Established early in life, a healthy, balanced microbiome is associated with a strong immune system, a well-functioning digestive tract and properly regulated metabolism. Influenced by age, genetics, and medications, as well as dietary, environmental and geographic factors, disruptions in the body’s ecology contributes to dysbiosis, disease and, quite possibly, obesity. As the study of the microbiome continues to evolve, researchers are working to determine the precise roles of gut microflora, as it relates to leanness and obesity. It appears that the diversity of the microbiome may be the key to a healthy weight, as well as overall health.
Perhaps, along with a fiber-filled nutritious diet and proper amounts of exercise, enlisting or manipulating our “inner microbial army” may be the key to winning the fight against obesity. In response to the obesity epidemic, researchers have established a link between gut microbiota and body weight. While research is still in its early stages, studies have shown that the microbiota of obese individuals tends to be less diverse than those who are lean. Science has also shown that the composition of microbiota shifts with weight loss or weight gain, the significance of which may be considerable. Studies have found that when an obese person loses weight, their gut flora changes to a composition similar to the microbiome of leaner people.
Recent studies have focused on the link between gut microbes and conditions associated with obesity, such as inflammation and insulin resistance. This may lead to identification of the precise strains of bacteria associated with leanness, and a better understanding of which microbes may be targeted for interventions intended to aid weight loss or prevent weight gain. No easy task to be sure, however, we do know that administering antibiotics, which greatly disrupt microbial balance, can cause weight gain and increase appetite, as witnessed by the hefty amounts of antibiotics administered to farm animals to promote growth. The idea that this may have a similar and substantial effect on humans appears highly significant.
While beneficial bacteria alone may not win the battle against obesity, enriching the diet with pre- and probiotics aids colonization of beneficial organisms, which may create a healthy synergy between wellness and weight. A fundamental role of gut microbes is maintaining symbiosis to support immunity, physiological health, and the digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Additionally, probiotic support for a healthy, balanced microbiome may have implications for healthy aging, as bacteria in the gut decrease with age, negatively affecting immune strength and overall wellness. Certain neurochemicals produced in the gut affect not only digestion and elimination, but mood, anxiety, behavior, and emotions. Probiotics that support the microbiome, may positively influence psychological health and brain function, as well as physiological functions.
- As there are many different strains of bacteria, it makes good sense to take a multi-species probiotic.
- Some probiotics need refrigeration to maintain viability, others do not. Probiotics that do not need refrigeration are perfect for traveling or keeping on hand at work or school, or even by the bedside table. Taking probiotics in the evening is recommended.
- Look for an acid protected probiotic to ensure bacteria survive the harsh stomach environment, as they make their way to colonize in the intestines.
- Some probiotic supplements include a prebiotic that nourishes the bacteria and helps them survive.
- Check labels for the list of all the strains included with the probiotic supplement and the number of colony forming units (cfu) they contain.
- Check for storage requirements and a suggested use by date.
- If you are having serious digestive health issues, speak with a healthcare provider before starting any supplement program.
Professional Supplement Center carries and many other high quality probiotic supplements to support your health and wellness goals:
ProBio SAP-90 by Nutritional Fundamentals for Health – ProBio SAP provides a compatible and complementary blend of 10 probiotic strains to address a wide spectrum of gastrointestinal health benefits. The enteric coated vegetable capsule is acid and bile resistant to ensure delivery of live flora to the intestines. One capsule supplies science-based, high dose multi-strain probiotics, plus prebiotics, to support a good balance of beneficial bacteria. Gluten, yeast and preservative free, Non-GMO formulation. Third party tested for impurities. Refrigeration required.
Broad Spectrum Probiotic & Prebiotic by Prescript-Assist™ – This broad spectrum professional grade pre- and probiotic delivers a proprietary blend of 29 separate strains of beneficial bacteria in support of optimal gut health and normal microflora balance. No refrigeration necessary. Gluten and dairy free, vegan formulation.
Colon Support Probiotic by Probulin® – This shelf stable probiotic and prebiotic supplement provides 20 billion cfu of 12 highly concentrated probiotic strains, plus the prebiotic inulin, in support of microbial balance along with optimized digestive and colon health. Gluten, dairy and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.
Just Thrive® Probiotic & Antioxidant by Just Thrive® – This one-of-a-kind proprietary probiotic blend provides strains naturally designed to survive the stomach and colonize the digestive tract, supporting favorable microbial balance. Additionally, the strain Bacillus indicus (HU36), has the ability to produce antioxidants, including CoQ10, alpha and beta carotenes, astaxanthin and zeaxanthin, upon colonization in the intestines. Gluten, dairy and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.
How Gut Bacteria Help Make Us Fat and Thin. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-gut-bacteria-help-make-us-fat-and-thin/
Obesity and the Human Microbiome. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/714569_3
Are Antibiotics Making People Larger? http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/12/obesity-antibiotics-microbiome/421344/
Think Twice: How the Gut’s “Second Brain” Influences Mood and Well-Being. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/
Shekhar K. Challa, MD. Probiotics for Dummies. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012.
When Gut Bacteria Changes Brain Function. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/06/gut-bacteria-on-the-brain/395918/