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Probiotics and Prebiotics

Probiotics are supplements that contain many different strains of bacteria that mimic the healthy balance of bacteria that found naturally in our gut. These bacteria are typically present at birth and are improved upon by breast feeding. Our immune system, our nutrition and vitamin production relies on these bacteria to maintain our health. We actually have more bacteria on our skin and in our gut then we do human cells! Your Navigator can make sense of all of this for you and chart a course for a healthy gut with you.

Our gut flora (bacteria) needs to be constantly maintained as our traditional diet and assaults by medications and antibiotics alter our bacteria in our intestines. With a high carb diet, we select for bacteria that grow on this food and those bacteria send signals to our brain to eat more of the simple sugars to feed them – a bad cycle for our health.

Antibiotics affect the bacteria in our intestinal tract from mouth to rectum for up to 6 months unless we take corrective action. Even though you took those antibiotics for a respiratory or urinary tract infection, the whole body is affected and they will alter the gut flora considerably. In addition to creating resistant bacteria, your body will now have a significant imbalance of unhealthy and healthy bacteria. Probiotics can help restore this balance and prevent bacterial overgrowth and the potentially deadly C. difficile colitis.

Patients with autoimmune diseases and irritable or inflammatory bowel disease have been found to have alterations in their gut flora. In addition to significantly altering your diet, resetting the balance of gut bacteria can positively influence the course of your disease. Below are some suggestions, but please talk you your doctor or Navigator about which may be best suited for you.

Here is a list of Probiotics that seem to be the best in their class. Of course, what is good for everyone else, may not be good for you, so try them and find the one that works for you. Generally, you want a product with over 10 different strains and the more CFU’s (colony forming units – a general idea of how many viable bacteria you get with each dose) the better.

  • General Health

  • Garden of Life RAW Probiotics Colon Care

  • Contains 50 billion CFU’s

  • 33 strains

  • MegaFlora Probiotics

  • 14 strains

  • 20 billion CFU

  • Post-Antibiotic Recovery

  • Custom Probiotics 11 strain Probiotic Powder

  • Available thru their website

  • 11 strains

  • 260 billion CFU

  • Garden of Life RAW Probiotics 5-day Max Care

  • 34 strains

  • 400 billion CFU

  • Treatment of Diarrhea or Bowel Diseases

  • VSL #3

  • Proven clinically effective

  • 225 billion CFU’s

  • Here is a link to a site dedicated to reviewing supplements to help guide your decision.

Prebiotics are a form of indigestible food starches and soluble fiber. As always, the best way to get these nutritional elements is through whole foods, but you can also take them as a supplement to feed and nourish the healthy bacteria in your gut. There are 2 major kinds of prebiotics – Inulin, a form of Oligosaccharides, and Pectin. Inulin supplements commonly come from chicory root and can be a problem for some people, causing gas and bloating. This occurs more commonly in those with a lot of yeast in their gut. Pectin is found in the skins and peels of various fruits and plants. Raw foods are better, as heating can change some of the fibers into fructose.

There’s good evidence that Prebiotics can help with treating diarrhea, Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Leaky Gut Syndrome and Candida. Promoting healthy gut flora also helps immunity and Prebiotics can reduce cancer-promoting enzymes and bacterial byproducts in the gut. Prebiotics are also shown to reduce systemic inflammation. And a diet high in soluble and insoluble fiber can lower cholesterol and reduce heart disease, diabetes and stroke risk. There are also studies that shows Prebiotics help protect against obesity and help the body absorb nutrients and minerals needed for healthy bones.

Good food sources of Prebiotic fiber are:

  • Fruits

  • Kiwi, raw banana

  • Vegetables

  • Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, leeks, onions, asparagus, dandelion greens, jicama

Here are some of the better Prebiotic supplements out there:

  • Bimuno

  • Perfect Pass

  • Dr. Tobias ultimate Prebiotic

  • Prebiotic plus by Natural Stacks

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