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Is growing your own probiotic yoghurt possible?

Discussion in 'The Gut: De Meirleir & Maes; H2S; Leaky Gut' started by RustyJ, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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    I want to grow my own probiotic yoghurt... you know walk into a health food store, pull one of those expensive probiotics from their fridge and stick it into a yoghurt starter. There are two advantages: cost and quantity.

    However I am not sure of the efficacy of doing this. Do the strains of the probiotic reproduce in the starter proportionately. How often can I create a new batch before I need to start again? Is anyone doing this successfully? How could I tell if the integrity of the yoghurt is still good?

    Today I have grown my first batch of yohurt from a probiotic powder, without even a proper starter, so the process works in some respects. Tastes fine. It's just that I do not know what I am getting.

    Frankly after reading some of the literature floating around on the web, I am not sure we can really be sure of what we are getting in the bottle of probiotic in the fridge of the health food store.

    Of course I can go down the suck it and see route, but it seems that there is uncertainty piled on top of uncertainty, particularly if you are taking other meds.

    The other point is that if competing strains in my yoghurt are killing each other in a relatively sterile environment, what must be happening in the gut, where the billions of bugs must devastate any probiotic we ingest.

    Are there any studies that show measurable changes to gut environments or faecal composition from the use of probiotics, other than those that rely on patient observation?
  2. kat0465

    kat0465 Senior Member

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    Rustyj,
    Ever thought about growin kefir??
  3. ixchelkali

    ixchelkali Senior Member

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    Short of having your own laboratory, I don't know how you could determine the proportion of probiotic bacteria in your yogurt (homemade or storebought). I think the best method available at home is to start your yogurt with a yogurt that has the strains you want, and also to eat probiotics from as many sources as possible, such as kefir, fermented brine pickles, sauerkraut, etc.

    Whether from the health foods store or from your diet, you don't know which ones are going to "take" in your gut. All you can do is introduce a source regularly and provide as healthy an environment for them as possible, by eating plenty of "prebiotics" and trying to avoid things that create a hostile environment for them (such as too much sugar and refined starches). It's like farming: you provide the seeds and the fertilizer and try to provide a healthy environment, and then wait and hope your crop grows.
  4. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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    Hi Kat, I have intolerance to yeast so have avoided it.
  5. anne_likes_red

    anne_likes_red Senior Member

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    Rusty,
    I won't attempt to answer all your questions, but what works best for me is to grow single strains and mix them together after they're cultured. I used to make a multi strain yogurt but on re-culturing the taste changes because the proportion of bacteria changes.
    I culture everything 24 hours until I can't taste any sweetness, and I've used soy, hemp, ewes and cows milks. I've got the supplies to make culture broths like laboratories use and I was going to add them to the milks but I haven't gone that far yet. (Except I do add amino acids sometimes.)

    ATM I'm growing l plantarum 299v, e coli nissle, and l rhamnosus. No bifidus ones because I can't find them supplied in single strains. I'm pretty much culturing stuff all the time. I've been doing it for a few years and haven't had any mishaps - ie: I haven't made anyone unwell yet! I'm fastidious about sterilising and I only reculture 2 - 3 times. Technically you should be able to do it many more times than that.
    I can taste the difference in each strain...the bacteria tastes very similar no matter which medium you grow it in. I checked for studies that show the strains I use survive gastric juices. of course there may be other studies out there that say otherwise...:rolleyes:...but really most of what I've read about probiotics only makes me want to grow more.

    ...It's all a bit of a guessing game though, like you say.

    I do feel better for taking probiotics. And I guess I'm a bit addicted to growing them - it's pretty satisfying!
    snowathlete likes this.
  6. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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    Hi Anne. I appreciate the depth of your reply. And you have confirmed a lot of my suspicions. I will grow single strains. Do you actually think they make a difference? I am about to start B12 methylation and was hoping for some complementary effect. I was a little worried about folate metabolism with some of the strains, but too confused about which strains would be best.

