Fermented foods vs supplements for gut healing - Aspire Natural Health

Fermented foods vs supplements for gut healing

In this Episode Dr. Gerstmar discusses:
-How our ancestors got their probiotics with supplements
-Real vs fake fermented foods
-A critical factor you need to look for to be sure you’re getting effective fermented foods
-When we use fermented foods and when we use probiotic supplements

For more on good probiotics, click HERE.


Hey Folks,

It’s Dr. Gerstmar from Aspire Natural Health

And in this quick video I want to talk to you about…a question we hear pretty often and that’s…can you use fermented foods to treat your gut? Do you need to take probiotic supplements?

This is a great question, let’s give a little background first so our answer makes sense.

First, we have a gut microbiome, or colony of bacteria and more that lives inside our guts. This gut microbiome is critical to our health and well-being. So we need to keep it healthy if we want to stay healthy.

The problem is that modern society and our modern lifestyles, messes up our gut bacteria. The diets we eat, the way we live our lives, and the chemicals we are exposed to, like antibiotics and antacids for example, hurt our bacteria.

And at least a part of the poor health of our society is caused by this damaged gut bacteria.

We know that when we lived more traditionally, whether that’s 10,000 years ago, or 200 years ago, we were exposed to a lot of bacteria.

Now some of that bacteria was definitely bad, and we’ve made huge strides at avoiding a lot of this bad bacteria. And that’s good.

But traditionally we were exposed to a lot of good bacteria on a daily basis too. So how did our ancestors get their “probiotics”?

Three ways:
1. In and on their food
2. In their water
3. From the dirt and their environment

It’s easy to see how we’ve removed most of these probiotic sources from our modern day to day lives – our food is clean and sterilized, our water is treated, and most of us live in houses and office buildings, not fields and forests.

So if we want to get “probiotics”, which we need, into our lives, we have a few choices.
1. Drink untreated water – generally NOT a good idea unless you are extremely confident about it’s safety
2. Get out in Nature on a daily basis. This is an EXCELLENT choice, but for those of us who live in cities or have indoor jobs, this can be impractical. And while it’s not the subject of this talk, I do recommend you take the opportunity to get out in nature as often as you can. It’s good for body and soul!
3. Food
4. Supplements

When it comes to food we’re talking about fermented foods. Foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, and a huge host of others.

Now when it comes to fermented foods we have to keep in mind that there’s a lot of fake fermented foods out there.

Take sauerkraut, or pickled cabbage. There are two ways to make it.

Traditionally we can take cabbage and inoculate it with good bacteria and leave it for a while. The bacteria break down the cabbage softening it, and produce acids that give it the tang or flavor.

The second way is to cook it and add vinegar to it to mimic the fermentation process. And this is what most cheap, store brands of sauerkraut you can get in the supermarket have done. Why? Because the fermentation process is too slow and expensive, and most people just don’t care.

But if we’re looking to use these kind of foods as a probiotic source this is a huge deal. The fake fermented foods are NOT going to provide us with probiotics, it has to be “real fermented food”. Most of then is going to be more artisanal brands than big mainstream brands, and you’re often going to find them at health food type stores or farmers markets and not your typical big box supermarket.

The second thing to remember when you’re talking fermented foods is. Are they still alive? If it’s been pasteurized, then the answer is no. So a lot of yogurts and other fermented foods were made the right way with bacteria, but they were then pasteurized and the bacteria were killed. These foods can still be healthy, but they’re not going to act like the probiotic we want.

We need real fermented foods that are alive if we’re going to use them as a probiotic.

With all that in mind, we can come back to the question, can I use these real live fermented foods in healing my gut, or do I need to take probiotic supplements?


We use probiotic supplements in the treatment phase of working with someone, and then, whenever possible switch to fermented foods in the long-term maintenance phase.

We do this for several reasons…

The first is that a decent percentage of people just can’t handle fermented foods when their guts are in bad shape. They make things worse.

The second is the dose and form of probiotics in fermented foods can be inconsistent, which can slow down or derail the healing we’re looking for.

So for those reasons we recommend the use of probiotics in the healing phase. If you can tolerate fermented foods, those are fine to add in, in addition. And then as things heal and stabilize, we tend to drop out the probiotics and emphasize the fermented foods.

The last piece here, is some people just aren’t going to eat fermented foods, whether it’s the taste or the inconvenience, or they really just don’t work well with their system, and if that’s the case, then a probiotic supplement needs to be a part of that person’s regimen, because we need a steady stream of beneficial bacteria coming into us.

So there you have it…

Can you use fermented foods to treat your gut? Do you need to take probiotics?

Yes, you probably could, but we recommend probiotics supplements during the healing phase, and fermented foods for the maintenance phases of your care.

If you or anyone you know is dealing with autoimmunity, I’d like I’d like to offer you the Guide we’ve put together on how we treat autoimmunity here at Aspire Natural Health, all you need to do it fill out the short form below and we’ll happily send that to you for FREE. So click down below.

At Aspire Natural Health we are experts at treating digestive issues and autoimmune diseases. If that’s you, we’d love to connect.

We offer a no-obligation no-pressure chat to see if we can help you, and if we’re the right fit to work together.

If we are, we’ll move forward, and if we’re not, we’ll do our best to connect you with the person who can best help you.

You have nothing to lose, so call us now at 425-202-7849 or email us at info@aspirenaturalhealth.com.

Until next time folks…Take care!


At Aspire Natural Health we are experts at helping people suffering with digestive issues and autoimmunity.

Are you looking for help?

Email us at info@aspirenaturalhealth.com or call us at 425-202-7849.

The first step of our process is to see if we’re a good fit for one another. If we are, we’ll talk about next steps. If not, that’s okay, and we’ll do our best to help you find the right person.

Everything is no-obligation and no-pressure, so you don’t have to worry. You have nothing to lose!

Call us at 425-202-7849 or email us info@aspirenaturalhealth.com now!

Another interesting post:

5 Ways to Know If You Have Dysbiosis?

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