Three Reasons You Should Stop Taking Probiotics

Please note: I may receive commissions from purchases made through links in this post.

101 Flares 101 Flares ×

There are many good reasons to take probiotics. But here are three considerations to stop taking probiotics!

Probiotics are one of the two supplements I regularly use with clients. 

I’ve seen so many people benefit from taking probiotics and that includes myself.

So then why did I stop taking probiotics in supplement form?  And why do I recommend to my clients that they stop taking probiotics as well?

Well there used to be one simple reason (see #3 below) to stop taking probiotics but after seeing Sandor Katz speak at the recent Weston Price Foundation conference, I now have two additional reasons. 

Reason #1 to Stop Taking Probiotics: Probiotic Supplements Are Proprietary Strains

The first reason is that probiotic supplements are proprietary strains.  That means they are formulated in laboratories by companies so they can be patented and then sold for profit.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  Many companies put out effective probiotic supplements.

My probiotic of choice is Prescript Assist as I consistently get great results with it with my clients.  It’s clinically tested and has 29 different strains of microflora.  Click here to check out Prescript Assist on Amazon.

Dozens of studies using probiotic therapy show benefits in treating IBS, constipation, diarrhea, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and many other digestive issues.  

However, few studies have ever been done with actual fermented foods.  Why?

Because you can’t patent sauerkraut.  Or kimchi.  Or any food for that matter. 

According to Dr. Mercola on his website, one serving of fermented vegetables has 100 times more beneficial bacteria than an entire bottle of a high potency probiotic product!

And let’s not forget that fermented foods are a part of the diet of every traditional culture on this planet.  They have been around as long as humans have been around.  It is only recently with the advent of refrigeration and processed foods that many industrialized societies have stopped using traditionally fermented foods.

Katz brought up another interesting point regarding probiotic therapy.

Reason #2 to Stop Taking Probiotics: Bacteria are not genetically stable.

In the first chapter of his new book, The Art of Fermentation, Katz conveys the great mystery of the evolution of bacteria on our planet and the incredible ways in which they communicate, evolve and transform all life, including human beings. 

“We know more about the stars in the sky than about the soil under our feet” says microbiologist Elaine Ingham.

Katz depicts bacteria as co-evolvers or even co-creationists in the dance of Life and that they are more influential to our lives and all life on the planet than we can ever realize.  

We have not evolved separately from bacteria.  We have evolved together and sure enough we could not exist without them.

Recent research shows that bacteria freely exchange genetic material. 

This flow of genes allow bacteria to rapidly evolve and adapt to new conditions.  It’s the inherent problem with the widespread use of antibiotics in both humans and livestock.  Bacteria can adapt quickly and become resistant setting the stage for new diseases and health epidemics.

Katz points out that some microbiologists believe bacteria are not truly distinct species but exist as a continuum across the planet, exchanging and utilizing genes which makes them highly adaptable to so many vastly different living conditions.  In fact, the human microbiome, that is, the totality of all the microorganisms that reside on and in human beings, contains one hundred times more genes than human beings.

A Not So Appealing Fact About Your Belly Button

A recent MIT study  also found that the bacteria that reside on and in humans are 25 times more likely to exchange genes than non-human bacteria.  Nobody knows why but we know that just as humans are adaptable to almost every climate and landscape on earth, so are bacteria adaptable to all the micro-climates and micro-landscapes of the human body.  Armpits, eyebrows, toenails, gums, stomach and intestines all offer vastly different niches for different strains of bacteria.

In fact,  scientists at North Carolina State University found 1400 strains of bacteria that reside just in the human belly button, half of which have never been identified before.

Of course, the majority of the human microbiome resides in our gut and the research on these intestinal bacteria is nothing short of mind-blowing, literally speaking.  In addition to playing vital roles in our physical health, it turns out they may be able to influence our mental health as well. 

Before I get too far out on a tangent, what that means for us is that specific strains of bacteria may not be as important as once thought.   In other words, probiotic therapy is based on the belief that certain strains are vital for our health.  And so we take these capsules with billions of strains of Lactobacillus and/or Bifidobacteria and maybe a few others.  Every company has a different formulation of different strains with different studies and reasons why their formulation is best.

However, the genetic fluidity of bacteria suggests that variety and diversity may be more beneficial than specific strains.

This is certainly what Katz believes.

And it makes sense to me as well.   After all, if there are hundreds of newly identified bacteria in our belly buttons, who knows how many have yet to be discovered in fermented foods? 

So while a probiotic supplement may offer help, over the long term I think it’s more important to regularly incorporate Nature’s true probiotics, fermented foods.

Reason #3 to Stop Taking Probiotics: Your Digestive Issue is in the Past. 

This is why I stopped taking probiotics and this is when I tell my clients to stop taking probiotics.  Nevertheless, many people continue to take pricey probiotic supplements for preventative reasons. 

While I think that’s safer than taking drugs like statins for preventative reasons, remember, fermented foods give us a far greater variety and complexity of beneficial bacteria than probiotic supplements.  While we can’t deny the benefits of probiotic supplementation, over the long term I trust the thousands of years of fermented foods in the human diet more than laboratory formulations.  

Give me fermented foods over supplements any day.

Much tastier too.

Learn to Make Fermented Vegetables at Home

While you certainly can find good sources of fermented foods in your local health food store,  it’s a lot more rewarding (and cost efficient) to make them at home.

All my clients learn about the health benefits of fermented foods.  And my absolute favorite module of my online digestive wellness program is when I teach course members how to make them at home.

Want to learn?  It’s so easy! Pick up a copy of Wild Fermentation or Katz’ new more expansive book on the subject, The Art of Fermentation.

You can also check out two of my videos on YouTube:

How to Make Sauerkraut

How to Make Beet Kvass

Finally, if your digestive issue is NOT in the past, there’s a lot more to healing your gut than just consuming fermented vegetables.  My online program, Fearless Digestion, is a comprehensive course that will help you get at the roots of your gut issues once and for all.

Click here to learn more about Fearless Digestion.


There are many good reasons to take probiotics. But here are three considerations to stop taking probiotics!

101 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Pin It Share 101 Email -- 101 Flares ×

5 Simple Foods (No Cooking Required) to Improve Your Digestive Health NOW.

Check out my FREE report with some basic but powerful tips to start healing your gut - today.