    When you say you culture the single strains then combine them. Do you mean you just mix up the three yoghurts when you come to eat them? Or have each one at different times?

    Could you explain further on this. At the moment I am just adding 5ml of probiotic to 1litre of pasteurised cows milk (ie without any starter, because the starters have other strains). Is there a better way. I don't boil the milk. I use an Easyo kit. Pour boiling water into the flask around the cold milk container Is there a better way. Yoghurt is thick drinking consistency after 24 hours. Not really bitter.

    Where did you get the coli nissle from? I would prefer a local Oz source. Unless can ship from iHerb unfridgerated. Can get pla from local health food store. Don't know about I rha.
  7. insearchof

    insearchof Senior Member

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    Hi RustyJ

    Very Interesting thread.

    I have essentially the same set up as you describe (but the consistency is a little thicker than you describe). When I purchased my kit, I was told that the live cultures made this way contain much more bacteria and better quality than you would usually get out of a bottle.

    I often wondered about the questions you are now raising, but to cover my bases also take a couple of commercial probiotic mixes so I know that I am getting specific strains to address my own soecific gut issues.

    I am fascinated reading Anne likes reds post and hope to learn more by reading her contributions. I would love to know where the supplies to culture, can be purchased from here in Australia and how to go about introducing specific strains into the mix.
  8. anne_likes_red

    anne_likes_red Senior Member

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    Hi Rusty,

    Probiotics really do seem to make a difference for me. My gut motility has improved, and I'm certain general absorption has too. I'm doing a (work in progress) methylation protocol and that may be improving gut matters too.
    Studies on the immunomodulatory effects of certain probiotic strains are pretty interesting. Put the name of a strain into pubmed and prepare to be impressed! :) Even if it is rats or pigs they're testing on. But I really don't know if or how this translates to potential benefits for us. I also don't really know if there's any down side to using lots of probiotics.

    E coli nissle is supposed to help with methylation. I got mine (Mutaflor) from Newcastle :) visionarychemist@ozemail.com.au
    I don't know if they always have it in stock. They will send it to you with an ice brick I believe. It's expensive but they may sell you a part packet if you want to use it as a culture. It doesn't have an especially long shelf life - 9 months from manufacture I think? The liquid suspension is possibly easiest to use for culturing. I have the enteric capsules which take a bit of getting into.

    About whether there is a better way from the method you described. My understanding of how it's 'best' to make yogurt is around how to most effectively break down the proteins and have the bacteria consume the lactose. I'm really not sure that this equates exactly to how best to grow the most bacteria, but I think if the bacteria have consumed all the sugar (eg lactose in cowsmilk) they've made the most of their medium and presumably increased their population by the maximum number possible?

    Even if you haven't fully cultured your milk you'll have grown your bacteria population to some degree. It depends what you want. It's been important for me to culture my milk as much as possible because of dairy and soy intolerance issues. But perhaps if it's not fully cultured then you send your lovingly reared bacteria off into the great unknown with some ready fuel?

    I use my hot water cupboard where I have an insulated polystyrene box built around the hot water pipe. With extra layers of insulation I get it to stay between 100 - 110 F in there except in the coldest months when I have to put a hot water bottle in with the cultures, and I set the alarm for 3am (!) to check temp/change the water. It doesn't score a 10/10 for ease of use but it gets a good result.

    I follow the specific carbohydrate diet way of making yogurt. I'm not sure that's the best way, it's just how I learned, and I've stuck with it because I have a consistently good result. The constant temperature of 100 - 110 F for the full 24 hours is supposed to be important for maximum digestibility.
    So anyway, I heat 2L milk just until it steams (185F from memory...now I do it more from experience) then I let it cool to body temp and I split the milk into 2 - 4 sterilised pyrex type jars and I stir in a probiotic capsule or two to each jar with a spoon that's been "sterilised" in boiling water. Then I set the covered jars in the cupboard for 24 hours. The results are not like commercial yogurt but perfectly edible...or more likely drinkable. I always get a separating of curds from the whey - no matter what type of milk I use.
    I store the cultures in the glass jars or jugs in the fridge - they only last 2 -3 days (because my children enjoy it in smoothies) and I just mix some of each jar in together when I'm serving the yogurt. I'm really not scientific at all in my serving methods! I just make sure we get a good mix most days.
    I do take probiotic capsules as well.

