Updated: May 25, 2022
Are you getting enough probiotics and prebiotics in your diet? If not, you may be missing out on some key health benefits. In this post, we'll explain what probiotics and prebiotics are, and discuss the benefits of getting enough of them in your diet. We'll also provide a few tips for how to make sure you're getting the right amount of probiotics and prebiotics each day. Read on to learn more!
Probiotics, as we know, for the most part, are bacteria. We think, initially of germs, infection, and disease. We have bacteria that reside on and within our bodies. They're on our skin, in the nose, mouth, and especially in the gut.
However, there is more to them than that. Not all probiotics are created equal. Some types of probiotics can offer tremendous health benefits, while others may not be as effective. Probiotics are an important part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. We need to understand how we can make sure that we keep this healthy microbiome.
We think of probiotics as kind of like a blanket term that encompasses all of these microorganisms that make up your microbiome.
The benefits of probiotics
One of the major benefits of probiotics, as we know, is better gut health and improved digestion. It can help support your gut health by preventing any pathogenic invaders from entering. Those pathogenic invaders could be anything that we're eating, drinking, or any environmental toxins we may encounter.
It helps to lower inflammation as definitely as it helps with maintaining good skin. Nutrients like Vitamin B12, Vitamin K2, and butyrate help fuel those probiotics. It helps to crowd out the bad bad bacteria that we can ingest and comes every day.
It helps to regulate the central nervous system and it can even have an impact on lowering blood pressure. The use of probiotics can give us food allergy protection, especially at a very young age. Babies who are born vaginally have a better chance of having a healthy microbiome than babies who are born through a C-section. This is because they get all of the good bacteria when they travel through the vaginal canal.
Some examples of different probiotics in food could be:
Yogurt (Yogurt is a good source of probiotics. We can make it with coconut milk as an alternative to cow's milk because cow's milk can be inflammatory to some people.)
Certain supplements that we can get them from
People often ask when is the best time to take their probiotics. I used to do it in the evening as part of my evening regimen. However, I shifted more towards having them first thing in the morning before breakfast. If you want you're probiotic to work well, you need to eat breakfast right after taking it. This will help it move through your stomach along with food.
What are the things to consider when choosing a probiotic supplement?
There are so many different probiotics out there. You want to look for a reputable company that’s established and has good customer reviews. We have several brands that we use here at Vitality Natural Wellness and Medspa, so it means we can help guide you. Ortho Molecular is one of them, but there are several others.
Look for a probiotic in CFU counts.
CFU stands for colony-forming units. Kids require between 5 and 10 billion CFU. On the other hand for adults, we need between 10 and 20 billion CFU. Undeniably, this varies depending on an individual base, but it's a nice average.
Some probiotics have a shelf life, and some need to be refrigerated.
I have always been a big proponent of probiotics, especially those that do not need to be refrigerated. I prefer these probiotics because they have a longer shelf life and I can keep them easily in my pantry or medicine cabinet. I like knowing that I have access to these helpful nutrients even if I am unable to get to the store right away or if I travel for work. I also prefer not having to worry about whether or not I will be able to find a trustworthy source of probiotics when I need them.
It's nice to also take the prebiotics in conjunction with probiotics
This helps to support the whole microbiome. Prebiotics are a kind of food for probiotics. Whether you're looking to improve your gut health or just want to boost your overall well-being, taking prebiotics and probiotics in conjunction can be a great way to get started.
While certain supplements do combine these two important nutrients, it's also worth noting that you can get prebiotics through the foods you eat. Foods like asparagus, garlic, and oats are rich in prebiotic fiber and can help to promote healthy digestion and overall gut health.
And with so many delicious options to choose from, there's no reason not to give your body the support it needs by adding prebiotics and probiotics into your daily routine.
I'd probably prefer dietary sources of prebiotics to supplements. If we can get anything in our diet, that's an ideal place to start.
More about prebiotics
The top probiotics are the main species: bifidobacteria and lactobacillus. Another one is the saccharomyces, which is another type of strain that's tried and true. It has a very long history of safe and effective use.
What is prebiotics? Prebiotics are the fuel and food for the probiotics to thrive. It's a type of bacteria or fiber that your body essentially just can't digest. What happens is, that undigested food is able to kind of bypass the small intestine to reach the colon. That is where it's fermented by the gut microflora. Prebiotics serves as a crucial source of nutrients for microorganisms to thrive.
