Probiotic goods a ‘waste of money’ for healthy adults, research suggests.


University of Copenhagen study finds no evidence that so-called friendly bacteria change the composition of faecal bacteria.

While probiotic products such as milk and yoghurt-based drinks could help those with disease-associated imbalances of the gut microbiota, there was little to suggest they helped healthy individuals.

While probiotic products such as milk and yoghurt-based drinks could help those with disease-associated imbalances of the gut microbiota, there was little to suggest they helped healthy individuals. 

Fans of probiotic drinks and foods may be wasting their money, according to a review of current research into the supplements that suggests they may be of no benefit to healthy adults.

A Danish team looked at the results of seven trials of the products – often sold as milk-based drinks, biscuits, sachets, or capsules – and found no evidence they changed the composition of faecal bacteria in healthy adults.

Online blogs and magazines have helped spur a trend for lacto-fermentation of foodstuffs by touting a range of purported health benefits, such as improved digestion and resistance to infections.

Oluf Pedersen, who led the research at the University of Copenhagen, said: “While there is some evidence from previous reviews that probiotic interventions may benefit those with disease-associated imbalances of the gut microbiota, there is little evidence of an effect in healthy individuals.”

In-depth clinical trials would be needed to explore whether probiotics can help people avoid getting sick, he added.

Probiotics are live microbial food ingredients – sometimes labelled “friendly bacteria” – that are said to provide the consumer with numerous health benefits by improving the intestinal microbial balance. They are often made by introducing live bacterial cultures to everyday foodstuffs, which metabolise sugars as they multiply and leave them with a sour, fresh flavour. Aside from branded products specifically marketed as probiotic supplements, such foods include plain yoghurt, sauerkraut, miso and kefir.

Japanese miso soup
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Japanese miso soup. Photograph: Photostock Israel/Getty Images

Advocates claim they can help with digestive health, allergies, immune response and obesity. Previous research has suggested that in some cases, such as where diarrhoea has arisen from antibiotic use, probiotics can have a therapeutic effect.

But when Pedersen and his team reviewed seven randomised controlled studies that investigated whether a daily probiotic supplement had any effect on the microbial composition of healthy adults’ faeces, only one showed significant changes.

Nadja Buus Kristensen, a PhD student and junior author of the study, said: “According to our systematic review, no convincing evidence exists for consistent effects of examined probiotics on faecal microbiota composition in healthy adults, despite probiotic products being consumed to a large extent by the general population.”

Studies included in the review had sample sizes ranging from 21 to 81, and included participants aged 19 to 88 years old. The Copenhagen team noted that the real impact of the probiotics may have been masked by small sample sizes and the use of different strains of bacteria and variations in participants’ diets, among other factors.

Pedersen said: “To explore the potential of probiotics to contribute to disease prevention in healthy people there is a major need for much larger, carefully designed and carefully conducted clinical trials.

“These should include ideal composition and dosage of known and newly developed probiotics combined with specified dietary advice, optimal trial duration and relevant monitoring of host health status.”

Their findings are published in the online journal Genome Medicine.

Probiotic goods a ‘waste of money’ for healthy adults, research suggests.


University of Copenhagen study finds no evidence that so-called friendly bacteria change the composition of faecal bacteria

While probiotic products such as milk and yoghurt-based drinks could help those with disease-associated imbalances of the gut microbiota, there was little to suggest they helped healthy individuals.
While probiotic products such as milk and yoghurt-based drinks could help those with disease-associated imbalances of the gut microbiota, there was little to suggest they helped healthy individuals. 

Fans of probiotic drinks and foods may be wasting their money, according to a review of current research into the supplements that suggests they may be of no benefit to healthy adults.

A Danish team looked at the results of seven trials of the products – often sold as milk-based drinks, biscuits, sachets, or capsules – and found no evidence they changed the composition of faecal bacteria in healthy adults.

Online blogs and magazines have helped spur a trend for lacto-fermentation of foodstuffs by touting a range of purported health benefits, such as improved digestion and resistance to infections.

Oluf Pedersen, who led the research at the University of Copenhagen, said: “While there is some evidence from previous reviews that probiotic interventions may benefit those with disease-associated imbalances of the gut microbiota, there is little evidence of an effect in healthy individuals.”

In-depth clinical trials would be needed to explore whether probiotics can help people avoid getting sick, he added.

Probiotics are live microbial food ingredients – sometimes labelled “friendly bacteria” – that are said to provide the consumer with numerous health benefits by improving the intestinal microbial balance. They are often made by introducing live bacterial cultures to everyday foodstuffs, which metabolise sugars as they multiply and leave them with a sour, fresh flavour. Aside from branded products specifically marketed as probiotic supplements, such foods include plain yoghurt, sauerkraut, miso and kefir.

Japanese miso soup
Japanese miso soup.

Advocates claim they can help with digestive health, allergies, immune response and obesity. Previous research has suggested that in some cases, such as where diarrhoea has arisen from antibiotic use, probiotics can have a therapeutic effect.

But when Pedersen and his team reviewed seven randomised controlled studies that investigated whether a daily probiotic supplement had any effect on the microbial composition of healthy adults’ faeces, only one showed significant changes.

Nadja Buus Kristensen, a PhD student and junior author of the study, said: “According to our systematic review, no convincing evidence exists for consistent effects of examined probiotics on faecal microbiota composition in healthy adults, despite probiotic products being consumed to a large extent by the general population.”

Studies included in the review had sample sizes ranging from 21 to 81, and included participants aged 19 to 88 years old. The Copenhagen team noted that the real impact of the probiotics may have been masked by small sample sizes and the use of different strains of bacteria and variations in participants’ diets, among other factors.

Pedersen said: “To explore the potential of probiotics to contribute to disease prevention in healthy people there is a major need for much larger, carefully designed and carefully conducted clinical trials.

“These should include ideal composition and dosage of known and newly developed probiotics combined with specified dietary advice, optimal trial duration and relevant monitoring of host health status.”

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RAW HONEY CONTAINS PROBIOTIC THAT BOOSTS IMMUNITY


raw_honey_immune_booster_greenmedinfo

Honey has a world of health benefits that science is only beginning to uncover. Now, new research reveals that raw honey in particular has special immune boosting properties as well.

Prior research has shown that honey’s ability to stimulate the immune system had a lot to do with the fact that flower nectars contain plant polyphenols and other phytochemicals.

Well, we can now add another reason for honey’s ability to stimulate the immune system: A particular probiotic bacteria endemic among honeybees.

The understanding of this probiotic reveals a number of key elements regarding honey and the honeybees – regarding fructose digestion and even honeybee colony collapse.

The probiotic of the beehive

The probiotic bacteria is Lactobacillus kunkeei. This bacteria was initially studied in relation to winemaking, because it was often found when a winemaking fermentation process became “stuck.” As such, the bacteria has been implicated among spoilage disasters in winemaking and grape juice processors.

But Lactobacillus kunkeei has more recently been found among honeybees, and a new sequencing method employed at the Prefectural University of Hiroshima has found that this probiotic bacteria is not only used by honeybees: It is also contained in the honey, bee pollen and royal jelly produced in the hive.

