Microbiome: your gut health!

WHAT IS A "MICROBIOME"?

The environment in which your own bacteria, viruses, fungi & single cell organisms (archaea) live is known as your microbiome: This is over 55%  of your makeup!  Scientists report there are almost 30 trillion bacterial cells in our bodies with over 500 different kinds of natural  flora (good bacteria) known as probiotics.  Every surface of your body has its own colony of bacteria, fungi, and microorganisms.


Body functions are aided by probiotics (good bacteria), and improved by PreBiotics (fibers that ferment to help you make probiotics). The benefits include improved immune function, digestion, lactose tolerance, energy levels, lipid profiles (cholesterol), and improved communication between gut and brain, as well increased fat metabolism, and improved bio-chemical functions.  


There are several studies demonstrating the benefits of probiotics in obesity management, digestion, and immune function.   When there is a deficiency of certain probiotics, an imbalance in the microbiome results, and increased risk of obesity and health problems can occur.  It's important to build your natural gut flora!  


Check out Harvard Medical School and Harvard Publishing

https://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics


Check out research on your GUT and probiotics

http://www.gutmicrobiotaforhealth.com/en/update-link-short-chain-fatty-acids-diet-human-health/


WORKIN' THE LEPTIN!

Leptin is a hormone made by fat cells which helps decrease hunger.  Though leptin levels are often higher in obese individuals compared to those not obese, the sensitivity to it is LESS and it does not inhibit hunger like it is supposed to do.  However, probiotics have been shown to help regulate leptin senstivity and  obesity management (animal studies & human cases).


Check out NIH and Leptin

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17212793

WHERE DO YOU GET PROBIOTICS?

Good bacteria and overall multi-organisms colonizers exist everywhere in your body - ear, nose, mouth, stomach, intestines, vaginal canal, skin, and lungs. This is  YOUR MICROBIOME.  Sometimes, due to  processed food diets, high sugar intake, infections, and frequent use of medications, we create an imbalance and insufficiency in the "good bacteria."  We need a little help to increase production and recolonize our gut with extra probiotics.

  

Probiotics are found in fermented foods (not vinegar processing) such as sauerkraut, kambucha, sourdough, kimchi, and aged or fermented dairy such as yogurt, cottage cheese, and Swiss cheese.  They can also be taken as supplements.


Additional supplements with strains in the billions (high CFUs - colony forming units) may be used to help recolonize your small and large intestines.  Supplements do not need to be mult-istrained as they may "fight" for survival ("antagonistic action"), so it's o.k. to use single or double strained probiotics.  Responsible companies that use multi-strain probiotics seel each strain with  special oil to avoid the "antagonistic action."  This process helps you receive the benefit of all three or more strains.  


We also help our system by eating high fiber plant based foods, as their fibers are  known as a PreBIOTIC.


PREBIOTICS

Prebiotics are undigestible fibers in plant based foods which form short chain (SCFAs) or branched chain fatty acids (BCFAs)ferment in your intestines, and help your body's existing "good bacteria" make more probiotics.  That is why it is important to eat foods high in certain fibers that don't break down easily such as:  raw garlic, raw or cooked onion, raw leeks, dandelion greens, raw jicama, raw asparagus, cabbage, Brussel's sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, radish, rutabaga, raw chicory root, acacia gum (gum arabica).


Check out Eat right by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/prebiotics-and-probiotics-creating-a-healthier-you

PROBIOTICS: WHAT DO THEY DO?

GOOD FOR YOUR TUMMY, BRAIN, CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM, IMMUNE SYSTEM, AND MORE.


The most common probiotic, Lactobaccilis acidophilus,  was discovered by Nobel Prize winner, Llya Metchnikov, in the 1890′s, after having discovered L. Bulgaricus in 1882.  


Since then, 100's of strains have been identified, and each decade new and marvelous discoveries are made confirming the physiological functions and benefits of a healthy multi-organism colony of "probiotics" in your body: microbiome. 


Here are some commonly used and studied strains

(L = Lactobacillus; B =  Bifidobacterium; S = Streptococcus)  

(yeast source Saccharomyces boulardii )

