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Keto Probiotics: Best Ways to Promote Gut Health

Published February 03, 2019 (Revised: November 23, 2019) Read Time: 6 minutes
Ben Kissam

Written By: Ben Kissam, BS

Ben has a B.S. in Movement and Sports Science and over 7 years Certified Personal Training Experience.

Fact-Checked By: Ana Reisdorf MS, RD

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<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context":"http://schema.org", "@type":"BlogPosting", "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "Ben Kissam, BS" }, "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Warrior Made", "logo": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "https://www.warriormade.com", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/11/keto-probiotics-thumbnail-0071.jpg" } }, "headline":"Keto Probiotics: Best Ways to Promote Gut Health", "datePublished":"2018-02-03", "dateModified": "2019-11-23", "description":"Probiotics increase the health of good bacteria and help eliminate any bad bacteria that can make you sick. Check out our guide on probiotics and the keto diet.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/11/keto-probiotics-thumbnail-0071.jpg" } </script> <script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are Probiotics?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Probiotics are microbial cells that are taken orally, via food or supplements, that can help fortify the colony of existing gut bacteria in your digestive system. They can help add to the number of healthy bacteria that already exist in your gut.<br>Once they are in the gut, their main function is to reinforce the intestinal wall, by stimulating immunity and reducing inflammation. They may also help improve symptoms of irritable bowel disease and other conditions of the GI tract." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "Where are Probiotics Found?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Probiotics come from two main sources, either food or supplements. Probiotics are found in fermented foods that have been allowed to breakdown in a controlled way, resulting in a food that is a dense source of healthy bacteria. For example, vinegar is often used because the acetic acid bacteria causes the breakdown to occur while preserving the edible quality of the food. Bacteria, yeasts, and other microorganisms are the little monster-crew responsible for fermentation to be able to happen. (Think: immortality food--resurrected food that becomes more powerful as it dies.) Most of these bacteria are made by adding a source of bacteria to the food (i.e. vinegar), then allowing it to sit for a period of time. This allows the bacteria to eat or ferment the food and increase their numbers. The result is a tangy, sour taste that many people enjoy in foods like pickles or yogurt." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "Do Probiotics Have Carbs?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Probiotics themselves are just bacteria cells, therefore they do not contain carbs. But, foods that are high in probiotics may contain carbs, like yogurt. Also, some probiotic supplements may be mixed with fillers or other ingredients that add carbs to the final product, so look at the labels closely. <br>Although probiotics don’t contain carbs, they may alter how the body uses carbs. A 2011 study published in Science Translational Medicine found that when subjects ate probiotic-rich yogurt for seven weeks, it did not change the bacterial composition of their gut, but did change metabolic pathways related to how the body uses carbohydrates. The yogurt made the gut bacteria more effective at digesting carbohydrates. <br>Although it is unclear how this research connects to keto at this time, it is interesting that gut bacteria can change how we use energy from macronutrients." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "Can I Take Probiotics on Keto?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "You can definitely include probiotics while on keto, guilt-free. But, be cautious. If you prefer the whole food route to a supplement capsule, foods high in probiotics (like yogurt) can also come with a large dose of sugar. Stick with either foods that are low in carbs, like sauerkraut or low-carb pickles, to get your probiotic fix without the extra carbs. Or take a keto probiotic supplement that does not contain any carbs." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "Are Probiotics Good for Keto?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Probiotics may not just be good for keto, they may be essential to help keep the digestive system healthy and the gut bacteria happy. They are generally considered safe overall for most people. Side effects of probiotics are mild, such as gas or bloating. The only concern with the use of probiotics is for people who are immunocompromised.<br>Probiotics can be a great addition to your keto diet as they may help reduce some of the common digestive issues associated with keto and make weight loss a bit easier." } }] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">What are Probiotics?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">Where are Probiotics Found?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">Keto Probiotic Supplements</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">Do Probiotics Have Carbs?</a></li> <li><a href="#section5">Can I Take Probiotics on Keto?