Gardening

   GUT HEALTH CENTER

Probiotics

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PROBIOTICS

The plants in your gut garden.

Probiotics are the plants of your gut garden. These little guys play a huge role in your health. 

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WHAT ARE PROBIOTICS?

Probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.

Probiotics are the plants of your gut garden.

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TRILLIONS OF LITTLE PLANTS

Your gut contains trillions of bacteria, the good, the bad and the ugly. 

The key is having a balance. Not too much of any particular one. You want things just right, like the porridge in Goldilocks and the three bears.

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PROBIOTIC FOODS

There are some amazing foods rich in probiotics. Including these beneficial foods in your diet will help your gut garden to flourish.

Even just a small amount of these foods each day will make a big improvement in your gut garden.

Probiotic foods have a great diversity of beneficial bacteria and other important compounds. This makes them the ideal way to get probiotics in your gut.

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GRASS-FED KEFIR

Kefir is a fermented beverage usually from milk, but there are also water and coconut kefirs.

It is rich in good probiotic bacteria as well as lactose, a sugar found in milk that acts as a great prebiotic.

The best kefir is grass-fed, unsweetened and full-fat.

It is much better to add some prebiotic foods, such as berries, than it is to buy the sweetened and flavored versions. They often have large amounts of sugar added.

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GRASS-FED YOGURT

Yogurt is probably the most well known probiotic food. It is made from fermented milk.

It is rich in good probiotic bacteria as well as lactose, a sugar found in milk that acts as a great prebiotic.

The best yogurt is grass-fed, unsweetened and full-fat.

It is much better to add some prebiotic foods, such as berries, than it is to buy the sweetened and flavored versions. They often have large amounts of sugar added.

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GRASS-FED CHEESES

While not all cheeses contain probiotics some are rich in these beneficial buddies.

Cottage, parmesan, feta, and most of all, gouda cheese, are rich in beneficial bacteria. 

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LACTOFERMENTED VEGETABLES

Nearly every culture around the world has a version of these from sauerkraut in Germany, kimchi in Korea, Jewish pickles, and many more.​

These veggies offer a huge hit of beneficial probiotic bacteria in just a couple of tablespoons.

You can buy them premade, or make your own.

Check out this recipe to make your own homemade lactofermented veggies.

One of our favorite lactofermented foods are these amazing hot sauces.

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MISO

Miso is a fermented paste. It is most often made from a combination of beans, cultured grain, and sea salt by a unique, double fermentation process.

It is rich in beneficial bacteria and prebiotics. 

It adds a wonderful umani flavor to soups and other dishes. 

Always buy miso packaged in glass, not plastic, in order to avoid leeching from the plastic into the miso.

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VINEGAR WITH THE MOTHER

Vinegar with the mother contains a whole host of beneficial yeasts and bacteria. Switching out your typical vinegar for one of these, is an easy way to get a daily dose of probiotic food.

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BRINED OLIVES

These types of olives are produced via fermentation, making them rich in beneficial bacteria and healthy fats.

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BEET KVASS

This Russian drink is made in a similar way to beer, but with Beets. This drink is has so many benefits beyond just the bacteria it contains.

Beets help to support healthy circulation, nitric oxide production, help with digestion and so much more.

You can buy it pre-made or make it yourself.

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VARIETY

While we could not go through all of the probiotic rich foods in the world, eating a variety of these incredible foods will help to ensure that your gut garden thrives!

Remember you do not need a lot, just a few tablespoons per day.

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PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENTS

Probiotic supplements should contain live beneficial bacteria to support your healthy gut garden.

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WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Most people are not aware that probiotics have three parts to their name.

Genus, species, and strain.

It is important to know each one of these names. Without knowing the full name it is very hard to actually know what a probiotic will do.

Some examples would be:

Lactobacillus Acidophilus NAS

Lactobacillus Acidophilus DDS-1

Lactobacillus Acidophilus A118

Lactobacillus is the genus, Acidophilus is the species, and NAS would be the strain.

Different strains of the same bacteria can have very different effects, survivability, etc, so knowing the strain is important. 

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FAKE NAMES AND MISLABELED BACTERIA.

Many probiotic supplements have bacteria listed on the label that do not exist, such as lactobacillus thermophilus. It is actually streptococcus thermophilus. If a company cannot even properly label the bacteria how can we can trust them to make a good probiotic?

