GAPS Probiotic Supplement

I am not a doctor and have not been professionally trained.  My writings are based on my own personal experiences and research and are not to be taken as medical advice. Please take a look at our medical disclaimer before reading the below information.

Probiotic supplements are more than just a passing trend.  They are an important part of healing damaged gutsInsufficient amounts of good bacteria allow pathogens to take over.  To fix the balance pathogens must be put back under control while beneficial flora is restored.

GAPS people often have the most damaged guts.  Probiotics, in the form of food and supplements, is a necessary component of the GAPS program.  Today we will focus on probiotic supplements, which can be a very confusing topic when trying to find the best one for you.

Before we get too deep, I want to warn you that introducing probiotics might temporarily make you feel worse.  Don’t be alarmed!  When pathogens are killed they release their nasty toxins, possibly causing symptoms such as:
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Rashes

 This is called die off, and it’s normal.  Your body is detoxifying. 

At this point some might ditch the probiotic supplement, believing it is harming them. Those who endure will ultimately be rewarded as their gut flora improves. 

Please note that you want to control the intensity of die off.  More info on this farther down.

Be picky.  Many supplements aren’t strong enough for GAPS conditions.  GAPS people need a therapeutic strength probiotic to effectively win the war on pathogens.  Also beware of supplements that are far too strong for GAPS patients, due to the severe die off they cause. 

Be on the lookout for added ingredients that could actually end up feeding the very pathogens you are attempting to annihilate.  Avoid these at all costs.

  •  A variety of species of bacteria
  • A variety of groups of bacteria
  • A high level of colony forming units (CFU) –Dr. NatashaCampbell-McBride says on page 251 of her book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome,” the probiotic should have “at least 8 billion of bacterial cells per gram”.

Nourishing Plot has an excellent post that summarizes some GAPS worthy supplements.  I highly recommend reading it if you are in the market for probiotics.

As you shop around, you will undoubtedly come across Bio-Kult.  Many consider Bio-Kult to be the GAPS Probiotic.  Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride was actually part of the team that created it.  That doesn’t guarantee that it will work for everyone though, as we are all unique in what strains we lack.  If you happen to be weak in the strains that Bio-Kult provides, you are in luck and it will do wonders for you.  If your body already has enough of those strains however, the supplement won’t help you.  The right product for you will contain the strains that your particular body is lacking

So when you try a new supplement and are able to increase the dose without a reaction, you should probably test another product that has different strains.   Once you find the strains you are weak in, be careful not to overdo it! I’m not advising you to purposely encourage a severe detox.  Although some die off lets you know your body needs the strains you are supplementing, you don’t want to overwhelm your detox pathways.  In order to avoid this, you must slowly and carefully increase your dose.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride explains her plan for building up to the therapeutic dose in her book on pages 251-252.  Begin with a very tiny amount.  If your symptoms worsen, stay on this amount for as long as it takes the symptoms to dissipate.  Once they are gone, or if they don’t show up at all, you can increase the dose a bit.

Continue on this pattern of increasing when there are no symptoms and staying on the current dose when there are symptoms until you reach the therapeutic level.  There are some general guidelines to help you determine how high your therapeutic dose should be, but an internet search cannot give you an absolute answer.   Your particular level, as well as the time it takes you to reach it, is very individual. 

GAPS patients need to take the therapeutic dose for approximately six months.  Then begins the process of decreasing to the maintenance dose, which is done just as gradually as increasing it was.  Once again, the maintenance dose varies from person to person.  Dr. Campbell-McBride even claims that for some, it will equal the therapeutic level.   She also says on page 253 of her book,

“To maintain the probiotic you do not have to carry on taking commercial preparations.  You can supplement your diet with fermented foods in the form of homemade yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and other homemade fermented foods.”   

Having a certified GAPS practitioner oversee the procedure is extremely helpful.  It is hard for people who aren’t educated in this subject to know what supplement to take, how high their therapeutic dose should be, how long to stay at that level, and what their maintenance dose should be.  Not only that, but who really has time for all this when there are jobs to be worked, families to take care of, and other activities and obligations that require attention?

I am not a certified GAPS practitioner (though I hope to be one someday), so I can’t give you more than general guidelines.  But I sincerely hope that I was able to clear up some confusion in regards to what you need to be on the lookout for in a good supplement, and give you a starting point for finding your correct dose.

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