives may depend on a healthy population of good gut flora.

Do All Probiotics Work?

A reader asked me a while ago what probiotic I recommend. Here's the post where I answered that.

In a nutshell, my family and I have taken many probiotics over the years.

Some seemed to work.

And some didn't.

For me, “working” constituted a clear change in digestive health, evidenced by either rumbling in the stomach and flatulence (gas)(showing that the good bacteria is attacking the bad guys), improved bowel habits (regular bowel movements with improved consistency–sorry to be graphic folks, but when you're talking about gut health, things get a little “messy.”)

{Please note there are affiliate links in this post. If you click on link and make a purchase, I might make a commission. Your support is much appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.}

What Brand Has the Best Probiotics?

Following are most of the probiotics that we have tried and the results.  I hope to continue to add to this list and possibly do a new post as well.

1.  PB-8

Didn't see much change one way or another.

2.  NOW brand

(Most recently we tried their Probiotic-10, but previously I think we tried another variety. Sorry, but I don't remember the name.)

I don't remember any particularly positive changes from this one.


This one came highly recommended to me.  I don't recall noticing many changes from it.

4.  Primadophilus Bifidus

I noticed this one affecting the stools of my kids, particularly of my youngest, but I didn't notice anything personally.

5.  Dr. Ohira's Professional

I only took a few samples of this brand.  I had pretty clear “gurgling” in my stomach as a result but it was really pricey (about $60 per month with no option for a discount.)

UPDATEI started using Dr. Ohira's again and found it is available for less money now – and here comes the digestive upset again.  Clearly things are moving and shaking.  I highly recommend this as a good option.

I found the capsules have carrageenan I do not recommend these.

6. Hyperbiotics

Hyperbiotics was started by Jamie, the owner, following a horrible bout with a parasite.  Her knowledge about probiotics is solid and her products are great.  I've been trying them out for awhile now and have seen good effects.

You can see we've tried a lot. I'm guessing we've easily spent thousands of dollars on probiotics over the years, many of which did nothing or little to nothing for our health.

7.  Miessence

Miessence's InLiven and Fast Tract. Following is information on both of these whole food probiotics.

More on Miessence Probiotics – How I Found It and Our Experiences

As most of you know, since this past July, I have been experimenting with a new probiotic, InLiven.

The story behind why I even tried InLiven is a funny one.

I was taking the NOW brand that I mentioned above (but wasn't noticing any real positive benefits), and I was also taking 1 teaspoon of Strata Flora in the afternoon.  Strata Flora is an amazing blend (and it really “makes you poop”), but it isn't just a probiotic, so I was always feeling I should be supplementing with something with more of a “punch.”

Regardless, the makers of Strata Flora were having trouble financially and were possibly going out of business.

So in order to keep myself “regular” I felt I really needed to go on the hunt for a new probiotic.

At the time, I read a post at Kitchen Stewardship (Katie's a good friend of mine) about probiotics, and as I perused the comments, I stumbled upon one by Lacey Swartz (she'll be in on the probiotic teleseminar this Thursday night) that was really intriguing.

She said,

I started using InLiven two years ago and definitely noticed some major health improvements – namely, no more yeast infections (used to struggle with them chronically), was negative on the strep test with my 4th baby (had been positive with the first 3), and overall just fewer bouts of illness.

And then she mentioned the opportunity to get 20% off or even to earn products for free, and stated that the company was “no-hype” and “no pressure.”

Now I really was interested.

I decided to poke around her site and found it was a company I'd known about for a long time–Miessence.

I'd been getting emails mentioning Miessence's cosmetics for a while, but I never thought twice about it because I didn't use many cosmetics and wasn't convinced I needed “organic stuff” on my face. (Now I know differently.)

But now that I found out that they had probiotics as well.

Now we're talking!

I spent hours poking around their site, reading about their mission statement for organic standards and sustainability, and I was hooked.

I contacted  Lacey and asked a ton of questions (literally, a ton–you know how “investigative” I can be) and even got to run some questions by the owner of the company.

Anyway, I finally signed up as a rep and started using the InLiven in July of 2012.

You can read about my struggles with InLiven and all my wondering whether I could handle fermented foods in Why I Don't Have Fermented Foods on My Blog.

But now, I am taking Miessence's even stronger fermented probiotic drink and am tolerating it fine.

I even decided to put my whole family on InLiven to see how they would do.

Really, I would have loved to put my whole family on Miessence's probiotics right from the start, but I buy my probiotics in bulk so we had some bottles to use up. Plus, I wanted to make sure it was really worth it before I put them all on something that cost more than we were already spending.

