I started the probiotic Align a little less than two weeks ago and it is certainly too soon to tell whether it is aiding/helping or not. I am confused about all the probiotics available and since my GI gave me a sample package of Align, I will stick to it for the time being.
I don't use fish oil since I love to eat fish and eat it three times a week. I love smoked salmon or cooked salmon a lot, also broiled catfish (with no breading or topping - just the catfish filet) and the best of it is that I can eat it also in flares.
I personally have never really looked into supplements and probiotics before and I'm just getting started to explore all the options.
Probiotics are different strains of helpful bacteria and yeasts that we take as supplements to help populate our digestive tracts with good bugs. A lot of IBDers have an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in their tracts, so taking supplements helps to regain the balance.
There are so many different probiotic brands, and everyone has different experiences with them. It is useful to get recommendations from people on what they take, but if one brand doesn't work for you, don't give up, just try a different type. What I've noticed is that brands that contain a good variety of bacteria strains are more helpful, as well as ones that contain a large quantity of bacteria.
Some brands that have helped me are Florastor, FloraQ2, and VSL#3. Unfortunately all 3 brands are on the expensive side, but they all helped reduce my UC symptoms. Fewer bms, better digestion of foods, less gas, less pain in my gut.
If you go to just about any health food store (Whole Foods, Nature's, Wild Oats, Sunflower Markets, GNC, or a local food co-op), they'll have a decent selection. Just ask the supplements person to point you in the right direction. Something else you can do is to do a search of the HealingWell forums to get ideas. The search function is located just below the site banner...just type in probiotics...you'll find tons of info. you could also ask your doc, although many don't know about pro-bs or believe in their usefulness.
Good luck on the search.
Thanks so much to everyone who replied - It's very confusing when there is so much available out there, it's so helpful to hear from people what actually worked for them.
I'm printing all of your answers and taking them with me to the health food store later today!
Broad spectrum antibiotics that are often over-prescribed are the biggest culprit that affects healthy gut ecology. Even non-IBDers often experience digestive upset when taking them.
Other things that either kill off good gut flora or encourage overgrowth of bad gut flora are birth control pills, steroids that suppress the immune system, antacids and anti-ulcer meds, poor diet and diets high in sugars and simple starches. Bottle-fed infants who don't benefit from an infusion of good gut flora from the mother's breastmilk and people with diabetes are also at higher risk.
Omega-3 supplementation, probiotics and other natural supplements I've seen recommended on this forum don't conflict with pharmaceuticals.
Personal experience has told me this. There are numerous people here at HW that will concur.
I looked for some literature to provide a more substantial and scientific answer for you. I couldn't find any general info sites, but a couple of specific brand sites verify that probiotics need replenishing or they go away.
http://www.vsl3.com/VSL3/about-faq.asp#faq-13 question: How long does VSL#3 take to work?
http://www.activia.us.com/pdf/Act_scientific_summary.pdf?v1 topic: Clinically proven to survive in the GI tract
I assume that any kind of psyllium tablets would require the same consideration?
I was told at the health food store that probiotics should be taken 2 hours away from medication as well - does this mean I'll be trying to remember different pills every couple of hours??