This also means that by eating raw honey, we may be consuming this probiotic bacteria as well. Is it good for us?

Immune-boosting bacteria

To investigate the effects of this probiotic bacteria, the researchers mentioned above first tested two strains of the Lactobacillus kunkeei bacteria on cells within the laboratory. When the cells were exposed to heat-killed Lactobacillus kunkeei bacteria, the cells initiated an IgA response – meaning they stimulated the cells’ immunity processes.

The researchers then gave 1,000 milligrams of heat-killed Lactobacillus kunkeei to 11 healthy adults for a month. The researchers found that the Lactobacillus kunkeei increased saliva IgA concentrations and secretion among the subjects. This means that it significantly stimulated the immune system.

The researchers confirmed the discovery of this information:

“This is the first report of microbiota analysis of royal jelly and the immune efficacy of L. kunkeei from honeybee products in humans.”

What are ‘heat-killed’ bacteria?

Remember that the honey bacteria tested in the study above was heat-killed. This means the bacteria were first heated to the point where they died. In this state, the bacteria are no longer alive. They are not consuming food (called fermentation). They are also not producing acids and antibiotic substances – as living probiotics do.

But when a bacteria is heat-killed, it will go down fighting. It will produce a number of acids and antibiotic substances as it seeks to protect itself from its impending death.

This is why a heat-killed bacteria can still provoke immunity: Those immunity chemicals are in the mix.

But this also means that the living bacteria will do even a better job at stimulating the immune system. Not just a one-shot, but an ongoing immunity stimulation – as long as those bacteria remain alive in the system.

Implications of raw versus refined honey

This heat-killing is what normally happens in most conventional honey production because conventional honey is typically heated and then filtered. This heating process will allow the honey to more easily be run through a filter so the particulates can be screened out.

However, a true raw honey is not heated, nor filtered. You can easily tell a raw honey from a heated-filtered honey because the heated-filtered honey will be clear and the raw honey will have a creamy darker color – and you can’t see through it.

This also means a raw honey will contain the living forms of this immune-boosting probiotic bacteria.

The existence of this probiotic can now explain why raw honey has been found to be not only immune-stimulating but also antibiotic. Why? Because probiotics secrete numerous natural compounds to kill off those bacteria that threaten their territories.

Sure, honey also contains phytochemicals from the plant’s nectar that stimulate the immune system. We cannot deny that, as other honey research has shown that honey from immunity-stimulating plants (such as Manuka flowers) has more antimicrobial properties than honey from bees that harvest from other plants.

Probiotics from flowers

Honey is stored as energy for bees for wintertime when there are theoretically no more flowers to feed from. Flowers, it seems provide more than just the pollen and nectar – they also provide the bacteria important to the storage and protection of the honey.

A healthy bee produces honey by mixing the flower nectar with saliva and collectively regurgitating it by trading it back and forth between bees. This process infuses the sweetness of the pollen with the probiotic bacteria from the bee’s digestive juices – thereby protecting it. This protection doesn’t just come from digestive juices however: It also comes from the probiotic bacteria that the bees host. Where do they get this bacteria from?

Several studies by researchers from South Africa’s University of Stellenbosch have investigated numerous strains of L. kunkeei, collected from flowers, honey and in wine production. The important part of the collections from flowers is these flowers were fresh. In other words, the L. kunkeei bacteria have a symbiotic relationship not only with bees and thus humans – but also with these flowers. Thus the flower nectars are providing the bees with bacteria.

As I discuss in my book on the subject, probiotic bacteria provide numerous benefits to their host. These include providing direct antibiotic immune function, assisting and stimulating the immune system, and providing enzymes for digestion along with other chemicals used by the metabolism of the host.

This ongoing investigation on bee bacteria finds that the L. kunkeei bacteria initially provide probiotic activity to nectar-containing flowers. This means that bees are not just harvesting the pollen nectar from flowers: They are also harvesting these beneficial bacteria, which provide probiotic services to the beehive.

Another dimension to bee colony collapse

Indeed, after finding no less than 66 strains of L. kunkeei and a related species among honeybee hives, the at University of Stellenbosch researchers conducted a study testing a disease pathogen that threatens many hives throughout the world.

The infective pathogen is Melissococcus plutonius, and this is the cause of a honeybee disease called European foulbrood. This has also been implicated as one of the manifestations involved in bee colony collapse.

The researchers found that L. kunkeei successfully killed and thus provided antibiotic properties against the M. plutonius pathogen.

The mechanism for the antibacterial function of L. kunkeei was that it produced an antibacterial peptide.

While L. kunkeei is not the only probiotic bacteria that honeybees will utilize in their hives, this study opens up a new in our understanding of bee collapse – the wipeout of those bacteria that bees use to prevent infection.

Is this such a leap? The reality is that pesticides and herbicides also have the unique ability to kill off bacteria along with their intended pests – many of which are microscopic. This unspecific wipeout can be compared to how antibiotic drugs can wipe out our gut’s probiotic content.

Passing on honey probiotics to humans

One collected by the honeybee from flowers, the probiotic services provided by the L. kunkeei bacteria are then passed onto those humans who smartly and carefully harvest the honey stored in the hive. And of course to those who eat those honeys raw.

This of course confers these probiotic benefits to humans.

Just as other probiotic bacteria do, these bacteria produce lactic acid and acetic acid – both of which assist in the correct pH of our intestinal tracts. These acids also set up an environment which helps prevent the growth of many types of pathogenic bacteria and yeasts.

Raw honey and blood sugar

Probiotics also help us digest and process our foods – and L. kunkeei can also perform this function.

The researchers at University of Stellenbosch also found the L. kunkeei bacteria feed off complex D-fructose – which both flower nectars and honeys provide.

This fact reveals a much more complex mechanism and benefit of eating raw honey – and at least one reason why honey is one of the healthiest forms of sweeteners in terms of blood sugar control. The fact that these bacteria feed from fructose means they also break down the fructose that can be responsible – in its pure forms – for hiking our blood sugar.

In other research I have showed that fructose from raw fruit comes with complex fibers that help prevent the fructose from surging into the blood. This process is further slowed down by gut probiotics that feed from fructose, thus breaking down these polysaccharide chains into healthy components such as lactic acids and acetic acids.

But honey provides another level above this – assuming raw honey is eaten: It delivers the probiotics that reduce the absorption of fructose of not only the honey, but other fructose-containing foods.

This also provides the missing link that underscores the fact that probiotic supplementation has been shown to improve the fructose/glucose response.

Now You Can Enhance Your Digestive Health without Taking Pills or Capsules


Have you ever been frustrated trying to swallow capsules or pills?
According to a Harris Interactive survey, at one time or another, an astonishing 40% of American adults experience this difficulty.

This alarming statistic also applies to many people who don’t usually have difficulty swallowing food. And for some reason, almost twice as many women as men (51% vs. 27%) experience pill swallowing difficulties.

Part of the issue here is that most people don’t report the problem even during a consultation with their doctor. Of those surveyed by Harris Interactive with pill-swallowing difficulties, only 14% actually told their physician.

Perhaps it’s happened to you at one time or another or, maybe it’s become a constant challenge in your life.

