Can Pre- and Probiotics supplements actually improve gut health?
Research and my clinic experience say yes. Probiotics have been proven to be helpful in several conditions, such as irritable bowel, yeast infections, weaken immune function, and even weight loss. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all', so choosing the right probiotic can be a tricky task. You have to first ask yourself ‘what are you looking to achieve?’. If you’re looking to improve digestive health, such as gas, bloating and irregular stools, look for a probiotic that's rich in bifidobacteria, such as b. animalis and b. infantis. For repeat yeast infections and urogenital health, you’re better off with lactobacillus species, such as l. acidophilus, l. rhamnosus and l. reuteri. Furthermore, some probiotic strains are not seen in the human microbiome but have been shown to prevent traveller's diarrhea or antibiotic-associated diarrhea, such as s. boulardii.
According to a new study presented by Dr. El-Salhy at the United European Gastroenterology week in Spain, fecal microbial transplants (FMT) may significantly improve the pain and distress caused by irritable bowel syndrome, if transplants come from what has been termed a 'super-donor'.
The double-blind, randomized control trial study found that 75-89% of recruits aged 18-75 receiving 30-60 g of endoscope administered feces into the duodenum donated same day from a human 'super donor' reported significant benefits in their overall IBS symptoms after 3 months, with no long term adverse effects (1). Slightly greater benefits were observed in the patients receiving higher dose transplants and/or repeat transplants (2). Furthermore, Dr. El-Salhy suggested that preliminary results show 90-95% of the patient who responded are still well 1 year later, and 50% are 'cured' (3).
Calories in versus calories out was the de facto weight loss equation for decades. To lose weight, you simply reduce the number of calories consumed while increasing the number of calories used. However, the simple equation that we have adhered to as part of a healthy lifestyle may have actually been hindering our weight loss efforts. As our understanding of health and nutrition improves, so does what we know about the simple calorie equation – and this knowledge is changing the plate of the modern diet.
1. Not all calories are created equal.
One reason why strictly counting calories can be an ineffective way to lose weight is that not all calories are good calories. While the energy content of calories is essentially the same in that they are an equal unit of energy, calories derived from whole foods are more effectively processed by the body than those found in processed foods. In other words, where a particular calorie comes from will have varying effects on hunger, hormones, and weight.
The gnawing, unrelenting discomfort and bloating of indigestion. Most have felt it, whether brought on by spicy food, greasy meals, alcohol or just simply overeating. Or maybe its pain after eating. Food comes in, and the stomach begins to cramp, leaving you doubled over in pain. The occasional occurrence will usually resolve on its own, but if it's becoming chronic, you’re likely frequenting the pharmacy shelf with little relief. So you head to the natural food aisle or health food store.
Digestive enzymes promise to fix everything from bloating to flatulence to heartburn relief. However, understanding how digestive enzymes work helps narrow down when to use them, and when to avoid wasting your dollars.
We all know that getting enough sleep is important. But how important? Sleep impacts our mental health, emotional health, and physical health. But with our busy lives and hectic schedules, it’s often easy to put a good night’s rest on the back burner.
Sometimes, even when we get into bed at a reasonable hour, we may not be able to fall asleep or stay asleep. However, recent research confirms continuous sleep deprivation can have more far-ranging consequences on health than we may have once realized, with negative impacts demonstrated on our intestinal microbiomes, immune system, insulin resistance and weight management, amongst a myriad of other health issues.
Many health trends come and go, but one dietary trend that has seemed to endure the craze is intermittent fasting.
The primary reason intermittent fasting (IF) has remained so popular is because it offers flexibility to fit a busy schedule, and (while I don't typically advise mindlessly eat as long as your fasting) it doesn't ultimately demand restricted eating.
What is intermittent fasting, and how is it done?
Intermittent fasting is defined as diet regimen that cycles through a period of time in which the body is driven into a catabolic state through fasting, where no significant calorie intake occurs, met with periods of fed states where no calorie restriction occurs. The windows for fasting are typically around 16 hours, met with an 8 hour fed state.
We typically don't give much thought to our gall bladder when we think about digestion, or hormones for that matter. While critical to more than just digesting fats, the importance of this tiny organ sitting tucked below our liver is often overlooked. Unless you’ve had gallstones or experienced some form of gallbladder disease, you might not even be aware of its function.
While originally thought to be a disorder brought on later in life by obesity and a high saturated fat diet, I’m seeing more and more young, thin and otherwise healthy women in my practice with disease of the gall bladder; from sludge to stones, to full cholecystectomy (removal) by the time they’re 30. This presents questions surrounding the variables causing gall disease and brings us back to their relationship to hormones.
One of the core principles of functional medicine is to nourish the body and ensure it is getting the appropriate balance of nutrients to stay healthy. Traditionally, this was achieved in a hunter-gather diet by eating colourful whole foods and by practicing “nose-to-tail” eating of meat, which included the consumption of skin, cartilage, marrow, tendons/ligaments, and other parts of the animal that are now typically discarded. Unfortunately, much of this practice has been lost as a result of prepared meats, microwaves, and canned soups over homemade stocks. As a result, our diets have become deprived of an important protein, known as collagen.
There is a lot of noise in the health industry lately about collagen supplementation. The concept of supplementing collagen attempts to regain what we’ve lost from our primitive diet, but the question becomes if supplementation has any benefit.
Benefits of Collagen
I’ll admit that when I first heard about the trend of supplementing collagen, I wasn't on board. It made no sense to me. Collagen is a tissue found in our bodies made from amino acids, vitamin C, etc. So how could supplementingthe end product collagen benefit us? But as it turns out, research in mice shows that hydrolyzed collagen peptides (from gelatin) have a 95% absorption rate at 12 hours after intake, and it distributes in the body similar to that of raw amino acids, with the exception of cartilage (1). Collagen was seen to concentrate more than twice as high in cartilaginous tissue that raw amino acids (1), giving collagen some unique benefits. So, I jumped on the bandwagon.
© 2018 Courtney Holmberg ND. All rights reserved. Dr. Courtney Holmberg, ND does not endorse or have professional affiliation with any discussed supplement or lab companies. All material provided is for general education and may not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended to assist in diagnosing to treating a medical condition. Legal & Medical Disclaimer, sitemap