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Why Should Men Take Probiotics

men and probioticsOverview

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. [1] 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]

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 [3], primarily Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242
  • Reducing blood pressure [4]
  • Helping you lose body weight and preventing heart disease [5]

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Benefits of Probiotics in Pregnancy

Pregnancy and probiotics

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. [1] Statistics show that intake of lactic acid-containing bacteria maintains a favorable vaginal milieu [2] 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…)

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Probiotics in Immune Diseases

Probiotics in Immune DiseasesWhat 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. [1] 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. [2] (more…)

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Can Probiotics Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels in Diabetics?

probiotics and diabetesIndividuals 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. [1] 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…)

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How Dietary Fats Influence the Microbiome

Dietary Fat and MicrobiomeThe types of fat that we consume in our diet tend to affect the makeup of our gut Microbiome. There are two major types of dietary fats. Saturated (or bad fats) and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats that come from animal-based foods like beef, whole-fat milk, cheese, and butter have a negative impact on the gut microbiota and lead to obesity. In contrast, unsaturated plant-based fats (like fish oil) play a vital role in maintaining a balance of healthy gut flora, and so do not contribute to obesity. How do dietary fats alter the gut Microbiome? Alternatively, how does the gut Microbiome influence the metabolism of dietary fat?

 

Gut Microbiome Communicates with the Dietary Fats

Scientists have been able to locate a crosstalk between the microbiota and dietary fats. [1] Dietary consumption of saturated fats lowers the level of healthy gut bacteria. The altered Microbiome is then capable of harvesting energy from the dietary fat. [2] Additionally, overweight/obese individuals with metabolic disorder exhibit higher proportion of unhealthy gut bacteria that are capable of harvesting surplus energy from the dietary nutrients. This is probably due to the reduced metabolism of dietary fats in obese individuals. Hence, the microbiota and dietary fats can be considered as a two-way traffic where the Microbiome influences the metabolism of dietary fats or vice versa, consumption of dietary fats plays a role in shaping our Microbiome.

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Ultimate Guide To Microbiome Reboot in Under 30 Days

ultimate guide to microbiome

Table of Contents

Introduction

 

Chapter # 1: How much do you know about your Microbiome?

 

 

 

Chapter # 2: Why am I losing my Microbiome?

 

Top 5 habits that wreak havoc on your Microbiome health

 

Chapter # 3: My Microbiome is out of Whack. What do I do now?

 

Step 1- Start by eliminating these 5 factors from your routine

Step 2- Diet matters. Here is what you should eat.

Step 3- Probiotics. Do they really work?

Step 4- What other supplements should I take?

Step 5- A healthy lifestyle is critical. Here’s what you should try

 
Chapter # 4: How do I check if my plan is working?

 

References

 

Introduction

We are so preoccupied  with our hectic routines that we fail to focus on our health and well-being. The worst case scenario is when you feel more out of sorts than usual and visit your doctor for occasional blood tests that hint at a vitamin D deficiency or a high cholesterol level. The problem, however, has a cause that is more deep-rooted than your blood.

 

Your parents might have once told you that you’re special and different from the rest, turns out they’re right!  Every one of us has an individually unique microbial ecosystem both inside and on us that is home to more than 100 trillion microbes, responsible for keeping our Microbiome in balance. If you’ve ever experienced an unexplained pain or discomfort in your gut, or if you feel relentlessly tired regardless of getting an appropriate amount of sleep and rest, you ought to keep reading. Your Microbiome might be unbalanced!

 

How much do you know about your Microbiome?

 

A little something about Microbiomes

 

The number of microbes throughout your body outnumbers the number of cells you contain by 10 to 1. Microbes, otherwise known as microscopic organisms, is a term used to generalize a number of different types of life forms that are relatively too minuscule to view without the use of a microscope. Some microbes that you may be familiar with are bacteria, fungi, and viruses, all of which are inhabitants of your body.

 

Let’s divide microbes into two simpler groups: the good microbes and the bad ones. A significant amount of good microbes is situated in your gut where they support your immune system, protect you from various diseases, detoxify your body, and even assist in the maintenance of your weight.  The bacteria accountable for maintaining the health of our gut are known as probiotics. A comparative amount of bad bacteria, or microbes, also inhabit our gut that account for a myriad of chronic diseases, inflammation, and obesity. The choices we make in our daily lives have influential effects on our Microbiome and can throw it out of balance.  (more…)

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How L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 Increases Vitamin D Levels

probiotics increase vitamin DVitamin D deficiency affects over 1 billion people (including children and adults) worldwide. Vitamin D is essential for bone strength. This fat-soluble vitamin functions to enhance the absorption of calcium into the bloodstream. Calcium is a key nutrient for our body, bones, and teeth. In individuals with low vitamin D levels, the bones become brittle and are prone to rickets (in children), and osteomalacia and osteoporosis (in adults). Not only are the bones weakened by the lack of vitamin D, but the gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and endocrine (causing type 2 diabetes) systems are compromised as well. Other than increasing vitamin D intake in the diet and exposing the skin to sunlight, a probiotic supplement containing L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 is proven effective at boosting the vitamin D blood levels.

 

How L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 increases vitamin D levels?

