Introduction With more and more recognition of the importance of digestive health, the demand for probiotic (live bacteria) delivery systems has been on an upswing. These delivery systems differ widely in terms of efficiency to benefit an individual. A 2014 study revealed that 65% of respondents are aware of the significance of probiotics for digestive […]
Overview While it is okay to be sad at times, being depressed more often can have serious consequences on your well-being. Depression carries a major burden. It can be severe enough to interrupt your daily social and occupational life. The weird fact about depression is that it doesn’t always appear as just being sad, excessive […]
Microbiome and Diet: How are the two linked? Our microbiome is home to trillions of diverse microbes (a property called microbial diversity) that regulate almost every function of our body. In addition to several environmental factors, dietary patterns have the largest impact on our microbiome. Unfortunately, the current Western diet is gradually clearing away the […]
What is Pancreatin?
Pancreatin is an enzyme released by the pancreas that aids in the digestion of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. It is a blend of various digestive enzymes, namely amylase, lipase, and protease.
What is the Pancreatin enzyme used for?
Since pancreas plays a vital role in the digestion of nutrients, pancreatin may be taken to accelerate digestion. In addition, pancreatin can help with several conditions where the pancreas does not function adequately to produce the required digestive enzymes. Some of these conditions include cystic fibrosis, pancreatitis (or inflammation of the pancreas), and surgical removal of the pancreas (called pancreatectomy). Other conditions known to benefit from pancreatin are celiac disease, autoimmune disorders, cancer, and food allergies.
How does Pancreatin work?
Pancreatin is four times more effective due to the presence of three digestive enzymes. The amylase in pancreatin breaks down carbs, lipase splits fats, and protease catalyzes proteins. Pancreatin breaks down the nutrients at the same time that the ingested food leaves the stomach.
Why is it necessary to substitute Pancreatin?
When pancreatin is not replaced in mandatory conditions or conditions associated with pancreatic enzyme deficiencies, it can result in food not being digested or absorbed adequately. This food primarily comprises of fatty foods and fat-soluble vitamins (i.e. vitamins A, D, E, and K). Inadequate absorption of dietary fats, also known as malabsorption of fats, depletes the body of nutrients and leads to bloating, abdominal discomfort, steatorrhea (passage of pale, bulky, oily, and foul-smelling stool that is difficult to flush away), and weight loss.
Moreover, the presence of undigested food in the intestines adversely alters the production of gastrointestinal hormones like cholecystokinin (or CCK). This, in turn, speeds up the emptying of food from the stomach, causing diarrhea and abdominal cramps. 
Data demonstrates that pancreatin is effective at reducing steatorrhea, fat malabsorption, and abdominal discomfort.  Enzyme replacement therapy ensures adequate delivery of pancreatin to the intestine at the same time that food reaches there and thereby optimizes nutrient digestion and absorption.
Undigested proteins that enter the bloodstream can be a source of food sensitivities and allergies. Owing to its protein-digesting properties, pancreatin can prevent the hard-to-digest protein particles from getting into your system, and thereby keeps food allergies at bay.  (more…)
What is a colon cleanse?
A colon cleanse includes a variety of alternative medical treatments that aim to flush out toxins from the intestine.
What is auto-intoxication and how does it relate to colon cleansing?
According to naturopaths, these colonic toxins build up as a result of infrequent bowel movements and/or the consumption of unhealthy processed foods. The naturopathic experts believe that the stool in people with chronic constipation gets rotted and stick to the walls of the colon. These rotten feces become the host for harmful bacteria and parasites, and when they get absorbed into the blood, sickness and disease ensues. This theory that putrefaction of stools induces disease was termed as auto-intoxication by the ancient Egyptian physicians.
Moreover, in the ancient days, it was thought that break down of proteins in the colon by certain bacteria generates toxic amines that trigger auto-intoxication. However, an article published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology revealed that consumption of lactic acid-producing bacteria can reverse this toxic process.  These bacteria can modify the microflora of the colon that prevents the protein degradation and hence minimizes the autointoxication.
