Probiotics FAQ

This is a collection of questions many people are asking about probiotics, probiotic supplements and fermented foods. If you have a question that is not answered here, please submit your question and I will be happy to post an answer as soon as I can.

Which vegetables are best to ferment?

This is mostly a matter of taste. But organic vegetables are excellent as they contain less pesticides and more nutrients. Cabbage is used in many recipes because it is simple to ferment, goes well with almost any other vegetables and it stays crunchy after fermentation. Many recipes use 50-80% green cabbage (adding some red cabbage makes a wonderful color).

Carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, coriander leaves, parsley, ginger, beat root, chili and many other vegetables are great choices. A-Z list of veggies to ferment.

You might want to be careful adding garlic and onion as they add a very distinct taste. Hot pepper is great but if using too much, the taste can become very strong. I like to ferment garlic and onion in separate jars. The advantage is that you can add them on the side. But if you love garlic, then no problem to add then together with other veggies.

When trying to ferment for the first time, I suggest to use only cabbage and a few carrots. This combination is very simple to prepare, yet very tasty.

What equipment do I need ferment vegetables or make sauerkraut?

You don’t really need that much to begin with. Use whatever tool you have in your kitchen; this will most likely be enough. However, if you want to prepare bigger batches, you might want to invest a little in tool that makes the preparation work faster and easier.

1. A food processor to shred vegetables makes it easier if you want to prepare bigger batches
2. Canning jars. 32 oz jars are good, but getting smaller or bigger jars is also fine. Best if the jars are wide-mouthed as it makes it much easier to get your hand into it to pack the vegetables together. Some like to used crock pots; they are very nice but cost more.
3. A kraut pounder (looks like a small baseball bat), helps to pack the vegetables, but it is not necessary. You can also use your fist.
4. Starter cultures are very good; they make fermentation faster, it tastes better, and you get much more probiotic bacteria in your vegetables. This I do recommend you use always. They are not expensive and you get a better fermented product.

Which fermented foods contain the highest amount of natural probiotics?

This is not easy to say. The reason is that it depends on what you’re fermenting and how you’re doing it. For example, if you’re using a high-quality starter culture, you will most likely have many more probiotic bacteria in your product than if you’re not using a starter culture.

  • Yogurt or kefir made on raw, unpasteurized milk
  • Fermented vegetables
  • Sauerkraut
  • Natto; a fermented soy product
  • Kimchi

So if you want to really boost the probiotic bacteria count, then add a culture starter. It has been found that when adding a high quality starter culture to fermented vegetables 10 trillion bacteria were found in a few ounces; thats more that a whole can of 120 probiotic supplement capsules! You can add starter cultures both when making yogurt, kefir and fermented vegetables.

Can I take too much probiotics; any risk with overdosing?

Overdosing is almost impossible. However, you can take “too much” in the sense of detoxifying too fast, also called a “healing crisis.” This is because toxins in your body need to be eliminated slowly. Therefore, taking small amounts of probiotics several times a day is a good start. Then you can increase the amount as you feel OK.

But if your body has stored more toxins or if you have candida overgrowht, bacteria or some other unwanted microorganisms, then your body can get stimulated to detoxify too fast. This can cause many different symptom like…

  • increased gas
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • headache
  • skin rashes
  • eczema
  • symptoms similar to a cold

According to a test done by and reported on www.mercola.com, a few tablespoons of fermented vegetables contained trillions of probiotic bacteria. That’s as much probiotics as you would find in a whole container of probiotic supplement, but only in a few tablespoons of fermented vegetables. But if you would start consuming large quantities of such fermented food, you might get a strong reaction.

Therefore, if you’re new to probiotic you should start out by eating small amounts and increase the dose closely monitoring how you feel.

Millions of people consume fermented foods daily for centuries without any risk of overdosing.

I’ve got serious health problems, do I need to be cautious with probiotics?

Yes, in some rare, serious cases you must be careful and first consult with your doctor! Please check this post on side effects.

Which probiotic supplements is best?

It depends on your specific needs and the makeup of your gut and body.

  • But of all the products we have tested, the best one is Dr. Mercola’s Complete Probiotics. It contains a very high amount of several potent probiotic bacteria (or CFU, colony forming units) and it is produced using the highest quality ingredients.
  • Or if you’re on the GAPS diet or similar treating ADHD, Asbergers or similar, then you might want to try Bio-Kult that is especially designed for this.

However, this does not mean that other products are bad. There are several other supplement on this site that we think are of high quality. Some supplements are also designed for a specific purpose as combating the effects of taking antibiotics.

I’m on antibiotics, which probiotic supplement should I take?

As we are all different, one cannot be dogmatic. However, these two are high-quality supplements known to support your gut in case you’re on antibiotics.

Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotics or Ultimate Flora Critical Care.

When and how should I take my probiotic supplement when on antibiotics?

About 15 minutes before breakfast and 2-3 hours after taking antibiotics.

If possible, tart taking probiotics before you start with antibiotics; this will prepare your gut. And continue taking probiotics long after you have stopped taking antibiotics. This is one of the best ways to combat the onslaught of antibiotics on your stomach.

Do I need probiotics even if I feel well and have no serious health problems?

Probiotics are vital for life, without probiotic bacteria in your gut you would die! Keeping your gut thriving is therefore essential to stay healthy. But because of a poor diet, chlorinated water, stress, antibiotics and other factors, your gut flora may get weakened. Therefore adding probiotics daily—eating fermented foods or taking a supplement—is an important factor to keep your gut well-functioning and in balance.

In addition, it is obvious that preventing disease is far better that treating a condition that has already developed. A growing body or research show that probiotics can prevent many health problems from developing in the first place.

Therefore, consuming fermented foods on a daily basis is one of the best and simplest strategies to stay healthy.