  1. L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 raises 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC)
  2. L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 owns a unique bile salt hydrolase (BSH) activity. While the enzyme BSH reduces the cholesterol levels, the levels of an animal sterol called 7-DHC are also elevated in response to BSH activity. 7-DHC (present in the skin and other tissues) is a precursor to vitamin D and is converted to vitamin D on exposure to sunlight. [1]

 

Lactobacilli lower the intestinal pH

Vitamin D requires an acidic medium to be absorbed. The acid in the lactic acid bacteria reduces the pH of the intestine, which enhances the absorption of the vitamin D ingested in the diet. [1]

 

L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 enhances the expression of Vitamin D Receptor

Also recognized, is the role of L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 in augmenting the expression and activity of the vitamin D receptor (VDR). VDR facilitates the body to respond to vitamin D appropriately, increasing its uptake by the intestinal cells. [1] The VDR is also critical to maintaining a state of balance in the gut, warding off the bad bacteria, blocking inflammation, and preserving the integrity of the intestinal lining. [2] A dysfunctional VDR and consequently a paucity of vitamin D may thus provoke intestinal damage and inflammatory bowel disease.

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How Dogs Benefit from Probiotics

probiotics for dogsSimilar to your intestinal tract, your pet’s gut is also home to trillions of bacteria that keep their gut in a healthy state. Once the defenses break down, the dogs can also fall a victim to various GI diseases. Hence, the question arises, “can probiotics help your dog?” Research shows that probiotic therapy is a promising strategy for canines’ GI disorders.

 

Lactobacilli are phenomenal probiotics for dogs!

The primary probiotics studied to benefit dogs are the lactic acid bacteria. ( [1] This is ascribable to the potential of these live bacteria to survive in the intestinal tract of these animals.

 

Lactobacilli help ease inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Dogs also tend to experience GI disorders like IBD and small-intestinal bacterial overgrowth. In fact, IBD is one of the common bowel problems experienced by canines. These illnesses cause chronic diarrhea in dogs, and on top of that, IBD and SIBO are treated with antibiotics (just like in humans) because of which the microbiome gets more out of control. [1] Probiotics restore the balance of the microbiome in dogs that is thrown into turmoil by these inflammatory gut ailments and by their use of antibiotics. This alleviates the associated diarrheal symptoms in canines. Probiotics also enhance the nutrient absorption (that is compromised in these disorders) in puppies required for the maintenance of their health.

 

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Probiotics for Kids

Why are probiotics useful for kids? In children, when the composition of the GI flora is out-of-whack, a myriad of illnesses (similar to that of adults) can ensue. Probiotics exert a major influence on the microbiome. A kid’s microbiome begins to develop inside the womb and matures during infancy and childhood. The newborn leaves the germ-free environment of the mother’s womb and enters a highly contaminated world, which mandates potent defenses to prevent disease.  The pro- and prebiotics confer long-term health benefits on the developing immune system of a child. This post will highlight the significance of adding probiotics to children’s diet.

 

Probiotics can Prevent Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Premature Infants

Some infants who are born prematurely can suffer from an intractable bloody diarrheal illness, called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). It is a condition in which the intestinal tissue undergoes inflammation, injury, and begins to die. Infectious agents seem to colonize the gut in these infants after the introduction of formula milk. Specific strains of bacteria, primarily the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria can preclude the occurrence of NEC when fed to the preterm babies. These probiotics break down carbohydrates to produce lactic acid, creating an acidic milieu in the gut. This promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria, whereas hampers that of the harmful ones. [1]

 

These beneficial bacteria also strengthen the gut barriers, which fends off the harmful agents against navigating from the GI tract to the outside systems – a process called bacterial translocation.

 

Moreover, the preterm infants afflicted with NEC lack the ability to tolerate anything through the mouth. Statistics show that probiotics given to these babies can improve oral (mouth) intake via accelerating maturation of intestine. [2] Probiotic preparations containing either lactobacillus alone or in combination with bifidobacterium are found to be highly effective at keeping NEC at bay. What’s more? Probiotics also appear to minimize the death rates associated with NEC. [2]

 

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How Do Probiotic Supplements Work?

How do probiotics workWe know that probiotics are live active cultures that when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit to the host. But what essentially makes a probiotic a probiotic? To be labeled as a probiotic, the product should be capable of surviving the irritant effects of both the stomach acid and bile to arrive at their destination in the colon where they exert their effects.

 

How do probiotics work?

 

The probiotics work through a number of mechanisms to strengthen our immune defenses and prevent us from sickness.

It is recognized for decades that the restoration of the balance in the microbial gut population is crucial for our health, and its disruption precipitates several GI and non-GI disease states. Depending upon the duration of their effects, probiotics can be classified as transient versus colonizing. Transient probiotics travel to the gut but are incapable of making a permanent home in the microbiome. They work as long as they are taken. In contrast, the colonizing probiotics (as the name implies) tend to colonize in the gut permanently; their effects last even after discontinuing them. Both kinds of probiotics stick to the gut wall to fend off the harmful invaders from adhering and exerting their deleterious effects. They block the growth of the bad pathogens and therefore, serve to boost the immune defenses both locally within and outside the gut.

 

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