Prebiotics Benefits: What Do Prebiotics Do
Prebiotics nourish your gut microbiome, boost the growth of beneficial bacteria, and promote the production of health-promoting substances.
You probably already consume prebiotics without even realising it because they naturally occur in plant foods, and milk too. The most stable sources of prebiotics are specific types of dietary fibre because they are less sensitive to heat and age, compared to say, polyphenols, which are plant nutrients that can be affected by cooking.
However, just because many fibers are prebiotics doesnt mean that all fibre is prebiotic. Some insoluble fibers cant be broken down by gut microbes. Thats okay because they give mass and bulk to your stools, like psyllium husk and hemicellulose. They help you to have regular bowel movements, thus preventing constipation and abdominal discomfort.
How To Increase Good Bacteria In The Gut Naturally
A good gut diet requires lots of dietary fibres, called prebiotics. You know, the ones found in natural, plant-based foods? Your gut bacteria love them!
The probiotics we mentioned above thrive on prebiotics many of which are the non-digestible carbohydrates in fruit, veg, seeds, grains, and pulses. However, the Western diet is low in foods that promote healthy gut flora, but high in fat, meat, and refined sugar.
Ultimately, this affects our health by reducing healthy gut bacteria and increasing our risk of weight gain, metabolic problems, chronic inflammation, and disease. Fortunately, its an easy problem to solve because your gut bacteria love edible plants.
Alcohol And Gut Health
Getting merry too often can have implications for your intestinal health, not just your head and your wallet.
Simply put, reducing your alcohol consumption is generally just good for your health, but the odd glass of red wine isnt so bad. It contains polyphenols, antioxidants that help protect you from inflammation and disease, and increase the abundance of beneficial bacteria. If you get red and blotchy when you drink, you might have alcohol intolerance.
TIP Find out if you’re predisposed to alcohol intolerance, gluten intolerance and lactose intolerance with the Atlas DNA Test.
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Dysbiosis: What Is It And How To Heal Your Microbiome
Are you experiencing stomach pains, gas, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, brain fog, concentration difficulties, anxiety, pain, or other unexplained symptoms? The answer may be in your gut. Gut dysbiosis refers to microbiome imbalance that may develop as a result of various dietary, lifestyle, environmental, and health factors. Gut dysbiosis can lead to a variety of chronic symptoms and chronic health problems. Fortunately, once you identify the gut flora imbalance, you can address the root cause of your problems, improve your microbiome, and eliminate gut dysbiosis.
In this article, you will learn what dysbiosis is. You will understand the main symptoms and major causes of gut dysbiosis. I will explain the connection between leaky gut syndrome and gut dysbiosis. I will share the top home and lab testing strategies for gut dysbiosis and gut health, and offer my top natural support strategies for gut dysbiosis.
How Do I Restore Good Bacteria
Below youll find some quick and easy tips for restoring good bacteria. For more information on the best strategies for restoring gut flora, see our article here.
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Tips To Speed Up The Restoration Of Good Bacteria
The Life Inside All Of Us
Microbes & me is a new collaborative series between BBC Future and BBC Good Food.
In the series, well be looking at recent research into the microbiome of bacteria that lives in all of us.
Well be exploring how it affects our health, what could be having detrimental effects on it, and recommending recipes that might help it thrive.
Probiotics have been touted as a treatment for a huge range of conditions, from obesity to mental health problems. One of their popular uses is to replenish the gut microbiome after a course of antibiotics. The logic is antibiotics wipe out your gut bacteria along with the harmful bacteria that might be causing your infection, so a probiotic can help to restore order to your intestines.
But while it might sound like sense, there is scant solid evidence suggesting probiotics actually work if taken this way. Researchers have found that taking probiotics after antibiotics in fact delays gut health recovery.
Part of the problem when trying to figure out whether or not probiotics work is because different people can mean a variety of things with the term probiotic. To a scientist, it might be seen as a living culture of microorganisms that typically live in the healthy human gut. But the powdery substance blister packs on supermarket shelves can bear little resemblance to that definition.
Even when researchers use viable, living bacterial strains in their research, the cocktail varies from one lab to another making it tricky to compare.
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The Surprising Finding Was That The Group Who Received The Probiotic Had The Poorest Response In Terms Of Their Microbiome
As expected, a lot of major changes occurred in the function of the microbes many of which died because of the antibiotics, says Elinav.
The volunteers were divided into three groups. The first was a wait-and-see group, with no intervention after the antibiotics. The second group was given a common probiotic for a month. The third was given perhaps the least savoury option: a faecal transplant. This group had a small sample of their own stool taken before the antibiotic treatment returned to their colon once the treatment was over.
