Probiotics: How to Find Value + Quality

I'm a huge advocate for taking probiotics to maintain a healthy gut flora.  I suppose for those that eat enough fermented foods (kimchi, kefir, etc.) then you may happily skip taking them, but I prefer knowing that I'm getting at least a good baseline of what I need in supplement form each day.  They question becomes - how to select and buy them?

Vary the Strains

Unless you have a gastrointestinal disorder or irritable bowel disease (in which case, please contact myself or another RDN that can help guide your gut health!), I typically recommend a range of strains instead of just finding one strain on bacteria within the probiotic.  There is no magic number for # of strains that should be involved but the most commonly found ones include L. acidophilus, B. bifidum, S. boulardii, and L casei.

All About the CFU

CFU = Colony Forming Units.  Despite the fact that the recommended minimum levels continue to creep up slowly, I consistently recommend at least 8 billion CFU.  This is a range that is both safe and effective.  Something as low as 1 or 2 billion might not make a huge difference in gut health and 8-20 billion safe for the average, healthy adult.  Sound like too much?  To put it in perspective, therapeutic doses start at about 112 billion and go up from there.

Storage and Resources to Purchase

Keep in a cool, dry place.  The fridge is often the best option!  I keep min in the door which helps me to remember to take it in the morning... 

LabDoor does very thorough value and quality reviews - when in doubt, check here.

In good health, enjoy!

New Year. New You. Next Week.

Hey everyone!  Happy New Year!  My Christmas and New Years holiday/hiatus was decently low key - so enjoyable to spend time with good friends and family.  Hope you rang in the new year with wistful optimism of the opportunities 2014 beholds.  Check out my Twitter feed (@wittynutrition) for my New Year's themes (no more resolutions)!

I'm hoping to help propagate momentum for a fellow RD in her effort to launch an awesome book that she wrote.  Yes, she wrote a book, and it's being published, and it's awesome.  


Younger Next Week: Your Ultimate Rx to Reverse the Clock, Boost Energy and Look and Feel Younger in 7 Days

Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN (check out her website) wrote this book for the modern day warrior woman trying to do it all and still feel great.  Vitality is a huge part of our health and she is able to break down the science of good food, healthy beverages, adequate sleep, and invigorating exercise into digestible pieces for you to apply to your life.  

Her vitality plan uses sound nutrition science (always one of my pet peeves) to empower the reader to use food and lifestyle to feel more energized and less stressed.  She has a beautifully soothing way of walking you through each food group, identifying common health concerns, pointing out the nutrition science, and providing useful tips to help motivate change.  

This information culminates in a 7 Day Vitality Plan that draws a blueprint for eating, teaches you how to balance each food group, and provides recipes to help make good, healthy meal ideas accesible.  I personally plan to use her 7-day vitality plan blueprint - a 'handy chart' - as an awesome visual to use with clients (sorry Elisa - promise I'll credit you!!).  I also really enjoyed the Stressipes which gave extra tips - such as how to curb food cravings - and the "Vital Prescriptions" in each chapter that easily summarized the main points on the topic.

So in all honesty, this book is fabulous, and is a great resource for everyone: from those just starting to learn about nutrition, to those kickstarting their new years resolutions, to clinicians working with outpatient and weight management populations.  

With a new year, make a new you, and use her 7-day plan to help get you there.