Tag Archives: probiotics

Spore probiotics: The latest innovation in probiotics

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As we continue to learn how important healthy gut bacteria is for the brain and immune system, interest in cultivating a rich and diverse “gut microbiome” grows. One important tool in this quest are spore-based probiotic supplements. “Spore” is derived from the word “seed,” and spore-based probiotics are a hardy delivery system that germinate in the small intestine and help you colonize your gut with more healthy bacteria.

Modern humans face many challenges to developing and maintaining healthy gut bacteria. In fact, studies of primitive people who live much like our hunter gatherer ancestors did show their guts have about 50 percent more diversity in gut bacteria than the average American. Researchers are finding this lack of microbiome diversity plays a role in many chronic health and brain disorders, including depression and autoimmunity.

Low-fiber, junk food diets, antibiotic overuse, chlorinated water, heavy environmental toxin and pollution loads, chronic stress, alcohol, and various medications all play a role in reducing the diversity and amount of beneficial gut bacteria. As a result, opportunistic and infectious “bad” gut bacteria are able to more easily conquer the gut. This weakens the gut lining, increases inflammation, and promotes brain and mood disorders.

There are many ways we can build a healthy and diverse population of gut bacteria. The most important is to eat a whole foods diet that is predominantly vegetables and fruits. It’s important to vary the kind of produce you eat regularly. It’s also helpful to include cultured and fermented foods and take probiotics. Also, avoid drugs such as antibiotics, NSAIDs, and heartburn medication as much as possible.

Given the challenges the modern gut faces, it’s not a bad idea to make probiotics a part of your routine. This is where spore-based probiotics come in. What makes spore-based probiotics special?

  • They survive the acidic environment of the stomach on their way to the intestines.
  • They resist breakdown by digestive enzymes.
  • They are heat stable and don’t need to be stored in the refrigerator.
  • Some spores are antibiotic-resistant, which means they’re equally beneficial while taking antibiotics.

Once in the small intestine, spore-based probiotics can germinate if you provide the right environment with plenty of plant fiber.

Spore probiotics, and healthy gut bacteria in general, can help improve your health in several ways. They improve the health and integrity of the lining of the small intestine. This lining contains not only bacteria but also plenty of immune cells to defend against bad bacteria, yeast, toxins, undigested foods, and other pathogens that can trigger inflammation if they make their way through the gut lining into the bloodstream.

One strain of spore-based probiotic, bacillus coagulans, has been well studied for its beneficial effect on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease. Bacillus coagulans produces lactic acid, which has been shown to help protect the gut and boost immune resistance to viruses. It has also been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.

Ask me for more information on how to support healthy gut bacteria and help eradicate bad bacteria to improve immune health.

How to keep your gut healthy while traveling abroad

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Nothing refreshes the mental landscape better than an exciting trip to a foreign land. However, nothing can have you regretting that adventure more than being glued to the toilet with traveler’s diarrhea or vomiting instead of traipsing through temples and markets.

With some advance planning and knowledge about gut health, stomach bugs, and supplements that can protect your gut, you may be able to breeze through your trip without days-long sessions in the hotel bathroom.

Nix stomach bugs with hydrochloric acid

Hydrochloric acid (HCl) is the acid in the stomach. You can also obtain it in a supplement. Why would you want to take an acid when it seems everyone is taking antacids? Because it’s our first line of defense against stomach bugs and can help prevent traveler’s diarrhea.

It may surprise you to know that many adults are deficient in HCl, especially the ones who suffer from acid reflux and pop antacids. This is because if stomach acid is low, food in the stomach is improperly digested. This lack of acidity also fails to trigger the valves that usher the food into the intestines. As a result, it ferments in the stomach, causing that burning feeling, and then shoots back up into the esophagus, scalding its delicate tissue. Although antacids bring relief, they fail to address the problem of low stomach acid.

HCl is vital to not only digest food, but also to kill bacteria, yeast, and other harmful pathogens. When stomach acid is low, you are more vulnerable to stomach bugs. Throw in strange, new cuisine of questionable hygiene in a developing country and you’ve got yourself an impending date with the porcelain god. Or the hole in the bathroom floor.

The best way to avoid this is to take HCl supplements with your meals. It’s best to begin this regimen before your trip so you can acclimate your digestive system to the change in chemistry and dial in your dose. Keep upping the dose with each meal until you feel burning. Then go back to the previous dose. As your natural acidity improves, you may find you need less over time. However, while traveling, it’s a good idea to take HCl prophylactically to lower the risk of traveler’s diarrhea.

Probiotics outwit bad bugs by beefing up the good bugs

Another great digestive force to support is your own colony of beneficial gut bacteria. Recent research has established how vital the three to four pounds of gut bacteria in our intestines are to our mental, immune, and digestive health.

It’s hard to say whether popping probiotics only during your travels will prevent traveler’s diarrhea. But if you start beefing up the good bugs several months prior, you’ll head into uncharted culinary territory better fortified.

One of the best ways to nourish your good bacteria is to make vegetables a primary part of every meal, even breakfast. Add cultured foods and drinks to your diet (such as kefir and kimchi), and supplement with probiotics. You may also need an herbal cleanse of the harmful bacteria to “weed the inner garden.” Ask me for advice.

Best prevention to traveler’s diarrhea is a healthy gut

The best way to lower your risk of traveler’s diarrhea is to start your travels with a healthy intestinal environment. This includes making sure you have sufficient stomach acid, repairing leaky gut, cleansing out overgrowths of bad bacteria and yeasts, and eating a whole foods diet that is primarily vegetables while avoiding sweets, processed foods, and restaurant foods. Ask me for more info on preventing traveler’s diarrhea.

Seasonal allergy relief starts with the gut

image25Do beautiful spring days have you cooped up inside, sneezing and sniffing miserably? Before reaching for the antihistamines, consider the role your gut health plays in allergy symptoms.

Allergies actually begin long before the hallmark symptoms of sniffling, sneezing, and itchy eyes manifest. How?

An estimated 80 percent of the immune system resides in the gut, and when digestive problems set in, immune problems are sure to follow. A chronically inflamed gut—which causes indigestion, heartburn, bloating, pain, diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel disorders, and more—sends the immune system into overdrive.

As a result, the body becomes hypersensitive and overreacts to stuff it shouldn’t, including pollen, grass, and other triggers associated with spring.

Because allergy symptoms frequently start with poor digestive function, the gut is a great place to start for relief.

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