Last week while chatting with a client, we were talking about a number of different conditions, including eczema, pre-diabetes, depression, and anxiety.
As we reviewed eating habit results, I pointed out that he had very low levels of beneficial gut bacteria foods. Client replied:
“I don’t understand how that’s possible! I’ve been taking probiotics for years.”
I understand the frustration and confusion. Until recently, scientists believed that taking probiotics was the best way to increase the levels of healthy gut bacteria.
However, like anything as learning continues to happen recent research has shown that while probiotics have numerous benefits, they don’t quantitatively increase beneficial gut microbes over the long term.
If probiotics don’t do this, what does?
Well Sweat Nation Would it surprise you that our good friend Fiber makes an appearance!
When we eat protein, carbohydrates, and fats, enzymes in our gut break down these larger molecules into smaller molecules that we can absorb. But that doesn’t happen with fiber. Instead, it passes through our stomach and small intestine completely intact before entering the colon, where it becomes “food” for the beneficial microorganisms that live there.
The gut microbiome is fairly new on the scene with about 20 years of light being shined upon it. It's all the rage/hotness in the research world as we're now learning so much about it. It's a golden age for it, if you will. The more we learn it seems that these gut microbes are critical to your overall health!
Interestingly, as an aside, Paul Chek who is the Holistic Life Coaching Program I'm currently enrolled in has been saying since the 1980's that the gut microbiome would be an issue in human health. They dismissed and laughed at him when he began to equate the depletion of soil, and the harm it is doing to the planet to an equal harm that would happen to us. After all, we're all living within the same system. How interesting is that?
Unlike probiotics, studies have shown that fiber does increase the levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut. (Fiber is also referred to as a “prebiotic,” which is defined as a nutrient that is not digestible by humans but that increases the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.)
So, if you have low levels of beneficial bacteria, don’t forget to include fiber/prebiotics in your strategy, along with probiotics. Now, i'm sure it's not going to surprise you that the best fiber comes from vegetables sources.
They support each other: the probiotics are the beneficial bacteria themselves, and the prebiotics are the food these bacteria need to thrive.
I hope this helps clear things up for anyone who has been confused about the different roles of probiotics and fiber/pre-biotics in supporting a healthy microbiome.
Here's to your wealth, and health!
Track Of The Day - Illasoul - Illa J