Exceptional high potency S. Boulardii probiotics for yeast, gut, & immune system support
In my functional holistic training, I learned about three important body systems that need to be addressed in order to reverse chronic illness: the liver, the adrenals, and the gut.
In reviewing my clients’ health timelines, I have found that the development of chronic illness usually follows a pretty predictable pattern for the majority of them.
First, a person goes through an intense period of stress (such as the loss of a loved one, or a big life change like a new child, cross-country move, or graduate school). This stressful period is followed by some non-specific gut symptoms (acid reflux, constipation, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea), and then the development of some “soft” signs of liver backlog (acne, allergies becoming worse).
My research has led me to believe that, on a biological level, stress depletes our body’s secretory IgA (among other things, like stomach acid and various nutrients, especially vitamin C and magnesium). This then increases our susceptibility to gut infections that would normally be considered “self-limiting” and would just “pass through” our system. Instead, they end up colonizing and setting up a home (enter the gut symptoms). At this point, the gut, one of the body’s major pathways of elimination, becomes backed up, and the body over-relies on the liver to eliminate waste. This liver backlog is something I focus on in the LOVE YOUR LIVER cleanse protocol in my book “WHAT’S HEALTH?”
My second protocol focuses on restoring the health of the stress response, so that secretory IgA can be restored, and can help the body’s normal defense in clearing infections. I believe that with adequate secretory IgA, even those chronic gut infections I often find in people with Hashimoto’s OR ANY AUTOIMMUNE ISSUES , end up passing through like they would in an otherwise “healthy” individual.
Adrenal fatigue is a factor for most people with chronic viruses, cancers, autoimmune issues, as sleep disorders, stress, blood sugar imbalances, and chronic inflammation are all contributing causes. Chronic inflammation may often be caused by inflammation in the GI tract due to irritable bowel disorders, pathogens, or food sensitivities.
There are various ways to support adrenal health: some of them involve the use of stress reduction techniques, sleeping, breathing, removing inflammatory foods, adding hormones and steroids (like DHEA, pregnenolone, progesterone, and hydrocortisone), using adaptogens, considering adrenal glandulars, supplementing with vitamins/minerals, and more. Please check out my article on adrenal health for more information.
Experienced functional medicine practitioners have found that an adrenal protocol is often needed as a first step in supporting gut health, to restore secretory IgA (SIgA) levels. Otherwise, one will have a harder time fighting infections and may get reinfected.
How Does S. boulardii Benefit Thyroid & Other Health Issues?
Although there isn’t any current research specifically looking at the direct impact of S. boulardii for Hashimoto’s or thyroid health issue, it is clear that S. boulardii can help to address some of the underlying factors in autoimmune thyroiditis as well as many other immune system challenges.
Improving gut health and addressing infections are key components of getting any autoimmune issue into remission — and as mentioned above, S. boulardii can help with both of those.
Hippocrates is given credit for the notion that “all disease begins in the gut,” and this is no exception for all autoimmune issues. According to Dr. Fasano, Hashimoto’s, and all autoimmune conditions, require three factors — a genetic predisposition, an environmental trigger (such as heavy metal toxicity or an infection), and leaky gut (intestinal permeability) — in order to be present. This is called the three-legged stool of autoimmunity.
Leaky gut occurs when the junctions between the epithelial cells (cells that line the small intestine) become loose or leaky. Larger proteins can then make their way into the body, causing an immune reaction. S. boulardii has been shown to restore and strengthen these junctions, and even decrease leaky gut.
One study that examined the impact of S. boulardii on cells taken from the colons of people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), found that the S. boulardii protected the epithelial cells (surface tissue) and improved the adhesion of one cell to another. This led to the overall restoration and strengthening of intestinal barrier function.
If you are currently experiencing digestive symptoms or autoimmune health issues in general, I always recommend digging deeper to heal your leaky gut and any potential gut infections.
Since S. boulardii boosts SIgA, it can help in the defense against chronic infections, including Blastocystis hominis, H. pylori, Candida, SIBO, Giardia, and other infections that are common root cause triggers in people with Hashimoto’s.
- Blastocystis hominis is the most common parasite that I’ve seen in people with thyroid or gut issues, that can be linked to the uncomfortable symptoms of both chronic hives and IBS. A recent study of 20 people with Hashimoto’s found that eradicating Blastocystis hominis can reduce TSH and TPO antibodies, and produce a remission of Hashimoto’s. In one study of Blastocystis hominis in children, S. boulardii produced an outcome similar to the anti-parasitic medication metronidazole, and reversed symptoms in 94.4 percent of the study group, in one month.
- H. pylori is another bacterial infection of the stomach that may trigger Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I have learned that over 80 percent of my clients had such an infection. Clinically, I’ve seen thyroid antibodies reduced once H. pylori has been treated!) H. pylori can lead to reduced stomach acid levels, nutrient deficiencies, inflammation, and leaky gut. S. boulardii, although not a treatment on its own, has been shown to improve the effectiveness of H. pylori treatments, reduce symptoms from the treatment (such as diarrhea and nausea), and prevent dysbiosis. As a side note, I have been “crunching the numbers” of various types of infections I’ve found in clients and program participants since 2016 using the GI-MAP test, and will be publishing an article with the results this fall!
- A third gut infection that can be a Hashimoto’s trigger for some is Candida overgrowth, and S. boulardii can be supportive in healing from Candida as well. Remember that S. boulardii is a probiotic yeast, so it makes sense that it can help clear pathogenic yeast strains like Candida and keep them balanced with the rest of the organisms in the colon. The research confirms this and shows that S. boulardii reduces the adhesion of Candida in the gut, as well as reduces biofilm formation. (Biofilms simply refer to a protective barrier over pathogens, protecting them from harm.) Preventing biofilm formation of pathogens or using treatments that help to break down biofilms, is an important functional medicine approach for gut health.
- SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) is a gut condition that I also see in many people with Hashimoto’s. In SIBO, bacteria and yeast from the colon migrate up into the small intestine, which normally contains very little bacteria compared to the large intestine. This overpopulation of bacteria causes food to ferment and leads to gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, among other symptoms. Often, the cause of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), can actually be SIBO. In this case, using probiotics can make the situation worse by increasing the bacteria that are living in the wrong place. S. boulardii is an exception to this and is generally well tolerated and helpful for SIBO (likely since S. boulardii doesn’t stick around in the gut and instead passes through, carrying pathogens out with it). In a study that evaluated the use of S. boulardii in conjunction with the antibiotic metronidazole to treat the gastrointestinal symptoms of patients with SIBO, one group was given just the antibiotic. Another group was only given S. boulardii, while the third group was given a combination of both. After 2 months of treatment, SIBO was eradicated in 55 percent of the metronidazole and S. boulardii group, 33 percent of the S. boulardii-only group, and 25 percent of the metronidazole-only group. The S. boulardii with metronidazole and S. boulardii groups had decreased diarrhea, abdominal pain, and gas/bloating/flatulence, but the symptoms in the metronidazole group remained unchanged. The authors concluded that metronidazole treatment is partially effective in treating SIBO, but S. boulardii in monotherapy or in combination, improves the gastrointestinal outcomes by binding to bacteria and helping to clear it from the gut.
- Mold toxicity is another potential root cause of Hashimoto’s. If you’ve been exposed to a moldy environment, it is quite possible that the mold has taken up residence in your body, including your gut and sinuses. In addition to removing the source of the mold, you will most likely need additional interventions to clear the mold from your body. The presence of mold in the sinuses and intestines can lead to intestinal permeability (leaky gut) and become a trigger for autoimmune disease. I haven’t seen any studies to support this, but holistically, I have reports of symptom improvement and have seen a reduction of mold markers, on follow-up lab tests of those who have used S. boulardii.
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are quite common, affecting 50 to 60 percent of all women. Eighty percent of UTIs are caused by E. coli, though other strains can also be culprits. Many of my clients with autoimmune issues have reported frequent UTIs, and it is possible that an imbalance of gut flora and intestinal permeability (leaky gut), which are holes in the gut lining that can allow bacteria to travel throughout the digestive system, may be the cause of UTIs in those with Hashimoto’s, as leaky gut is a factor that must be present in order for autoimmunity to occur. Researchers in one study of 24 children, sought to evaluate the influence of an oral S. boulardii intake on the number of E. coli colonies in the colon. A commercial capsule or powder containing 5 billion colony-forming units (CFU) of S. boulardii was administered once a day, for five days. The number of E. coli colonies in the stool samples decreased by over 98 percent between the beginning and end of treatment, leading researchers to find that S. boulardii may be an effective treatment for UTIs.
- Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness, carries with it a co-infection called Borrelia burgdorferi that may be a trigger for thyroid and other autoimune diseases. Because these infections affect gut health, and are often treated with large doses of antibiotics, adding in beneficial probiotics is essential to restoring intestinal flora, preventing Candida overgrowth, and clearing the infection from the intestinal tract.
HOW TO USE :
According to the research studies, I HAVE studied the following doses have been used in various conditions.
Please note that the strength of the probiotic is sometimes expressed in the active number of microbes or colony-forming units (CFU’s) within the capsules, and sometimes in milligrams (mg). I often specify the number of capsules when I recommend specific products. In our Saccharomyces Boulardii capsules, one capsule contains 273 mg of S. boulardii, which is equivalent to about 3 billion CFUs.
- Blastocystis hominis: 250 – 290 mg, two times daily, for 15 days
- This amount was used in a study of children and would translate to 5 billion CFUs, or 1 capsule twice per day, if using ours. However, for my adult clients, I generally recommend one capsule of ours, 3 per day, for 60 days, just to ensure we cover two life cycles of the parasite.
- H. pylori: 100-1000 mg daily, for a period of 1-4 weeks 2-5 capsules daily
- SIBO: 273 mg, 3 times per day for a period of two weeks, followed by a rest period of two weeks, and then another two-week period of 273 mg, two times per day
- Urinary tract infections: 5 billion CFUs (2-3 capsules) taken once per day, for 5 days
Personally, I’ve used up to 8 capsules of ours per day, and this higher dose may be required for effectively clearing out pathogens and restoring gut health.
S. boulardii can be taken for 3 months, up to 2 years.
As part of a protocol to clear mold from the body, I have used S. boulardii at a dose of 5 billion–15 billion CFUs, 2-6 times per day, for 60 days.
I recommend spacing S. boulardii from any thyroid medications by 30-60 minutes, and from any anti-yeast, anti-parasitic, or antibacterial herbs, by 30 minutes to an hour.
S. boulardii can also be taken along with other probiotics (unless you have SIBO). Lactobacillus may be particularly beneficial and tolerated.
Some of you may wonder about using S. boulardii in children, as I mentioned using it with clients as young as two months old. S. boulardii is very safe and can be used in infants as young as two months old. I often recommended it to little ones that had to take antibiotics, in the pharmacy. The recommended dose for children is 250 mg, 1-2 times daily (be sure you check the dosage on the version you use)…. 1-2 times per day, capsule opened, and sprinkled into breastmilk, formula, applesauce, or a purée.