</a></li> <li><a href="#section6">Are Probiotics Good for Keto?</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>One of the concerns about the keto diet in the nutrition community is the possible impact it has on reducing bacterial diversity in the gut. Our digestive system is made up of billions of tiny microbes. These friendly bugs play a variety of roles from helping us extract nutrients from food to protecting us from invasion by pathogenic bacteria<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4528021/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">1</a></sup>. But, there is some evidence that eating a high fat, low carb diet can negatively impact gut bacteria and increase the risk of gut disorders long-term, as it might change the diversity of bacteria in the gut<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/547c/d9a305606ee8b0327e7919f0e49038bbfde9.pdf" rel="nofollow noreferrer">2</a></sup>.</p> <p>This may be a bit of a disappointment if you have already started seeing the benefits of eating a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-101/" rel="noreferrer">low carb keto diet</a>, such as weight loss, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-and-inflammation/" rel="noreferrer">decreased inflammation</a>, and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/how-going-keto-can-improve-your-sleep-quality/" rel="noreferrer">improved sleep</a>. So, how can you keep eating keto while keeping your gut bacteria happy? By taking keto probiotics!</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section1"> <h2>What are Probiotics?</h2> <p>Probiotics are microbial cells that are taken orally, via food or supplements, that can help fortify the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/the-411-on-probiotics-and-the-microbiome/" rel="noreferrer">colony of existing gut bacteria</a> in your digestive system<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1521691803000751" rel="nofollow noreferrer">3</a></sup>. They can help add to the number of healthy bacteria that already exist in your gut. Once they are in the gut, their main function is to reinforce the intestinal wall, by stimulating immunity and reducing inflammation. They may also help improve symptoms of irritable bowel disease and other conditions of the GI tract<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1471489208001276" rel="nofollow noreferrer">4</a></sup>.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/fermented-probiotics-0071.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/fermented-probiotics-0071.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/fermented-probiotics-0071.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/fermented-probiotics-LR-0071.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="fermented-probiotics"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section2"> <h2>Where are Probiotics Found?</h2> <p>Probiotics come from two main sources, either food or supplements. Probiotics are found in <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/fermented-foods-for-gut-health/" rel="noreferrer">fermented foods</a> that have been allowed to “breakdown” in a controlled way, resulting in a food that is a dense source of healthy bacteria. For example, vinegar is often used because the acetic acid bacteria causes the breakdown to occur while preserving the edible quality of the food. Bacteria, yeasts, and other microorganisms are the little monster-crew responsible for fermentation to be able to happen. (Think: immortality food--resurrected food that becomes more powerful as it "dies".) Most of these bacteria are made by adding a source of bacteria to the food (i.e. vinegar), then allowing it to sit for a period of time. This allows the bacteria to “eat” or “ferment” the food and increase their numbers. The result is a tangy, sour taste that many people enjoy in foods like pickles or yogurt.</p> <p>Here are our favorite keto-friendly fermented foods rich in probiotics:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Sauerkraut</strong>- 1.5 grams of carbs per tablespoon. <p>Always look for “raw” or “unpasteurized” sauerkraut. If it is pasteurized, the good bacteria have been killed off.</p></li> <li><strong>Pickles</strong>- 0 grams of carbs. <p>Look for fermented pickles, which are not the standard ones you find on most grocery shelves. Usually in the refrigerated section at the store or at a kosher deli, etc. Avoid sweet pickles, which contain more carbs.</p></li> <li><strong>Kimchi</strong>- 1.5 grams of carbs per tablespoon. <p>Kimchi is the Korean version of sauerkraut, with even more flavor from the garlic and Korean seasonings.</li> <li><strong><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/kombucha-keto-to-drink-or-not-to-drink/" rel="noreferrer">Kombucha</a></strong>- carbohydrate content varies. <p>Kombucha is fermented tea made from adding bacteria to tea and fruit. It does contain sugar from the fruit. If you buy bottled kombucha, you can find certain brands that are lower in sugar, making it a keto-friendly probiotic option.</p> </li> <li><strong>Yogurt</strong>- carbohydrate content varies. <p>Yogurt can be keto-friendly, if you opt for the plain, low-carb option. Make sure to choose a yogurt that says “contains live active cultures” on the label.</p></li> <li><strong>Kefir</strong>- carbohydrate content varies. <p>Kefir is a fermented drink similar to yogurt, made from the kefir grain. It can contain a lot of sugar, but you can find lower carb options.