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  • Writer's pictureMarcie Vaske, MS, LN, CNS

Multi Strain vs Single Strain Probiotics- Which Is Better For Your Gut?

Updated: Dec 31


Probiotics have gained immense popularity in recent years for their potential health benefits. These live bacteria and yeasts offer a range of advantages, particularly in promoting a healthy gut microbiome.


However, with the growing variety of probiotic products available, it can be challenging to determine which type is best suited for your needs.


Today, I will take a deep dive into the differences between single strain and multi strain probiotics, exploring their benefits, limitations, and factors to consider when making a choice.


My name is Marcie Vaske, and I’m a Licensed Nutritionist at Flusso Nutrients, where we provide supplement education and professional quality supplement options to you, in an effort to make the world of nutrition supplements a bit easier for you to navigate.


As always, make sure to check with your main nutrition-literate healthcare provider before starting anything new, as we can’t possibly know your full medical history to make a personal recommendation.


So, without further ado, let’s dive into today’s topic: "Multi Strain vs Single Strain Probiotics: Which Is Better For Your Gut?"


Introduction to Probiotics and Their Benefits


Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when consumed in adequate amounts, offer health benefits to our gut. These beneficial bacteria and yeasts can be found naturally in certain foods and supplements.


The primary goal of probiotics is to restore and maintain a healthy balance of microorganisms in the gut, which plays a crucial role in overall health.


Probiotics go far beyond our gut health. They have been linked to improved immune function, reduced inflammation, enhanced mental health, and even weight management.


Single Strain vs Multi Strain Probiotics


Single strain probiotics, as the name suggests, contain only one type of beneficial bacteria or yeast. Multi strain probiotics, as the name implies, contain a combination of different strains of beneficial bacteria or yeasts.


It is essential to choose a reputable and trustworthy brand when selecting a probiotic. Look for products that have been tested for potency and efficacy, and consider consulting with a healthcare professional for personalized recommendations based on your specific needs.


Remember to choose a supplement that has been 3rd party tested and transparency of where the product comes from.


Which Probiotic Strain is Best for Gut Health?


The advantage of multi strain probiotics lies in their ability to offer a wider spectrum of benefits. By incorporating various strains, these probiotics can target multiple aspects of gut health simultaneously.


For example, a multi strain probiotic may include strains that improve digestion, boost immune function, and reduce inflammation all in one. One of the key advantages of single strain probiotics is their targeted approach.


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Different strains of bacteria have specific functions and benefits, such as improving digestion or boosting immune function. By choosing a single strain probiotic, you can address a specific health concern more directly.


For example, if you struggle with lactose intolerance, a single strain probiotic containing Lactobacillus acidophilus can help break down lactose and alleviate symptoms.


However, it's important to note that single strain probiotics may not provide the same level of diversity as multi strain probiotics. The gut microbiome thrives on diversity, and a lack of it can potentially lead to imbalances.


While single strain probiotics offer targeted benefits, they may not provide the same breadth of advantages as their multi strain counterparts.


There are several popular single strain probiotic strains, each with its own set of benefits. Here are a few examples:


  • Lactobacillus acidophilus: This strain is known for its ability to break down lactose, making it beneficial for those with lactose intolerance. It may also help support immune function.

  • Bifidobacterium infantis: This strain has been shown to alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and improve digestion.

  • Saccharomyces boulardii: This yeast strain can help restore gut balance after taking antibiotics and may reduce the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

  • Streptococcus thermophilus: This strain is commonly used in yogurts and fermented foods and may contribute to improved digestion and lactose digestion.


Why Take a Multi-Strain Probiotic?


Multi-strain probiotics offer a diverse range of microorganisms to support overall gut health. Their ability to provide a wider spectrum of benefits is significant.


For instance, a multi strain probiotic might include strains that simultaneously improve digestion, boost immune function, and reduce inflammation. The natural diversity of the gut microbiome is mirrored in these probiotics, promoting optimal gut health.


They contain a combination of different strains to offer a comprehensive approach. Some popular multi strain probiotic combinations and their benefits are:


  • Lactobacillus acidophilus + Bifidobacterium bifidum: Promotes overall gut health, improves digestion, and enhances immune function.

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus + Bifidobacterium lactis: Helps alleviate symptoms of IBS and improves overall gut function.

  • Lactobacillus casei + Lactobacillus plantarum + Lactobacillus acidophilus: Offers a diverse range of benefits, including improved digestion, enhanced immune function, and reduced inflammation.


Side Effects of Multi Strain Probiotics


Multi-strain probiotics support the natural diversity of the gut microbiome, potentially leading to better health outcomes. However, the effectiveness of each strain can vary, with some strains dominating others, which might reduce the overall benefits.


The interactions between different strains can be complex, and more research is needed to fully understand how they interact within the gut.


Cardiologist Warnings About Probiotics


Some cardiologists have raised concerns about probiotic use, particularly in relation to potential interactions with heart medications. This segment discusses these concerns and offers insights into the latest research and expert opinions on this matter.


Choosing the Right Probiotics

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When deciding between single strain and multi strain probiotics, consider your specific health concerns and the diversity of your gut microbiome. If you have a particular issue like lactose intolerance or immune support, a single strain probiotic may be more suitable.


However, if you're looking for a more comprehensive approach to overall gut health, a multi strain probiotic could be a better option. Choose a reputable brand, and consult a healthcare professional for personalized recommendations.


Optimal Number of Probiotic Strains


Most people benefit from a probiotic containing between ten and thirty different strains. This diverse mix of strains can be beneficial for overall gut health.


Probiotics and Medication Interactions


Discuss potential interactions between probiotics and medications, including antibiotics and antifungals. There are no known vitamins or supplements that interfere with probiotic absorption.


Timing for Taking Probiotics

It's best to take probiotics 10-15 minutes before a meal on an empty stomach. Start slowly in the evening, then progress to every day in the morning.


Conclusion


In conclusion, the choice between single strain and multi strain probiotics depends on individual needs and preferences.


Single strain probiotics provide targeted benefits for specific health concerns, while multi strain probiotics offer a more comprehensive approach to gut health and microbial diversity.


Consult with a healthcare professional for personalized recommendations based on your unique circumstances. With the right probiotic, you can support your gut health and potentially reap the numerous benefits that probiotics have to offer.

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