Here are the results:

Husband's Results

Recently I noticed my husband having a lot of, let's say, digestive issues. Lots of time in the bathroom and that kind of thing.

I asked him to try the InLiven and the very next day the lengthy bathroom visits stopped and he said he clearly and quickly noticed improved digestion.

UPDATE:  (later in the date on 5/28.)  In the interest of saving money, I asked my husband to go back to his other probiotic yesterday and today so we could use up what we had.  Well, let's just say that there was a lot more time in the bathroom both yesterday and today.  Hmmmm….

Oldest Son's Results

I started my oldest on 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon of InLiven.

He told me that he felt better emotionally since starting the InLiven.

I think it really might be helping because we have had a real overload of stress in our family over the past month (way beyond the norm), and although he is struggling, he's weathering it better than I think he normally would have.

Youngest Son's Results

My youngest has been having a horrid time with allergies this spring.

So bad that we almost went to Urgent Care once.

He's had swollen eyes, sneezing, runny nose and even hives.

I started him on 1/2 teaspoon of InLiven and within a few days I noticed his symptoms lessening. I track the pollen count daily, so I know that there have been really high counts in our area since starting it.  But he hasn't had the really severe symptoms since he started taking InLiven. Still bad on some days, but not quite as bad.

My Results

I already wrote about my “intense gurgling” and itching ears, constipation, loose stools, and the like (see Why I Don't Have Fermented Foods on My Blog and Probiotics Experiment Update), so I already knew that the InLiven and Fast Tract were working.

I continued upping my dose of Fast Tract (2 Tbsp is the recommended daily dose) to my current dose of 8.5 Tablespoons per day, spread out in 3 doses throughout the day.

My digestion seems to be stabilizing, but I am still getting some die off reactions. Some ear and rectal itching, mainly, but also fatigue. I am sleeping heavily, waking up about 5-6 hours after I go to sleep and then sleeping heavily for a total of 8 or more hours.

It appears the probiotics have a lot of the “bad guys” to fight off in my gut.

No surprise after all of the antibiotics I consumed as a kid, in addition to the sugar I ate willfully.

Oh, and the stress.

And environmental toxins. Gah. (Read Candida and The Beginning of My Sugar-Free Life for more “juicy details.”)

Anyway, I am thrilled that we found something that is really high quality to help with our family's health.

And now, I get to share with all of you what I have learned–and more–in the Free Probiotics Teleseminar.

Even if you aren't free then, please sign up to join us. You'll get an email of the recording, plus you'll be eligible to enter a giveaway for these powerful probiotics (there will be 2 winners).

**UPDATE: You can still get an email of the recording by signing up here.**  Click here to read some of the more notable quotes from the teleseminar.  

I am going to interview the maker of InLiven and Fast Tract, Czerral, and you will have time to have your own questions answered at the end of our time together. Just think–you'll get to ask the expert yourself whatever you like.

I am just gushing over with thanks for the time Czerral gave me and that I found these great products.

Come along with me this Thursday and let's learn some more.

For more on probiotics, check out the Probiotics Teleseminar Wrap-Up that includes some of the more notable quotes from the call.

Saving Money:

Probiotics aren't cheap.

And Miessence's probiotics are no exception.

However, Miessence makes it easy to save money.

Just by becoming a customer, you can save 10-40% on your order and if you are on autoship, your savings increase faster.

You can even get Free Shipping when you choose autoship and order a certain amount.

Of course, you can become a rep to save as well, but the customer savings are fabulous as well.

At 30% off the cost for Miessence is fairly reasonable for a high quality probiotic.

What probiotic do YOU use?

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. Amanda Ross says:

    My oldest is 3 years old and we have been battling chronic constipation with him since birth. I wish I were exaggerating. I had to stop breastfeeding and get him on special probiotic formula (same with my now 10 month old) and once he was old enough for juice it was prune and pear juice daily, then when he turned 1 it was Miralax daily. Miralax never provided consistent relief so his ped just kept upping the dose. When he turned 3 this past January I detoxed him from the Miralax and started him on Culturell probiotics and Benefiber Fiber Gummies, he gets epsom salt baths 3-4 times a week and as needed a clean out using 1 tsp of magnesium citrate. He was diagnosed with a bowel obstruction today. The poop ball is the size of a tennis ball inside my 30lb 3 year old. What should I be doing and what should I be doing differently? He has fissures that won’t heal and hemorrhoids. None of this is normal and his ped doesn’t seem concerned with getting to the bottom of it, they told me to put him back on Miralax– 2 capfuls a day! I refuse. I would love any and all advice.

