March 12, 2011

078 Probiotic Update [30 August 2010]

I learned more about probiotics at a recent supplier-sponsored seminar. Probiotics are supplements of beneficial bacteria for the intestinal tract with many benefits to our health.

Here is some of the new information I picked up:
• human-sourced strains of bacteria work best in humans (makes sense) and colonizing strains work better than transient strains
• beneficial bacteria don’t just out-compete pathogenic bacteria, they actively suppress their growth or even kill them
• an unhealthy balance of bacteria in the gut, called dysbiosis, is caused by poor diet esp. sugar, alcohol, chlorinated water, contraceptives and antibiotics
• digestion symptoms of dysbiosis: flatulence, bloating, constipation/diarrhea, IBS (colitis and Crohn’s), leaky gut syndrome & food allergies
• other symptoms include: fatigue esp. after eating, hypoglycemia, poor complexion, inability to lose weight, rheumatoid arthritis, colon cancer
• infants born vaginally (vs. C-section) have better bacterial colonies and fewer health problems like eczema & asthma; probiotics used by mothers during pregnancy and breastfeeding and by infants significantly reduce atopic eczema
• probiotics help with lactose intolerance (bacteria produced enzymes break down the milk sugars)
• nutrient synthesis and absorption are improved with probiotics
• surprisingly, studies are now showing that probiotics help with weight loss
• probiotics should be taken during antibiotic treatment (at different time of day), you don’t need to wait until after
• advantages of probiotic supplements over foods: specific doses, species and strains; guaranteed potency; portable
• supplements called “prebiotics” support the beneficial bacteria and help them form strong colonies
• probiotics are best taken with meals (food dilutes the acidic stomach content) and twice a day in divided doses

This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

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