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Ask Dr. Mike: The Best Probiotic PLUS How Much Water Should You Drink for Weight Loss?

Here you'll find the answers to a wealth of health and wellness questions posed by Healthy Talk fans.

Listen in because what you know helps ensure healthy choices you can live with. Today on Healthy Talk, you wanted to know:

What is the best probiotic pill to take daily (are blueberries sufficient)?

Dr. Mike wants you to know the probiotic pills he takes. Dr. Mike takes theralac probiotic and florastor probiotic. When choosing a probiotic you want to make sure it contains a healthy balance of healthy bacteria and concentration. Specifically, you need to make sure it contains Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium with the range of five to 10 CFU.

You also want to make sure you take a prebiotic as well, specifically a sugar base that's going to feed the probiotic. The third thing you should look for in a probiotic is a protective barrier like sodium alginate.

How much water is necessary for weight loss? How much water should I drink on a daily basis?

Water consumption for weight loss is individualized. Someone who weighs 160 pounds would be drinking a different amount of water than someone who weighs 140, or 120 pounds.

If you have a health question or concern, Dr. Mike encourages you to write him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call in, toll-free, to the LIVE radio show (1.844.305.7800) so he can provide you with support and helpful advice.

RadioMD Presents:Healthy Talk | Original Air Date: June 10, 2015
Host: Michael Smith, MD

You're listening to RadioMD. It's time to ask Dr. Mike on Healthy Talk. Call or email to ask your questions now. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 877-711-5211. The lines are open.

DR MIKE: I'm going to start this Ask Dr. Mike segment with two questions from April Lawrence. Remember when you send me your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , you can give me your name, you can be anonymous, you can be vague, specific. It doesn't really matter. Just send me your questions, let's see what we can do with them.

So, April has two questions and I'm going to start with the second one. She says:
"What is the best probiotic pill to take daily?" Then she puts in parenthesis "are blueberries sufficient?"
I'm not sure about that part of the question but let me start with just what is the best probiotic pill to take daily. I'm going to tell you what I take, April. Sometimes I think because I hear this with other doctors and other shows and stuff like that that there's this whole movement in medicine to almost be PC. So, when someone asks you a direct question, you kind of just skirt around it.

I don't think there's anything wrong with telling you what my favorite brand is for something. I really don't. That's kind of what you're asking me, right, April? Personally, there's two probiotics that I think are outstanding on the market. One is called Theralac. That is the one that I do use. Theralac. There's another one by Life Extension called Florastor which is very similar to Theralac in terms of the different species and the concentration of those species. So, there you go.

Those are my opinion. Now let me give you the more PC type answers. Not talking about a specific type brand, let me teach you what you should look for, April, and then you can decide for yourself. Again, I talked about this in a past segment. When you are taking or deciding which probiotic to buy (there are several products on the market now) the most important thing is to look for a balanced collection of healthy bacterial species and to make sure that they are the right concentration.

That's the first thing. Balanced and the right concentration. You want to make sure that there are lactobacillus species and bifidobacterium species. Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium ranging somewhere between and 5 and 10 billion CFU's. That's colony forming units – that's the concentration. So, a nice balance of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. That's the balance part. 5-10 CFU's – that's the concentration part. Once you've done that, you are not done. These are live bacteria and they need to be fed.

The next thing you want to do is to make sure that product you are buying has that food source. It's called a prebiotic. Prebiotics are usually listed in the other ingredient part. So, you want to make sure you see that, something like oligosaccharide.

That's a fancy word just for a sugar-based compound that's going to feed the bacteria. Lecithin can be used. Lecithin is sometimes used in combination with oleic acid. Lecithin plus oleic acid actually has a patent pending formulation from a company called LactoStem. That's becoming more and more used as a prebiotic for some of these products.

Again, what you want to find is the balanced bc's, the right CFU's, colony forming units or concentration and then the prebiotic to feed them. Oligosaccharide, lecithin, oleic acid. You want to see that in the other ingredients. If you don't see that, it means that there's not a prebiotic in there and you are going to have to take a prebiotic. If you really want the probiotic to work right you have to make sure that there's something the probiotics can feed off of. You know what's another good one? Agave. Agave nectar is a good prebiotic. So, you can take a probiotic, use agave nectar as a sweetener in your coffee and boom there you go. That's a good idea.

The third thing you have to look for, April, is, going back to the idea that these are live bacteria, not only do we have to feed them the prebiotic, we have to protect them. We have make sure that they actually survive from the time you swallow it to the time they get into the distal part of the small bowel and the colon.

That's essentially where we are seeding these. The bacteria actually are from your mouth to the anus but most of the healthy gut species, the gut flora, concentrate around the distal small bowel and the proximal beginning colon. So, when you take a probiotic pill not only do you want the nice balanced species, lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, not only do you want the right concentration 5-10 billion CFU's, not only do you want to feed them a prebiotic, you have to protect them so that they get to that part of the gut.

Things like sodium alginate – alginate comes from seaweed and it forms this barrier around the bacteria in the capsule or soft gel and it protects them. The alginate will protect them from the acid from the stomach and the upper small bowel as they move to the distal small bowel and the colon. Sodium alginate. You want to see that listed in the other ingredients. Some companies, like the one I like, Theralac, uses grape seed extract. I'm sorry. Grape skin extract not seed. Skin. That also adds like a protective barrier over the bacteria. Life Extension, we use a really cool technology which is kind of like this double capsule technology.

The first capsule, as it goes through the stomach and the proximal upper part of the small bowel, dissolves away and by the time it dissolves away you've got the second capsule that then releases all these live, healthy bacteria in the distal, distant small bowel and beginning or proximal colon. So, we use a double capsule system. Balanced, right concentration, a prebiotic and protection for those live bacteria.
April, those are the best probiotic products. And yes, Theralac and Florastor from Life Extension meet those criteria.

April's second question: "How much water is necessary for weight loss and a normal healthy diet?"
So, this is really two different questions, right, April? So, "How much water should I be drinking if I'm trying to lose weight?" and then the second part of this is "How much water should I drink?" just, I guess, like normal in ounces.

Wait. Wait. I've got to back up. I'm sorry. April, I've got to back up. So, April asked "What is the best probiotic pill to take daily?" and then in parenthesis I forgot that she put, "Are blueberries sufficient?" April, I'm sorry. I just don't know what you mean by that. Are you saying blueberries contain probiotics? I'm just not sure what that part is, so I don't know how to answer that. Blueberries are not a probiotic. So, I guess they are not sufficient.

Okay. Now, back to the water question. "How much water is necessary to drink for weight loss?" Listen, we know that, I think there have been some studies looking at if you put people on a diet so there are two arms. People in one group they are dieting, they are exercising and they are drinking more water than another group who is dieting, exercising and drinking less water. The more water group does do better. I don't think it's significant but they do a little better. The question is how much, then, do we have to drink to simulate those results. I don't know. I think it's so individualized even with just part of a healthy diet, April. How much water you drink is really individualized.

I know some people say five servings of water a day; six, eight, whatever. I don't know. I think it's just really individualized. I know this. This I know for sure. When you are thirsty, your body is telling you something – drink water. It's pretty simple. I don't have a straight forward answer for you on the water question, April, but thanks for your questions. I appreciate it.

This is Healthy Talk on Radio M.D. I'm Dr. Mike. Stay well.