    • I would highly recommend the Strata Flora in this post. I haven’t looked into the age requirements for it but it has helped me tremendously. I have heard that chronic digestive issues can be linked to parasites – have you ever heard that?

  2. I tried the Biokult and Hyperbiotic Pro for a few months and well I did not notice much difference.

    I started Garden of Life 30 billion one month ago and my goodness, I noticed a change within a couple of days. I have a few autoimmune illnesses and one of them is hypothyroidism (which causes constipation). I would strongly recommend them or at least I would suggest that you keep rotating brands until you find a few that are working for YOU.

    My husband did not notice any difference with any brand but he is healthy as a horse so I think each person has to find the strains that will benefit him/her personally at an adequate strength especially if you are unwell…

  3. #3 is outdated and incorrect. Also, the source you sited has nothing to back it up. Reproductive organs are not part of the digestive tract. Babies born delivered via c-section are not “bacteria compromised” because they didn’t pass through the birth canal. It seems like an allusion to the belief that infants can be immuno-compromised is they’re not breast fed. However, bacteria in the birth canal and bacteria in the digestive tract are completely different.

  4. Hi! Around Christmas I starting getting hives. Do you think that taking a probiotic would help? I also have Hashimotos. Really need to get this under control , and off of taking antihistamines every couple days when it becomes unbearable. Thank you!!

    • I don’t know. Sounds like your hives would likely be caused by anxiety unless it’s something else – do you have a real Christmas tree in your home? My mother was allergic to them and I am too.

      I always think probiotics and anything you can do for healthy gut is a good idea.

      • Hi,
        I suffer from hives and I can say that in my case, hives are caused by candida. Probiotics definitely help. I eat a very low carb diet. If I eat fruit and other high glycemic foods for sometime I start developing hives again.

  5. Isabel Ashkar says:

    I took one probiotics pill and have had varying degree of loose bowels for 2 months. I have finally figured out something is not working right, and have an appt. with the dr. I have had a terrible time, and I will not take any more. I am 92 years old, and too old for new-fangled things I guess. If I can just get rid of whatever little critters I have in my gut, I will be very happy.

  6. InLiven contains wheat, barley and oats. No thank you.

    • Hi Paul,

      Yes, they have those ingredients in there, but they are predigested for a long time so many people are fine with it. However, if you are concerned you can look at the Fast Tract. I am personally checking out some other probiotics at this time, but I will say that this product is very well researched and tested. Thanks and I hope that helps.

  7. I am on the search for a new probiotic and checked out the Inliven. We have to keep gluten free, so bummed it contains wheat, barley and malt.

    • I know. Sorry. The gluten is heavily digested, so for most it’s a non issue, but you have to do what is best for you. You could try the Fast Tract or the Dr. Ohira’s the I mentioned in the post where I updated things.

  8. Alflorex® PrecisionBiotic –

    You don’t mention “Precision Biotics” in your blog. The above have proved very useful to me over the past year . . .

  9. Adrienne (?), My husband discovered your website last night looking up homemade laundry soaps and here I am, having spent more than half of my day, reading on all kinds of my personal soap-box stuff. Right now I have questions on probiotics……………I have a child with a condition labeled as encopresis. I was wondering if you have heard of it in your readings and how people, namely Czerreal (?) have approached it with probiotics.? Said child had chronic ear infections as a toddler and, as a result, many, many doses of antibiotics (what I know now I wish I would have known than *sigh*). I have had physicians “prescribe” daily doses of stool softener etc. for the rest of his life. No. I don’t accept this. I am CONVINCED it is a gut thing. Also, said child has suffered from mild eczema (and now two more of my children are having problems). Together he and I decided to eliminate milk from his diet and it has improved the eczema dramatically……… I guess my questions are these- from your experience/research, is dairy related to eczema? AND have you heard of others using InLiven for Encopresis…?

    • Hi there. Thanks for writing! I have done a little digging on the internet and it seems there are mixed reviews about probiotics — with some parents saying it helps and others saying they do it b/c they think it can’t hurt but they aren’t seeing a difference.

      I for sure have heard of dairy related to eczema. This is my oldest’s story:

      and my youngest gets eczema when he gets too much dairy. It’s quite an allergenic food.

      I am doing more gut work for our family so I wouldn’t just stop w/ probiotics but it is for sure a good place to start. I hope it helps!!!