Like what you've seen? Click here to subscribe to this blog!

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Fearless Eating is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Please note that I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with Fearless Eating's ideals and that I believe would be of value to my readers. You may read my full disclosure statement here.


  1. I couldn’t agree more! I’ve been researching this topic a lot lately. I also have a problem with how the probiotics are processed and the other junk they put in the capsules. It is nearly impossible to be sure you are actually ingesting the live bacteria that the bottle claims. I think probiotics are just a waste of money. Kefir, lacto-fermented veggies, homemade yogurt, kombucha… that is the best source of probiotics!

  2. Love Love Love this post! Excellent! I recently stopped buying and taking the store bought kind as well. I kept thinking – I am eating sauerkraut and drinking kefir – why am I forking over $40 for a bottle that isn’t going to add anything?! Sharing!

  3. Brittany Ardito says:

    Thank you so much for posting this extremely informational article. I have never been a fan of supplements as they are not natural and are processed in a lab, however I had been debating buying some probiotics for my family and I. This article just reiterated what my gut instinct was already telling me. I have been fermenting foods and drinking kefir and that is much cheaper than buying a supplement that I cannot fully trust will do more than these natural foods. You just saved me a lot of money 🙂 Thank you!

  4. Your article brings up an interesting point.

  5. i have a question for you. do you know what amines are? naturally occurring food chemicals present in all aging foods. my daughter and i have amines problems and haven’t been able to tolerate ferments. how can we get past this?

    • Hi Lisa,

      I’ve heard of people having issues with this but haven’t spent enough time researching it myself to help you. Best of luck to you.

      • Ronni Byrd says:

        Craig,you are the health expert,wont you try to find out what amines problems are,Im sure someone else along the way will ask about the same problem,this time you will have the answer!

        • Yes, i have the same problem. Its not uncommon. I wish we had access to health professionals that cared enough to research this and offer some answers…

          • You could always research it yourself. Seeing that it’s so personal.
            Just a thought.

    • HI Lisa,
      Your issue with homemade ferments may be more with the method of fermenting – most ferments should be done anaerobically and out of direct light – with specific ranges of salinity and duration – I have found numerous folks with gut issues able to enjoy and more importantly heal through properly prepared ferments – cabbage is generally not fermented or cured lomg enough when sold commercially – plus the manner of transport and container further diminishes the happy bacteria that you are trying to add…

      • SongLinh says:

        How long is appropriate for cabbage to be fully fermented?

        • I believe 2 months is a good target. When it’s was warmer, I knock a week or so off. During the winter it takes me about 3 months to get it just right.

    • Hi Lisa,
      I’m a dietitian working with food intolerance & I believe that dysbiosis is very likely to contribute (in fact it might be the root cause!)
      Generally I would use a three pronged approach, eg. in the case of amine intolerance:
      – Limit “trigger” foods (eg. processed meats, citrus fruits, tomato pastes & sauces, chocolate and fermented foods as you have mentioned)
      – Introduce key vitamins (eg. B vitamins, magnesium, zinc) & herbs (eg. tumeric)
      – Address gut imbalance caused by antibiotic use, infection etc. As you say, fermented foods are often poorly tolerated (at least initially) and so this is where I do see a role for probiotic capsules formulated from proven strains. The other issue is that many fermented foods are high in FODMAPs, which are great for long-term gut health but tend to be poorly digested if you’re already out of balance. They may be able to be introduced after symptoms have settled down (from within a few weeks to a month or two of following a low amine diet & taking supplements).

      • The problem actually has nothing to do with amines. If people cannot tolerate fermented foods its the 1st sign that they have SIBO. And therefore NO probiotics of any kind for the first few weeks as the small intestine needs almost no probiotics. Plus all these fermented foods are lactic acid producing bacteria whereas soil based are completely different.

    • Usually when people have an intolerance to amines, an elimination and challenge diet is helpful. That consists of completely eliminating foods that contain (or release) tyramine and histamine from the diet for 4-6 weeks and then slowly reintroducing them into the diet (each food individually) in a way that allows the individual to take note of the return of specific symptoms. It’s not difficult; I’ve put many patients on an elimination and challenge diet. If you need help, check out our website: Focus Integrative Healthcare |

    • There are certain strains of probiotics ( yogurt, sauerkraut) that are histamine producing and others that break histamine down. I take a strain that breaks histamine down to help balance my reactions.

  6. Hi Craig,
    I just discovered your site and love your approach. I’d love it if you would share this and other GAPS related posts each week with my readers at GAPS Friendly Fridays! You can join this week’s blog carnival at
    See you around,

    • OK Joy, will do. Let’s connect on social media outlets as well. And FYI, I am a GAPS certified practitioner.

      • Hi again, Craig,
        Thanks for sharing on GAPS Friendly Friday. I’m following you on facebook and pinterest now 🙂 My handle on facebook, pinterest, tumblr, and twitter is kitchenlib

        Our family has been on the GAPS Diet for nearly 2 years now, and we’ve been blogging all along, solving/improving on issues including arthritis, myriad digestive troubles, sensory processing disorder, dyslexia, eczema, asthma, bipolar disorder, migraines, other neurological issues, and more.

        While I am not a health care practitioner, I provide coaching and hands on help to people who are going 100% gluten-free, as well as practical help and advice for people (especially families) taking on Paleo/GAPS/SCD type diets. A big part of my coaching focuses on helping people build and work with a team of qualified health care practitioners.

        I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts!

  7. Great article Craig, very informative. Interestingly, the main reason I discontinued commercial probiotics was economics. All of the things I ferment, such as kefir, kombucha, natto, sauerkraut and etc. replenish themselves and even multiply so you can give them away. I also have a huge distrust of commercial sources of anything eatable or ingestable. As I use Sandor’s book a lot and find the whole regime of fermentation fascinating, your article, which makes a lot of sense to me, is very helpful in my growing understanding of the process. So, thanks!

    • Hi Jim, thanks for sharing. I’m impressed that you ferment natto at home. That’s a lot more rare than say, sauerkraut. Glad you enjoyed the article. Happy fermenting!