Mislabeled bacteria are more of an issue when the strain is not listed. By only using probiotics that list a strain name you are much more certain to get a properly labeled product.

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SMALL, LARGE, AND TRANSIENT

Some probiotics live in the small intestine, some in the large intestines, and others are transient (non-resident).

While it is not possible to go through all of them, here are a few basics.

Lactobacillus tend to reside in the small intestine and vaginal tract.

Bifidobacterium tend to reside in the large intestine.

Streptococcus tends to reside in the small intestine.

There are exceptions to this, but those are the basics.

One example is lactobacillus bulgaricus, which is a transient bacteria. 

So if you are having small intestinal issues or symptoms choose mainly lactobacillus strains and if you are having large intestinal issues or symptoms choose mostly bifidobacterium bacteria.

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LACTIC ACID YEAST

Even though they aren't bacteria, some yeast are considered probiotics because they have many benefits.

One such yeast is Saccharomyces Boulardii, a subspecies of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, also known as brewer's yeast. 

This beneficial yeast is especially useful when loose stools are a problem.

Check out our favorite S. Boulardii supplement.

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JUST SAY NO TO SPORE FORMING BACTERIA!

Despite their current popularity, spore forming bacteria have a host of safety issues and a lack of research showing their long term safety. 

They go by a number of names, homeostatic soil organisms, spore biotics, and much more.

Here are a few names, you will see that these usually start with bacillus:

Bacillus subtillis

Bacillus lichenformis

Bacillus clausii

Dont confuse those names with lactobacillus, the good guys in yogurt.

Bacillus bacteria are not normal residents of the human intestinal tract.

Bacillus bacteria are well known culprits in infections. 

Check out this PDF to see the various types of infections spore forming bacteria can cause:

We have an extensive reference library on the dangers of bacillus bacteria. There is just no way to fit it all here. If you would like more references feel free to email us at info@joshboughton.com.

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JUST SAY NO TO ENTERIC COATING

Enteric coated capsules are often used to protect probiotics from stomach acid. While it may succeed at that, it comes at a cost.

Often these coatings contain plasticizers, parabens, and other harmful compounds.

Many companies do not even list the full ingredients of their enteric coating, so you have no idea what actually may be in it.

It is much better to use DR capsule, so the benefits of delayed release are obtained without the harmful ingredients.

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DELIVERY SYSTEMS

Probiotics come in many forms. Gummies, tablets, liquids, chewables, capsules, and more.

The best delivery system are those protect the bacteria best from stomach acid. 

DR, also known as targeted release, capsules are the best delivery method. This type of capsule breaks down in the small intestine instead of the the stomach, protecting it from the stomach acid, without the need for harsh tableting or coatings.

The worst delivery system is liquid. It is very hard to keep a probiotic stable in liquid.

 

 If you need something in a liquid form buy a powder and mix it into a liquid right when you are ready to take it.

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A NOTE ABOUT SIBO

SIBO, small intestinal bowel overgrowth, is a condition where there are too many bacteria in the gut, both good and bad. In this case many strains of probiotics, prebiotics, and probiotic foods should not be used.

If you think you may have SIBO it is best to go to your doctor and get tested. 

If you test positive, you should work with your practitioner to come up with a plan that addresses the whole gut, not just the SIBO, because if the underlying environment is not corrected, then the condition will likely return.

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A NUMBERS GAME

Most people think more bacteria is better. In fact, most of this is just marketing because people always think more is better. Your gut contains trillions of bacteria, so whether a probiotic contains 5 billion cfu (colony forming units) or 100 billion cfu, it is not really going to have a dramatic impact on changing your microbiome.

Most research on probiotics has actually been done on single strain, low cfu products.

It is better to choose a strain that is focused on a particular issue or symptom you may have, than to focus on huge numbers or lots of different types of bacteria.

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TO REFRIGERATE OR NOT TO REFRIGERATE?

This really depends on the strain.

This is yet another reason why it is so important to know the strain name. Without knowing the strain name it is impossible to research the stability of the bacteria being used. 

Advanced stability testing can be done on probiotics to see how well they survive at various temperatures, humidity, and storage conditions. 

This is the best way to determine the need for refrigeration.