    I got some culture medium ingredients from a guy who has a lab at home. I've got some powdered protein derivatives which are used in lab culture mediums and he said I could add salt, sugar water and ..er... vegemite to make a really good nutrient broth. Not sure how the vegemite will go in the smoothies! I don't feel confident enough to proceed here without doing more research :) I guess I'm really not sure how edible the end result might be.

    I use a couple of Ethical Nutrients probiotics. I'm never disappointed with them.
    Their Eczema Shield is L rhamnosus.

    I think a diet rich in prebiotics is likely to maximise anyone's success with probiotics.
    Many parents in my local autism bio-med group uses probiotics, with stool tests showing they've been very effective. Lately some members have reported that their doctor has been strongly recommending the use of lentils, nuts, beans etc to maximise the success of the probiotics in the gut.

    I hope I've answered your questions in there somewhere. (If not ask again and I'll try to focus better!)

    Best,
    Anne.
    snowathlete likes this.
  9. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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    Hi Anne. I think your incubation cupboard is brilliant. Thanks for the Newcastle tip, and the l rha. My way seems a lot easier, boiling the water. Not sure if its proper, because I am not sterilizing the milk. I think I will boil up some milk to see if the taste is different. If it tastes different, most likely because different bugs have cultured?

    Re amount of culturing. If I add a couple of dessertspoons of powdered milk, culture is a bit thicker, but even then still too runny to eat (just drink). The odd thing is the whey is not separated, and, as I said earlier, the mix still tastes quite sweet and not bitter after 24 hours. Could I leave it longer?

    I am drinking 3 cups of culture a day. Will continue to do so unless I have negative effects. I am glad you told me about the faecal tests showing improvement. That gives me confidence to keep going. I will continue with the multi strain polybac caps till I finish them (hate to waste the coin, ha), then I will switch over to single strains.

    Thanks so much for your info. I haven't found these answers elsewhere on the web, and I have spent hours looking.
  10. anne_likes_red

    anne_likes_red Senior Member

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    Hi ISO
    Mutaflor is sometimes available from the friendly place I mentioned in my last post. And Ethical nutrients have L plantarum 299v labelled as "IBS support" and L rhamnosus is sold as "Excema Shield". Those great products are made in Aus. :) If you do a pubmed search you'll see these strains likely have more beneficial properties than the labels above suggest.
    HTH,
    Anne.
  11. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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    Hi Iso,

    I did notice Ethical Nutrients brands in my local health food shop, so I gather they are fairly available. Just check the Use By dates. Regarding consistency. I think my brews are slower to take off. I use cold milk. But I may try warming the milk a bit, or even try anne's method - I'll sit it next to hot water heater in an insulated box (I'll probably never do this as it sounds like a lot more work, boiling milk etc, lol). It would however ease my mind, if I had a choice about having think or thin consistency.

    Anne is correct about the amount of info on the web on some single strains; not much on multi-strain and culturing multistrain. One of the problems with multi strain probiotics is that you never really know what you have, according to some on the web. Others said that there isn't much difference within the strains eg not much diff from one bifidus strain and another bifidus strain.

    Anne, given this last assumption, it might be just as practical to get a multi bifidus strain and treat it as if it were a single strain, because it doesn't matter if only one strain survives the culturing process. Have you come across any multi bifidus probiotics?