      • Ahh yes natto. If more people realized how critical vitamin K2 is to bone development and maintenance and how excellent a source of K2 natto is it would be a lot more popular. But that might put some dentists out of pocket 😉

  8. “While we can’t deny the benefits of probiotic supplementation, over the long term I trust the thousands of years of fermented foods in the human diet more than laboratory formulations.” Hear, hear! Great post, Craig!

  9. Kristy Robinson ND says:

    I agree with everything in the article, however, that being said I would say that 90% of my clients are never going to touch a fermented food and the sad reality is that they want a pill to make it better. So I still recommend probiotic supplements knowing that it is better than nothing and that at least we can ease their symptoms and repair the gut in some degree. However, I do test for the which one is needed, I don’t blindly recommend any product without making sure it is the right supplement for that particular person. Of course fermented is best but I would say if someone isn’t willing to do that than a probiotic supplement is still a viable option.

    • Hi Kristy, I totally hear what you’re saying and that’s why I still use probiotics. 90% though seems a bit high. I certainly have a few clients that don’t like fermented foods but most seem to come around to it over time. Most people at least like cultured dairy. We also have several great local companies here in western MA selling fermented vegetables which makes it easier as well. Just curious, where do you practice?

      • i have nothing against fermented foods (ate them regularly as a child) but they sure hate me ~ vinegar triggers / causes several problems (even organic unfiltered ACV causes pain in my urethra), and salt = HBP…
        So those clients not ”wanting” to consume fermented foods might have good reasons …which you’d do well to explore.

    • Hi Dr, Robinson, How are you? I’m curious, how do you test for which probiotic is missing or lacking? What is this test called? I’m suffering with SIBO/colitis, and nothing seems to work. Maybe identifying if something is missing can be a good first step. I’m currently eating sauerkraut from whole foods and it

  10. As a Naturopathic Physician, I often prescribe high quality probiotics to my patients, often with great results. I love the idea of fermented veggies as medicine, but for some of my patients the idea of all of that work/effort/time is going to turn them off immediately. Do you know of any good quality fermented foods that they can buy while they are getting used to the idea and healing their digestive systems in the meantime?
    (And speaking of costly supplements, I was intrigued by all I’ve read about fermented CLO and ordered my first bottle from Green Pastures which ended up costing $59! Yikes! Not sustainable for my family of 5 or for most of my patients).

  11. great article, sharing. my question is about wild ferments vs starter culture ferments. if we innoculate with starter culture then aren’t we encouraging the processed/limited strain cultures to multiple, perhaps overpowering what native species might be on the veg? i rarely wild ferment because they are so much riskier, i end up losing batches, lots of time and money spent on getting veg, fermenting it, then have to toss it when a wild ferment goes awry.

    this makes me think i should focus more on mastering wild ferments vs relying on starter cultures…

    thanks for your work, research, thoughts

    • Hi Jenna, although I can’t say for sure, I wouldn’t think the starter cultures “overpower” the native species. Starter cultures are beneficial in their own right and have been used for thousands of years. As for not using starter cultures, what about using a little whey? I know that’s technically a bit of a starter culture itself but I’ve never lost a batch of fermented veggies when I use it.

  12. oh, and until practicioners stop catering to lazy non-compliant patients, patients will continue to be lazy and non-compliant expecting the magic bullets that DO NOT EXIST to return to health.

    this is the same as a kinder teacher letting kids watch sesame street all day to build and foster language development instead of encouraging them to actually learn to read and write. it’s nonsense. i’m glad you are encouraging your patients to do health the right way. the true way. with discipline and effort and real true health.

    we must all be health educators. educators teach patients. not just what ails them and a pill to swallow (supplements are hardly better than rx) but how to ACTUALLY, REALLY heal by making ENORMOUS life-style changes.

    just sayin’

    i take this same approach to food literacy education. it aint simple teaching a child to love real food. it takes daily practice, and the skill and effort to make that food relevant to them. to take a child from not knowing why they should fuel up with real clean non-toxic food instead of frankenfood, to knowing why and choosing it themselves even when tempting factory food abounds at all gatherings outside the house.

    • you speak as if there are no health conditions that are incompatible with fermented foods…and calling people lazy is a lazy way of ‘addressng’ whatever physical / neurological / mental / environmental / social issues that may be hindering or preventing them from following your orders…
      Just saying

  13. Really enjoyed this post! I’ve never had much success with probiotics and always suspected the dose to be waaayyy to small and the range of bacteria too narrow. Thanks for filling us in 🙂

  14. This post brings up interesting points. However, I cannot imagine our lives without the use of probiotics. At 2 years old my son greatly benefited the use of probiotics, and continues to do so. There would have been no way, still no way, I could get this child (or any of my kids) to eat a fermented food. I personally have no desire to eat a fermented food.

    We are so grateful of the benefits of probiotics and I agree with another commenter…if fermented foods are not an option probiotics are the next best thing. Plus, there are benefits.

    • @Jennifer, probiotics are not replacements for fermented foods. There are so many more benefits to fermented foods beyond just their beneficial bacteria content – higher vitamin content and rich in enzymes to name a few. Of course probitoics are beneficial, but we shouldn’t exclusively rely on them. To say you have “no desire to eat a fermented food” is a bit of a head scratcher. Do you eat cheese? Yogurt? Sourdough bread? Coffee? Wine? Cured meats like salami? All fermented.

      • I am yeast intolerant ~ it makes me hot [and very bothered], can cause oral thrush, itchy pubis, groin pain, and stiff hips…
I used to love salami, sourdough bread, and eg greek yoghurt, and it took a long time to stop missing those foods…

        Even vit b12 tablets caused problems ~ for example, after taking an alfalfa-based vit b supplement for 2 days my groin and hip were so painful and stiff it made walking extremely difficult …so although it had already begun to improve my mental energy i had to stop taking it.
        Having eg doctors who don’t understand such things can lead to years of avoidable crippling pain…

        Although this (and other, related web pages) have raised some important issues, you really shouldn’t assume that your solutions to eg gut issues are [or will eventually be] suitable for everyone …because that ignores so many health variables it makes you seem extremely biased.

  15. I agree, but…I think probiotic supplements are like vitamin supplements: ideally we would be getting everything we need from our food, but either to make up the difference (because of inadequate diet and/or just declining food quality in recent years) and/or in the meantime ’til we get “caught up,” they can be beneficial.

