Health Rising: Remission by Probiotics

Recently on Health Rising, Carol Wolf(her blog) wrote “Did Probiotics Cure My Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?”  I say awesome!  I do have some concerns about the article because it will cause people to try some probiotics and likely fail to put the person into remission. I am concerned because it potentially will result in bad mouthing of the microbiome approach by those that it failed to help.

Such an approach has been tried by many (including physicians) in the past with no or a low rate of success on the general CFS population.  By try — I mean tossing any off the health food store probiotics at the patient.

No warning of Herx risk

Various readers, and my own experience, has had significant herx/die off from some probiotics. Which one varies from person to person and likely reflects that the bacteria in the dysfunctional microbiome are different. The differences causes the difference in symptoms seen from one CFS patient to the next.

If you take a mixture and have a severe (sufficient to discontinue) herx, then knowing how to proceed becomes fuzzy. With a single species (or in the case of Prescript Assist) a specialized mixture not available elsewhere, the next step is clearer.

Cost – especially for those on Social Security / Disability

She cited 4 probiotics — the ones that she is on, not her history of what she took in the past. She correctly kept changing probiotics according to her article — the problem is that she did not give a full history. Taking just one capsule/day of these 4  is $82.50/month. There is an implication from her words that she may be taking a higher dose of each, “I am taking FOUR different high-quality probiotics plus some prebiotics a day with meals.” (it was unclear if it was at each meal).

Some of the probiotics bottles cited suggest a higher dosage than 1 capsule/day.

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Since this post, she has clarified her cost in this post. “I pay between $70 and $100 a month on probiotics.”

Is she cured or just successfully containing?

This is a nasty question to ask.  She indicates that she is still taking probiotics, at least  215 Billion CFU/day. The antibiotics produced from these will likely suppress the evil bacteria. Has her microbiome returned to a stable persistent state? We do not know until she goes off the probiotics at those dosages for at least 3-6 months. Fetal transplants are often reported successful for 3+ months and then a relapse happen.

“I recently quit taking them as religiously and I went into a horrible, horrible depression – remember I’m anti-depressant free at this point. I loaded up on probiotics again and the depression lifted in about three days.”

Probiotic Mixtures Suggested

I took these 4 mixes and examined them below. One of them especially interested me (more below) because of some hard to obtain strains (in bold below).

  • Raw Probiotics for Women 85 Billion CFU, $30 90 capsules or $0.004/ B CFU
    • Lactobacillus plantarum,
    • Lactobacillus reuteri,
    • Lactobacillus rhamnosus,
    • Bifidobacterium bifidum,
    • Bifidobacterium lactis,
    • Bifidobacterium longum,
    • Lactobacillus acidophilus,
    • Lactobacillus bulgaricus,
    • Lactobacillus casei,
    • Lactobacillus gasseri,
    • Lactobacillus helveticus,
    • Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens,
    • Lactobacillus kefirgranum,
    • Lactococcus lactis,
    • Lactococcus cremoris,
    • Streptococcus thermophilus,
    • Lactobacillus kefir,
    • Lactobacillus parakefir,
    • Lactobacillus brevis,
    • Lactococcus lactis biovar diacetylactis,
    • Leuconostoc lactis,
    • Leuconostoc mesenteroides,
    • Leuconostoc cremoris,
    • Leuconostoc dextranicum,
    • Kluyveromyces marxianus,
    • Brettanomyces anomalus,
    • Debaryomyces hansenii,
    • Saccharomyces unisporus,
    • Saccharomyces turicensis,
    • Saccharomyces cerevisiae,
    • Saccharomyces exiguus,
    • Torulaspora delbrueckii
  • Complete Probiotic by Mercola  70 BCFU $35 60 capsules $ 0.008 /B CFU
    • Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1
    • Bifidobacterium lactis
    • Lactobacillus plantarum
    • Lactobacillus casei
    • Lactobacillus rhamnous
    • Lactobacillus brevis
    • Bifidobacterium longum
    • Lactobacillus salivarius
    • Steptococcus thermophilus
    • Lactobacillus bfidum
  • Perfect Probiotics 30 BCFU  $40 30 capsules   $0.044 / BCFU
    • Lactobacillus acidophilus,
    • Bifidobacterium lactis,
    • Lactobacillus plantarum,
    • Lactobacillus rhamnosus,
    • Lactobacillus casei,
    • Lactobacillus salivarius,
    • Lactobacillus bulgaricus,
    • Bifidobacterium breve,
    • Lactobacillus paracasei,
    • Lactococcus lactis,
    • Streptococcus thermophilus,
    • Lactobacillus brevis,
    • Bifidobacterium bifidum,
    • Bifidobacterium longum,
    • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Multidophilus 24, Super 30 bil Solaray 30 BCFU $30 60 capsules $ 0.016 BCFU
    • Lactobacillus plantarum,
    • Lactobacillus rhamnosus,
    • Bifidobacterium lactis,
    • Lactobacillus acidophilus,
    • Lactobacillus lactis,
    • Bifidobacterium infantis,
    • Bifidobacterium breve,
    • Bifidobacterium bifidum,
    • Bifidobacterium longum,
    • Lactobacillus bulgaricus,
    • Lactobacillus casei,
    • Lactobacillus delbrueckii,
    • Lactobacillus brevis,
    • Enterococcus faecium,
    • Lactococcus lactis,
    • Lactococcus cremoris,
    • Lactobacillus paracasei,
    • Lactobacillus salivarius,
    • Lactobacillus gasseri,
    • Lactobacillus helveticus,
    • Lactobacillus fermentum,
    • Lactobacillus kefir,
    • Pediococcus acidilacti
    • Streptococcus thermophilus.

Bottom Line

Her success indicates that the model that I am using may be correct. Symptoms are results of shifts in the microbiome. The Raw Probiotics for Women cited above is very worth trying based on unusual species and excellent cost per BFCU. I would hesitate to suggest it be tried by someone starting an attempt to shift — the number of species is so high that the odds of a herx is likely high. Someone starting should start with single species (where practical) to minimize the risk of a herx.