Children Have a Tough Time Swallowing Pills

kids difficulty swallowing pills

And if you have children, you may face tough situations when your kids get sick and cannot swallow pills. This is not uncommon and some kids may not be able to resolve this until age 10 or older.

So, by all means, if you or your children have this problem, please consult with your doctor – there are various solutions available to help most people.

To help solve this problem, I decided to offer an alternative to capsules in one of my most popular products – New and Improved Complete Probiotics.

Why?… Because I strongly believe one of the most important places for you to start building a solid health foundation is in your digestive tract.*

And if you’re not able to take Complete Probiotics capsules, you could be limiting yourself on how effectively you enhance your digestive tract.

But I must warn you you’ll have to hide this new Complete Probiotics alternative from your kids they just taste so good your kids will come back for more and more.

More on the delicious taste details coming up, but first let’s review your health bonuses when taking a high-quality probiotic the same bonuses you get from the Complete Probiotics formula.

How Billions of “Good” Bacteria Go to Work for You

The best way I’ve found for you to take control of your digestive health is by eating a healthy diet consisting of plenty of unprocessed whole organic foods, and especially fermented foods.

I also believe that you can improve on this step by introducing billions of tiny microorganisms (“good” bacteria) into your digestive system through the use of high quality probiotics.*

And I can’t emphasize enough the importance of “high-quality.” I’ll show how to thoroughly determine that coming up.

Good Bacteria

So how do the billions of good bacteria help?

What happens is good bacteria go to work keeping your entire digestive system at its peak while boosting the health of your immune system and overall health at the same time.*

Why do I strongly believe that a good diet with plenty of fermented foods, and a high-quality probiotic are necessary to help boost this process and enhance your health? Because…

  • 80% of your immune system lives within your digestive tract.* A healthy immune system is key to your overall wellbeing.
  • A healthy and “happy” digestive system helps you better regulate your weight.*
  • Maintaining a healthy ratio of “good” to “other” bacteria in your gastro-intestinal (GI) tract is crucial for optimal health – probiotics can help you promote this.*
  • Scientific research shows that supplementing with probiotics may help reduce fat in your body.*
  • Over the years, observations at my clinic showed a high success rate for people treated with high-quality probiotics.*

But once again, I cannot stress enough the importance of “high-quality” when it comes to selecting probiotics.

In finding an alternative to probiotic capsules, my team and I were not about to compromise the extensive work behind finding you a high-quality probiotic in the first place – absolutely no way!

That’s why I insisted that the non-capsule solution must come from the same source as Complete Probiotics.

I’ll get more into the details of the new alternative shortly, but next you should know…

This is One Supplement I Take Every Day

Probiotics are important. They’re one of the few supplements I believe can benefit nearly everyone.* Unfortunately, they are also one of the trickiest of all supplements to recommend.

With Complete Probiotics, I spent 15 years evaluating nearly 20 different brands to arrive at this amazing formula.

It is my humble opinion that this is simply the best probiotic on the market.* But having said that no probiotic is perfect for everyone–even Complete Probiotics. We are all different, so if you aren’t getting the improvement you were expecting you will want to try another brand.

And now, I’ve taken the same high-potency probiotic formula to another level with a great tasting, easy to swallow solution in non-capsule form.

This is also a more convenient way for you to take high-quality probiotics when you’re on the go or traveling anywhere around the world.

Do You Know How Probiotics Help Make
Your Digestive System a Happy Camper?

Let’s take a quick look at some of the history behind these living powerhouses called probiotics.

You might already know about some of this if you’re familiar with Complete Probiotics. But sometimes it’s easy to forget the important details.

Digestive System

The term probiotics comes from the Greek “for life” (which gives you an inkling of what the word “antibiotics” really means).

When ingested, these living microorganisms…

  • Replenish the microflora in your intestinal tract*
  • Enhance the support of your digestive system*
  • Trigger the promotion of a number of health improving functions for your immune system, toxin removal system, and circulatory system*

How did people promote digestive health in ancient times?

Did they live with occasional unpleasant and uncomfortable digestive issues? Did these types of issues even exist?

The answer is likely a little of both.

History does tell us about the ways different cultures promoted their intestinal health before modern times.

In the past, people used fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut as food preservatives and as support for intestinal and overall health.

Fermented foods were (and still are) part of many traditional cultures…

  • In early Roman times, people ate fermented foods like sauerkraut because of its taste and benefits to overall health.
  • In ancient Indian society, it became commonplace (and still is) to enjoy a before-dinner yogurt drink called a lassi. At the end of the meal, they’d have a small serving of curd.
  • In Asian cultures, pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash, and carrots still exist today.

Why can’t we practice these methods today?

It’s not so much that we can’t, as that we don’t. Processed foods along with stress and pollution-filled environments impact your healthy digestion, immune system, and overall good health.

Progress, it seems, isn’t always to our benefit.

But that’s why I believe the best way for you to take control of your gastro-intestinal health is by introducing billions of tiny good bacteria into your digestive system through the use of high-quality probiotics.*

Recommended for Kids?

Dr. Mercola's Probiotics Packs

Now, I raised the issue earlier about how kids may have difficulty swallowing pills.

Well, you might be wondering what that has to do with probiotics. Kids can’t take probiotics, right? Isn’t this formula only for adults?

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Probiotics can be taken by your children and can be highly beneficial.*

Of course, like any other supplement you’re considering for your kids, always check with your doctor or pediatrician first.

But if you have your doctor’s okay and you want to give probiotics to your children, here are some potential benefits:

  • Helps replenish beneficial bacteria*
  • Boosts your child’s immune system to help strengthen their resistance*
  • Protects and promotes your child’s healthy digestive tract*

Once your kids get a taste of the delicious, naturally fruit-flavored Probiotic Packs, you’ll have a hard time saving some for yourself plus, you won’t have any pill-swallowing issues here.

Why Maintaining a Healthy Balance of Bacteria
is Critical in Enhancing Your Overall Health

good health

Over the past 30 years, science has come to better understand the bacterial effects on your gastro-intestinal (GI) tract and immune systems.

As a result, the use of probiotics has become more widely accepted and practiced than ever before.

Today, the science of probiotics has evolved into a rapidly growing field, generating a great deal of interest both from physicians and consumers.

Part of this could be due to the fact that some of the incredible stats about your GI tract read like a “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.”

For example, did you realize that?

  • As many as 500 different species of bacteria live in your body, primarily your colon, and collectively they actually weigh several pounds.
  • About 100 trillion bacteria exist within your body – more than 10 TIMES the number of cells you have in your entire body.
  • Some of these bacteria are referred to as “good”, but others provide very little benefit. The ideal balance between them is 85% beneficial and 15% “other.”

This ratio between “good” beneficial bacteria and “other” bacteria becomes one of the critical factors determining your optimal health.*

I’ve often heard people say that, “Death begins in the colon.” I disagree.

On the contrary, it’s my firm belief that life is promoted and enhanced in the colon — if you know what you’re doing – if you take advantage of high-quality probiotics.*

Maintaining great intestinal health is akin to maintaining great overall health.

And once you’ve got a good handle on your overall health, I believe you’ll naturally feel better — and be able to do more of the things you want to do… at home, at work, on vacation, anywhere and everywhere you go.