The intuition that constipation is the root of all diseases is also acknowledged by experts of this era.  Given the fact that decayed feces contain certain cancer-causing agents, called carcinogens and sluggish bowel movements enhance the duration of contact between carcinogens in the stools and the gut wall,  the naturopathic specialists deem colon cleansing as being necessary.
In addition, as the toxins from the stool leash into the circulation, a variety of illnesses may follow, including but not limited to chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, body aches, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, depression, anxiety, and migraine headaches.  (more…)
With a vast array of novel researches performed on probiotics, scientists have been able to reveal the influence of gut bacteria on cardiac health. These beneficial bacteria help control the factors that have a negative impact on the heart, and therefore, provide a ground to optimize the cardiac health.
Probiotics can help improve the following risk factors for heart disease:
1. Formation of fatty plaques
The cholesterol that we consume in our diet can combine with fat, calcium, and other substances in our blood to generate plaques or fatty deposits. These plaques that clog arteries (primarily of the heart) form as a result of a series of inflammatory steps. One of the reasons that cardiologists recommend probiotics for heart health is the suppression of these inflammatory processes that trigger the formation of fatty deposits in your arteries.
A 2010 study showed that probiotic-containing Bifidobacteria exerts anti-inflammatory effects via decreasing the number of white blood cells being propelled to a damaged artery and, thus, lessening the inflammation and the chances of cholesterol buildup in that area. 
Moreover, probiotics, in particular, Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 has been proven to cut the bad cholesterol levels by about 12%.  This further resists the accumulation of fatty plaques in the arteries. This probiotic, in essence, can eat up cholesterol owing to its distinctive bile salt hydrolase activity.
2. Blood pressure
Hypertension is estimated to affect several billion people worldwide and is a major but modifiable risk factor for cardiac disease. Luckily, recent studies show that certain probiotics, primarily lactobacilli can lower the blood pressure through a variety of mechanisms. One such mechanism is the relaxation (or widening) of blood vessels via blocking the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity. This enzyme narrows the blood vessels, raising the pressure of the flowing blood on the walls of the arteries, which defines hypertension. By suppressing the ACE activity, probiotic bacteria perform the same action as that of some of the commonly used blood pressure medications like Zestril and Monopril. 
3. Vitamin D levels
The vitamin D acknowledged for bone health is also crucial for cardiovascular health. Insufficient vitamin D levels can narrow the blood vessels and impair the function of filtration by the kidneys, both of which tend to raise the blood pressure.  According to a Canadian study, regular supplementation of the probiotic L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 boosted vitamin D levels by more than 25%, which is a notable increase. Hence, probiotics can be regarded as cardioprotective agents. 
Obese individuals are at high risk for cardiac disease sooner or later. Being a modifiable factor, obesity can be addressed via lifestyle modifications. One such modification is the supplementation of probiotics. These can help you lose weight, thereby reducing your odds of developing heart problems.  (more…)
While the benefits of probiotics such as alleviating yeast infections are widely known in women, they are not addressed frequently in men. That said, a growing body of research confirms the health benefits of probiotic consumption in men. This post highlights the importance of probiotics in men.
1. Probiotics Improve the Gut Health
Although IBS is more common in women, men also tend to suffer from the frustrating symptoms of IBS. Consumption of probiotics helps strengthen the leaky gut barrier, which underlies the emergence of IBS. This lessens the severity of abdominal pain, bloating, and other IBS symptoms.
More so, colon cancer, which is the second leading cause of death in the United States, occurs with greater frequency in men. The role of probiotics in preventing colon cancer has been widely studied. One of the several factors that contribute to the development of colon cancer is an imbalance in the composition of bacteria inhabiting the gut.  Since probiotics restore the balance of the altered microbiota, they can fend off abnormal cellular and DNA changes that trigger cancerous changes. In a trial performed on colon cancer patients, a 12-week administration of a synbiotic formulation (composed of both probiotics and prebiotics) resulted in a significant improvement in the cancer biomarkers. 
