Will A Probiotic Really Help Me?
The human digestive tract is home to over 100 trillion microorganisms. We have so many microorganisms living in us that only 1 out of 10 cells in our bodies is our own. Crazy right!? So, it's no wonder that the delicate balance of this ecosystem would have huge effects on our health.
Recent studies have shown promising links between having the right balance of gut flora and being able to maintain a healthy weight. It is also well known that what we put in our mouths has a huge impact on the type of flora inhabiting our intestines. Aligning these two factors can be the key to your weight loss, your good mood, and so many other things connected to our microbiome.
Evidence is showing that a diet high in plant foods has 3 ways it interacts with gut flora: first, the fiber only found in plant foods (cellulose) is digested by the good flora in your gut. This process releases propionate. You probably don’t care to know all the fancy names, but you should care about what this short chain fatty acid does for you. It has 3 main functions directly related to your weight: it decreases cholesterol, slows your digestion by making you feel fuller longer, and inhibits the formation of new fat cells. The digestion of fiber from your plant intake also forms a second short chain fatty acid called butyrate. Butyrate inhibits the growth of cancer cells in your colon and has amazing anti-inflammatory properties. The third way plants work with your gut flora to curb obesity is by feeding good the bacteria and starving the bad.
In a study of the flora in thin people versus obese people, it was found that skinny people have a higher amount of Bacteroides in their colon and obese people have a higher amount of Firmicutes. It is known that polyphenols found in fruits, green tea, and vinegar promote the growth of Bacteroides and suppress Firmicutes.
Wow, that was a lot to digest. Ha Ha! Sorry, really bad joke. But, to put it in plain English, plant food grows gut flora that makes you skinny while hindering the growth of gut flora that makes you fat. Sorry for all the big words, but some of you, I know, will want to check my sources. I have two links below that give more in-depth explanations and cite the pertinent research.
So, how does this relate? and should I take probiotics or not? Well, as often is the case in my line of work...it depends. I have long told my clients that not all probiotics work the same for everyone. Just like bio-individuality when it comes to food, the same logic applies to the kind of probiotics you should take. Lactobacillus acidophilus is better after taking antibiotics and for preventing bladder infections in women. Lactobacillus plantaris is great for its anti-inflammatory properties and is best for people with inflammatory bowel conditions like Crohn’s. Most people will benefit from taking a probiotic, but equally important is your diet with a lot of plant-based nutrition.
If you have been following me long enough, you know how I feel about seasonally detoxing your body and resetting your digestive system. The fiber and polyphenols in your fruits and veggies will work with the probiotics and your morning elixir to do all the wonderful things that new research is showing to be true.
Nothing can replace eating a healthy diet loaded with a rainbow of fresh, clean plant food. But when things don’t feel right, a good round of probiotics just might do the trick – and could help shed a few pounds, too!
http://nutritionfacts.org/video/fawning-over-flora/ part 1 of three (follow the links to get to the research)
If you enjoyed this post and are wanting to THRIVE, not just survive, consider working with me as your personal health coach. Together we will make an actionable plan based on where you are and where you want to be. All of my plans include a comprehensive health history, food plan, recipes, shopping lists and a plethora of support materials, not to mention all the mindfulness tools & techniques I teach you to put those gremlins to rest for good! If your gut has become the baine of your existence then you might be interested in my 8-Week Vibrant Gut Restoration Program.
I also invite you to join me on my Facebook page, facebook.com/drlaramay, where I’ll be sharing more information, tips, and recipes to help you live a happier, healthier life.
To your wellness,
- Dr. Lara
Do you suffer from gas, diarrhea, or constipation? Is your tummy often not happy with you? Download this free e-book and start rebuilding your gut health ASAP.
Also, check out some of my past blogs on GI health...
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Hi! I'm Lara (pronounced like Sarah, but with a L).
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