Probiotics improve health & immunity

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    Probiotics improve health & immunity

    Probiotics improve health & immunity

    In the balance between good and evil, who will win? When it comes to the trillions of microorganisms that reside in our gut, we want the good guys to have the upper hand. The complex communities of microorganisms that colonize the gut play a pivotal role in human health. Formally called flora, these good microbiota are in a symbiotic relationship with their human host. That’s right! You need them to survive, and they need you. These good guys play many important roles in the body such as supporting the actions of the immune system by acting as a first line of defense. They obtain energy from indigestible carbohydrate, aid mineral absorption, eliminate toxins, and produce nutrients such as short-chain fatty acids, certain vitamins, and certain amino acids. Research also shows that they influence gene expression.

    80% of Immune System Resides in Your Gut
    The evidence is clear that good microbiota must significantly outnumber the bad ones to avoid health issues. Many conditions and diseases are demonstrating that their roots take hold when the good populations are compromised. Such an imbalance is known as dysbiosis. Obesity, skin conditions, allergies, food intolerances, autoimmune disease, depression, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are just a few of the conditions linked to dysbiosis. The microbiota in a woman’s gut even have a profound impact on the future health of her developing child. The signs of dysbiosis are not always as obvious as gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, but could be more vague complaints such as fatigue, frequent colds, joint pain, low mood, or just feeling unwell. Improving gut health has demonstrated improvements in not only these conditions but also cognitive issues, mood disorders, and even autism and ADHD. If you are committed to good health and getting peak results from your training and diet, then you want your gut to stay healthy.

    Diet and lifestyle strategies to support gut health:
    1. Eliminate processed foods, sugar, fructose, caffeine, and alcohol
    2. Reduce stress
    3. Drink water that has been filtered to remove chlorine
    4. Eat certified organic foods to reduce chemical and pesticide exposure
    5. Avoid artificial sweeteners
    6. Minimize antibiotic use except when necessary

    Some of the suggestions above are easier to avoid than others. The single best thing you can do to protect your health is to eat probiotic rich foods and take a high-quality probiotic supplement daily.

    When choosing a probiotic, look for the following:
    1. 100% human strains. These are the most compatible with your digestive system. They have the best ability to colonize and thrive.
    2. Complete gastrointestinal (GI) protection. Look for a formula designed to inhabit and protect the entire length of the GI tract.
    3. A multiple dosing strategy. Leaders in the field state that this is the ideal way to colonize the gut.
    4. Cryo-protection for viability and longevity of the probiotic.
    5. Professional formulation and bioenergetical testing (energy feedback through meridian pathways) for high compatibility.

    I predict the two most revolutionary trends in health and fitness over the next several years will be in the areas of genetic testing and bacteria. The first is pretty obvious, but the second may come as a surprise. Then consider the 100 trillion tiny bugs and over 1,000 potential species living in and on our bodies, mainly in the gut. The fascinating part is that we all have different numbers and species of bacteria. The type of bacteria that resides in our guts is determined by our diet, antibiotic use, and genetics, and this profile varies greatly among individuals. Most importantly, the concentration and type of our bacteria profile is associated with several aspects of health, immunity, and body fat!

    Among the basic, well-established effects of these little critters are protection of the body against disease-causing microbes and aid in absorption of nutrients, especially in the lower gut.

    Your microbiota (the body’s bacteria) also help determine your body fat levels. Research demonstrates that when you introduce the gut bacteria of obese animals into normal-sized animals, the normal animals become obese. Also, when human gut bacteria are transplanted into mice, these mice get significantly fatter too. As might be suspected then, gut bacteria of obese people are significantly different than that found in people of a healthy weight. For instance, certain bacteria of the Firmicutes variety are significantly increased in obese people, and levels decrease dramatically when they lose weight. On the other hand, bifidobacteria levels are lower in obese individuals. Not only that, but those people with fewer and less diverse microbiota in the body are at significantly greater risk of obesity.

    Scientists have discovered that certain bacteria can increase body fat through fermentation of various fibres and other carbs into short-chain fatty acids. Obese people have more of the types of bacteria that can produce these fats, and thus more of the calories they eat from fibre and carbohydrates are absorbed and can be retained as body fat.

    Certain bacterias can even stimulate the endocannabinoid pathway, increasing appetite. Yes, it’s the same pathway that gives pot smokers “the munchies”!

    So, how do we achieve “lean” bacteria? Well, you can’t do much about your genetics, and I certainly wouldn’t second-guess a good doctor if he or she tells you to use an antibiotic, but we can change our diets and certain supplements that can help jack up the good bacteria and decrease the bad guys.

    You can take probiotics (the actual bacteria, which may improve your gut bacteria profile) or prebiotics (not actually bacteria but are made up of fibre that acts as “food” for good bacteria). The best prebiotic is fructooligosaccharide (or oligofructose), which is a potent stimulator of Bifidobacteria, (found to be present in low concentrations in obese people). It’s found in several types of fruit and vegetables.

    Probiotics are a little more hit and miss, and this goes back to why bacteria is more of a future trend than a current solution. You see, until you can determine someone’s unique bacteria profile, what the optimal bacteria to introduce is, and what optimal final profile is best, you can’t be very sure of producing positive effects. However, someday, just as we will all have our genes tested so doctors can treat us more effectively (so we can use more effective diet and exercise protocols geared to our personal genetics), we’ll have our bacterial profile diagnosed to treat everything from depression to obesity.

    Probiotic may be anti-fat

    At Vanderbilt University, a group of scientists and researchers have genetically modified a strain of normal human gut bacteria to see its effects on weight gain and insulin resistance on mice who were put on a high-fat diet. In all animals (humans included), gut/intestinal health is a huge determinant of not just risk for chronic diseases but also potential for weight gain, insulin resistance, and other adverse effects of a high-fat diet. Probiotics are microorganisms that are ingested to provide health benefits to the body, positively modify the flora in the gut, and replace harmful microbes with useful ones. The probiotic these scientists “created” helped the mice lower their food intake, body fat, and insulin resistance. It’s only a matter of time before this becomes available for human consumption. In the meantime, take probiotics now for improved health and weight loss!

    C + E = B-A-D
    Vitamin C is good for you because it’s a potent antioxidant that helps repair damage caused by the free radicals in your body. It’s also helpful when used to form collagen, a protein in your body used to make tendons and ligaments, among other things. Vitamin E is also a potent antioxidant and has been shown in some studies to lessen the severity of certain inflammatory disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis. But what happens when you’re a hard-training athlete and you take both? According to a study published in the Journal of Physiology, not only did endurance athletes given 1000 milligrams of vitamin C and 235 milligrams of vitamin E daily for 11 weeks see no improvement in VO2 max numbers and running performance, but it was also shown that vitamins C and E hampered impeded certain adaptations in the cells of the exercised muscles. Muscles need to adapt in order to recover. The worse the adaptation, the worse the recovery.
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