2. Probiotics Optimize Cardiovascular Health
Heart disease is the most common cause of death in men as per CDC. Probiotics benefit cardiac health in a number of ways, including but not limited to:
- Lowering LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels , primarily Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242
- Reducing blood pressure 
- Helping you lose body weight and preventing heart disease 
Pregnancy is a phase when the mom needs to be extra vigilant with the foods and supplements she is consuming for her own and baby’s well-being. While all of us know the role of a healthy diet and supplements like iron, folic acid, and multivitamins during pregnancy, we aren’t much aware of the benefits of probiotics during pregnancy.
Experts have been able to shed light on the role and safety of probiotics during this crucial time of a woman’s life.
Following are a few benefits of taking probiotics during pregnancy:
1. Probiotics Boost the Digestive System of the Mother
Replacing the gut with healthy proactive bacteria accelerates digestion and eases constipation and abdominal discomfort, which are universal complaints encountered by a pregnant woman. Weight control is another proven benefit in a pregnant woman on probiotics.
2. Probiotics help with Bacterial Vaginosis and prevent Preterm Labor
Bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal infection in which unhealthy bacteria replace the good lactobacilli. If a woman contracts this infection during pregnancy, she is at risk for premature labor.  Statistics show that intake of lactic acid-containing bacteria maintains a favorable vaginal milieu  by fending off the bad bugs while allowing the good bacteria to home the vagina. This lowers the risk of going into labor before the expected delivery date. (more…)
What are autoimmune disorders? These are the disorders in which a person’s immune system starts attacking his own body tissues. This is quite the opposite of what an immune system is naturally designed for – i.e. protecting the body from harmful agents. Experts today are extensively studying the link between autoimmune maladies and the disturbed gut microbiome. According to them, normalizing the gut immune response and the unbalanced gut ecology may help against the autoimmune attack in disorders like type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and so on so forth. Here, we’ll explore certain mechanisms that may suggest the benefits of probiotics in autoimmune disorders.
Unbalanced gut Microbiota composition can drive an autoimmune attack
The trigger for an autoimmune disorder may start in the gut itself. Strong evidence exists between an altered gut microbial composition and the onset of an autoimmune disorder.
The rise in the proportion of the bad bugs favors toxin build up that could be a trigger for these disorders.  Using probiotics might help with the makeover of the gut microbiome from an off-balanced to a normal state, and thereby help reduce the associated symptoms.  (more…)
Individuals with diabetes have to be fairly cautious with what they are consuming and how they are consuming. Their blood sugar levels tend to fluctuate often. For instance, if a diabetic person consumes a piece of cake in a party, his blood sugar levels might shoot up overnight. While diet, exercise, and medications have their own significance in the management of diabetes, the drastic increase in the rates of diabetes has led scientists to explore alternative therapies. One of these therapies includes the use of probiotics in diabetes. Luckily, probiotics have been so far shown to regulate the blood glucose levels and benefit people with diabetes.
Probiotics raise insulin and incretin and lower blood sugar levels
Insulin is a hormone released by pancreas (a gut organ) that functions to move the ingested glucose into the target cells, thereby lowering the blood glucose levels. In individuals with diabetes, insulin is either completely absent (such as in type 1 diabetes) or the target organs are unresponsive (like in type 2 diabetes). Probiotics can raise the levels of insulin as well as another intestinal hormone called incretin that works to increase insulin levels in the body after a meal, allowing the blood glucose levels to drop.
German experts conducted a study to determine the antidiabetic potential of the probiotic, Lactobacillus reuteri.  What did they discover? After daily administration of L. reuteri for a month, the subjects were found to have raised insulin and incretin levels. (more…)