  10. This is a fantastic blog, thanks for posting! I’d like to know how you test to see if you have a parasite infection, yeast infection (whole body, not purely vaginal), or both!? I assume any naturopath Dr. could run the test but as I am living in South America I find that this may be a tad more difficult. Is there a way to do self assessment at home to see which affects you more? I am a 23 year old female who has been suffering from chronic yeast infections for over 2 years after taking a long dose of strong antibiotics (over 7 months of this dosage) in order to attempt to cure an autoimmune condition (with no luck) that I’ve had since the time I was 19. After doing a lot of research on my own part I have started using the GAPS diet, which eliminates sugars and carbs in the forms of starches(potatoes, tubers, all grain, even the gluten free ones), alcohols, sugars (sucrose, lactose,etc, with the only exception of honey) with the aim of ridding the body of the ‘foods’ which feed the yeast and thus lead to Leaky Gut Syndrome, which I’m sure that I have due to my list of symptoms and current immunological condition. GAPS protocol has been used to CURE Leaky Gut Syndrom and the problems associated with it (check it our here: ) Just shy of 3 weeks on the diet where I was almost symptom free I relapsed to have another breakout of a vaginal yeast infection, and I’m not sure why. I assume it’s due to the high intake of sugars from fruits which I have been eating here (in Colombia it’s hard not to eat all of the amazing exotic fruits one has at hand) so my aim after kicking this yeast infection is to continue with GAPS protocol but to also start with the Candida Diet on top, eliminating fruits from my diet as well, at least for a month or so. My question is: how long should I maintain the Candida Diet before die-off symptoms and eventual killing of the yeasts occur? AKA how long must I continue the Candida Diet before phasing off of this diet and re-introducing small quantities of the fruits which I love so much? In the past I have also tried Paleo, and found it to be partially effective, but that the roots, starchy vegetables, and tubers I was eating tended to set off reactions in me as well. Currently, I am experimenting with a mixture of these 3 closely related diets (GAPS, PALEO, and CANDIDA) with a focus on the first month of very restrictive eating and an attempt at using the detox methods listed in the Candida Diet as well (Garlic, Coconut oil, Grape Seed Extract for the Antifungals, and Marigold and exercise for the detox die off symptoms when and if they appear). I also am keeping a calendar to keep track of progress and setbacks, and reading this stand I’m am also now thinking of adding a food diary as well. I would like to know if any of you have had experience with any of the above listed diets and if so which did you prefer and why? Living for 5 years with these problems as such a young age really stinks, but I’m trying to make the best of it and keep my head up and my progress consistent. Another thing which might factor in is that I was initially being given 30 mg Prednisone a day to help control my muscle and skin deterioration, as well as 25 mg of Methotrexate once a week. Over the years these medicines and dosages have changed due to the fact that my condition, Dermatopolymiositis, is so rare that it’s not lucrative to make a specialized medicine for people in need, so no research has been done, but from the research that I have read it seems that all autoimmune disorders have an almost 100% link to problems with your internal gut and thus can be CURED given the right amount of time, pure eating habits, natural herbal treatment, and willpower. Through cleaning up my diet I have been able to decrease my medications to 2 mg Prednisone daily and 25 mg Methotrexate with the eventual desire to stop taking all western prescribed medications. Does any of this resonate with anyone here? Do any of you have experience with which probiotic may work the best for my case? In the past I have also experimented with fermented foods with no luck (bad reactions every time (i.e. itching of the skin, eyes, and yeast infections) and am wondering if these are pure die-off symptoms or if I am actually allergic to these foods (I have been tested positively for a yeast allergy a few years ago on a blood levels test given by my naturopath. ) I’d love to have some feedback as to what you all have tried and what has worked for you. I know that this may take some time to beat due to my past history of long-term prescription drugs, just curious to see if anyone out there has beaten a similar situation. If you’ve made it this far through my post, thanks for listening, I know it was long-winded but I really want to get all the facts. Every little bit helps, thank you in advance <3

    • I am sorry but I don’t know about other methods to test for parasites, but I have personally heard of folks who treat for them naturally without testing.

      Candida is very stubborn so I can’t say about a time frame. I am much better but really can’t indulge in high glycemic fruits and it might be you never will be able to. As for probiotics, you are on the post that I wrote about that :).

      For fermented foods, this might help you:

      hope all of that helps :).

    • Hello,

      I started following this girl on Instagram. Her name is Organic Olivia, and I started following her because I too suffered from yeast infections for a long time. I’m not an expert but I’m sure her website can help you. Best of luck!

      • Hi Diana.

        I just chiming in b/c I looked at Organic Olivia’s blog. I am sure there are some helpful things there but she seems to advocate unlimited amounts of fruit, which is typically not thought of as a good idea when dealing with candida. Do you have thoughts about that? Thanks.

  11. Do probiotics help with acid reflux? Also read where you should not drink liquids with meals , especially water?