    I have never seen any truly fermented foods for sale. (I can buy kefir, for instance, but it’s not REAL kefir.) There’s a learning curve involved in making them. And, frankly, there’s a “learning curve” involved in eating them. We hate fermented foods. I think saeurkraut and kefir are some of the most awful-tasting things ever invented. I wish I didn’t – and we’re working on it – but I do.

    So it’s pretty harsh of certain commenters to say that patients are “lazy” and “non-compliant” because they can’t/won’t just overnight make and consume completely new foods that take education to learn how to make, and a pretty decent investment of TIME. Especially given that most people are seeing a doctor because they’re SICK – i.e. don’t have a normal amount of energy. When I first started seeing my ND for adrenal burnout, I would have probably given up from sheer overwhelm if she’d said the only way for me to get better was to start spending a few more hours a week making some new foods I’d never heard of!

    And I’ve just written a book here…lol The short version being: I totally agree that fermented foods are BETTER and that, ideally, we wouldn’t need the pills, but I still think that the pills serve their purpose in certain situations.

    (Oh, and btw, you seem to have Pinned the “preview draft” link to this post – might want to check that.)

    • I agree, sometimes we need to get our heads out of the hole in order to be able to see where to go to next… It’s a process, and a journey through self education, determination, trial and errors as individual bodies are in different places, we are each unique. I’ve read GAPS book, was awesome!..applied it to our lives as much as possible and have seen great results!… Thank you for your comment, it’s valid! 🙂

  16. What a fab article. I always say make sauerkraut as it is far cheaper than a probiotic. I’d prefer to eat a “transformed cabbage” but it is a habit and a pill is easier if you have not made sauerkraut before.

    I was nervous of making sauerkraut before I had made it. BUT be brave… give it a go and bash a cabbage into sauerkraut!

  17. Exactly what honestly moved u to post “Three Reasons to Stop Taking Probiotics | Pioneer Valley Nutritional Therapy”?
    I personallygenuinely adored the post! Thanks a lot ,Daniella

  18. thanks for taking the time to provide us with educational insights for taking control over our health. i know this may seem like a silly idea, perhaps those individuals who can’t/won’t eat fermented foods try putting the same fermented foods in capsules and take them like the probiotic pills they would buy instead. i don’t know if this is a viable solution but it seems like it would be worth a shot.

    • Hi Josh, that’s pretty much what probiotics are – fermented foods in pill form but without complexity, diversity and other health benefits of the actual food. If it’s really a problem, I would recommend starting with just a teaspoon or two and slowly build up. You could also mix some probiotic juices from sauerkraut or pickles and either drink it straight or mix it with some water to hide the taste and slowly build up.

    • Good idea! That’s the only way I could consume them.

  19. Hello, interesting article, if we have to protect pro-biotic supplements from the harsh environment of the stomach but not feremented foods, how do the bacteria survive. Surely the acid would kill them?

  20. Mickey Vos says:

    I am wondering about patients with Candida, I thought fermented food was bad for them?

    • Hi Mickey,

      There are differing schools of thought on this. Some say to take out all fermented foods for anti-candida diets. The opposite school says that fermented foods help re-establish healthy gut flora are should be included in anti-candida diets. I agree with this latter approach because fermented foods are rich in bacteria not yeasts (candida is a yeast). You just want to make sure you’re using properly fermented foods.

  21. Hi there, I’m also trying the candida diet. What you wrote makes a lot of sense. I’m wondering if my taking a probiotic supplement and taking too much is causing me to have an over colonization making my health issue worse. My dr and I discussed this. Interestingly enough I use to buy a supp with like 5 billion and tried I new one (same brand) with 90 billion! My dr gave me one with 2 billion. Could this have been the cause I wonder. Also I don’t like yogurt but love kimchi. If one serving equals a whole bottle (?) should one do this how often? Hope this isn’t too wordy 🙂
    Thanks so much!

  22. Here are my thoughts on probiotic supplements: Bifidobacteria are a strain of microbes that are native to the intestinal tracts and orifices of humans and other mammals. Babies get bifidobacteria primarily from their mothers when they pass through the vaginal canal and breastfeed. Breastmilk has been found to contain bifidobacteria and also bifidus-factor, which helps the bifidobacteria thrive. As we age, our intestinal microflora composition changes, becoming less dependent on bifidobacteria, but it is still there. Although we can get scores of beneficial bacteria from foods we cannot get bifidobacteria from food. Aside from raw milk (which would contain B. animalis – not necessarily beneficial for humans) there is no food that will put bifidobacteria back in your gut if you destroy them. I suppose this is because there does not exist in nature anything that could destroy all your intestinal microflora (or a good portion of them) without killing you. Are bifidobacteria critical to the good health of adults? Unfortunately we don’t know what the ideal balance of bacteria is. However, evidence does support the use of that specific bacteria in people with intestinal issues, such as Crohn’s disease or colitis. So, my recommendation for anyone whose gut health is compromised or who has taken antibiotics is to take a probiotic that contains bifidus in addition to fermented foods. When the gut is rebalanced you can cease taking the probiotic. I would also recommend that pregnant and nursing mothers take a bifidus supplement if they’re unsure of their intestinal health. When scientists analyzed samples of breastmilk from nursing mothers, they found that some of them contained no bifidus at all.

  23. Brilliant! Brilliant post!

    I have been recommending Bio-kult for years as I also coach clients in GAPS protocol and over the last year or so have just started to get people to make fermented veg, water kefir, milk kefir, beet kvass, Bircher museli, kombucha, yogurt and drink raw milk – as well as recommending other traditional fermented foods like miso, natto, olives, salami, prosciutto etc.

    I used to think that my clients wouldn’t make the effort to prepare all these things, but what I find is that if I am convinced enough that it will help them, they’ll give it a try and mostly find that they love the taste and enjoy great results. Such a releif to be following my gut on this (excuse the pun!).

    Some people won’t make the home ferments or eat shop sauerkraut and I often find that they experience side effects from taking the probiotics that are not apparent with the ferments.

    x x x

  24. How much Kimchi per day is a good maintenance dose if you’re not taking probiotics and not having any other fermented foods? (i.e. a tablespoon of the food + liquid, a teaspoon, 1/2 cup, etc.) Thanks for your help.

  25. Craig,
    Any suggestions for getting my 3 kids to eat fermented foods? They have tried (and HATED) kombucha and will not even touch kefir or yogurt. We have been taking Bio-Kult for about a month just as a “good” thing to have.

