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Probiotics: one supplement to rule them all?

probiotic, supplement, natural.

Are probiotics really the magic pill for gut health?

A common misconception is that since I’m a dietitian, I must have my 💩 together…but even I struggle with remembering or implementing all my good gut habits. I would love it if there was 1 magic supplement we could all take take that would cure it all…

So…are the rumors true? Are probiotics really the supplement to rule them all?

Unfortunately…probably not.

So is there even a point to take probiotics?
YES! 
While they might not be a one stop shop cure all, probiotics can still be a helpful tool in your gut toolbox. Here’s a few and how they could help: 

Bifidobacterium infantis [1]
– may have a role as an anti-depressant
– reduce nervous system effects in IBS
– can ease anxiety and normalize HPA (stress) response
– is becoming the frontrunner for IBS relief

Lactobacillus reuteri [2]
– may benefit thyroid function
– antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects
– decrease intestinal permeability 
– produces GABA for a calming effect on nervous system

Lactobacillus rhamnosus 
– can balance the vaginal microbiota reducing the recurrence of urinary tract infections (UTIs) [3]
– may reduce acne [4]

Akkermansia Muciniphila make up 1-3% of our gut microbiome. It functions to:
– improve healthier metabolic status and better outcomes from weight loss interventions
– may reduce body fat mass and improve glucose tolerance
– may repair gut permeability that’s been related to different autoimmune diseases including irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroiditis, and eczema.

Faecalibacterim prausnitzii:
– have anti-inflammatory properties
– has been linked to better mood and may be associated with improved cognitive function [5]
– produces butyrate, which promotes gut integrity, enhances colon motility, enhances insulin sensitivity, and decreases inflammation.

⁠But how do I find out which ones are right for me? 
Generally most probiotics contain Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species, which is what makes up most of our gut bacteria. To find out exactly what your body might need, we turn to our friend stool testing!

Not quite ready to scoop your poop? 
Try including these foods to increase healthy gut bacteria and take note on how they make you feel 🥰 

Bifidobacterium: Eating polyphenol-rich foods, like berries, flaxseed, carrots can help feed these beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Lactobacillus: Eating fermented foods and polyphenol-rich foods, like cacao, almonds can help these bacteria proliferate.
Akkermansia: Eat more omega 3 fatty acids, red-polyphenol foods (like beets, pomegranates), and garlic 
FaecalibacterimEat more legumes, sunflower seeds, grapes

Resources:

  • [1] Aragon G, Graham DB, Borum M, Doman DB. Probiotic therapy for irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2010 Jan;6(1):39-44. PMID: 20567539; PMCID: PMC2886445.
  • [2] Mu Q, Tavella VJ, Luo XM. Role of Lactobacillus reuteri in Human Health and Diseases. Front Microbiol. 2018 Apr 19;9:757. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00757. PMID: 29725324; PMCID: PMC5917019.
  • [3] Pino A, Vaccalluzzo A, Caggia C, Balzaretti S, Vanella L, Sorrenti V, Ronkainen A, Satokari R, Randazzo CL. Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus CA15 (DSM 33960) as a Candidate Probiotic Strain for Human Health. Nutrients. 2022 Nov 19;14(22):4902. doi: 10.3390/nu14224902. PMID: 36432588; PMCID: PMC9694283.
  • [4] Fabbrocini G, Bertona M, Picazo Ó, Pareja-Galeano H, Monfrecola G, Emanuele E. Supplementation with Lactobacillus rhamnosus SP1 normalises skin expression of genes implicated in insulin signalling and improves adult acne. Benef Microbes. 2016 Nov 30;7(5):625-630. doi: 10.3920/BM2016.0089. Epub 2016 Sep 6. PMID: 27596801.
  • [5] Ueda A, Shinkai S, Shiroma H, Taniguchi Y, Tsuchida S, Kariya T, Kawahara T, Kobayashi Y, Kohda N, Ushida K, Kitamura A, Yamada T. Identification of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii strains for gut microbiome-based intervention in Alzheimer’s-type dementia. Cell Rep Med. 2021 Sep 14;2(9):100398. doi: 10.1016/j.xcrm.2021.100398. PMID: 34622235; PMCID: PMC8484692.

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Paulina Lee is a functional and integrative dietitian, who specializes in gut health and IBS. She works with women looking for long-term relief from IBS so they can get back to what's important to them - their life, work, and relationships.

4 thoughts on “Probiotics: one supplement to rule them all?”

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