So, how do you know what “good” bacteria to look for in probiotic formulas?

11 Beneficial Strains Crucial for a High-Quality Probiotic Blend

With my new probiotic powder formulas, you receive a minimum of 66 billion beneficial bacteria in every serving.

These are the same bacteria strains and blends as Complete Probiotics now available in Probiotic Packs.

However, it doesn’t really stop there.

The manufacturer of this probiotic powder formula conducts very conservative testing. They take extra steps to certify the quantity and specific multi-strain bacteria you receive.

As is the case with Complete Probiotics, the number of “good” bacteria in the powder formulas may be understated by as much as 50-70%.

So, you could potentially receive close to 100 billion beneficial bacteria. This only increases the likelihood you’ll respond favorably to the formula.

This remarkable formulation brings together two of the most well-known probiotics Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains known to work together to maintain a balance of “good” bacteria along your digestive tract.*

If you’re looking for a high-quality probiotic formula, please make sure each serving contains the following “good” bacteria, like my Probiotic Packs. Don’t settle for less.

1 Bifidobacterium lactis – a friendly bacteria often found in yogurt that is known to help stimulate immune responses*
2 Lactobacillus acidophilus – guards the health of your entire digestive tract*
3 Bifidobacterium longum – keeps your digestive system running smoothly, and helps enhance your immune system*
4 Bifidobacterium bifidum – helps promote a healthy balance of flora in your intestine.* What’s more, this organism is especially helpful for enhancing immune response*
5 Lactobacillus casei – works with other helpful organisms, and helps to encourage the growth of other “good” bacteria*
6 Lactobacillus plantarum – helps to ensure that the nutrients in vitamins and supplements are getting to your cells*
7 Lactobacillus salivarius – promotes your intestinal health and helps support your oral health as well*
8 Lactobacillus rhamnosus – assists your elimination and occasional intestinal discomfort by working to stabilize your intestinal microflora*
9 Lactobacillus bulgaricus – works with other Lactobacillus strains to provide you a potential source of dietary antioxidants*
10 Bacillus Coagulans – helps enhance your intestinal health and provides back-up for sporadic intestinal discomfort*
11 Kyo-Dophilus® blend – specially-cultured organisms right at home in your digestive tract that are able to survive hostile stomach acid*

These are the “good” bacteria types that I strongly recommend your probiotics formula contains.

And with my Probiotic Packs formula, 66 billion+ little warriors go to work with each serving to defend your digestive tract to promote a natural balance of bacteria to this all-important area of your body.*

The bottom line for you – a delicious, easy to swallow probiotic that helps you take better control of your gastro-intestinal health.

But They’re Useless Unless

These “good” bacteria can be of little help if they don’t survive your stomach or aren’t supported once they arrive in your GI tract.

That’s what made my Complete Probiotics formula exceptional and now what makes my Probiotic Packs so special as well.

So, how does this formula help the survival of good bacteria in your GI tract?

The unique formulation of these natural fruit-flavored probiotic packs.

  • Helps ensure good bacteria reaches a less hostile environment in your stomach and digestive tract (with a pH of 3 to 4) and promotes their survival in reaching their final destination*
  • Promotes the nourishment of good bacteria and helps them thrive while they settle into your digestive tract – due in part to formulation enhancements from NutraFlora® short chain FOS included in the probiotic formula*
  • Provides needed “food” for the probiotics*

So my special probiotic formula with NutraFlora® short chain FOS, helps ensure that the multiple strains of good bacteria survive and thrive in your gastro-intestinal tract.*

Not every probiotic formula out there provides these capabilities.

Without natural survival ingredients like FOS (NutraFlora®) which is formulated into my probiotic packs, good bacteria face an uphill battle to thrive and deliver benefits to you.

Did I Mention the Phenomenally Good Taste?

The big bonus with these probiotic packs is the delicious taste.

It’s one thing to take supplements every day to promote your health it’s another thing to actually enjoy the taste of what you’re taking at the same time.

And that’s why I’ve repeatedly alerted you to keep close tabs on the packs. If you have kids, they’ll love the natural fruit taste and want them more and more especially the packs.

Now, that’s not such a bad thing because as we talked about earlier, probiotics are safe for kids to take.

My Probiotic Packs include natural fruit flavors – natural lemon, raspberry, and strawberry flavors.

Over and above all the fantastic health benefits you receive from these probiotics, here’s a summary chart of additional benefits from an everyday usage standpoint:

Dr. Mercola’s Probiotic Packs
Convenient? checkmarkYes – you can grab a pack any time to get a healthy boost
Easy to swallow? checkmarkYes – provides an excellent probiotic alternative if you have difficulty swallowing capsules or pills
Kid friendly? checkmarkYes – tastes almost too good to believe it’s a healthy probiotic supplement
Take it with you? checkmarkYes – packs offer great portability when traveling – no need to necessarily take with food or water
Natural flavor? checkmarkYes – natural fruit flavors of lemon, raspberry, and strawberry create a very appealing taste

With the same potency as Complete Probiotics, I think you’ll agree that my Probiotic Packs provide you a great probiotic alternative with their convenience and delicious natural taste.

And I selected both these probiotic alternatives from the same manufacturer as Complete Probiotics.

So, my 15 years of clinical observation together with independent research still apply in choosing the best probiotic available regardless of whether it’s capsules or powder.

Why Sometimes Even Probiotics Could Use Some Additional Help

help support digestive system

By now, you already know that trillions of bacteria (good ones as well as not so good) live in your digestive system and play important roles in your overall health and wellbeing.*

But what you might not be fully aware of is “good” bacteria in your GI tract need good nutrition to flourish.

That’s where a good source of fiber in your diet can make a huge difference by helping enhance the overall benefits of high-quality probiotics.*

While the less-than-desirable bacteria like to eat refined sugars and fats, beneficial bacteria just love to feed on fiber (such as that found in Fiber Harmony Organic Psyllium).*

You also need a robust supply of digestive enzymes to process food and help you absorb nutrients as they pass through your intestines.*

While polishing off your latest meal, digestive enzymes are pouring into your small intestine (from your liver, pancreas, and gallbladder) to break down the large macromolecules into easily absorbable pieces.

My Digestive Enzymes formula has the right mix of powerful enzymes to help you break down your food with potent doses of 5 powerful digestive aids: Bromelain, papain, amylase, alpha galactosidase, and ox bile.

So, if you want a complete Digestive Health package to go along with my Probiotic Packs, I’ve created a convenient bundle that includes Fiber Harmony Organic Psyllium and Digestive Enzymes as well (see offer details below).

11 Powerful Reasons Why

Now that you’ve seen all the enticing conveniences and health benefits of my Probiotic Packs, I know you must be ready to try these delicious probiotics out for yourself.