  • L. Acidophilus:  Protects the integrity of the intestinal wall (small intestine) and helps digestion, absorption, decreases diarrhea.
  • L. Rhamnosus:   Improves immune function, reduces allergies, IBS symptoms, vaginosis, & cholesterol metabolism; studies demonstrate less sick days in those tested who used this probiotic  
  • L. Helveticus:  Swiss studies demonstrate blood pressure reduction, sleep aid, and parathyroid hormone influence with increased serum calcium, which is why it may help reduce blood pressure.  It's used in Swiss cheese cultures in Europe.
  • L. Reuteri:  Reduces H.pylori bacteria (ulcers), vaginosis/candidiasis, reduces risk of gingivitis and palque formation, reduces inflammation proceeses such as pro-inflammatory cytokines, helps decrease stomach problems such as nausea and gas, reduces infant colic attacks, and protects agains cold/flu, and has been shown to help decrease dermatitis (by improving the integrity of the intestinal wall).
  • L. Casei:  Improves immune function, cholesterol profile, digestion, reduces allergic response, and is used in food production (green olives, fermented foods, cheese/yogurt).
  • L. Bulgaricus:   Improves lipid profiles (lowers cholesterol/triglyerides), improves digestion, decreases leaky gut syndrome,inflammation, tooth decay and diarrhea/nausea, imporves dairy digestion and overall gut integrity. 
  • decrease triglycerides, LDL levels, total cholesterol
  • L. Plantarum:   It makes lysine, an essential amino acid, helpful against herpes viruses. This probiotic helps digestion, immune function, and is a tough cookie which helps fight against other pathogens. 
  • L. Salivarus:  It produces its OWN ANTIBIOTIC, improves immune function, and digestion.  It decreases risk of caries/gingivitis, some strains of strep throat.  I
  • L. Brevis/Breve:   Decreases risk of mouth ulcers, stomach ulcers related to H. pylori bacteria, and reduces urinary oxalate levels (less kidney stone risk)   
  • B. Infantis: Declines as we age as it is given to babies through mom's breast milk.  It is important for digestion, reduction in bloating, and constipation.  It fights against parasites, pathogens, and mitigates kidney stones, vaginal infection,  and allergies.
  • B. Lactis:  Aids in absorptions of vitamins & minerals, improves immune function, and has been scientifically shown to enhance immunity, fight tumor growth, improve digestion and lower cholesterol. 
  • B. Bifidum:  This is the most common in the body (large intestine), and it helps a plethora of physiological functions:  fights against candidiasis, cholesterol, digestive problems such as diarrhea, and E.coli infection.
  • B. coagulans:  Israel, France, and Germany use this probiotic to help against pathogens and viruses as it is effective and hardy (survives stomach acid well).
  • Lactogg  Lactobacillus Rhamnosus:   Improves glucose control, adheres well to gut lining so that other probiotics can be supported, improves immune function, decrease infections (ear/respiratory), reduces inflammation (eczema), stimulates NK tumor killing activity, & reduced LDL cholesterol.
  • S. thermophilus:  Improves digestion, increases antitumor activity, increases good cholesterol HDL (high density lipoprotein), fights Clostridium difficile, improves lactose tolerance (lactose digestion), reduces risk of kidney stone formation, reduces baby colic, improves infant probiotic flora (when not breast fed).  

There are hundreds more!  This gives you an idea of the benefits of commonly studied and formulated probiotics used to improve health outcomes.


Check out the NIH link

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm


PROBIOTICS AND MOOD: PSYCH EFFECT

https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/depression/the-best-probiotics-for-mood-enhancing-the-gut-brain-connection-with-psychobiotics/

WHICH FOODS SHOULD I EAT?

Kimchi, kombucha, Swiss cheese, fermented foods (not vinegar) but in natural salt fermentation such as with sauerkraut, pickles, non-gmo organic tempeh/miso, Japanese natto 

(Bacillus subtilis), traditional buttermilk such as that used in India, Nepal, and Pakistan, but not the typical US kind.  Aged cheeses such as Swiss, Gouda, mozzarella, cottage cheese, and cheddar.

WHAT'S THE SKINNY ON PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENTS?

Not all probiotic supplements are created equally.  You do get "what you pay for." If it is super cheap, chances are that minimal care has been taken to protect the strain of probiotic, or to have a high and potent enough strain to survive the harsh acidity of your stomach acids.  Do some research, and test out different ones.  If you suffer with bloating or IBS, you might see improvement pretty quickly with a good probiotic strain.  


SIDE EFFECTS:  for some people, they may experience bloating and gas, as the function is to help create an environment that promotes probiotic production.  Monitor your symptoms

WHICH BRANDS?

I am not endorsing, nor am I being endorsed or paid to promote certain brands.  The following are some companies that make a concerted effort to provide available and active probiotics. Many more do so as well.

Florastor(R), INNATE, Natrens (trinity), BlueBiotics Ultimate Care, Ultimate Flora Critical Care, Garden of Life Raw Probiotics,  InnovixLabs Multi-Strain Probiotics, Vitamin Bounty Pro25, Jarrow Dophilus, Bio-K+.


RESOURCES FOR RESEARCH PROFESSIONALS:  

MEDLINE

CINAHL

PubMed

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics

nccih.nih.gov