What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are desirable to populate our colons. Sufficient bacteria both living and dead are necessary to absorb water to properly process our stool.
Why are probiotics beneficial?
There are two major benefits. The first to fill our gut with helpful digestive agents. The second is to take up space to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying. Both diarrhea and constipation are signs of an imbalance of bacteria in the gut. Part of the healing process in conjunction with SCD is restoring that balance.
What types of probiotics are allowed on SCD?
Elaine recommended the probiotics: Lactobacillus bulgaricus, L. acidophilus, and S. thermophilus (BTVC book page 156 of the 2010 edition). Later, although it is not in the book, she added l. casei as an allowable starter bacteria for yogurt. These bacteria make good yogurt and they are very beneficial for our guts. See Yogurt.
Also not mentioned in the book, Elaine later added Saccharomyces boulardii (s. boulardii) as another allowable, useful probiotic. S. boulardii is a non-systemic yeast and does not travel outside the digestive system. It is recommended for treatment of diarrhea. See the section on diarrhea in The Scoop on Poop.
Probiotics are more active at higher temperatures so they should be stored in the refrigerator or in some cases, for longer storage, in the freezer until ready to use. Consult the package directions.
There are two basic ways to get the probiotics into our digestive system: taking the probiotics in a capsule or using them as starter mixtures to grow and multiply in SCD homemade yogurt. See Yogurt
Probiotics from Yogurt
The starter bacteria multiply rapidly as they process the cow's milk, goat's milk, almond milk or coconut milk and are totally embedded throughout the yogurt. These bacteria not only make good, tasty yogurt, they are very beneficial for our guts.
Elaine did not want us to use yogurt starter mixtures that contain yeasts or bifidus as these tend to over grow.
Taking Probiotics as Supplements
Don't worry if you are avoiding dairy or if making yogurt seems overwhelming or too much of a fuss. Probiotics can be taken as capsules that are simply swallowed. It is useful to keep some capsules on hand anyway for when one is traveling or running out of yogurt.
L. acidophilus capsules are fairly common to purchase. Be sure to check out the inactive ingredients. L. acidophilus capsules can be kept in the freezer for long term storage. See the section on diarrhea in the article The Scoop on Poop for suitable brands of s. boulardii. S. boulardii is best kept in the refrigerator.
In areas of the world where finding SCD allowable yogurt starter packets is difficult, the contents of probiotic capsules such as L. acidophilus will do the same job.