</p></li> <ul> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/store-bought-probiotics-0071.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/store-bought-probiotics-0071.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/store-bought-probiotics-0071.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/store-bought-probiotics-LR-0071.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="store-bought-probiotics"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section3"> <h2>Keto Probiotic Supplements</h2> <p>Taking a probiotic supplement is a great way to get in your dose of healthy bacteria without worrying too much about the carb count. But, if you head to the store to choose a supplement to take, you might find yourself a bit overwhelmed with the selection.</p> <p>The problem is that the science of probiotics is relatively new. It is not fully understood which strains are best, how long they need to be taken for, and their efficacy<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1756283X10373814" rel="nofollow noreferrer">5</a></sup>. </p> <p>For digestive health, there are few strains that show promise in the research. For example, <i>B. lactis</i>, <i>B. longum</i>, <i>S. cerevisiae</i>, <i>lactobacillus</i>, and <i>B. animalis</i> all have been shown to reduce the symptoms of constipation, a common side effect of keto<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17312986" rel="nofollow noreferrer">6</a></sup> <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2016/4740907/abs/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">7</a></sup> <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27782892" rel="nofollow noreferrer">8</a></sup>. Check the labels, or ask your health food store supplement worker for help finding an option that contains these strains.</p> <p>To promote weight loss, certain strains may help decrease the amount of calories that are absorbed in the gut. These strains include <i>L. gasseri</i>, <i>L.rhamnosus</i>, and <i>B. lactis</i><sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23886977" rel="nofollow noreferrer">9</a></sup>. Just taking a probiotic won’t result in miraculous weight loss, but these particular strains may be helpful as one piece of your weight loss plan.</p> <p>With so many options, what type of probiotic supplement should you choose? Ideally, choose one with the highest possible colony-forming units (CFU) and greatest variety of bacterial strains. This will help you cover all your bases with your health goals.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section4"> <h2>Do Probiotics Have Carbs?</h2> <p>Probiotics themselves are just bacteria cells, therefore they do not contain carbs. But, foods that are high in probiotics may contain carbs, like yogurt. Also, some probiotic supplements may be mixed with fillers or other ingredients that add carbs to the final product, so look at the labels closely. </p> <p>Although probiotics don’t contain carbs, they may alter how the body uses carbs. A 2011 study published in <a target="_blank" href="https://stm.sciencemag.org/content/3/106/106ra106.abstract" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Science Translational Medicine</a> found that when subjects ate probiotic-rich yogurt for seven weeks, it did not change the bacterial composition of their gut, but did change metabolic pathways related to how the body uses carbohydrates. The yogurt made the gut bacteria more effective at digesting carbohydrates. </p> <p>Although it is unclear how this research connects to keto at this time, it is interesting that gut bacteria can change how we use energy from macronutrients.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/keto-probiotics-0071.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/keto-probiotics-0071.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/keto-probiotics-0071.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/keto-probiotics-LR-0071.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="keto-probiotics"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section5"> <h2>Can I Take Probiotics on Keto?</h2> <p>You can definitely include probiotics while on keto, guilt-free. But, be cautious. If you prefer the "whole food" route to a supplement capsule, foods high in probiotics (like yogurt) can also come with a large dose of sugar. Stick with either foods that are low in carbs, like sauerkraut or low-carb pickles, to get your probiotic fix without the extra carbs. Or take a keto probiotic supplement that does not contain any carbs.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section6"> <h2>Are Probiotics Good for Keto?</h2> <p>Probiotics may not just be good for keto, they may be essential to help keep the digestive system healthy and the gut bacteria happy. They are generally considered safe overall for most people. Side effects of probiotics are mild, such as gas or bloating. The only concern with the use of probiotics is for people who are immunocompromised<sup><a target="_blank" href="https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/46/Supplement_2/S104/276784" rel="nofollow noreferrer">10</a></sup>.</p> <p>Probiotics can be a great addition to your keto diet as they may help reduce some of the common digestive issues associated with keto and make weight loss a bit easier.</p> </section> </article>

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