• Dr. Dooreck with Joie Meyer | Public Health

Everything You Need to Know About Probiotics




Recent studies have been exploring the use of probiotics to reduce symptoms of numerous gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. Results have been mixed, making it difficult for scientists to come to solid conclusions.


Results have been mixed, making it difficult for scientists to come to solid conclusions.

Here is everything you need to know about the potential risks and rewards that probiotics carry with them.


What are probiotics?

Basically, your gut has a mix of both good and bad bacteria. Every person has a different balance of good and bad bacteria in their stomach. Usually, a good balance consists of 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria. When your gut is out of balance, this can result in GI symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, indigestion, and more.


Probiotics are meant to increase the good bacteria in your stomach. However, we still don't know a lot about the specifics of probiotics.


Do probiotics work the same or differently for everyone?

Everybody's microbiome is different. Because of this, the way a person responds to probiotic depends on their individual balance of gut bacteria they have.


Anyone person only shares about 10% of the same microbial strains with anyone else.


On top of that, the effectiveness of a probiotic depends on the type of bacteria you need, how much you need, and how often you'd need to take them. In other words, since everyone's microbiome is different, it's hard to prescribe a "one size fits all" probiotic prescription.


Has there been promising research on probitoics?

Scientists are investigating if probiotics help reduce inflammation in the gut.


So far, research does suggest that probiotics can help people with ulcerative colitis.


In studies using mice, probiotics have also been shown to improve the immune system and gut permeability.



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What are the potential negatives of probiotics?

As with anything, there are always pros AND cons to be aware of.


Some studies found that probiotics decreased the repopulation of healthy gut bacteria among people who recently took antibiotics.


Another concern is that taking probiotics will overcrowd your gut with few strains that are all from the same family, making your microbiome less diverse.


For some, probiotics can worsen symptoms of diarrhea, bloating, or abdominal pain.


However, most evidence suggests that probiotics are more likely to be either helpful or harmless. Nonetheless, it is crucial to talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have before using probiotics for self-treatment.


What can I do for my microbiome?

Eating fermented food with probiotics may be a safer option than taking probiotic supplements.


Some examples of probiotic foods include:


  • Miso soup

  • Kombucha

  • Yogurt

  • Apple cider vinegar

  • Pickles

  • Cheese

  • Kimchi

  • Sauerkraut


Doctors have also found that high fiber diets can help promote healthy gut function, and can improve symptoms among IBD patients.


To learn more about your microbiome, check out some past blog posts.


and



Here are some takeaways on this from a public health point of view.





It's important that your body is getting the right nutrients. Keeping a balanced and healthy diet is key!


Personally


I eat a high fiber, mostly plant-based 🌱 diet, no red meat, drink 4 liters of water a day, exercise, and am focused on keeping nutrition simple. I am sharing what works for me and what I routinely recommend to my patients.


"Balance. Portion control. Keep nutrition simple. Eat Smart. Eat Healthy. 🥬 🌾 🥦"

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🥬 Connect with Dr. Dooreck on LinkedIn where he focuses his sharing on Health, Diet, Nutrition, Exercise, Lifestyle, and Balance.



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