  26. All good info on here but there is a number of reason to keep taking them.

    Size – Since its (almost) pure bacteria they come in tiny capsules/tabs. Easyer to consume a large number of these then chowing down 10 jars of vegg a day

    Yeast Overgrowths- When your cleaning up an issue like this you need to load in tons of it to really help the removal process.
    Some of the ingredients in fermented vegitables could be counter productive + Irritant to people suffering with this issue so an additive free tablet is a great way to add bacteria wile restricting diet

    Good post though once healthy again I will add more ferm’d veg to my diet

  27. Try as I may, fermented foods set off a gag reflex in me. I dislike the way they taste, and I’ve not been able to gain an acquired taste through continual consumption. I don’t even like cheese, yogurt, sourdough bread, etc. For this reason, probiotics are useful for me.

  28. Hi,

    This is a very interesting article. I recently started taking probiotics specifically HMF Intensive by Seroyal (Genestra) while simultaneously taking Allysin (Seroyal) to kill yeast and Herbal GI (Seroyal) to help heal the gut lining. I am now worried about taking these products. Should I stop taking them altogether or just take them for one month as I was originally planning on doing?
    Any advice on the matter would be greatly appreciated

  29. Hi there, wonderful post! My 17 mo. old has been suffering horrible digestion since he self weaned from the breast at 12 mo. Also eczema and intermittent wheezing. He’s dairy, wheat, egg, soy free. We tried GAPS 2 months ago but it seemed too intense for him. The poop is the worst! It’s like a newborn blowout, every day. The GAPS probiotic (baby/toddler formula) firmed him up in about 5 days (YAY!)… then it all went down hill again and has remained horrible ever since. Was that the sign he was done with the probiotic? My family consumes kefir water, broth, (soon kombucha, we’re brewing our first batch), he LOVES fermented sauerkraut and pickles, but things just aren’t changing. Would love to hear your thoughts. He’s also been to a homeopath and naturopath several times over the last year… Boy are we trying to help his gut!

  30. Hello, I’m not sure if my post “posted” so I’m going to re-sumbit. My 17 mo old has had chronic poor digestion and eczema since he self-weaned from the breast at 12 mo. He’s egg, dairy, wheat and soy free. A few mo. ago we tried the GAPS diet but it seemed too intense for him. Several weeks later, I started giving him the GAPS recommended probiotic (baby/toddler formula) and his poop firmed up in 5-6 days! But a few days later it went back down hill and has been ever since (which has been about a month – so that’s nearly 5 mo. in total). He loves fermented sauerkraut and pickles, water kefir, and sometimes will eat bone broth. Was the sign of things firming up a sign to stop the probiotic? He still takes it but it seems to do no good. We are trying so hard to heal his gut! Thinking of trying 1t milk kefir/day to see what happens… I would love to hear from anyone with any feedback!!

  31. Nash Thompson says:

    Warning! Dr. Mercola is a known quack in the scientific industry and has harmed more people then saved them. Do not under any circumstances take any information from him seriously. The products that he promotes have been known to hurt and harm people and have been marked by the FDA as harmful.

    • Dr. Mercola supports small-scale sustainable agriculture, raw milk, is against GMOs and believes in food as medicine. Of course the food industry-owned FDA and conventional medicine are against him.

      • I agree with Craig. I totally disagree with alomost everything written on quack watch which is dedicated to putting down all things involving natural medicine. I am pretty sure it is led by someone in the pharmaceutical industry!!

    • Truth! I dislike that he does sell products he use to be more of a help to others now all he does it push his products. Dr. Meracola

  32. Captain says:

    Nash Thompson knows what’s what! Smart person would listen to him.

  33. I make keifer from real high quality keifer grains daily it’s delicious I make it with organic milk . I also take a natural probiotic / prebiotic called ezyflora it’s a living product the probiotics are still feeding off the prebiotic foods added to the product a amazing invention .

  34. I love your article. I have shared it on my Facebook page. I am a natural therapist and i am always encouraging my clients to get into fermented foods rather than take probiotics. Milk Kefir combined with turmeric cured my IBS. I know have a website that sells all things fermented. I have lots of starter cultures and equipment. my website is I totally understand if you prefer links not to be posted though!

  35. Nice article. It is interesting, but as a student of science, it raises more questions than it provides answers. It seems to be generally accepted that natural, “whole foods” are preferred over supplements mainly due to absorbtion and synergy with other nutritional components of the whole foods that affect how our bodies metabolize and use chemically identical composition.

    That said, maybe I missed it in my quick read, but it would be nice to have some empirical data that supports the idea that probiotic supplements are inferior, and if so, how significant and why. Second, the article doesn’t comment on the types of probiotic strains medicine has found beneficial, and whether it is practical or even possible to obtain *ALL* of the strains research has concluded to provide significant benefit. Again, my comments are curious, not combative.

    I did quite a bit of reading on probiotic strains, and after looking at probably 40 different brands, eventually found one that contained all of the strains I wanted at a reasonable price that also had independent lab analysis confirming potency. The strains I wanted in my probiotic include…
    + Lactobacillus strains:
    acidophilus, casei, fermentum, paracasei, plantarum, rhamnosus, salivarius
    + Bifidobacterium strains:
    bifidum, breve, lactis, longum

    • Brian, your questions are very similar to mine and I was hoping to see some answers. Did I miss that post? Also, what was the brand that met your criteria?

    • we don’t need empirical evidence masculine reason and science has taught women and men to never trust or be guided by their of the highest faculties women have.
      in the words of einstein “the rational mind is a faithful servant and the intuitive mind is a gift,we have a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift”.

  36. Great article, however I wonder why you would speak out against using probiotic supplements, and in the same breath provide an affiliate link to a supplement?? In my opinion it looks like that’s just a bait and switch. If you’re against probiotics, then don’t profit from the sale.

    Also when fermenting foods – is it not more of a “luck of the draw” with what strains you get? How does that compare to the strains that are proven to be present in “lab made” supplements?

    • Darren, I did not speak out against probiotic supplements. I simply gave 3 reasons why one should consider not taking them. Like I said, I use them in my practice and the product I mentioned is one I believe in and use. And it is not a “luck of the draw” when you consume properly fermented foods. The cultures are always active (not always so in supplements), you get a wider variety of strains than in supplements (some of which only have 1 strain) and you’re also getting actual nutrients that benefit digestion beyond just the probiotics. And don’t forget that they are a natural part of every native diet on this planet. Real fermented foods are Nature’s true probiotics, not supplements. Yes, there’s a time and place for supplementation but fermented foods are the better choice once gut issues are healed.

      • Do any of you believe Probiotics taken daily with a strong well made brand could possibly cause far to much stomach acid?
        I believe it to be very strong Probiotic. VSL’ Also I do believe no probiotics are well made if it does not require refrigeration. The other Brand I use at yime, it is very well for many years truly saved my child and my life I was pregnate and got C-Diff from a strong Antibiotic. Stopped the C-Diff. Truth

  37. This is a fantastic article, which I found while researching my own issues with probiotics. I’ve been taking the same commercial probiotic since 2001 after massive doses of antibiotics over a 2 year period destroyed my gut and created a myriad of GI issues. In fact, it was the commercial probiotics which cured me and did what no doctor could or would. I continued to take the probiotic daily as a preventative, however an interesting thing happened along the way – I got fat. I’m an athlete, train at least 2 times a day, follow an excellent (most paleo) diet … yet I’ve noticed that over the last 8 years I’ve developed a good amount of abdominal fat that simply would not go away. In my efforts to get rid of the new-found fat I have increased training, decreased calories, refined diet, stepped-up meditation, and even had blood work done several times – nothing, but nothing got rid of the fat. Then it dawned on me: I wonder if it’s the probiotics? So I stopped taking them. Within 10 days I had dropped 7 pounds. Within 2 months that fat was almost completely gone. It’s been nothing short of amazing. I have incorporated 3x week consumption of raw fermented foods and am really enjoying them. I would love to hear if anyone else has experienced anything similar.

    • Very interesting, Kenneth. There have been new studies indicating that the mix of bad and good bacteria in your gut can cause weight gain. However, adding probiotics (good bacteria) should cause the opposite, weight loss. The only reason this could/should happen would possibly be the length of time you took the same product. Maybe your body became “immune” to them and worked opposite. The company I work for has an incredible probiotic that even doctors prescribe to go along with our weight loss/metabolism correction system. I take them every day due to a history of GI issues and they’ve worked perfectly for me.

      Here are a couple paragraphs on Qivana’s Qore Probiotics if you or someone you know is interested. What makes them unique is the delivery system:

      “Qore Probiotic is a revolutionary probiotic supplement created to help replenish healthy bacteria in the gut with a unique and proprietary blend of probiotics. Qore Probiotic helps the digestive system reach its potential by supporting healthy digestion, immune system function, and aiding in nutrient absorption.

      Qore Probiotic uses TrisphereTM technology, a proprietary triple-layered beadlet, to deliver our proven bacteria to the intestines. Trisphere technology is the most advanced and revolutionary delivery system available on the planet because it provides a guarantee of the number of organisms that will actually make it into your GI tract alive, viable, and intact. This delivery method is 100% more effective than traditional two-piece capsules and 50% better than enteric coated two-piece capsules at keeping the bacteria alive and usable, and delivering them to your intestinal tract.”

  38. I have come into a realization that because probiotics are magnanimously hyped, most people take these supplements for preventive measures. In that case, I think people can opt for the naturally fermented food like yogurt, kimchi, pickles, etc. Perhaps the bottled supplements are best for people who really have a to increase the number of good bacteria in their gut.

  39. I absolutely hate sauerkraut. It smells and tastes like —-! As for the processed meat and chees, that’s not healthy. I do eat yogurt, but it would take a heck of a lot of it to help me. I have IBS-C and have found that a good probiotic is essential. So, I will stay with the probiotics, thank you.

  40. magnificent put up, very informative. I wonder why
    the other experts of this sector do not realize this.
    You must continue your writing. I am confident, you have a huge readers’ base already!

  41. Great website. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some pals ans
    also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks for your effort!


  43. I have to disagree. Probiotics are essentially the most important supplement you could ever take, as 80% of your immune system is in your gut. The key is to buy a QUALITY probiotic, and this takes time, a ton of research, and energy. That’s because supplement companies aren’t regulated by the FDA, therefore they aren’t held to high standards, and some of them often make fraudulent or misleading claims, or are selling outright crap products.

    I made the mistake of purchasing a low quality probiotic, before I knew anything about them. The company marketed itself as being the ultimate in probiotics. Unfortunately, they sucked. Their product contained absolutely ZERO live cultures, and I determined this by giving it the probiotic test. If you don’t know what that is, Google it. They also claimed the probiotic didn’t have to be refrigerated. This is another bogus lie that these companies are making up so that they can sell their products online — as it obviously takes 2-5 unrefrigerated days to get to you, via shipping.

    Probiotics NEED to always be refrigerated, just like milk. Treat it the same way. Buy it in the store and get it home ASAP. Otherwise, the cultures will die. I found a great product that I purchase in store, gave it the probiotic test, and it contains plenty of live cultures. Just have to be smart about it.

  44. What are your thoughts on the debate that probiotics repopulate bacteria while fermented foods just pass thru eventually. They never colonize your gut supposedly.

  45. My biggest questions are;
    On probiotics my wife says my breath is awful and never has been, why?

    When I stop taking them I get really bad heartburn, which has never been an issue until now. How do I get off them without heartburn or hurting anything?

  46. Thanks for the article, some thing to think about. I know some believe in basically eat “dirt” in their probiotic? what do you think? What do you recommend to some one like me who if they eat to much goiterish foods give them an enlarged thyroid and can’t have dairy? Look forward to your feed back! Thanks.

  47. Jersey Bob says:

    for a super punch try a garlic cube, parsley,sauerkraut and kefir, blend together and you have the super drink,and it tasts great

  48. this is an interesting article, thanks. I have spent many many dollars on probiotics and supplements and have stopped because i just don’t feel they work. I would rather eat whole, organic foods.

  49. Sunnyone says:

    Where is your Research on not taking Well made Probiotics?