But first, take a look at my summary of compelling reasons why I chose these probiotics the same powerful benefits that prompted me to offer you Complete Probiotics in the first place:

11 Powerful Reasons Why Probiotic Packs are
My Top Choice for Non-capsule Probiotics
1 Maintains your ideal “good” to “other” bacteria ratio by promoting the optimal environment for the growth of good bacteria*
2 Supports your production of B vitamins, especially folic acid and biotin, and vitamin K*
3 Promotes mineral absorption for you*
4 Supports your protein and carbohydrate digestion via probiotic enzymes*
5 Aids your metabolism and the breakdown of toxins*
6 Helps you maintain appropriate bowel transit time*
7 Supports your immune system function by helping you remove toxins*
8 Produces lactic acid for support of your digestive processes and colon pH balance*
9 Helps you maintain serum lipid and blood pressure levels in the healthy range*
10 Supports your normal immune response*
11 Helps promote your oral health*

So, if you’re familiar with my Complete Probiotics formula, this is not new information.

But if you’re not you should clearly see why I chose these probiotics from the same manufacturer and formulation as Complete Probiotics.

Your GI Tract is Ready and Waiting for Your Help

Now you can have the benefits of Complete Probiotics with the delightful taste and convenience of my Probiotic Packs.

And if you dread facing the frustration of swallowing capsules or pills, the probiotic packs provide you a relaxing alternative.

Or, you just may like the natural fruit taste or the added convenience these alternatives provide when you’re traveling somewhere.

I definitely carry a bottle of Complete Probiotics whenever I travel. Now, I’m sure I’ll throw in a few probiotic packs for the convenience factor alone.

If you have children, my Probiotic Packs provide excellent ways to entice them to boost their GI health. You know kids if it tastes good, they’ll come back for more.

Let me emphasize that there is no danger in overdosing on these probiotics. Your child could eat the entire bottle or pack and not have any problems.

Don’t let your digestive discomforts get in the way of enjoying life for one moment longer. Order my Probiotic Packs without delay.

As with all products I offer on my site, you have my 100% “no questions asked” guarantee (see details below). I don’t offer anything without having full confidence it will help you take better control of your health.

At only $29.97, that’s just under $1 a day for a one-month supply. A 3-month supply saves you even more.

I’ve got a feeling that with the mouth-watering fruit flavor and the convenience factor, these probiotic packs will go quick.

Use the same probiotic formula I use and enjoy the great taste, order today!

And if you want the ultimate Digestive Health package – my Probiotic Packs, Fiber Harmony Organic Psyllium, and Digestive Enzymes work together to fully optimize your nutrient absorption and boost the health of your GI tract.* See order details below.

Forget Prozac, Psychobiotics Are the Future of Psychiatry.


For millennia, the human race has sought to combat psychological disorders through the intervention of natural – and eventually synthetic – chemicals. Originally, the sources for these psychoactive substances were the various fruits and flowers, including the Areca tree (betel nut), the poppy (opium), and the coca plant (cocaine). But in the 20th Century, new actives were being created in the lab thanks in part to the discovery of lysergic acid, better known as LSD, in 1938.

psychobiotics

By the middle of the 1950s, the psychiatric community was fascinated by the idea that mental health could be restored through the direct use of drugs or in combination with traditional psychotherapy. The idea took off in the 1960s as research continued to elucidate the biology of psychiatry.  It essentially created a new avenue for psychiatric treatment: psychopharmacology. This inevitably led to the synthesis of a new compound, 3-(p-trifluoromethylphenoxy)-N-methyl-3-phenylpropylamine, which eventually became known as fluoxetine, and then, as we have all come to know it, Prozac.  By the late 1980s, it was known by another name:  the wonder drug.

Today, pharmacologic compounds for psychiatric treatment are numerous and up to 20% of all Americans are taking some type of psychotropic medication totalling some $34 billion dollars annually. While there have been calls for a reduction in use of these chemicals, primarily due to the fact that many are ineffective, there is a constant pressure from the public to have all their problems solved by a pill.

There is a different – and less costly – course to deal with stress and other psychological problems although until recently, there has been little to no attention paid to this option.  The treatment does not involve an individual chemical but rather a plethora of them which act to reduce inflammation, calm stress and bring about a more pleasant mood.  With a new article out this week from the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre in Cork, Ireland, there is even hope that severe and chronic mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may one day be a thing of the past.

They are called quite simply, Psychobiotics.

According to the authors, Timothy G. Dinan – whose name sounds as catchy as that of another psychiatric pioneer, Timothy F. Leary – Catherine Stanton and John F. Cryan, a psychobiotic is “a live organism that, when ingested in adequate amounts, produces a health benefit in patients suffering from psychiatric illness.”  These live organisms are comprised not only of probiotics but also other bacteria known to produce psychotropic signals such as serotonin and dopamine.

While this concept may raise some eyebrows, this postulate has credence.  There have been several examples in humans where the introduction of a probiotic has led to improvement of mood, anxiety and even chronic fatigue syndrome. But there appears to be a disconnect between the idea of ingesting a bacterium that stays in the gut and psychiatric behavior, which is controlled by the brain.

The answer lies in the fact that many psychiatric illnesses are immunological in nature through chronic low level inflammation. There is a plethora of evidence showing the link between gut microbiota and inflammation and studies on probiotic strains have revealed their ability to modulate inflammation and bring back a healthy immunological function.  In this regard, by controlling inflammation through probiotic administration, there should be an effect of improved psychiatric disposition.

The authors bring up another reason why psychobiotics are so unique in comparison to most probiotics.  These strains have another incredible ability to modulate the function of the adrenal cortex, which is responsible for controlling anxiety and stress response. Probiotic strains, such as Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifdobacterium longum have shown to reduce levels of stress hormones and maintain a calmer, peaceful state.  There may be a host of other probiotic bacteria with the same ability although testing has been scant at best.

Finally, the last point in support of psychobiotics is the fact that certain strains of bacteria actually produce the chemicals necessary for a happy self.  But as these chemicals cannot find their way into the brain, another route has been found to explain why they work so well.  They stimulate cells in the gut that have the ability to signal the vagus nerve that good chemicals are in the body.  The vagus nerve then submits this information to the brain, which then acts as if the chemicals were there.  If these probiotics were used in combination with those that stimulate the production of opioid and cannabinoid receptors, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, the result would be more than just a calming effect; there would be a natural high.

There is little doubt that there needs to be more research into the role of psychobiotics in mental health.  Even the authors suggest that clinical studies need to be performed along with more fundamental research.  However, unlike drugs such as Prozac and LSD, which are highly regulated, probiotics are readily available on store shelves.  This in effect could allow everyone to join in a citizen science movement similar to that of the Erowid culture, which focuses on the effect of natural psychoactives.  All that would be needed is a hub and a name, say PSYCHOgerms, in order to identify the psychological wonders – and admittedly, duds – of the probiotic world.  Should this happen, it may help one day to move past the era of pharmapscyhology and head straight into the more natural world or psychobiotics.

Probiotics Likely Do Little to Soothe Colicky Babies.


Sad news for sleep-deprived parents: probiotics may not quiet their colicky babies, a new meta-analysis suggests.

Evidence is still insufficient “to support probiotic use to manage colic, especially in formula-fed infants, or to prevent infant crying,” lead author Valerie Sung, MPH, and colleagues report in an articlepublished online October 7 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Colic, defined as excessive crying or fussing for no apparent reason, affects up to 20% of infants younger than 3 months, but its etiology remains unclear, write Sung, from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Royal Children’s Hospital, Parkville, Australia, and coauthors. Some evidence points to an association with food allergies, but other data show differences in gut microflora between babies with and without colic. “The logical next step is to determine whether intervening to alter gut microbiota can effectively prevent or reduce infant crying,” the authors write.

