Probiotic & Prebiotic Supplements Can Support A Healthy Gut Microbiome
Probiotics are live microorganisms that positively impact our gut microbiome and, as a result, our general well-being. They can be found in fermented foods, like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir, or nutritional supplements. Probiotics support a healthy gut microbiome first and foremost by simply increasing the number of bacteria that are present. Increasing bacterial populations in the intestines may help to balance the composition of the gut microbiome.
Probiotic supplementation is also associated with supporting the integrity of the intestinal barrier and regulating cytokine production. Cytokines are chemical messengers of the immune system that play a role in the immune response.8 Probiotics support this process by increasing the production of cytokines associated with lowering inflammation and decreasing production of those that promote inflammation.
Like probiotics, prebiotics can be consumed either as food in the diet or as nutritional supplements. Unlike probiotics, prebiotics are not live organisms; instead, they provide nourishment for live organisms.
Prebiotics are unique sources of energy for gut microbiota because they are able to avoid being digested in the GI tract so they can arrive undigested in time for dinner for gut microbiota. Types of prebiotics include:
^To date, shown in multiple animal studies, infants, and one adult human study.
The Good News Is That You Can Fix Your Microbiome Through Diet Reducing Stress And Sleeping Better
For stress reduction and sleeping better, look to regular exercise and movement of the body.
Consider adding yoga meditation to your morning routine before you begin exercising.
Add a walk outdoors to your afternoon routine following a good, healthy lunch.
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As for your diet, you can begin by removing processed foods and adding healthy foods as well. Also include fermented foods to restore balance to your gut microbiome.
Try To Cut Back On The Red Meat
Aside from the fact that these days, many meat brands are known for raising their livestock with antibiotics, which is detrimental to your gut, there have been several studies that show healthier microbiomes in vegetarians. A vegetarians gut for example, will have a significantly smaller number of disease-causing bacteria that an omnivores gut. However, it is still unclear if this is due to the lack of meat being consumed, or the fact that vegetarians and plant-based individuals tend to consume a great deal more fibre than the average person.
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What The Best Piece Of Advice You Would Offer To Anyone Looking To Improve Their Gut Health
Our gut microbiome is a complex eco-system comprising over 30 trillion cells and five different types of organisms including bacteria, yeasts, viruses, parasites and archaea. All these microbes have a unique role in our health so fostering this diversity is key. When we nurture a diverse ecosystem of gut bacteria our gut becomes incredibly resilient and strong, as does our overall health and immune system which is so intricately linked.
The key to nurturing a diverse ecosystem of gut microbes is feeding them a diverse range of plant based foods. This is important as not every microbe eats the same thing and every dietary choice you make will either allow our group of microbes to thrive and the others to die off. The life cycle of our gut bacteria is so quick that the food choices you make in twenty-four hours will impact the evolution of over 50 generations of gut microbes. My recommendation based on this is to ensure you are eating a variety of plant-based foods every day! Eating healthy foods such as broccoli, kale and seeds repetitively is great but is not nurturing all of our gut microbiome. Think about changing up your greens and veggies every day and adding nuts, seeds, seaweed and healthy whole grains into your diet to ensure you are fuelling your gut bacteria with the best possible food to nourish and nurture them.
Ways To Improve Gut Health & Reduce Inflammation
In your small and large intestinesthe human gutyou host trillions of microbial cells. These microorganisms make up the microbiome, the bacterial community that affects how you digest food, process nutrients, and interact with every aspect of the physical world. For everyone, but especially people living with chronic metabolic conditions like Gaucher disease, the gut microbiome plays a crucial role in managing inflammation.
Lori Fish Bard, MS, HHC, is a clinical nutritionist and board-certified integrative health counselor. She develops personalized, highly supportive blueprints to help individuals and families identify and accomplish their health goals. Through her practice, Healthy Heartbeet, she uses a holistic, functional, and integrative approach to help people develop sustainable habits to live healthy, nourished, and balanced lives. She spoke with us about how gut health affects our overall health, especially for people living with Gaucher disease and other chronic conditions.
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The Role Of Probiotics
If microbiota are so vital to our health, how can we ensure that we have enough or the right types? You may be familiar with probiotics or perhaps already using them. These are either foods that naturally contain microbiota, or supplement pills that contain live active bacteriaadvertised to promote digestive health. Probiotic supplement sales exceeded $35 billion in 2015, with a projected increase to $65 billion by 2024. Whether you believe the health claims or think they are yet another snake oil scam, they make up a multi-billion dollar industry that is evolving in tandem with quickly emerging research.
Because probiotics fall under the category of supplements and not food, they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. This means that unless the supplement company voluntarily discloses information on quality, such as carrying the USP seal that provides standards for quality and purity, a probiotic pill may not contain the amounts listed on the label or even guarantee that the bacteria are alive and active at the time of use.
