Monday, 27 June 2011

Prebiotics and Probiotics

Here's a bunch of questions I'm asking myself about Prebiotics and Probiotics. Using this page to take notes as I find the answers around the net.


-Hippocrates,460-370 BC
(Pinched from Robb Wolf's blog post)

Q: What are these and why do people take them regularly? Surely once your gut flora is up to standard you don't need to keep supplementing to keep it that way. I can imagine taking this supplement after a long fast or illness involving diarrhoea or constipation, but why take it all the time?

Prebiotics are considered a 'functional food', typically carbohydrates (although not in all cases), that stimulate the growth or activity of good bacteria in the digestive system. 

Probiotics, like lactobacillus, are living organisms in the gut, they are the good bacteria that live in the gut and contribute to the process of digestion. These same bacteria are found naturally in certain foods like sauerkraut and yogurt.

Prebiotics stimulate growth of bacteria, probiotics are the bacteria.

Q: If they are both good for digestive system bacteria, then why are probiotics not allowed on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet?

Q: What Prebiotics and Probiotics does Robb Wolf supplement with, does he cycle them and why does he choose those particulare products?
A1: Now Foods Super Enzymes & Florasmart Probiotic (6 billion).

Q: Japanese conbini's sell "LG21 - Meiji Probiotic Yoghurt". Do these kinds of product make it to the intestine? Or is it all marketing and do any probiotic bacteria get killed by stomach acid before they can make it past the duodenum

Firstly LG21 is not Paleo and that sucks. 
Also LG21 stands for yogurt containing Lactobacillus gasseri OLL2716.
Japanese scientists have done lots of research into LG21 with rats and had lots of favourable results ranging from prevention of gut ulcers to prevention of gut lesions. But who are these scientists working for? Meiji?

Q: When to take probiotics?

If you are increasing your intestinal bacterium or balancing then the dosing times needs to be when your GI tract is empty. Ie first thing in the morning or at bed time. Taking them with a volume of water and when the stomach environment has less acid ensures the probiotics pass through the stomach, the digesitive juices prone 3 feet of small intestine. After all your looking to colonize the rest of the small intestine and large bowel, that remaining 30 ft of intestine, the less acid environment you create for those capsules, the better the chances the flora will eventually take hold. Its accepted that about 10 percent of the amt of probiotics taken at any given time will make it into the intestine. The survivors are lactobacillus and bifidobacteria, the strains are killed off by the acid environment. AGAIN The more neutral environment the better the odds that more strains make it.
This especially true 

1- if you have undergone a strong course of antibiotics for pseudo-membranous colitis or C diff infection.
2- Had a prolonged case of traveller's diarrhoea or actually developed dysentery.
3-Under treatment for H pylori and looking to add a layer of protection to the existing healthy intestinal flora.
Your looking to get as much flora deep as possible as quickly as possible.

If you taking them For Digestion :
Ideally you need to take them an hour before meals. As the soon as the brain thinks of foods, see food, smells food the stomach starts the production of acids, and the stomach begins to churn itself in preparation for the expected incoming meal. The constant acid production over time leads to gastritis and gastric reflux disease. That acid of course over time reduces flora in the stomach itself. Using pro biotics is thought to help balance the colonies. Most researchers are saying that this maybe incorrect as the duration studies were showing that once the dosing stopped, the colonizers stopped.

Digestive enzymes:
If you taking them to return digestive function AFTER a course of proton pump inhibitors or extended usage of H2 blockers like pepcid.
Then you need to take them close to your meal time / more like at the start of your meal or during your meal, this includes snacks. The idea is to have the enzymes work the next hour ( basical what it takes for a meal to be cleared from the stomach and pass onwards.) involved in the multiple stages of food breakdown. Eventually the need for them dwindles as natural enzyemes return to a more optimal level as stomach environment matures again. This can take up to two years for those that had a train wreck of stomach problems.

I think i recall Robb Wolf is a believer that the north american diet is more alkaline based. And overtime the base causes a push to neutral environment in the the gi tract. Thus leading to poor absorption of food nutrients.

2- taking them for candida control or something else other than digestion improvement. Then I think the frequency will be less according to what your taking to achieve.

A lot of the probiotic research comes out of the uk, looking at the use of probiotics to counter the increasing numbers mrsa colonized intestines due to extended / multiple exposure to antibiotics. The us researchers are leading towards its place for crohn's/ colitis/ Irritable bowel management since these groups are subjected to long courses of antibiotics and steroids.

Digestive enzymes seem to have the place in the alternative medicine pathway. Supposedly increased digestion can cure alot of things.

Overall, they are not overall type of supplement, they do a specific thing for specific problem. With that in mind, take them according to what you're trying to achieve.

Q: What foods help like probiotics?
A: Some kind of fermented food is important. Kombucha is a really strong one. Eat small amounts of kimchee as a condiment daily. There's also Biolacto fermented veggies and other options. Kefirs and other recipes in the Body Ecology book that Dr. G keeps raving about.

There are many relatively Paleo-friendly probiotic/cultured foods. These can range from kimchee to sauerkraut to cultured veggies to kombucha.

Key thing on all of them is that they are not pasteurized, or that they are cultured after pasteurization, and that there is not too much salt in them (salt inhibits bacterial growth).

Some store-bought sauerkraut is pasteurized. Which means they heat it really high to get rid of the bacteria (the bacteria you actually want). Raw Sauerkraut is unpasteurized sauerkraut.

Japanese "kimuchi" is not fermented, only korean "kimchi" is prepared using fermentation and contains probiotics.

here's a good probiotics link on

link to a web page explaining types of bacteria


Dims Throw said...
You really should check this out (re C dif) and gut terrain/environment. Have been studying this online and will try to send you more info if you want.

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