Use of probiotics, products that use live microorganisms to confer health benefits, can change the infant gut environment and has been shown to suppress intestinal inflammation, strengthen mucosal barriers, and modulate gut contractility, any of which could produce uncomfortable symptoms and contribute to an infant’s irritability. In a meta-analysis, the authors sought to determine whether probiotics were better than no or standard treatment at reducing the duration of infant crying or distress, number of episodes of crying or distress, and proportion of infants with colic (crying or fussing for at least 3 hours a day, at least 3 days a week, for at least 1 week).

The authors identified 12 randomized, clinical trials including 1825 infants: 271 term babies with colic, 1534 term infants without colic, and 20 preterm newborns without colic. Five studies focused on probiotics specifically to manage colic, and 7 examined the use of probiotics to reduce infant crying. Some of the studies examined use of a single product, whereas others looked at the use of multiple products administered together. The products were administered as drops, capsules, or formula in a range of doses. All of the studies were placebo-controlled. Daily infant crying time was the most common reported outcome. The analysis was conducted according to guidelines from the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.

Mean daily crying time was significantly less in 2 of 7 trials in which probiotics were used to prevent colic; there were no differences between probiotics and placebo in the other 5 trials. Of the 5 trials examining probiotics in the management of colicky episodes, probiotics were significantly more effective than placebo in 3 trials in which Lactobacillus reuteri was administered in drops to breast-fed, full-term infants. Compared with placebo, probiotics were associated in those trials with a median reduction in daily crying time of 62.10 minutes (95% confidence interval [CI], −85.82 to −44.38 minutes; P < .001), but there was substantial heterogeneity among the trials. The authors conclude that the effect of probiotics in treating colic remains unclear because of the difficulty in comparing studies that examined vastly different products on different populations.

At least one outside expert agrees with this conclusion, despite some reservations about the authors’ methods. “The definition of colic was not rigorously controlled; there is likely to be no single cause of colic and no single treatment that is effective,” said Frank R. Greer, MD, professor of pediatrics, Wisconsin Perinatal Center, Meriter Hospital, Madison, Wisconsin. “The dosages and specific probiotic preparations were too variable[, and] whether they were given prenatally or not to both mother and infant after delivery also was extremely variable.” In addition, Dr. Greer told Medscape Medical News, “the authors did not use a validated methodology for recording the primary outcome, which was length of crying time.”

In Dr. Greer’s opinion, there is currently no place for probiotics in the management of infant colic. In contrast, he said, it has no serious adverse effects, “other than it adds unnecessarily to the cost of infant formula.”

An update on the use and investigation of probiotics in health and disease.


Abstract

Probiotics are derived from traditional fermented foods, from beneficial commensals or from the environment. They act through diverse mechanisms affecting the composition or function of the commensal microbiota and by altering host epithelial and immunological responses. Certain probiotic interventions have shown promise in selected clinical conditions where aberrant microbiota have been reported, such as atopic dermatitis, necrotising enterocolitis, pouchitis and possibly irritable bowel syndrome. However, no studies have been conducted that can causally link clinical improvements to probiotic-induced microbiota changes. Whether a disease-prone microbiota pattern can be remodelled to a more robust, resilient and disease-free state by probiotic administration remains a key unanswered question. Progress in this area will be facilitated by: optimising strain, dose and product formulations, including protective commensal species; matching these formulations with selectively responsive subpopulations; and identifying ways to manipulate diet to modify bacterial profiles and metabolism.

Source: BMJ

Probiotics Linked to Reduced Risk of Allergies, Psoriasis, Colitis, Periodontal Disease and More.


Story at-a-glance

  • The root of many health problems is related to an imbalance of intestinal bacteria, and this foundation of good health is laid even while in utero
  • A recent analysis of available clinical trials found that women who take probiotics—i.e. healthy bacteria—during pregnancy reduce their child’s risk of developing allergies
  • Providing abundant probiotics in the form of fermented foods is one of the most powerful ways to restore your baby’s beneficial gut flora; raw, organic grass-fed yogurt is well tolerated by most infants and children
  • Recent research shows probiotics can put those suffering with psoriasis, ulcerative colitis and/or chronic fatigue syndrome into remission, and reduce chances of relapse
  • Another study showed a certain probiotic strain improved the efficacy of standard treatment for chronic periodontitis, which includes scaling and root planing, by 53 percent

Most people, including many physicians, do not realize that 80 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive tract, making a healthy gut a major focal point if you want to achieve optimal health.

The root of many health problems is related to an imbalance of intestinal bacteria, and this foundation of good health is laid even while in utero.

Without a well-functioning gastrointestinal (GI) tract, a newborn baby will be more vulnerable to pathogens, allergens, and a number of immune-related diseases, so getting an infant’s gut up and running efficiently is crucial. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant would be wise to address their own gut health as early as possible to give their child the best start possible in this regard.

That said, it’s never too late to address your or your child’s gut, and most people would likely benefit from doing so.

The bacteria located in your GI tract play a crucial role in the development and operation of the mucosal immune system in your digestive tract. They also aid in the production of antibodies to pathogens.

Friendly bacteria even train your immune system to distinguish between pathogens and non-harmful antigens, and to respond appropriately. This important function prevents your immune system from overreacting to non-harmful antigens, which is the genesis of allergies.

But probiotics perform such a wide variety of functions, they’re really critical regardless of what ails you. And because adding probiotics to your diet is so easy, by way of cultured foods and/or supplements, it’s a step I highly encourage you to take.

How To Reduce Your Child’s Risk of Allergies

Babies gets their first “inoculation” of gut flora from mother’s birth canal during childbirth. If the flora is abnormal, the baby’s flora will also be abnormal; whatever organisms live in the mother’s vagina end up coating the baby’s body and lining his or her intestinal tract.

According to a recent analysis of previous clinical trials1, women who take probiotics—i.e. healthy bacteria—during pregnancy reduce their child’s risk of developing allergies. Unfriendly flora can also predispose babies to Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), of which allergies are just one potential outcome.

Other health problems associated with GAPS include autism, learning disabilities, and a number of other psychological, neurological, digestive, and immunological, problems. As reported in the featured Reuters article2:

“Since allergies and asthma both spring from hypersensitive immune responses, several trials have set out to assess the effect of probiotic supplements on those conditions…

[The] team analyzed the results of 25 trials of supplements given during pregnancy or within the first year of a child’s life. All of the studies compared mothers and babies randomly assigned to take probiotics with those given placebo supplements.

Participants were given probiotic doses daily, and in some cases more than daily, for a few months to a year. The trials tracked whether kids went on to test positive for common allergies – such as peanut or pollen allergies…

Babies who were exposed to probiotics in the womb and received supplements after birth had a 12 percent lower risk of allergies in the following months and years than kids in the comparison groups. But allergy risk was not reduced when babies were started on probiotics after birth only.”

