February 24, 2018 – Human Microbiome: GI Health After Bariatric Surgery

Facilitator: Laura Hernandez, RD, LD

Laura Hernandez, lead dietitian at the Bariatric Center of Kansas City, explained that the human microbiome is the collection of all the microbes in the human body.  Microbes are tiny living organisms such as bacterium, fungus, viruses, etc, and there are over 300 species of bacteria alone.  Our intestinal tract, mostly the colon, contains about 100 trillion microbes. These microbes control some of the body’s functions. 

While we have microbes all over our body, the most common sites are skin, respiratory tract, GI tract, genital and urinary tracts and external ear canal and eyes.  The jobs of these microbes include:

Prevention of disease – your immunity develops in your gut

Assist in digestion – help break down food

Treatment of disease

Laura talked about something known as Leaky Gut, where if you have bad bacteria in your gut for a long time, the lining of the gut leaks some of the bacteria into the blood resulting in conditions such as food intolerances, nutritional malabsorption, and inflammation throughout the body.  One of the ways Leaky Gut is treated is with probiotic supplements, or foods rich in aminoacids such as bone broth, healthy fats (salmon, avocados, egg yolk and coconut oil), and to avoid sugar, honey, agave nectar, gluten, and genetically modified foods. 

The microbiome can also affect your mood, due to the chemical pathways between the gut and the brain.  The lining of the gut contains 100 million neurons, and good bacteria can stimulate the dopamine and serotonin receptors in the brain. These are the “feel-good” receptors, so bad bacteria can lead to depression and other negative feelings. 

There are probiotics, which are the healthy live bacteria that promote health, and there are prebiotics, which act as a fertilizer for the probiotics.  These are mostly non-digestible fiber that are not alive. 

The health benefits of PROBIOTICS include:

Decrease antibiotic induced diarrhea            

Help cure vaginal yeast infections                  

Help cure urinary tract infections                  

Promote weight loss                                         

Help prevent obesity in children

Improve lactose intolerance

Promote mental, GI and immune health

May decrease abdominal bloating/cramps

Help diminish allergies in children

The health benefits of PREBIOTICS include:

Natural detoxification

Enhance bone density and increase calcium absorption

Improve immune system

Improved digestion

Improve diarrhea an lactose intolerance

Promote regular bowel movements

Suppress appetite

Reduce risk of intestinal infection

Improve food allergies and eczema

Prebiotic Types:

Inulin (not insulin), fructooligosaccharides, galactooligtiosaccharides

Prebiotic Foods:

Artichokes, leeks, onions, asparagus, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, flaxseed, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, apple with peel, berries, citrus fruits, bananas (unripe).

Laura shared a list of common probiotics, and reminded everyone that the Journey Vitamins have 7 different strains of probiotics in them.  The more strains in a probiotic, the more effective it will be. Three that she pointed out that were good for bariatric patients are:

  • Lactobacillus Plantarium and Lactobacillus Gasseri, which are thought to promote weight loss.
  • Bifidobacterium Subtilis is thought to prevent and treat H. Pylori, the bacteria that can cause ulcers.

Common strains of probiotics include:

  • Lactobacillus family: acidophilus, L. brevis, L.reuteri, L.cvasei, L.rhamnosum, L.bulgaricus, L.cellobiosus, L.delbrueckii, L.fermentum
  • Bifidobacterium family: thermophilus, B.infantis, B.longum, B.bifidum, B.animalis, B.Breve
  • Streptococcus family: S. Lactis, S. thermophiu8s, S.cremonis, S.alivarius
  • Bacillus family: Coagulans
  • Pediococcus: P.acidilactici
  • Leuconostoc: L.mesenteroides
  • Enterobacter: E.faecium, E.faecalis

 Fungi:  Aspergillus, A.niger, A.oryzae

 Yeast:  Saccharomyces:  S.boulardii, S.cervisiae, S.carlsbergensis

You need pre and probiotics both to work together to have a healthy GI tract and immune system.