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November 17, 2021
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Digestion and Health- Probiotics

What you need to know about Probiotics

You are what you eat, or you are what you absorb. You could be absorbing anywhere from 10% to 90% of the nutrients you ingest.

Some cases of obesity are a result of poor absorption. If you are not absorbing your food properly, your body might want to prompt you to eat more so it can feed the starving cells.

Absorption is the route of health or disease.

There are two (2) ways in which nutrients get to the cells

  1. Diffusion; through the walls of the intestines
  2. Active transport; nutrients attach themselves to one molecule attached to another in the circulatory or lymphatic system


Probiotics are living organisms that are beneficial to health when administered in adequate amounts. The major probiotics available today include;

  1. Lactobacillus
  2. Bifidobacterium
  • Soil-based bacteria
  1. Spore Forming Bacteria

Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium produce bacteria by eating both sugar and lactose. They ferment food. Lactobacillus can inhibit candida growth. They are transient, moving through the gut system when they are consumed, but they don’t colonize or form in the gut.

Soil Based Bacteria and Spore Forming Bacteria are highly resistant. They can survive in any environment and grow rapidly. They can eat and survive antibiotics. An example is the Bacillus subtilis

Spore forming probiotics is recommended to be taken with food. The food moves the probiotic from the dormant to the active stage in the GI Tract. Bacteria are smart and can communicate

By learning about probiotics, you should be able to

  1. Understand the benefits of probiotics
  2. Know what to look for when purchasing a probiotic supplement
  3. Describe the difference between probiotics and fermented food
  4. Define and differentiate between prebiotics and post biotics


  1. Lactic Acid Bacteria
  • Promotes regular bowel movements
  • Produce antimicrobials that can ward off pathogenic bacteria
  • Help the body absorb minerals and nutrients
  • Support healthy levels of stomach acid
  • Encourage the production of digestive enzymes
  • Aids in the detoxification process by consuming toxins


Navigating the World of Probiotic Supplements

Here, we look at the most important qualities to look for in probiotics. A probiotic is worth considering if you haven’t taken antibiotics in recent years, you eat processed foods, or live in urban areas. Western lifestyle results in a compromised microbiome even if you are generally healthy.

A probiotic is not a good idea for you if you have sensitive irritable bowel (SIBO). SIBO is an overgrowth of lactic acid in the small intestine. Remove the overgrowth before adding a probiotic for more regular and well-formed stools. Changes may occur due to the changes in your microbiome at the time

If discomfort occurs, lower the dose or stop them altogether.

When looking for probiotics, there are 5 things to consider

  1. Consumer vs Practitioner brands
  2. The number of colony-forming units (CFUs)
  3. The number of various strains
  4. The research on the strains
  5. Additive, fillers or binders


If you have a compromised immune system. If someone’s immune system is strained, it would be a bad idea to introduce a probiotic

Probiotics should be tested as a preventative and NOT as a treatment. When starting probiotics, expect more gas, bloating and discomfort.

Remember, every person’s microbiome is different, so there is no one size fits all “best” strain when it comes to probiotics

Bio-individuality is what plays here. Clients should listen to their bodies and find out what works for them.

The five common questions around probiotic supplements

  1. Do probiotics require refrigeration? Yes/No. To maintain CFUs, refrigeration is important
  2. Can probiotics be genetically modified? Yes
  3. Does this probiotic use human strains? They are mostly from cows
  4. Are probiotics a waste of money?
  5. How do you know what is truly probiotic?


Prebiotic, Symbiotic and Fermented Foods

Examine the relationship between probiotics, prebiotics and fibre, as well as how and when fermented foods are beneficial

Prebiotics are the foods that feed the probiotics in your gut. They include fibres that cannot be digested. Probiotics cannot survive without food. Prebiotics are also anything that feeds or stimulates the growth of probiotic bacteria in a way that improves health. Prebiotics are the garden, while bacteria are the plants. They are your plants’ fertilizers to grow.

The benefits of probiotics include

  • Increased calcium absorption, leading to an improvement of bone density
  • Increased magnesium absorption
  • Positive effects on the immune system
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Supports with weight loss
  • Can help reverse non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and can have a positive effect on gut barrier function or leaky gut

Important things to know about probiotics include

  1. They aren’t absorbed in the upper GI Tract
  2. Must resist the acidity of the stomach
  • Have the ability to be fermented by the intestinal bacteria

All fruits and vegetables are prebiotics because they contain soluble fibre. Soluble fibre absorbs water and forms a gel-like substance (like oats when soaked overnight) Soluble fibre is broken down and fermented by the colon, forming a prebiotic. The husk of the psyllium in oats is insoluble fibre; a prebiotic fibre

Psyllium doesn’t favour women as men. The outcome of intolerance

Debunking the Myth of Probiotics

Myth #1

Probiotics do not survive stomach acid

Myth #2

There are already so many bacteria in your stomach that adding a few more is pointless.

The end goal of taking probiotics is to support a healthy microbiome and stimulate the immune system. Probiotics may neutralize toxins that contribute to a leaky gut.

Myth #3

Supplements aren’t necessary. Why not just eat some yoghurt.

Most of our yoghurts are pasteurized, meaning the bacteria are killed, and the product is loaded with sugar.

Myth #4

Fermented foods have more bacterial variety than probiotics, making supplements inferior.

Not all strains are the same or perform the same function


Consumer versus Practitioner Brands

Distinguish between consumer and practitioner brands.

Practitioner brands are only sold by practitioners and should be overseen while taken. They are usually a much higher dosage and might cause more detox symptoms. This type may be useful if an individual has more gut bacteria or has symbiosis.

Consumer probiotics are sold over the counter, or sold online or in retail stores. These brands are useful for maintenance and promoting general well-being

Spore forming bacteria require a much lower count to be effective e.g. Bacillus subtilis. Lactic acid bacteria should be of a higher count. CFU of 1 billion

Pay attention to the number of strains. Some may have 1 strain, and others 12 strains. It is better to get one with more strains that will provide a synergistic effect

Note the research on strains. When looking at the label of a probiotic, sometimes, there are numbers and letters on a strain name e.g. Lactobacillus Plantarum 299v (strain specific). Every strain may be different, and maybe different for the requirements of each person. You can check if a strain is resistant to antibiotics. Fermentations are actually not probiotics, though they do provide great benefits.

Lastly, look at the fillers and additives and binder in the probiotic. Some formulas may require additives and filler to make the product stable.

Avoid supplements that contain magnesium stearate, silica, and titanium dioxide

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