Probiotics 101

by | | Eat for a Healthy Gut

Why use Probiotics at all?

Kids who grow up on a farm and are breastfed receive what they need for a healthy microbiome at least until antibiotics are used.  Anti-bacterial soap, too much screen-time and diets high in processed foods all disrupt our microbiome.  Even poor sleep habits negatively impact the good bugs in your gut.  In the modern world all of these factors lead to a need for probiotics.  Most people don’t live on farms to begin with.

Imbalances in gut bacteria are becoming more common and impact immunity leading to many inflammatory conditions.  Inflammation diminishes gut microbes causing a vicious cycle that leads to chronic issues that the immune system is unable to overcome.  Gas, bloating, IBS, acid reflux, mood issues, joint pain and thyroid problems can result.   High level scientific research supports use of probiotics to treat several of these conditions.  Even sleep, brain fog and cholesterol respond.  By correcting imbalances in the gut many symptoms can improve.

Types of Probiotics

90% are found in these 3 Categories

1. Soil-based Organisms are unique because they actually colonize the host and are not transient.  These are also called spore forming. Megaspore Biotic is an excellent one and hard to find but you can get it here.  Those exposed to natural environments often have more of these because they are found in our soil and water systems.  The soil based species that have been studied the most are bacillus types.  Improvement in abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and leaky gut.  These probiotics work in a similar way to antimicrobials.  They also improve immunity and reduce upper respiratory tract infections.  When taken with antibiotics there are less adverse effects.

2. Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium blends are lactic acid producers.  They have over 500 trials supporting their effectiveness in treating gastrointestinal issues like SIBO as well as anxiety and depression. There is evidence that probiotics reduce relapse of inflammatory bowel disease by modulating the immune system, reducing inflammation and preventing biofilms.  Mothers take note that these strains also prevent infantile diarrhea, vaginal infections, UTI’s, lactose intolerance and tooth decay.  All of these are allergic or inflammatory conditions. Lactobacilli has over a hundred species and bifiidobacterium has just 30.  Please buy strain specific products because proper labeling indicates quality.

3. Saccharomyces boulardii fight all the bad bugs including fungal overgrowth and the biofilms that house these critters.  Infections like parasites can be effectively treated by adding in S. Boulardii whether antibiotics or herbs are used.  In fact, there is evidence that this probiotic is as effective as metronidazole (Flagyl) without the negative side effects.  This meta-analyses shows an upper GI infection called heliopylori bacteria responds well to S. Boullardi.

Sleep, Cognition & Lipids 

There are promising results for cognitive health and sleep especially during periods of stress. Not one but four meta-analyses involving nearly 400 people found that probiotics improve cholesterol and blood pressure.  Inflammatory markers like homocysteine were also lowered.

Female Hormones & Metabolism

Estrogen levels and metabolism are impacted by gut health.  Reduced diversity in the gut is associated with certain hormonal imbalances such as PCOS, obesity, endometriosis and breast cancer.  Probiotics may also improve bone density in post-menopausal women when taken with soy isoflavones.  We know that treating the gut can help with prediabetes and body-mass index.







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