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:
Enhance bone density and increase calcium absorption
Improve immune system
Improve diarrhea an lactose intolerance
Promote regular bowel movements
Reduce risk of intestinal infection
Improve food allergies and eczema
Inulin (not insulin), fructooligosaccharides, galactooligtiosaccharides
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.