RadioMD: Inherently You with Dr. Holly Lucille

Probiotics: How Does Your Gut Garden Grow

December 13, 201626 min
Learn the basics of probiotics and how the gut microbiome works.Probiotics products are designed to give you health benefit. The term probiotic actually comes from Greek biota, meaning “life.” Your body hosts a microbiome— a collection of microorganisms. The human body contains more bacteria than anything else. Every aspect of your health is influenced by your microbiome. It may be more important for your health to take a quality probiotic than a multivitamin. Most probiotics contain lactobacillus and bifido bacteria strains. These are the primary strains in the gut. The approach for the past hundred years has been to replenish these bacteria with probiotics. There now seems to be a better way. It’s tough for live bacteria to survive the digestive system to their destination in the gut. An endospore on some probiotics can help it reach the intestine before it comes to life. Bacillus strains naturally occur in the gut to the tune of two to three million. Adding billions more via a probiotic will create a stimulatory effect. They should survive about a month and help your gut bacteria garden grow. The number of colony forming units (CFUs) needed depends on your unique microbiome. For example, your body’s bifido bacteria decreases with age so you may need more as you grow older. Your medication and antibiotic history will affect the supplementation you need. Stress depletes gut bacteria. Diet, alcohol consumption and drinking chemically treated tap water can alter your probiotic needs. Pre-existing digestive issues can influence your supplementation. Probiotics research is done at the strain level. It’s better to replenish specific strains instead of a fifteen-strain cocktail to try to achieve diversity. Diversity is achieved by taking a product that feeds the good bacteria and eliminating the bad bacteria. Specific strains can be treated for specific conditions. What about probiotics benefit from yogurt and kefir? Most yogurts have very little probiotic benefit because most probiotics die before reaching the gut. Many yogurts have sugar which is counterproductive to a healthy gut. Listen in as Tina Anderson and Dr. Holly Lucille discuss the basics of probiotics and improving your microbiome.

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