How Allergies Are Related to Poor Gut Health

A condition known as “leaky gut” occurs when gaps develop between the cells (enterocytes) that make up the membrane lining your intestinal wall. These tiny gaps allow substances, such as undigested food, bacteria and metabolic wastes, that should be confined to your digestive tract to escape into your bloodstream — hence the term leaky gut syndrome.

Leaky gut syndrome can be a contributing factor to allergies, which can help explain why children with healthier gut flora have a reduced risk of developing allergies. Even more significantly, pathogenic microbes in the baby’s digestive tract can damage the integrity of his or her gut wall. This can allow all sorts of toxins and microbes to flood his or her bloodstream, which can then enter his or her brain and disrupt its development.

Breastfeeding helps protect your baby from this abnormal gut flora, which is why breastfeeding is so crucial to your child’s health. No infant formulas can do this. 

Leaky gut is also associated with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, as well as celiac disease. The condition Once the integrity of your intestinal lining is compromised, and there is a flow of toxic substances “leaking out” into your bloodstream, your body experiences significant increases in inflammation.

Healing and sealing” your gut has been shown to help alleviate allergy symptoms. The key lies in altering your diet to eliminate offending foods, such as grains and processed foods, and introduce healthier ones that will support a proper balance of bacteria in your gut. To restore gut health, and prevent leaky gut from occurring, eating traditionally fermented foods is essential.

Fermented Foods Can Help a Baby Avoid MAJOR Health Problems

Providing abundant probiotics in the form of fermented foods is one of the most powerful ways to restore a baby’s beneficial gut flora. Oftentimes, a commercial probiotic supplement won’t even be needed.

Raw organic grass-fed yogurt is well tolerated by most infants and children. It’s best to make your own yogurt at home from raw organic milk, and start with a very tiny amount. Once yogurt is well tolerated, then start introducing kefir. If you have any problems with dairy, you can substitute vegetables fermented with yogurt culture or kefir culture. Avoid commercial yogurt from the grocery store, as these are laden with sugars that feed pathogenic bacteria—the exact opposite of what you’re looking for.

To learn more about introducing fermented foods to your newborn, I recommend picking up a copy of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome3, which has a large recipe section for fermenting your own foods at home and using them to benefit all members of your family. If you have a baby with a severe condition, then the addition of a high-quality probiotic supplement might be needed.

There have been more probiotic studies involving adults than those with children, and even fewer with infants. Unfortunately, precious little research has been devoted to the study of probiotics for neonates, especially extremely low birth weight neonates (ELBW), but scientific studies thus far are very promising. One study in particular, published in BMCMedicine4 in 2011 by the Department of Neonatal Pediatrics in Nepean Hospital along with several other Australian hospitals, brings us closer to important evidence-based guidelines for the use of probiotics with preterm neonates. For more details on this, please see my previous article on the use of probiotics for neonates.

That said, probiotics have been shown to provide a number of benefits to infants and children. For example, daily supplements of probiotic foods may reduce a child’s risk of eczema by 58 percent, according to one study. Another study found that a daily dose of Lactobacillus reuteri can help improve colic.

Probiotic Proves Beneficial for Non-Gut Inflammatory Disorders as Well

Other recent studies confirm the importance of your gut health for health problems such as psoriasis and chronic fatigue syndrome. One such study, published in the journal Gut Microbes, is interesting in that it’s the first study showing how a single probiotic strain can influence your systemic immune system. As reported by Medical News Today5:

“The mucosal immune system protects the internal mucosal surfaces of the body such as the gastrointestinal, urogenital and respiratory tracts. These internal surfaces act as a barrier to the outside world for the internal tissues of the body, which are then further protected by the systemic immune system. There is some convincing evidence that probiotics, or gut-friendly bacteria, influence the development and maintenance not only of the microbial balance inside the gut and the mucosal immune system but also the systemic immune response.”

The probiotic used in the study is called Bifidobacterium infantis 35624. Three separate randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trials were included in the study, which assessed the effects of the probiotic on one gastrointestinal and two non-gastrointestinal inflammatory disorders. Twenty-two of the patients enrolled in the study were diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, 26 were diagnosed with psoriasis, an inflammatory skin condition, and 48 patients had chronic fatigue syndrome.

The levels of inflammation markers in 35 healthy volunteers were used as baseline references. The three biomarkers assessed were C-reactive protein (CRP) and pro-inflammatory cytokines, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a), and interleukin-6 (IL-6). At the outset of the trials, all patients, whether their disorder was related to gastrointestinal inflammation or not, had significantly elevated levels of all three of these biomarkers. During the trial period, which lasted between six and eight weeks, each patient received either the probiotic or a placebo. At the end of each of the three separate trials, the researchers found that:

·         All three patient groups who received Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 had significantly lower levels of CRP compared to those who received a placebo

·         Patients with ulcerative colitis psoriasis patients had lower TNF-a

·         Those with ulcerative colitis and chronic fatigue syndrome had reductions in IL-6

According to the researchers, these reductions in inflammatory biomarkers typically count as remission, and are indicative of a reduced risk of relapse. A similar study published in 20096 found that Bifidobacterium infantis was the only probiotic strain out of 13 tested capable of improving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Probiotics Helps Improve Periodontal Disease, and More

In related news, another double-blind, placebo-controlled study7 found that the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri Prodentisimproved the efficacy of standard treatment for chronic periodontitis (scaling and root planing) by 53 percent. According to the featured article8:

“By the end of the 12 week long study 53 per cent fewer sites (surfaces on a teeth) in patients with deep dental pockets and supplemented by Lactobacillus reuteri Prodentis was in need for surgery, compared to the placebo group… After the intervention period it was also concluded that 67 percent of the patients in the placebo group fell into the high-risk category for disease progression, while the corresponding figure for patients supplemented by Lactobacillus reuteri Prodentis was only 27 percent.”

Probiotics have also been found to influence the activity of hundreds of genes, helping them to express in a positive, disease-fighting manner. Researchers have documented beneficial probiotic effects in a wide variety of disorders, including9, 10:

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Constipation and diarrhea

Colon cancer

Eradication of H. pyloriinfection, which is associated with ulcers

Vaginal infections

Strengthened immune response

Eczema

Rheumatoid arthritis

Cirrhosis of the liver

Hepatic encephalopathy

Depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems

Fermented Vegetables—An Ideal Source of Probiotics

The advent of processed foods dramatically altered the human diet, and we’re now reaping the results in the form of rapidly rising chronic health problems. I believe the shunning of traditionally fermented foods has a lot to do with this. The culturing process actually produces the beneficial microbes that we now realize are so crucial for health, and when eaten daily, they help maintain a healthy balance of intestinal microbes. Fermented foods are also some of the best chelators and detox agents available, meaning they can help rid your body of a wide variety of toxins, including heavy metals. The best way to ensure optimal gut flora is to regularly consume traditionally fermented foods. Healthy options include:

Lassi (an Indian yogurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner)

Various pickled fermentations of cabbage sauerkraut,, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash, and carrots

Tempeh

Traditionally fermented raw milk such as kefir or yogurt, but NOT commercial versions, which typically do not have live cultures and are loaded with sugars that feed pathogenic bacteria

Natto (fermented soy)

Kimchee

 

When choosing fermented foods, steer clear of pasteurized versions, as pasteurization will destroy many of the naturally occurring probiotics. This includes most of the “probiotic” yogurts you find in every grocery store these days; since they’re pasteurized, they will be associated with all of the problems of pasteurized milk products. They also typically contain added sugars, high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring, or artificial sweeteners, all of which will only worsen your health.