What Can You Do
How can you get healthy gut bacteria?
Start by eating a nutritious diethigh in fiber-rich foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. A âwesternâ diet thatâs high in fat and sugar and low in fiber can kill certain types of gut bacteria, making your microbiota less diverse.
Limit use of antibiotics, which can wipe out healthy bacteria along with problematic bacteria, to only when necessary as determined by your doctor.
Exercise can also encourage the growth of a variety of gut bacteria. Having a more varied gut microbiota may promote better health and, in turn, reduce your risk of disease.
You may soon be able to take a medication or supplement made of a certain strain of gut bacteria to reduce your risk of — or even cure — certain diseases.
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Foods To Improve Your Digestion
Digestive problems, such as gas, constipation and diarrhea, affectmillions, with 15 percent of people in Western countries experiencing asevere form of gut sensitivity called irritable bowel syndrome .
In this article,Linda Lee, M.D., shares five foods that promote healthier digestion and help you avoidcommon gastrointestinal symptoms.
Eat Your Fruits And Veggies
While all the different foods that make up your diet can influence the gut microbiome, it is the fiber â the carbohydrates in our diet that we cannot break down ourselves but the bacteria in our gut can use readily â that drives the formation of a healthy microbiome. Eating a diverse and abundant selection of fruits and veggies is a great way to feed some of the most health-promoting bacteria in our gut.
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How To Restore Your Gut Microbiome
Deborah Freudenmann BHSc
The human microbiome is a collection of trillions of microorganisms which populate your intestines. Your microbiome is essentially its very own complex ecosystem. Although the microbiome consists of a diverse range of microorganisms , it is primarily populated with bacteria which are located in your gut.
Your microbiome is a complex ecological community, which communicates, cross feeds, combines, evolves with you and your environment. The symbiotic relationship between your body and your gut is important to understand. You depend on your gut microbiome and your gut microbiome depends on you. One cannot thrive without the other. The micro-organisms living in our gut perform a wide range of useful and health promoting activities, however they can also be responsible for the development of different diseases.
In the modern world, your human microbiome is often exposed to harmful factors. Poor dietary and lifestyle habits as well as increased stress levels decrease the diversity and effectiveness of your microbiomes functions. All of these factors lead to an increased chance of developing various chronic conditions.
For maintaining your long-term health, prioritisation of your microbiomes health is necessary.
Fad Diets Should Be Avoided
Science has shown repeatedly that dieters are doomed to failure, yet new fad diets always manage to find abundant followers.
Fad diets are often restrictive novelties that are not backed up by medical research. In many cases, they promise quick and easy weight-loss strategies without any information about the science, risks, and potential long-term consequences for your health, gut, and microbiome.
These nutritional regimes can mean cutting out whole food groups or eating a specific type of food. A major one is the no-carb craze, but we know that a healthy microbiome and happy gut flora need prebiotic fibres to produce beneficial metabolites. Just removing food can disturb this sensitive ecosystem and your bodys delicate metabolic balance.
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What To Do Today
Throw out your antibacterial toothpaste, dental floss, and mouthwash
Antibacterial chemicals can cause antibacterial-resistant microbes and harm beneficial bacteria in your mouth. A small study found that changes in the bacteria in your mouth can impact how well you absorb nutrients like nitrite which has been shown to lower blood pressure.
Chronic stress is particularly dangerous because it may increase intestinal permeability and allows the gut microbiota to go where they shouldnt, causing inflammation.
Is There A Test Or Some Sort Analysis That Can Determine The State Of Our Guts
The test that I recommend be taken to determine the state of our help is a gut microbiome mapping test. This is a comprehensive analysis of our gut microbiome and provides information on levels of microbes that can be disrupting normal microbial balance along with information on the strains of gut bacteria currently in the gut. It can also show information like levels of inflammation in the gut, the presence of yeast / candida albicans and even our guts sensitivity to various anti-microbial therapies. This information is invaluable when it comes to healing gut dysbiosis.
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In Short Heres How To Have A Healthy Gut
Never to underestimate the importance of gut health when it comes to your body and wellbeing. Its home to trillions of bacteria, not to mention actual human cells, that work hard to keep you fit and well. Your lifestyle can have a serious impact on this balance.
Making simple positive changes like more fiber in your diet, more exercise, and less unnecessary medication is how to get a healthy gut and wholesome gut microbiome. Just remember, you really do have the power to change, one step at a time.
Changing Your Microbiome For Health
Thinking of your gut bacteria as its own ecosystem may seem odd. But Eckroth notes that the number of microorganism cells in the body outnumber human cells by about 10:1, so maybe taking care of your gut isnt such a bad idea after all.
