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Metabolic and Health Benefits from Prebiotics & Probiotics

The importance of bowel health has been known since antiquity. In fact, almost every traditional healing system has stressed the importance of bowel health as a prerequisite to overall health. Recently, modern science is finally catching on to this important concept.  Numerous scientific studies are revealing just how important your bowel health is. Probiotics (living organisms) and prebiotics (food for the living organisms) are being recognized as important nutritional strategies for optimizing bowel flora and decreasing diseases related to abnormal bowel flora (dysbiosis).  Prebiotics and Probiotics have become very hot topics and best sellers in the health food industry today. In order to better understand the benefits of these supplements for your body, you must be aware of the relationships between your bowel flora (biota) and the rest of your body. You need to understand that living inside all of us are trillions of microorganisms known as your bowel flora. If your bowel flora is healthy and balanced, you have a good chance of being healthy.Conversely, if your bowel flora is overpopulated with unhealthy organisms, your health is at great risk. 

Think of your intestines like a garden. To grow flowers, you need to have the proper seeds (probiotics) and you need to keep the soil clean and feed the seedlings with healthy fertilizers (prebiotics).  However, if you pollute your garden with unhealthy substances, the only thing that will grow will be weeds. Eventually, the weeds will end up killing the flowers and literally take over the entire garden. The secret to a healthy garden is to have healthy soil.  Therefore, if you want to be healthy, your intestines (your “soil”) need to be filled with health promoting flora. The basis to having healthy intestinal bowel flora and avoiding unhealthy intestinal bowel flora (dysbiosis) is feeding your intestines a nourishing mix of foods and avoiding those foods that encourage the growth of unhealthy organisms. Good bacteria such as found in healthy bowel flora exist in a symbiotic relationship with your body. When these beneficial organisms eat your food they excrete good nutrients like vitamin B12 which in turn helps your immune system and overall health. On the other hand, if you consume sugar, fried foods and other metabolic poisons, you will grow a mixture of pathogenic bacteria and yeast in your intestines.

Everyone knows that you need to watch what you eat. But what you may not know is how impactful your choices can be. What you eat can derange your bowel flora immensely and the effect on your health will be markedly amplified because your immune system is so powerful.  Think about peanut allergies for example.  Peanuts, in general, are relatively harmless, but some people are highly allergic to them. If you have a severe peanut allergy, the inflammatory signal as a consequence of peanut exposure can be amplified a thousand fold so that even touching the peanut or smelling it can kill you. The take home message is that the peanut itself is not dangerous; it is your immune system’s amplified response to the peanut that is the real problem.  Now suppose that you have mild immune responses and allergies to various foods or environmental allergens.  If you have unhealthy bowel flora, these detrimental organisms can amplify the allergic signals and contribute to severe immune system responses to otherwise minimally toxic substances.  Thankfully, taking appropriate prebiotics and probiotics helps you to grow beneficial bowel flora (the “good bacteria”). This healthy practice can markedly dampen the immune system reactions that can contribute to a multitude of symptoms that lead to chronic symptoms.  Conversely, having bad bowel flora (dysbiosis) in your body can be extremely detrimental to your health.  Dysbiosis upregulates immune mediated inflammation throughout your body, which contributes to cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, dementia, heart and kidney failure and host of other problems. Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to state that if you have bad bowel flora (dysbiosis) you are going to be sickened by this condition.  Bad bowel flora (dysbiosis) can even contribute to you being overweight. Dysbiotic bowel flora can cause an inflammatory response and consequent hormonal changes which can lead to weight gain. If you are obese, you most likely have a preponderance of bad bacteria. On the other hand, if you are lean, chances are that you have a healthy biota. 

There are many ways to get prebiotics/probiotics into your system and improve your bowel flora. The most important is a good healthy diet, avoiding sweets, fried foods, vegetable oils (like soy and canola), and processed foods. Additionally adding foods (prebiotics) that help feed the good bacteria, such as raw carrots, which are high in fiber, and even certain fermented foods. There are traditional foods in some cultures such as “Kimchi” in Korea which has been known for generations to have health benefits.

In addition to your diet, you may benefit from a probiotic/prebiotic supplement. Unfortunately, a vast majority of commercially available probiotic supplements are not very effective. Most probiotics contain Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Lactobacillus Rhamnosus. These very popular and highly touted products actually increase inflammatory chemicals (cytokines) in your body such as interleukin 6, interleukin 1- beta, tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin 12 and interferon gamma. Consequently, you must be very careful in choosing proper prebiotic/probiotic supplements while avoiding the aforementioned pro-inflammatory strains.  At Michael Rothman MD, we use a prebiotic/probiotic product by the name of IMMUNO-SYNBIOTIC. IMMUNO-SYNBIOTIC is a supplement produced by a company named NUTRI-SPEC that Dr. Rothman recommends to his patients. NUTRI-SPEC specifically chose Lactobacillus Reuteri and Sacchromyces Boulardii prebiotics because they reduce immune responses. Lactobacillus Reuteri has been shown to kill harmful bacteria and Candida (both in the GI tract and the genitourinary tract). It also decreases triglycerides and cholesterol and increases vitamin B12 production. S.Boulardii is a benefit to intestinal inflammatory conditions and has been shown to restore the structure and function of the intestinal lining. In addition, Sacchromyces Boulardii can kill pathogenic bacteria and Candida and increase the population of beneficial intestinal flora.  Moreover, IMMUNO-SYNBIOTIC contains therapeutic quantities of Glucomannan, inulin and guar gum, which are very potent prebiotics (food for your bowel flora). These excellent prebiotics can help to reduce immune related inflammation, enhance your intestinal detoxification pathways, and improve absorption of trace minerals and many other benefits.

A word of caution is advised, because when you take a prebiotic or probiotic supplement, you may experience what is known as a “die-off” reaction as the bad bacteria are dying off and being replaced by the good bacteria.  Dr. Rothman can help guide you with a comprehensive treatment plan that includes nutritional counseling, metabolic therapy that are individualized for your unique biochemical requirements.

Are you interested in improving your overall health and reducing your chances of developing chronic inflammation related diseases? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Rothman or order a bottle of IMMUNO-SYNBIOTIC by calling 732-268-7663.

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To learn more about Michael Rothman MD contact us today by giving us a call at (732) 268-7663, emailing us at [email protected] or by requesting an appointment online.

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