    That means culturing four separate batches: pla, rha, bif, and coli (might leave out coli if it is too difficult to get) whew, I can see you have really get into it.
  12. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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    Does anyone know if we can freeze the probiotic capsules to extend their life? I guess one way to find out would be try culture from frozen capsules, and see if it tastes the same. If I order a batch of multaflor with the aim of culturing it, I will need the original capsules to last quite some time.
  13. anne_likes_red

    anne_likes_red Senior Member

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    Rusty you could leave it longer. I forgot some once and it went 30 hours and it was fine.
    The only experience I've had with the taste changing is when I've made mixed culture yogurt using some of a previous batch as the starter.
    If you stop just short of boiling, but let it almost come to a simmer, you should kill any possible existing bugs in the milk and you won't risk altering the taste of the milk by boiling it. If the result tastes significantly different, then the heat the milk first way is probably the best way to go.
    Culturing at close to body temperature (ie not too cool) is important to give your probiotic the best chance too.
    :)
  14. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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  15. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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  16. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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    Stabilized form from iHerb, which I presume can be shipped. Source Naturals, Bifidyn, 2 oz. (56.7 g)

    Has gluten, but by the time it is cultured, probably a neglgible amount. Probably my preference. Cheap too.
  17. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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    Just worked out that a single 5gm starter could be stretched to 36 batches (if my maths is correct) if culture is onset to 4 generations and if just 3 x 2tbs amounts are frozen and 1 x 2tbs refrigerated from each generation. Of course even better as more is frozen. Debatable if 4th generation has lost too much viability. Going to need lots of little plastic starter tubs for freezing if culturing 3 or 4 single strains.:D

    Using 2 dessertspoons of milk powder has thickened up last batch quite a bit. Read somewhere that low fat milk powder may be better. Will try that next. Also read that using ultralife milk negates the need to boil milk to steralize.
  18. anne_likes_red

    anne_likes_red Senior Member

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    I'm not sure about freezing Rusty. I always assumed you couldn't. The official word from Mutaflor is not to freeze the capsules but I just popped one in the deep freeze and I'll see how it goes ;)
    I had to go to some trouble to get Mutaflor so I'll be thrilled if it works. I'm not holding my breath but I'll keep an open mind until the deed is done!

    I'm not sure about freezing actual yogurt as a future starter where the bacteria are suspended at different stages of development? I think some might survive, maybe some strains better than others? It would be interesting to see if there's been research done on that.

    Thanks very much for the great bifidus finds!

    I'll report back on the frozen e-coli Nissle experiment (it'll probably be Thursday)...

    Anne.
  19. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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    Hi Anne, from scanning the web, it appears that people are freezing live yoghurt cultures successfully, with minimal die off. Not so sure about capsules. Also not sure about more fragile bugs.

    I just hope we can tell by taste if the same bug is culturing after unfreezing. You are sure you know a bug is different or the same by its taste?
  20. anne_likes_red

    anne_likes_red Senior Member

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    Ooops late reply sorry!

    Re the taste, I'm sure I can tell the difference between the cultures I'm intentionally growing. And I'm sure I know each individual culture tastes the same, by my method, no matter which type of milk I grow it in. I think thats because the milk is fully cultured and at the "right" temperature for it's optimal growth.
    And I'm sure the taste of multi-cultures change over time.

    One thing I'm not sure on is if I'd know by taste if something went wrong - as far as I know it never has. I always go back to the original probiotic source, and I always sterilise everything - even the glass pan I heat the milk in.
    I guess I'm not sure if a bug is different because I haven't tasted enough different ones...if that makes sense.
    I try and add enough good bacteria to the sterile milk so that no "bad" guys get a chance. But even airborne bacteria are a possibility I think. I really don't know how you could ever be 100% sure. I guess its the same as in your gut you need enough of the good guys to keep order in there :)

    I'm making 500 mls yogurt from the frozen mutaflor capsule today, alongside 500 mls from one one that was refridgerated. I'll report back on that tomorrow :)

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