The surprising finding was that the group who received the probiotic had the poorest response in terms of their microbiome. They were the slowest group to return to a healthy gut. Even at the end of the study after five months of monitoring this group had not yet reached their pre-antibiotic gut health.
Probiotics won’t work exactly the same for everyone because gut biomes are different
We have found a potentially alarming adverse effect of probiotics, says Elinav.
The good news, incidentally, is that the group who received a faecal transplant did very well indeed. Within days, this group completely reconstituted their original microbiome.
So many people are taking antibiotics all over the world, says Elinav. We can aim to better understand this potentially very important adverse effect that we didnt realise existed.
Effects Of Antibiotics On Gut Flora
Antibiotics are particularly harmful to our precious gut flora. Research shows that antibiotics drastically alter and decrease the diversity and composition of the gut flora. And this diversity does not return without some sort of intervention.
Antibiotics not only decrease the beneficial bacteria in our gut, they also dramatically and negatively affect our immune systems, leaving us vulnerable to illness and disease.
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Take A Probiotic Supplement
If you werent taking a probiotic during your antibiotic course, you can choose one of the below :
- Saccharomyces boulardii biocodex is found in the Florastor brand probiotic and helps to prevent C.diff infections and even helps those who tend to have recurrent C.diff infections. . This strain does not need to be refrigerated, so its very easy to buy saccharomyces boulardii online.
- Visbiome has also been shown to reduce the incidence of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Note that if you buy Visbiome online, you should choose a retailer that ships it refrigerated.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG has been shown to reduce the occurrence of antibiotic-associated diarrhea, as well. Like Florastor, its easy to buy Culturelle online since it does not need to be refrigerated.
Saccharomyces Boulardii Probiotic Benefits
- anti-toxin: it can stop toxins produced by infectious bacteria that make people ill.
- antibacterial: S. boulardii can directly stop infectious bacteria from reproducing.
- microbiome-friendly: this yeast supports normal gut bacteria that dont make you sick.
- anti-inflammatory: it helps prevent inflammation of the gut lining so it works better.
- immune health: S. boulardii helps regulate immune responses.
- nutrients: it helps restore short-chain fatty acid production that keeps the gut healthy.
The benefits of Saccharomyces boulardii mainly apply to your gut where it works to protect against inflammation. It also helps out your immune system, promotes the activities of good bacteria in your gut, and even deters opportunistic microbes that could make you sick.
Many Saccharomyces boulardii benefits come from its ability to stop pathogens and their toxins from infecting the gut, which often results in diarrhea and inflammation.
Infections also hurt the good bacteria in the human gut, but studies show that S. boulardii can help them recover so they can get back work, producing important short-chain fatty acids that keep the gut lining healthy.
FACTIt is recommended that people with yeast allergies or who are taking antifungal medication dont use S. Boulardii supplements.
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Comprehensive Testing For Digestive Health
Home tests are simple and can help you understand your health better. They can help you to identify certain digestive health problems without seeing a professional. However, if you have digestive health troubles and symptoms of gut dysbiosis, further testing is highly beneficial. Here is what I recommend.
How To Balance Your Gut Microbiome
Now Ill tell you about another secret weapon I recommend everyone consider when dealing with an unbalanced microbiome. Microb-Clear® is a cutting-edge blend of botanical extracts, minerals, and fatty acids that create a favorable environment for beneficial bacteria that could have been killed with antibiotics. It also creates an inhospitable environment for microorganisms that have become dysbiotic or imbalanced.
Most bacteria do not live alone, they live in communities. These communities, called biofilms, adhere to surfaces and tend to be multiple species of organisms, commonly bacteria and fungi. Inside the biofilm community, bacteria share nutrients, and even DNA, while undergoing changes to evade your immune system. As a whole, the biofilm can sustain itself with less oxygen and fewer nutrients than individual bacteria great for the bad guys, not great for us! The biofilm is more resistant to antibiotics, forming a physical barrier that even cloaks the bad bacteria from being detected by immune cells.
With biofilms cleared out and an optimal balance of microorganisms in the gut, you are supporting your immune system. I mentioned earlier that 80% of your immune system is headquartered in your gut, and 90% of your neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, are also produced there! By supporting optimal microbiome and gut health with Microb-Clear®, you are setting the stage for optimal health!
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The Length And Number Of Courses
Multiple courses of antibiotics appear to be the most damaging , and higher doses of antibiotics taken over a longer period of time have the biggest impact. This might be shocking news to the many people whooften as teenagerstook antibiotics for months on end in an attempt to treat their acne.
