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a homeschooling mom of four who used to blog about food, has a book about sourdough, and who is now walking through the grief of losing my dad.
Hi, I'm Kels!

The Best Sourdough Glazed Donuts

There are several things that define an effective probiotic supplement. With fermented foods on the rise and people realizing their health benefits, many rely on them for their gut health. I also thought this was the way to go. However, I have recently been studying about probiotics and have learned A LOT.

First let’s address fermented foods/beverages. You know I am a major fan. I will never EVER stop telling people to consume them. EVER. These provide rich nutrients for our gut and help heal it. They also aid in proper digestion, and support good bacteria. Fermented foods are excellent for maintaining gut health, but alone they don’t have the power to destroy bacteria that may dominate (i.e. autoimmune diseases) or to get back the right balance of microbes that can effectively heal the gut wall (i.e. leaky gut syndrome). They are important, but know that you need a good probiotic supplement as well.

***Keep in mind that the term probiotic has been thrown around to mean many things, so your definition may not fit with the one I am referring to. This being: probiotics are organisms that regulate and colonize the bacteria in the gut. Fermented foods are excellent for the gut, but do not colonize the gut. This could be an entire post on its own, but for sake of time, let’s leave it here.

Have I said GUT enough?

water kefir

What should you look for?

  1. DNA verification — this means that the probiotic has been clinically tested to show that what is in the bottle is what they claim is in it! You might be surprised that 90% of probiotics on the market do not even contain the strains claimed in them. It’s important to know which strains you are taking, as not all will survive to the small intestine.
    1. see this article for more info
  2. Know your strains. There are hundreds of different bacterial strains. Ensure that yours are GUARANTEED survival. It doesn’t need a fancy coating or time-release capsule, the strains should survive on their own.
    1. Look for theBACILLUS strain. This strain has been scientifically proven to make it all the way to the lower intestine. It’s crucial to an effective probiotic.
  3. What about CFU’s? These are colony forming units, which some probiotics claim to have billions of. That’s great, but doesn’t do you any good if they all die off when they hit your stomach. The best probiotics will use a few very powerful strains that are going to survive, instead of thousands that will die.

Benefits of a good probiotic

I used to think that I didn’t need a supplement. I eat well, and wanted to get most of my nutrients from FOOD. After learning more about these little bugs we call probiotics and how sensitive they are, I realized that a supplement was the only way to get all of the benefits they have to offer.

A good probiotic can:

  • help reduce allergies and asthma
  • improve growth of natural flora
  • improve digestion of food
  • detoxify the intestinal tract
  • support the immune system
  • give you better nutrient usage from the food you eat
  • change your metabolism and turn you into a fat burning machine. By taking a good probiotic with fiber and protein, your body creates fat busting compounds called short chain fatty acids. More SCFAs reduce fat storage and increase fat usage.
  • among many other benefits . . .

With that in mind, I have found one that I can truly get behind and endorse. Silver Fern Brand

is doing some incredible things. If you have been a follower of me for some time, you know I don’t promote anything that I haven’t researched and use myself.

I also have NEVER gotten behind any meal replacement shakes or protein powders and I was leery when I saw those on their product list. I have ALWAYS advocated getting your nutrition from real food! BUT, these guys are doing it RIGHT. Their products are clean, they have done the research, are using an amazing zero-sugar sweetener in their shakes instead of sucralose or others that I cringe at, and I have been blown away that someone is finally getting it!

It’s actually really exciting for me to come across a company like this. I have been approached by MANY people and companies wanting me to promote their bars/shakes/supplements. I have never endorsed them (besides vital proteins, which are also excellent).

probiotic simple life by kels

Silver Fern Brand

 meet all of the above requirements and more. They are both prebiotic and probiotic, meaning that along with the good bacteria, you are getting the fertilizer it needs to take root in your lower intestine. Prebiotics are basically fiber, used to fuel the probiotics and make them their most effective.

You can find Silver Fern Brand probiotics on Amazon for the best price, or directly from their site, Silver Fern Brand

where they have sales going off and on, so keep your eye out! Their WAI probiotic drink mixes are awesome too — I have been mixing them into water and my kids drink them right up! They are fruity and a little sweet, the perfect way to get these good bugs into our kids. Another way for kids who can’t swallow capsules is to open the capsule and mix it into something else (smoothies, yogurt, etc).

There are a few other brands out there as well that meet the requirements, but VERY few, so be conscientious. If you want more of the science/research, let me know in the comments and I can e-mail you more information!



Comments +

  1. Samantha says:

    Hi Kels! Would you be able to send the other brand names that meet the criteria? My whole family is currently using gutPRO. Thanks! I love your blog.

    • Kelsey says:

      Of course, the other two I have found that meet these criteria are just Thrive and Megasporebiotic.

  2. Rosalind says:

    Very informative! I’m just starting to learn about gut health and this has helped! Thanks!

  3. Crissy says:

    Kels, I’ve read many places that you should only buy probiotics that have been delivered in a refrigerated truck and then placed in the refrigerator at a store. I’ve read that probiotics kept at room temp lose their potency. Do you know if there is any validity in that?

    • Kelsey says:

      Absolutely not. There is no point in having them refrigerated, only to immediately die the second they hit your stomach. First of all, it makes no sense logically. Secondly, and I guess more importantly, there is no scientific backing for that. Keeping the strains refrigerated is seen as the best way by many, and therefore they charge an arm and a leg to get the “alive” ones. You want strains that are stable and fine on their own, if they need to be babied, they won’t survive your system to colonize the lower gut! Hope that helps. Sorry if it’s a bit ranty. . . ha.

  4. Erin says:

    Do you have to take 2 of these everyday for the rest of your life. Can you do it a few days a week or maybe go really Strong having 2 a day for a few months then back off and just take a few days a week?

    • Kelsey says:

      It would depend on individual needs. Those with severe issues or autoimmune diseases should ideally be taking probiotics daily. And you can just take one if you want, not two every day. I think what you outlined as far as going strong and then backing off to a few times a week is ideal for those who eat well and are healthy! That’s what I do. 🙂

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Would you actually recommend organifi’s probiotic now, instead of this one?

    • Kelsey says:

      Hi elizabeth, i would definitely still recommend silver fern hands down. i haven’t done enough digging into the organifi one since it’s so new and i didn’t even realize they made one until recently. but silver fern did it right!

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about me

Hey, I'm Kels!

a homeschooling mom of four who used to blog about food, has a book about sourdough, and who is now walking through the grief of losing my dad.

I have lots of recipes and resources, but now it's just about me being real, walking through the messy and beautiful parts of life.


How to Make Your Own Sourdough Starter

I am so excited to take you, step by step, through the process of making your own sourdough starter. It might seem a little intimidating at first, but if you stick with it, your time and patience will be rewarded with a lifetime of sourdough goodies!

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