January 16, 2017
A Look At Probiotics And Prebiotics
By Michael D. Shaw
The term “probiotics” refers to certain microorganisms (bacteria or yeast), ingested for therapeutic benefits—especially for gastrointestinal problems. Typical probiotics include strains of Lactobacillus and Strepococcus, which produce lactic acid via carbohydrate fermentation. These species are a natural part of the human microbiome, and have been used for hundreds of years in cheese and yogurt production.
Additional probiotics include strains of Bifidobacterium and the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii. While these microbes are available in foods, it has become more common to supplement the diet with commercial over-the-counter preparations. Credit 1908 Nobel Laureate Élie Metchnikoff with promoting the idea—against considerable opposition—that ingestion of such microflora would be beneficial to both digestion and immune function. Indeed, 70 to 80 percent of our immune response occurs in the gut.
Marek Gawrysz, MD speaks of the brain-gut-immune system connection, noting that “There are as many neurons (nerve cells) in the gut as there are in the spinal cord. 95% of the body’s serotonin is made in the bowel and we know that there is a brain in the bowel. These systems remain in constant communication to determine our identity and our response. Stress, envy, or anxiety can produce irritable bowel syndrome, GERD, indigestion, fibromyalgia, muscle aches and pains, or even depression.”
As it happens, there are more than 1000 bacterial species living in your colon, with total numbers of bacteria in the tens of billions—easily dwarfing the number of human cells in your body.
How about prebiotics? These are certain plant fibers that specifically nourish the good bacteria—a kind of “fertilizer,” as it were. Thus, the ratio of good to bad bacteria will increase, affording many health benefits, and that includes mental health. An excellent property of prebiotics is that—unlike probiotics—they are not destroyed in the body.
According to a 2015 study published in Psychopharmacology, entitled “Prebiotic intake reduces the waking cortisol response and alters emotional bias in healthy volunteers,” salivary cortisol [stress hormone] did not differ significantly between groups at baseline but was significantly lower following B-GOS (a prebiotic) compared with placebo.
Earlier research cited in the above study indicates that the ingestion of probiotics modulates the processing of information that is strongly linked to anxiety and depression, and influences the neuroendocrine stress response. With stress implicated in many diseases, yet another health-improving aspect of probiotics and prebiotics emerges. For optimum results, you should supplement both.
Which brings us to Miracle Biotics—a balanced blend of probiotics and prebiotics in digestive resistant capsule form. Matt Konig, COO of affiliated company Altare Publishing weighs in:
“Replenishing the healthy bacteria that give us energy, mental alertness and clarity, and potential weight loss, among other things, are essential to personal health and wellness. Miracle Biotics is the result of this effort to achieve those goals, as it contains powerful pre- and probiotics. The product of extensive research and development, Miracle Biotics is a natural means of giving people the very things they need—the very things our bodies require.”
For far too long, the colon was the “Rodney Dangerfield” of the body, and just got no respect. However, with the 21st century has come the realization that the colon and its bacteria are vitally important to our health. Our good gut bacteria, as one eminent GI doc puts it, “strengthen the bowel wall, improve mineral absorption, and aid in the regulation of hormone production, which has a range of essential benefits.”
He concludes, “Probiotics and prebiotics act synergistically for gut health.”