Oluf Pedersen, chief scientist on a 2018 project that looked at the impact of just one course of antibiotics on the microbiome, pointed out that most people will get multiple rounds of exposure to antibiotics. The concern relates to the potentially permanent loss of beneficial bacteria after multiple exposures to antibiotics during our lifetime, he said to journalists for the science news website ars TECHNICA.
How To Restore Gut Health After Antibiotics
Amy Myers, MD
Amy Myers, M.D. is a functional medicine physician, trained and certified by The Institute of Functional Medicine. Dr. Myers earned her Doctor of Medicine at the LSU Health Science Center, and completed her Emergency Medicine residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Dr. Myers retired from her functional medicine clinic, Austin UltraHealth, where she served thousands of patients, to empower those who were failed by conventional medicine. Shes a 2x New York Times bestselling author, and the founder and CEO of the health & lifestyle e-commerce brand, Amy Myers MD®.
If youve ever taken a round of antibiotics to fight an infection, you are not alone! While antibiotics are sometimes unavoidable, nearly 50% of the antibiotics prescribed are unnecessary and do more harm than good.
Antibiotics are the most commonly prescribed medication in the United States. I recommend that no one use antibiotics unless absolutely necessary because they suppress your immune system and disrupt the balance between the good and bad bacteria.
I understand that taking antibiotics may sometimes be unavoidable. Restoring your gut health after a cycle of antibiotics is critical to maintain and achieve optimal health!
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How Long Does It Take For Your Gut Bacteria To Recover After Antibiotics
As we rapidly discover the importance a rich and diverse gut microbiome has on our overall health, some researchers are beginning to ask what the impact of widespread antibiotic use has been on our gut bacteria. A new study has closely examined the regrowth in gut bacteria after major antibiotic interventions, revealing that while much of our microbiome does recover, some species could be permanently eradicated.
The research focused on 12 healthy male subjects, each of who was initially subjected to a four-day treatment comprising three strong antibiotics designed to almost completely eliminate most bacterial species living in their gut. The participants were then monitored for six months to analyze how the microbial flora in their gut recovered.
The initial results were somewhat positive, with most bacterial species reappearing after around one and half months, but not everything returned to normal. At the six-month point the researchers discovered that nine common species of bacteria had still not reappeared in most of the subjects. No conclusions have been made by the researchers to link the missing gut bacteria to specific health effects, but Oluf Pedersen, lead on the study, does suggest recurrent antibiotic use may confer permanent gut bacteria alterations over a person’s lifetime.
The new study was published in the journal Nature Microbiology.
If Youre Stressed So Is Your Gut
Stress negatively impacts many aspects of our health including physical, mental, and even gut health.
Your microbiome doesnt just affect your intestines, it influences other organs, including your brain. If youre feeling stressed out, your microbes can feel it too. It can even decrease the abundance of important probiotic bacteria like Lactobacillus.
Keeping beneficial bacteria at healthy levels can even improve your resilience to adversity. Thats because your gut microbes influence stress levels and mood hormones. Alleviate your stress by avoiding unnecessarily demanding situations, and try some techniques like breathing exercises and meditation.
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How A Healthy Microbiome May Prevent Coronavirus Infections
When your gut is healthy, you have a much better chance of staving off infections. So, it makes sense that a healthy gut microbiome could prevent you from severe COVID-19 infection. In addition, people with high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity have the worst outcomes when they become ill from COVID-19 and other infections. And these conditions are associated with negative changes in the composition of the gut microbiome, possibly from medications as well as diet.
A preliminary study showed that a less-than-optimal gut microbiome was highly correlated with proinflammatory cytokines and that certain gut microbiota can predispose individuals to severe COVID-19. The reason may be because the coronavirus enters the body by binding to the ACE2 enzyme, which plays an important role in the regulation of intestinal inflammation and affects the microbes that play a role in diseases of the heart and lungs. This may mean that a healthy gut microbiome prevents some COVID-19 patients from experiencing the cytokine storm seen in severe cases.
Like everything else, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to your microbiome. You may be a strict vegetarian, eat the Paleo way or fall somewhere in between. The key is to keep supporting your microbiome with the foods that are healthy for you.
How have you taken measures to heal your gut? Do you notice a difference in your overall health? Please share your comments below.
How Can I Help My Gut Bacteria To Recover After Antibiotics
Theres no definitive way to help your gut bacteria recover after antibiotics. The reality is that even though the science on the microbiome is advancing fast, theres still so much we dont know.
Theres something we know for sure: a healthy microbiome is all about diversity, and antibiotics definitely dont encourage that. You can take charge of your gut health and learn ways to improve the diversity of your microbiome on our Gut Health Program.
For now, lets take a look at what research can tell us about how to increase that diversity, whether thats after antibiotics or not.
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