There are hundreds of different types of bacteria that live in the gut, but an article published in the journal Genome Medicine reported that the specific combination of bacteria isnt as important as having a wide variety that is able to carry out its duties and be resilient to change. Over time, different bacteria are introduced to the body depending on early life exposure, where you live, your genetics and what you eat. So making gut-friendly food choices is one important area that you can control, and can determine how healthy the bacteria are that make up your microbiome.
When you give your gut the right foods, it feeds the friendly bacteria and helps them grow to out compete the bad bacteria, said Eckroth. Our bodies need to have a thriving diverse microbiome.
According to Eckroth, highly processed foods and sugars can damage the friendly bacteria in the gut. But transitioning to whole foods with plenty of fiber will feed the good bacteria and help them thrive.
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The Negative Impacts Of Our Modern World
As industrialisation swept through the world, developing nations began witnessing changes in individuals microbiota. Organisms such as H. pylori, and the ratio between Prevotella and Bacteroides species, have acted as indicators of a healthy gut. Over time, these ratios have changed, corresponding to altered gut function and poor health.
Currently, the mechanisms that maintain perfect balance in our gut remains unknown. As each individuals microbiome is unique, it makes it difficult to track the exact links. However, it is widely known that when the microbiome is pushed beyond its functioning capacity, due to altered microbial population or diversity, the individual enters an alternative statea pre-disease or a disease state. This state is defined by a host vulnerable to disease and health complications.
Returning to a healthy and balanced gut microbiome it requires a holistic approach, with specific steps to help re-build its diversity.
Influencers Dont Necessarily Know Science
Social media made people famous by promoting an aspirational lifestyle who often receive payment for advertising products and services.
Ask yourself, how many accredited health experts and researchers do you follow? Social media influencers are often highly paid by companies to promote products and/or services. They also made it to the top by sharing opinions, but not necessarily scientific facts.
Its important to do your own research, or else you may find yourself doing some very unscientific stuff and buying all sorts of gut health supplements that some rando with a hundred thousand followers told you to. Dont be afraid to question what youre being told.
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Take A Prebiotic Or Probiotic
Adding a prebiotic or probiotic supplement to your diet may be a great way to improve your gut health. Prebiotics provide food meant to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, while probiotics are live good bacteria. People with bacterial overgrowth, such as SIBO, should not take probiotics. Not all probiotic supplements are high quality or will actually provide benefit. Its best to consult your healthcare provider when choosing a probiotic or prebiotic supplement to ensure the best health benefit.
Experiment With Fermented Foods
Take things to the next level by including a small shot of fermented foods in your diet daily. Fermented foods – like live yogurt, artisanal cheeses, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut – contain living microbes, known as probiotics.
Once youâve eaten them, these bugs can set up home in your gut, increasing the number and diversity of bacteria that make up your microbiome.
Not sure where to start? I always recommend the 4 K’s â kefir, kombucha, kimchi, and kraut. You can also look to plain yogurt with live cultures and cheeses for a gut boost. The key is to include a small shot of fermented foods daily, rather than consuming a large amount of fermented food once in a while.
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Foods That Promote Good Gut Bacteria
You may not realize it, but within your gut theres an entire ecosystem of bacteria that works together to help your body digest food and keep your gut happy and healthy. Your microbiome is made up of beneficial bacteria that do everything from aiding in digestion to boosting your immune system and influencing your mental health.
Researchers are still discovering all of the ways our microbiota affects the bodys processes. While theres still a lot to discover, theres one thing we know for sure: your microbiome is very important!
One of the best things you can do to help promote the diversity and health of your microbiome is make sure your diet is rich with probiotic and prebiotic foods. Prebiotic foods are foods that contain ingredients microbiota feed off of. Probiotic foods contain good bacteria that add more troops to your microbiome.
Fun fact: You can cultivate a new microbiota in just 24 hours by changing what you eat.
Here are 6 foods to add to your diet that will help promote good gut bacteria.
Toxins That Affect The Gut
There are many chemicals and toxins that can cause dysbiosis and impact the health of your gut, such as:
- Plastics and metals such as BPA, BPF, and BPS
- Antibiotics and NSAIDs
- Cleaning products
- Beauty products
Lets take glyphosate as an example. You can find traces of it in sugar, soy, corn, and wheat. It inhibits your cytochrome P450 enzymes, key players in detoxification. And when detoxification is slowed, inflammation rises. Glyphosate can also disrupt the synthesis of certain amino acids. This is why we advocate for eating organic whenever possible.
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Are There Any Lifestyle Changes That We Should Look To Make
Reducing stress and improving our sleep can definitely be helpful in improving our gut health. High levels of stress can deplete our body of key nutrients which support a healthy gut including zinc and vitamin C. A lack of sleep can also mean that our bodys healing and repair mechanisms are compromised and our hormones are out of balance which can place an extra load on our gut and liver.