  50. Val Ries says:

    2.5 years ago I tried the Body Ecology diet. I began to add kimchi, sauerkraut and coconut kefir slowly into my diet. Within 2 weeks my entire system crashed – extreme fatigue, heart palpitations, BP – 60/40. After 3 months these symptoms subsided and extreme brain fog kicked in. I saw countless Dr’s both Eastern and Western and no one could tell me what was going on. Finally someone recommend I run a gut dysbiosis panel through Doctor’s Data. This test confirmed I had elevated levels of D-lactate which a by product of L-acidophhillus. It turns out most people can tolerate some levels of D-lactate but for others their system can go into toxic acidosis. I’m guessing this is what happened to me. My system still has not fully recovered (fog, bloating, tension). One option is to try D-lactate free probiotics but I’m leary to introduce probiotics at all. I was curious if you had any thoughts on this. One thing to also mention, this test also measures systemic candida issues by measuring D-arabinitiol which I was low in. That was a huge relief as many natural Dr’s assumed I had systemic candida.

  51. Christian says:

    What about the soil bacteria in say ‘prescript assist’. Soil bacteria were part of our lives until our fruits and vegs became over sterilized. How are we supposed to get these bacteria in our systems from fermented veg and kefir products etc that don’t have the soli bacteria present?
    Wont we be missing out by not taking this pro-biotic?

  52. With Һavin so muϲh written content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism oг cօpyright infringement?
    My website has a lot of completᥱly unique content Ι’ve
    either aսthored myself or ߋutsoսrced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all ⲟvеr thᥱ internet without my permission. Ⅾo you know
    any ways to help stop content from Ьeing stolen? I’d truly
    appreciate it.

  53. Candy Austin says:

    I tried to get to the Fearless Digestion videos but every time I put my email in there is an error message saying “Oops, something bad happened” *laughing*. We’d love to see it! Please fix it. Also, I just ordered The Art of Fermentation on Audible and I can’t wait to hear it. Thank you for your helpful tips. I will be back often.

  54. Definitely needed this article right now….. thanks for good article …

  55. Erick Tjiong says:

    Hi, i have anxiety and depression in the past. been taking 50 billion probiotic a day for half year now and i dont feel any health benefit. Recently i change brand into pro-50 50 billions probiotic. I took it for 14 to 16 days. Ive got the worse anxiety and depression ever. After i stop the probiotics i got better. But the anxiety and depression is still haunting me after 3 weeks stopping it. Although is not as bad as the first week but is enough to effect my daily routine. My question is how long does the probiotics stay in my system? I read some threads that peoples still getting the die off symptoms for 3 months after they stopping it. Thanks!!


    • MAURICE LELLI says:

      Most strains have specific traits and not all have been successful with the gut-brain connection. These are the 3 strains that help with anxiety and depression: B. infantis, L. helveticus R0052 and B. longum.
      Try to find one that has at least 2 of these and you may find some benefits.
      There are also a few good suplements that help with depression such as Zembrin. Also need to make sure to adjust your circadian clock with melatonin and get a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep without interruption – cell phones and wifi off at night and you may be pleasantly surprised. Dr. ML

  56. MAURICE LELLI says:

    If all bacteria are genetically unstable so are bacteria from fermented foods so don’t quite get this part. Furthermore, there are so many people that can’t properly handle the acidity of fermented foods – not to mention have the time to make them. As an ND, many of us beleive in taking supplements in intervals and probiotics aren’t any different. They should also be taken with prebiotics to keep them alive longer within the intestinal ecosystem. We like biphase liquid as you take it for 7 days at a time and then allow the body to work with it for the rest of the month. This also has 5 amazing strains, plus two prebiotics, B complex and Aloe Vera – all designed to encourage the live bacteria to nest and proliferate within the gut.

  57. Your stuff is incredibly helpful.|

  58. Great article, specially since I’m pretty sure I got intestinal candida from a bad batch of a liquid yogurt-based probiotic. Either that, or from some bad cheddar cheese. I actually felt myself get it that night and sure enough, had a horrible taste in my mouth the next morning. I have dealt with all the die off symptoms for the past month (worse than anything I’ve ever experienced). I think most people get overwhelmed when faced with the task of completely changing their diet and eating habits overnight. It’s not laziness really, it’s more like shock. Diets should be written more towards what you already have in your cupboard/fridge and what to replace it with. For instance, if you have peanut butter, buy almond butter instead. Perhaps replace one item per week until your food supply is transformed, which can take awhile (specially if you just went food shopping), but it’s a lot less painful this way and you don’t have to learn new recipes, since you’re just substituting certain products with others. What really helps me is drinking an 8 oz. glass of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of baking soda each morning (for the constipation), and drinking a cup of goldenseal tea with lemon at night (for the anti-fungal qualities). The first month was the worst, as far as die-off symptoms go, but now that I’m in my second month, I am feeling much better, with less exhaustion, brainfog and depression. I still see the evidence of candida in my stools, but I suppose it can grow back when you veer off your diet and/or treatments of it.

    • How exactly have you still seen evidence of candida in your stools? Just curious to know as I have suspected I might have candidiasis for some time now. Thanks.

  59. Dо you mind if I quote a fеw of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your site?
    My blog is in thᥱ exact same niche as yours аnd my visitоrs would defіnitely benefit from a lot of the information yoᥙ
    present here. Please let me know іf thіs
    okay with you. Thɑnk yоu!

  60. I dont know much about this, but I just wonder if any probiotic or fermented food is able to survive through the stomach acids. I would think administering a probiotic from the rear door would be most effective.

  61. I am taking a Melaleuca brand of probiotics. I started when on antibiotics. IF I took 2 probiotic pills I had no stomach upset or burning. If I did not take them my stomach would “burn” for the entire 10 day course of antibiotics. This was not placebo effect since I had zero expectations of any effect at all. My wife gave me the pills and it was like.. well this is odd my insides are not burning.

  62. seasideroses says:

    what about kefir-whether milk or water kefir? I make my own water kefir.

  63. Hi,

    I have to give my 4 year old daughter preventative antibiotics everyday for years to come (to keep urinary tract infections at bay). I doubt she will eat sauerkraut but I have to give her a probiotic in the meantime. Is there any thing you may suggest?
    Thank you kindly,

  64. I’ve been told by my doctor that after taking anti-biotics, taking human strain (laboratory made) probiotics is necessary. While vegetable probiotics such as kefir and other fermented vegetables are beneficial….they will not stay in the gut or body, just flush through reducing the amount of ‘bad bacteria’.