The benefits of the prebiotics are similar to the probiotics. As mentioned previously, these include improved gut health and digestion, enhanced immune function, lowers inflammation, and reduce risk of heart disease. A bonus: prebiotics help regulate bone health. They protect bones and hormone levels, so it helps to regulate hormone levels.
Examples of dietary prebiotics are onions, garlic, artichokes, and chicory root (this is something that you can bake with). Some people use chicory root in their coffee. Raw asparagus is also an example. Underripe bananas can be a good source of prebiotics too, believe it or not. Apple cider vinegar is not a prebiotic, but it helps to promote the effects of prebiotics.
Can the two (prebiotics and probiotics) be taken together?
Yes, you can absolutely take prebiotics and probiotics together. In fact, it's preferred because they work as one is the fuel for the other. The one question we have sometimes is: Who should not take this?
Both pre and probiotics are safe. But something you have to consider, especially because the prebiotics are fermented in the gut, is that it can increase side effects such as gas and bloating. Abdominal discomfort and sometimes even diarrhea can also happen to some. It's best to work with a provider who can talk through different kinds of conditions, such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and IBS, that may happen with misguided use. Certain conditions can cause more sensitivity or more of those side effects. In that case, we at Vitality Natural Wellness and Medspa, can kind of guide you on your path. We really like to start low and go slow.
The other thing is we really want to make sure that your water intake is optimized. Some of those fiber-rich foods, like prebiotics, can absorb water into the colon. If we're not making sure we're hydrating well, that can make us feel very dehydrated.
We just want to make sure you get a good amount of fiber in the diet. We talked about different food sources of prebiotics and dietary fiber. The goal for intake of these is between 25-30 grams daily.
Hippocrates says: “ All disease begins in the guts.” And it really is true. Many of our autoimmune diseases and physical ailments stem from the gut. Whether that's hormone imbalance, cardiovascular disease, or autoimmunities like lupus, or Hashimoto's, these can be traced back to be stemming from the gut.
Therefore, making sure that you're eating a well-balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, balanced lean protein, and omega-3-omega-6 ratio, helps to set the core foundation for optimizing your health.
A side note to hormone-probiotics relationship
The scenario: Beth has been doing better since starting a program with hormones compared to before. However, in the previous month, she had increased stress and got contracted with COVID a second time. This racked her hormones and came through in her face. She wanted to know how changes in the diet can help with this.
The other thing about our sex hormones is that they have a symphony and cortisol is the conductor. Any sort of stress, environmental triggers, and Infections like CoViD-19, can throw the balance off. Stress reduction strategies: deep breathing, meditation, and calming practices, can definitely benefit the cortisol component.
When you are thinking about gut health, we know that excess estrogen Is eliminated through the colon. We need to make sure that we're maintaining good regularity with our bowel movements. Basically, we need to ensure that our elimination is healthy as well as our hydration is optimized. Feeding the good bacteria through prebiotics and probiotics helps. This ensures we are protecting the microbiome in the gut. Doing this helps to balance all of your sex hormones and neurotransmitters like serotonin.
A postscript about stress
Stress can come in so many different forms. It can be perceived, actual, anticipated, physical, and emotional. We sometimes correlate stress with these big life-changing events. Even though we have a lot of things to do every day, it can be hard to notice how all those things add up. We're so used to being busy and taking care of our kids and doing chores. But it's important to manage our time well so that we can do everything that we need to do.
We have to focus on how we can make sure we're taking time to breathe every day, practicing gratitude. We need to calm things down because otherwise, those stressors are constantly chasing us. And what can happen is it can create this low line chronic stress but we just think it's normal. Managing through some of those stressors that can sometimes be hidden, is also key.
Should you stock up on probiotics? The answer is a resounding yes! Not only are they great for your gut health, but they have been linked to all sorts of other benefits like weight loss, better skin, and even improved mental health. And as if that weren’t enough reason to start popping them every day, recent research has shown that the combination of probiotics and prebiotics may be even more beneficial than either one alone.
Start adding these little powerhouses to your diet today and feel the difference for yourself. Are you getting enough prebiotics and probiotics in your diet? If not, now is the time to change that!
As always, if you have any questions or want more information, don’t hesitate to reach out. And be sure to schedule a discovery call so we can help you find the perfect probiotic supplement for your needs!
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DISCLAIMER: The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional