Probiotics

“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that can be consumed through fermented foods or supplements. Research has shown that establishing the appropriate balance of bacteria in your digestive system is linked to health and wellness.  The idea of probiotics is to provide the appropriate strains of bacteria to create a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.

It is important to remember that all probiotics are not created equal. Different strains of bacteria are recommended to help with different conditions.  As we are focused on weight loss at MWL, the strains that we offer in our probiotic supplement have been shown to help both metabolism and fat absorption.   The benefits of probiotics are multiple however, and the strains that we selected also include improved digestive health, better mood, and improved ability to fight infections. Let’s look at each of these benefits so that you can understand why it is so important to include an excellent probiotic in your regimen.

  1. Obesity

  • The microflora of patients with obesity has lower bacterial diversity than the microflora of lean individuals. The suspected reason behind this may be a diet low in fiber but high in fat. This would promote certain bacteria at the expense of others. Obesity seems to be associated with a reduction in Bifobacteria, with higher Fermiticus and lower Bacterioidis ratio when compared to leaner adults. Increase in short chain fatty acids definitely plays a role.
  • Beneficial intestinal bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria can reset this balance to help promote weight loss. These two strains (available in both the Metagenics and Ortho Molecular probiotics) synthesize bioactive isomers of conjugated linoleic acid that have antidiabetic, anti-atherosclerotic, immunomodulatory, and anti-obesity properties.
  • Other probiotics shown to have anti-obesity effects include the plant-derived lactic acid bacterium Pediococcus pentosaceus LP28, Bacteroides uniformis CECT 7771 and Akkermansia muciniphila, Saccharomyces cerevisiae var boulardii, Enterobacter halii and Akkermansia muciniphila.

How do they work?

  • It is believe that the above probiotics destroy Bile acids and therefore decrease fat absorption. In addition, they may also alter the permeability of the intestinal wall, preventing inflammatory mediators from entering the bloodstream.

Research:

  • In a well-run study in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2014, women consuming Lactobacillus rhamnosus probiotics lost twice as much weight over the 24-week period of the study than those who did not.
  • Another 2010 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed consumption of fermented milk with Lactobacillus gasseri lost 4.6% of their subcutaneous fat over 12 weeks, which had a significant effect on obesity related metabolic disorders.
  1. Cardiovascular Health

  • Supplementation of diet with dairy products fermented with Lactic Acid Bacteria (such as Lactobacillus Acidophilus) can reduce cholesterol levels in humans.
  • Studies have also showed removal of cholesterol by the bacteria Bifidobacterium spp.

How do they work?

  • Possible mechanisms of action of cholesterol lowering by probiotics include cholesterol assimilation by bacteria, deconjugation of bile salts, cholesterol binding to cell walls, and reduction in cholesterol biosynthesis.
  • Probiotics can also lower blood pressure through 2 different mechanisms: 1. Cell wall components act as ACE inhibitors and 2. Bacterial peptidase action on milk protein results in antihypertensive tripeptides.
  1. Depression and Anxiety

If you struggle with depression or anxiety, you should be on a good probiotic.  Accumulating data indicate that the gut microbiota communicates with the CNS through neural, endocrine and immune pathways.  Probiotics can help this communication in a very positive way.

Research:

  • With pre-existing anxiety and depression, a number of human and animal studies show reduced signs of depression and anxiety with probiotic administration.
  • A recent study of patients with MDD (major depressive disorder) who were given a multi-strain probiotic (Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Casei, and Bifobacterium Bifidum) for 8 weeks had beneficial effects on Beck Depression Inventory, insulin resistance, and hs-CRP and glutathione concentrations.
  1. Digestive Health

  • Probiotics appear to improve resistance to enteric pathogens (bad bacteria harmful to the body) through an antibody effect and a systemic immune effect.
  • For folks who are lactose intolerant or sensitive, probiotics appear to aide in lactose digestion.
  • Probiotics also have anticolon cancer effects in that they help prevent colon cancer by detoxification of carcinogenic metabolites, and alterations in pro-cancerous enzymatic activity of colonic microorganisms
  • Regarding IBS: Probiotics are helpful in the general sense, with muliti-strain probiotics better than single strain. One of the most studied probiotics in IBS treatment is Bifidobacterium infantis, often combined with a Lactobacillus.
  1. Immune Health

  • Several reports have shown that lactobacillus in dairy products improve immune health ( longum, L. acidophilus, L. Rhamnosum, Lacatobacillus helveticus).
  • Administration of probiotics has been shown to stimulate both non-specific and specific immunity, to prevent illnesses and improve overall health.
  1. Eczema/Allergies

  • Probiotics prevent antigen translocation into the bloodstream, which prevents an allergic reaction.
  • Probiotics also decrease immune response to excessive stimulation of antigen in the gut.

Research:

  • In a recent study of breast fed infants suffering from atopic eczema lactis and L. rhamnosus GG were found to be effective in decreasing the eczema severity. Furthermore L. rhamnosus GG has been found successful in preventing the occurrence of eczema.

If you have any questions about Probiotics please ask your provider at your next visit.  We also have additional information about both the Metagenics and Ortho Molecular Probiotics available at the office. 

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