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Start a probiotic cycle

THE GIST

Probiotics promote gut diversity, but regularly swapping your go-to supplement for a new one will optimize the effects.

EXPERT INSIGHT

Each probiotic strain has a unique benefit, says Brian St. Pierre, RD, director of performance nutrition at Precision Nutrition in Scarborough, Maine. For example, Lactobacillus gasseri fights harmful bacteria while Bifidobacterium longum promotes healthy brain function.

Cycling through several strains ensures you get a good mix that diversifies your gut. Moreover, getting too much of one probiotic can crowd out and displace other beneficial bacteria, St. Pierre says.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Follow the three-to-one rule, says Deanna Minich, Ph.D., Seattle-based Equinox Health Advisory Board member and author of The Rainbow Diet: Take one probiotic for three weeks, break for one week to bring your body back to equilibrium, then switch to another strain for three weeks, and so on. Choose supplements with 20 billion or more colony-forming units (CFUs) that have an NSFInformed Sport, or Consumer Lab certification on the box, St. Pierre notes.

Photo: KEIRNAN MONAGHAN & THEO VAMVOUNAKIS / Art Partner Licensing