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  • Writer's pictureKatrina O'Duffy

Should you take a probiotic?

You might be wondering, what probiotics are for?

Our bodies contain trillions of microorganisms - in fact, some scientists estimate that bacteria cells outnumber human cells by 10 to 1!

While this sounds scary, you should know that many of these microorganisms help our bodies function properly. Bacteria help break down food, destroy disease-causing microorganisms, and produce vitamins.

Many of the microorganisms in probiotic supplements are similar to microorganisms that naturally exist in our bodies. They’re sold as supplements in pill form, can be used topically in skin creams, and also exist naturally in foods.

There’s a lot to know about probiotics and what’s important to note, like everything in our health - everyone’s gut microbiome is unique, which means that some of the effects that probiotics have on one person may not present the same way in another.


If you want to know more about your gut health - book in for a free discovery call to find out how we can help you with health coaching!


Probiotics have a variety of effects on the body and can affect different people differently - however, these are some of the ways that probiotics might work by:

  • Maintaining a more desirable and balanced community of microorganisms

  • Stabilising your digestive tract’s barriers against undesirable microorganisms or produce substances that inhibit their growth

  • Outcompeting undesirable microorganisms

My point of view is that probiotics have been hugely beneficial in my journey to healing my gut health and most notably after I was given super strength antibiotics after ending up in a Vietnamese hospital with pneumonia. When you take antibiotics they essentially wipe out ALL of your bacteria - good and bad - meaning that the microbes that are helping your body operate are also gone!

How? Because in addition to killing disease-causing bacteria, antibiotics can destroy healthy bacteria too, which drastically affect the amounts and types of bacteria. In fact, only one week of antibiotics can change the makeup of the gut microbiota for up to a year!

So, it’s vital to rebuild your gut microbiome back up by eating well and populating your gut with good bacteria and even taking a probiotic during and after an antibiotic dose to help restore some healthy bacteria that have been destroyed.

Just remember that probiotics are bacteria too, so they can be killed by antibiotics if taken together, therefore, take antibiotics and probiotics a few hours apart - remember to always talk to you medical practitioner first for guidance.

Probiotics continue to be part of my daily routine but because I believe nutrition is fundamental to helping my gut health I also did and continue to do the following to improve and maintain my gut health:

  • Adding fermented foods to my diet and I now have them consistently to benefit from a lasting difference

  • Eating a variety of foods weekly to feed the gut microbes - Tim Spector recommends eating 30 different plants a week to get as much goodness in you as possible (this includes herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables)

  • Eating prebiotic foods such as bananas, artichokes, onions and garlic

Want to know how you can optimise your health? Get in touch to partner with a health coach who specialises in gut health.




Download our free guide for what you don't - but should - know about choosing a probiotic.

How to choose a probiotic
Download PDF • 6.92MB

Please note, in generally healthy individuals, probiotics have a good safety record, and side effects, if they occur at all, usually consist of mild digestive symptoms. However, if you have an underlying medical problem, have recently had surgery, or have a weakened immune system, you should check with your health practitioner before beginning a probiotic regime.

Hi there, we hope you found value in reading this blog!   


We are a small team of passionate people trying to enable others to benefit from our own wellness journeys, research and expertise in behavioural change. Our blog is where you'll find our growing hub of easy to digest insights and inspiration to support you in finding natural and holistic ways to be well. We also invite guest bloggers from a wide range of holistic health practitioners to contribute so that you can benefit from a collective of knowledge. If there's a particular area you'd like to hear more from us about, please do let us know! 


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Katrina & Emma – My Collective Compass founders 

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