When I am asked how to restore your bowel flora because gut microbiome is crucial for your health, I think that there are two routes into this which are not mutually exclusive. You buy them or you grow them yourself. The former can be issue-specific, the latter cannot. Useful questions to ask are “do probiotics survive the acidity in the stomach” and “do those that clear that hurdle populate the gut enough to make a difference”. For not all probiotics sold are so designed to withstand stomach acidity, not all probiotics sold contain enough live bacteria to make a difference. Probiotic cultures naturally occurring on raw vegetables and in fermented dairy are like salmon swimming upstream, not all make it to the top but there’s greater chance of victory when a high number starts to swim upstream.
Research by immunologist Prof. Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel showed that while probiotics colonised the gastrointestinal tract of some people, the gut microbiome of others just expelled them. Some people accept probiotics in their gut, while others just pass them from one end to the other. Which is why well-made, properly-dosed probiotics work better together with paving the way for colonisation. This is where Aloeride aloe vera is useful. Also diet emerges as a pivotal determinant of gut microbiota community structure and function (e.g. sugar consumption: high-glucose diet or high-fructose diet alters the gut microbiome… HGD and HFrD effect a loss of gut microbial diversity, so your tolerance for anything incoming reduces). Elinav found that probiotic colonisation patterns were highly dependent on the individual, there is no standard probiotic treatment. A probiotic square peg will not fit a probiotic round hole. Logic suggests to tailor the peg to the hole! So my recommendation of the below four versions of a very trusted brand depends on the clinical picture one presents. Beyond probiotics, there is exercise affecting the kind of gut microbe population you have and there is the mind (chronic stress) which also affects how well probiotics take and stay in your gut microbiome.
To change the proportions of different bacteria that LIKE living in your gut, you need to change your diet to create -and look after- a favourable environment for the bacteria that, in turn, will look after you. Dr Karen Scott (Rowett Institute in Aberdeen) analysed stool samples after a 2-week oats/whole grains exclusion and re-analysed stools 4 weeks later on a diet rich in oats/whole grains. The population in the second faecal sample had changed because diet had changed the environment. Of course, single analysis of a stool sample may not reflect well the microbiome composition at the mucosal surface in the intestine (the working end). Scott nonetheless highlights a valuable point. You’re not going to eat in a restaurant where you don’t like the food, nor are bacteria going to take up residence in a gut if they don’t like the environment, food and service there. This is what Elinav’s research discovered and this is why in clinical practice, I never relied on probiotics only. But, when you need them, use the best.
A study with Probion Clinica was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ Open Gastro) July 2017. “Colon cancer patients harbour a distinct microbiota signature in the tumour tissue and nearby mucosa”, said Dr. Yvonne Wettergren, principal investigator of the study at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital. “The ProBion Clinica regimen resulted in overabundance of the beneficial Faecalibacterium and Clostridiales spp bacteria in the tumour tissue, non-tumour mucosa, as well as in the faecal microbiota, and intriguingly, colon-cancer-associated bacterial genera such as Fusobacterium and Peptostreptococcus were significantly reduced.”
Probiotics don’t just help to make your gut work better. Probiotics feed what is known as your microbiome and this is now best thought of as a virtual organ of the body. Gut microbes are key to many aspects of human health including immune system, metabolic behaviour and neurobehavioural traits. Yes, there are microbial associations with emotion, cognition and social behaviour. Probiotic consumption may have a positive effect on psychological symptoms of depression, anxiety and perceived stress. Regards the latter, who would have imagined that probiotics can ameliorate the clinical anxiety and biochemical features of stress in patients scheduled for laryngectomy [Source: Asia-Pacific Journal of Oncology 2016].
The natural (non-flavoured) yoghurt or milk kefir in clever smoothies mask the heaped tablespoon of turmeric that so effectively helps to keep inflammation at bay. Useful if you do not need issue-specific probiotic help. The same goes for Traditional buttermilk (leftover liquid from making butter) but not (!) the cultured buttermilk. Sauerkraut is finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria. Tempeh (Indonesia) is a fermented soybean product. Kimchi (Korea) is a spicy fermented cabbage product. Miso (Japan) is a fermented soybean product. Natto (Japan) is a fermented soybean product.
Beyond Aloeride, a clever dietary trick to encourage probiotics to flourish is to add bananas, fermented soy, peanut flour and chickpeas in a paste to the diet. This tip comes from a report in the journal Science. Professor Jeffrey Gordon MD, Director of the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, who led the research with colleagues from the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Dhaka, Bangladesh, said the aim had been “to target microbes to heal”. Bananas often feature in our clever smoothies, peanuts and chickpeas (chana masala!) are consumed very regularly, it helps paving the way for good bacteria to settle in. So, plenty of sensible suggestions how to restore your bowel flora because gut microbiome is crucial for your health…