When you first start out, you’ll want to start small, adding as little as half a tablespoon of fermented vegetables to each meal, and gradually working your way up to about a quarter to half a cup (2 to 4 oz) of fermented vegetables or other cultured food with one to three meals per day. Since cultured foods are efficient detoxifiers, you may experience detox symptoms, or a “healing crisis,” if you introduce too many at once. If you do not regularly consume the traditionally fermented foods above, a high-quality probiotic supplement may provide similar benefits.

Learn to Make Your Own Fermented Vegetables

Fermented vegetables are easy to make on your own. It’s also the most cost-effective way to get high amounts of healthful probiotics in your diet. To learn how, review the following interview with Caroline Barringer, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) and an expert in the preparation of the foods prescribed in Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Nutritional Program.

Although you can use the native bacteria on cabbage and other vegetables, it is typically easier to get consistent results by using a starter culture. Caroline prepares hundreds of quarts of fermented vegetables a week and has found that she gets great results by using three to four high quality probiotic capsules to jump start the fermentation process.

Remember: Your Gut, Brain and Primary Immune Defense Are All Connected…

You’d be wise to remember that the vast majority of your immune system is located in your digestive system, making a healthy gut a major focal point if you want to maintain optimal health. Furthermore, as discussed in a number of other recent articles, your gut is quite literally your second brain, as it originates from the same type of tissue. Your gut and your brain actually work in tandem, each influencing the other. This is why your intestinal health can have such a profound influence on your mental health, and vice versa.

This also helps explain the link between neurological disorders (including ADHD and autism) and gastrointestinal dysfunction. For example, gluten intolerance is frequently a feature of autism, and many autistic children will improve when following a strict gluten-free diet. However, even more importantly, establishing normal gut flora within the first 20 days or so of life plays a crucial role in appropriate maturation of your baby’s immune system.

Babies who develop abnormal gut flora are left with compromised immune systems, and besides raising your child’s risk of allergies and other disorders discussed above, it may even be a crucial factor when it comes to vaccine-induced damage. As explained by Dr. Campbell-McBride, vaccinations were originally developed for children with healthy immune systems, and children with abnormal gut flora and therefore compromised immunity are not suitable candidates for our current vaccine schedule as they’re more prone to being harmed. To learn more about this, please see this previous article.

To sum it all up, regardless of your age, three very positive changes occur when your good-to-bad intestinal bacteria ratio is brought into balance:

1.    Digestive problems diminish or disappear

2.    Your body begins to use all the good food and nutritional supplements you feed it

3.    Your immune system de-stresses and is better equipped to fight off disease of all kinds, contributing to a longer and healthier life

Source: mercola.com

Probiotics Do Not Reduce Diarrhea Risk in Large Trial.


Probiotic supplements did not prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) or Clostridium difficile diarrhea (CDD) in a large randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Stephen J. Allen, MD, from Swansea University, United Kingdom, and colleagues reported the results in an article published onlineAugust 8 in the Lancet.

The researchers recruited patients 65 years or older to the Probiotic lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in antibiotic-associated diarrhoea andClostridium difficile diarrhoea in the elderly (PLACIDE) trial if they were exposed to 1 or more oral or parenteral antibiotics in the preceding 7 days or were about to begin antibiotic therapy. Participants were enrolled from 5 hospitals between December 1, 2008, and February 28, 2012, and were excluded if there were existing diarrhea or CDD in the previous 3 months, significant immune system compromise, any illness requiring intensive care, prosthetic heart valve, or underlying gastrointestinal disease. The primary study outcomes were the occurrence of AAD within 8 weeks of recruitment and CDD within 12 weeks of recruitment.

Overall, 1493 patients were randomly assigned to the microbial preparation group and 1488 to the placebo group. Of those, the researchers included 1470 and 1471, respectively, in the primary-endpoint analyses. Antibiotic exposure was similar between the 2 groups. The probiotic preparation consisted of a capsule containing 2 strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus and 2 strains of bifidobacterium.

The researchers found no difference between the groups in the incidence of ADD (including CDD). In the probiotics group,159 (10.8%) patients developed ADD compared with 153 (10.4%) patients in the placebo group (relative risk [RR], 1.04; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.84 – 1.28; P = 0.71).

The study authors also found that CDD was an uncommon cause of ADD, occurring in only 12 (0.8%) participants in the microbial preparation group and 17 (1.2%) participants in the placebo group (RR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.34-1.47; P = 0.35).

“Our trial suggests that properties common to many so-called probiotic bacteria, such as the production of lactic acid, are not effective against AAD in older inpatients,” write Dr. Allen and colleagues.

Although the authors note that this “is the largest trial so far for this problem,” they acknowledge study weaknesses such as low ethnic diversity and lack of participation by eligible patients resulting from an unwillingness to take an additional preparation.

“Our findings do not provide statistical evidence to support recommendations for the routine use of microbial preparations for the prevention of AAD and CDD,” conclude the study authors.

In an accompanying editorial, Nick Daneman, MD, FRCPC, from the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, points out that recent meta-analyses have shown large positive effects with the use of probiotic supplements. He also notes that statistical variations such as a low event rate in the current study and overlapping confidence intervals between this study and the meta-analysis may account for the differing results.

However, the size of the current study “dwarfs” previous studies, most of which, he says, were small single institution efforts. “PLACIDE is a large and rigorous negative study, and we must judge whether it can tip the balance of probiotic evidence,” he writes.

“At the very least, the low absolute risk reductions in PLACIDE question the cost-effectiveness of probiotics,” writes Dr. Daneman. In addition, “lactobacilli and bifidobacteria are only two types of non­pathogenic bacteria, and we must consider whether they can really tip the balance of a diverse gut ecosystem,” he concludes.

Funding for this study was provided by the Health Technology Assessment program of the National Institute for Health Research, with additional funding provided by the County Durham and Tees Valley, National Institute for Health Research Comprehensive Local Research Network. Dr. Allen has done research in probiotics supported by Cultech, UK; has been an invited guest at the Yakult Probiotic Symposium; and has received research funding from Yakult, UK. The other authors and the editorialist have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Source: Lancet.

 

 

 

Source: Medscape.com

 

Probiotics Fail to Reduce Antibiotic-Related Diarrhea.


High-dose probiotics do not prevent diarrhea in older hospitalized patients, according to a large study in the Lancet.

Nearly 3000 inpatients aged 65 and older who were on antibiotic therapy were randomized to 21 days of a placebo capsule or a capsule containing lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, taken once daily. After 8 weeks, the incidence of antibiotic-associated diarrhea or Clostridium difficile diarrhea did not differ significantly between the groups.

The authors conclude: “Our findings do not provide statistical evidence to support recommendations for the routine use of microbial preparations for the prevention” of diarrhea.

Source: Lancet