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Probiotics for GI

Probiotics for GI

GI health is connected to the health in the rest of your body.

If the digestive tract is compromised, so will the health of other parts of your body.

Our gastrointestinal systems are filled with trillions of microorganisms…and that’s a good, normal thing.

Did you know that the types of microbes or microbial “mix” that live in the GI tract are key to digestion and health?

We are learning that the mix or diversity of microbes in many Americans is out of balance. And the populations of beneficial bacteria are getting crowded out.

What you eat can change the diversity of the bacteria in the GI tract. Our diets (how much meat, vegetables, sugar, grains, etc.) influence the composition of the gut flora. Microbes in the gut receive nourishment from the foods we eat, just as our bodies do. Microbes actually feast on our “leftovers,” components of food such as fiber, that we don’t digest and go through the elimination process.

Different species of microbes even have a preference for certain foods. For example, Candida (yeast) love sugar (think sugar cravings)…sugar feeds Candida and reducing sugar intake can “starve” Candida.

You can help the gut environment to get back into balance by ingesting probiotics (live “good” bacteria), as a dietary supplement, or through foods such as yogurt and fermented sauerkraut and kimchi (fermented Korean side dish of napa cabbage, radish, scallion or cucumber).

The Imbalance in the GI Microbiota Balance Plays a Large Role in Disease

More and more, scientists are becoming aware that dysbiosis (imbalance of the gut microbiome) may not only create uncomfortable GI symptoms, but it may be an underlying factor of:

  • type 2 diabetes
  • autoimmune disorders
  • allergies
  • obesity
  • metabolic syndrome
  • neuropsychiatric conditions.

Some environmental factors that promote loss of microbial diversity and keystone strains, and overpopulation of certain microrganisms include:

  • overuse of antibiotics
  • excessive alcohol use
  • diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, processed foods, animal proteins and low in fiber, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

How the Gut Microbial Ecosystem Can Affect Health and Disease

Here are some examples of how the gut microbiome can affect health in disease:

  • Dysbiosis (microbial imbalances) can open the door for pathological microbes to take residence in our GI tracts. For example, C. diff (Clostridium difficile) is a bacterium that can cause symptoms from diarrhea to life-threatening colon inflammation.
  • Candida, a type of yeast in the GI tract can overgrow in the GI tract. From there, Candida can also get into other parts of the body such as the blood, sinuses and vaginal tract.
  • The digestive tract’s immune system is often referred to as gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT). It works to protect the body from invasion of unwelcome foreign invaders. Dysbiosis can result in inflammation of the gut lining, loss of its integrity and it becoming”leaky,” which compromises the body’s immune defenses.  (This is referred to as Leaky Gut Syndrome.) If the inflammation is chronic it can be an underlying factor of diseases, including auto-immune diseases.
  • Symptoms of dysbiosis include GI discomfort, gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation and less ability to digest food or absorb nutrients from food. The production of certain vitamins normally produced in the gut (e.g. B and K) may also be compromised.
  • An important part of our nervous system is located in our gut. There is research about how the microbial ecosystem can affect the gut-brain axis, mood, concentration, production of neurotransmitters, etc.
  • New research indicates that gut microbiota can affect weight and metabolism. Dysbiosis, lack of diversity and predominance of specific strains may be associated with obesity and difficulty losing weight. (Microbes may produce signaling chemicals related to satiety.)
  • The body’s systems for “waste removal” can be taxed by the waste byproducts from the overgrown microbes. These waste byproducts also affect the pH (level of acidity/alkalinity) in the gut, which further influences which microbes will flourish.
  • SIBO, or small intestinal bowel overgrowth, occurs when microbes normally present in the large intestines (colon), translocate or move up and take up residence in the small intestines. This type of dysbiosis usually presents with abdominal discomfort, bloating, and diarrhea/constipation.

Click for more information about Probiotics.

Using Dietary Supplements to Bolster Your Probiotic Intake 

Taking a daily nutritional supplement with probiotics is a simple way to help rebalance your gut microbiome.

I work with MegaSporeBiotic, a clinically researched spore based probiotic that has been shown to support gut health and restore and maintain the integrity of the gut lining.  Research has also shown that MegaSporeBiotic can significantly reduce in serum triglyceride levels in individuals with elevated triglyceride levels.

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