    This is an issue for women especially where flora need to stay present in order to not develop yeast and BV…I don’t think sauerkraut will fix that. But I agree is appropriate as a preventive probiotic measure – just curious about the short term vs long term fix.

  65. I have read that fermented foods are causing Cancer so this is one more thing I can’t trust anymore

  66. Homemade probiotics(fermented foods) is without a doubt the best way to go. MOST commercial probiotics are made cheaply due to processing incorrectly. In order for a probiotic to be “alive” when you receive it….it should be freeze dried before capsulation, storage etc. So many companies jump on the bandwagon when a discovery is made so they can make a quick buck without consideration of putting out a high quality product due to the lack of broad educational knowledge of what a truley exceptional product is. Ex: like your OTC products ……so cheaply made with unjustified fillers and additives.
    Just my 2cents added here

  67. Sunnyone says:

    Are you Serious? Where is your research on not taking well made Probiotics?


  1. […] Yahoo! Health Pop-Tarts Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before from Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist Three Reasons You Should Stop Taking Probiotics from Fearless […]

  2. […] Do you take a probiotic supplement?  I do, on occasion.  However, I prefer to get my probiotics from fermented foods.  Here are three reasons to stop taking probiotics. […]

  3. […] the article Three reasons to stop taking probiotics by FearLess Eating on PVNutritional […]

  4. […] instance, Fearless Eating has a great post about taking probiotics that will really make you think! It’s not about the benefits of taking probiotics — […]

  5. […] we lost some of our old friends – bacterial and worm colonies. Isolating particular strains of probiotic microbes may be good business for Big Pharma but may not be as good for our microbiomes as […]

  6. […] Three Reasons to Stop Taking Probiotics Natural Cough Remedy Natural Skincare Is low-fat dairy making your fat? How to eat coconut oil Natural acne cures […]

  7. […] the past spent money on bottled probiotics, but I never noticed any effect on my health. Read about three reasons you should stop taking probiotics from Fearless […]

  8. […] are, so why would I love a post that encourages us to not take probiotic supplements? Read Three Reasons to Stop Taking Probiotics and find […]

  9. […] a healthy microbiome and how important gut flora is so why do I love this post detailing three reasons to stop taking probiotics from Fearless Eating? Because he is […]

  10. […] think this one might be my absolute favorite. If you are wondering if probiotics are doing you any good and if stepping up your intake of fermented foods might be a better strategy you must read this. […]

  11. […] good bacteria in their guts is to take a probiotic supplement. Nutritional Therapist Craig Fear has several reasons why it is a much better idea to get probiotics from fermented foods. According to Fear, […]

  12. […] Eating tells you 3 reasons why you should stop taking probiotics (and start eating fermented […]

  13. […] had to do a double take when I saw Craig’s post on Three Reason’s You should Stop Taking Probiotics.   You’ll just have to read it for yourself.  And along those lines was the article about […]

  14. […] probiotic supplements may be a helpful option, Nutritional Therapist Craig Fear has several reasons why it is a much better idea to get probiotics from fermented foods. According to Fear, “fermented […]

  15. […] Ensuite il faut régénérer, compléter le nettoyage du système digestif et restaurer les bonnes bactéries de la flore que le roaccutane a détruit (le programme intestinal dr Clark en france est bien mais assez cher, on peut commander chaque complément ailleurs et il existe surement aussi de meilleures techniques). Prendre aussi des prébiotique naturel (banane par ex) et des probiotique naturel issues d’aliments fermenté. Les probiotiques en suppléments sont une mauvaise idée à mon avis: & après je ne sais pas si un appendice endommager pourra refabriquer de “nouveaux probiotiques”. Prendre en même temps un antibiotique 100% naturel (ail par ex) pour éliminer les mauvaises bactéries afin de laisser les bonnes se coloniser. « Engraisse » les mauvaises bactéries: le sucre (surtout raffiné) « Tue » les bonnes bactéries: les antibiotiques, le chlore dans l’eau du robinet, les pesticides Favorise les bonnes bactéries: les fruits et légumes biologiques, les aliments fermentés (probiotiques naturels TRÈS efficaces) […]

  16. […] 9. Probiotic Supplements. There are many versions of these, running the full gamut in price. I find myself sticking to one brand of supplements because I trust them (these for me, these for my toddler), but there are plenty of good options out there, especially in the refrigerated supplement section of health food stores. (Find out when you no longer need a probiotic supplement.) […]

  17. […] some kids need to do some serious gut healing and might require a special probiotic supplement, most probiotic supplements on the market are not effective. In fact, each bite of fermented sauerkraut can offer billions of beneficial bacteria – far […]

  18. […] Storebought probiotics aren’t nearly as effective as homemade ones, and honestly, your gut health is EVERYTHING. Every process in your body depends on your gut digesting your food properly. This is why we eat plenty of homemade probiotics to keep our guts healthy. We brew a weekly batch of Kombucha (After drinking kombucha for a couple months we all cured our seasonal allergies! woot woot!), as well as incorporate cultured dairy products like homemade Yogurt & Kefir. We also try out different homemade probiotic veggies like fermented carrot sticks, pickles and sauerkraut. We also really like our homemade soda, which happens to have great homemade probiotics in it!  […]

  19. […] Three Reasons You Should Stop Taking Probiotics – Fearless Eating […]

  20. […] Three Reasons to Stop Taking Probiotics | Fearless Eating – While many people take probiotic supplements, there are several reasons to consider not taking them. Nutritional Therapist, Craig Fear, offers three reasons…. […]

  21. Skin Logic Review

    Three Reasons to Stop Taking Probiotics | Fearless Eating

  22. […] – Craig Fear, 3 Reasons You Should Stop Taking Probiotics […]

  23. […] Three Reasons to Stop Taking Probiotics | Fearless Eating – While many people take probiotic supplements, there are several reasons to consider not taking them. Nutritional Therapist, Craig Fear, offers three reasons…. […]

  24. […] Certified Nutrional Therpaist, Craig Fear recently wrote a post entitled, Three Reasons to Stop Taking Probiotics. […]

  25. […] Fearless Eating is a great resource; learn more about this topic in his post, Three Reasons You Should Stop Taking Probiotics […]

Speak Your Mind