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  • Writer's pictureBrian Dooreck MD

Everything You Need to Know About Probiotics

Updated: Jul 27, 2023


Healthy foods feed the gut-brain axis, health, microbiome, gastrointestinal gi system for you and the gastroenterology doctor

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.


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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?

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 and 15% harmful 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 different for everyone?

Everybody's microbiome is different. Because of this, how a person responds to probiotics depends on their balance of gut bacteria.


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 mice studies, probiotics have also improved the immune system and gut permeability.

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 probiotics will overcrowd your gut with a few strains 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 helpful or harmless. Nonetheless, talking to your doctor about any concerns you may have before using probiotics for self-treatment is crucial.


What can I do for my microbiome?

Eating fermented food with probiotics may be safer 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 improve symptoms among IBD patients.


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


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



 

Healthy foods feed the gut-brain axis, health, microbiome, gastrointestinal gi system for you and the gastroenterology doctor

Your body must be getting the proper 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. 🌱 🌾 🌿"

Gut Health ➕ Patient Advocacy with Navigation ➕ Life Balance


If you were looking for information about Private Healthcare Navigation and Patient Advocacy from Executive Health Navigation


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


 

gastroenterology | colonoscopy doctor | colonoscopy and gastroenterology services | gastro doctor | gi doctor | gastrointestinal diagnostic centers | public health

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