Probiotics, prebiotics, your gut microbiome…
Ten years ago, if you tried to talk to someone about these health topics, they probably would’ve looked at you like you had two heads.
Today? Everyone seems to be an expert on gut health and how to promote it. Unfortunately, a lot of the “expert” advice out there is just plain wrong.
And if you follow some of this advice, you’ll not only impair your health, you could also run the risk of prompting chronic inflammation throughout your entire body.
And if you’ve been a reader of mine for a while now, you already know that chronic inflammation is a major driver of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Today we’ll look at both the right and wrong ways to approach gut health and rein in inflammation — two major factors in achieving good health.
Extremely questionable and concerning
One of the most fascinating recent discoveries about the gut microbiome is that it communicates with your brain — so much so, that many physicians and scientists refer to it as the “second brain.” This complex system is called the gut-brain axis.
And although this system can be influenced to improve brain health, the wrong type of intervention can do the exact opposite.
This potential harm was demonstrated in a study of 30 people with abdominal bloating, gas, and pain. More than two-thirds of this group also reported frequent brain fog that prompted poor concentration, memory lapses, and other cognitive impairment symptoms.
Results showed that all of the brain fog participants were using at least one probiotic supplement. When researchers asked them to stop supplement use, their brain fog lifted.
In Dr. Marc Micozzi’s Protocol for Eliminating Deadly Inflammation, he confirms that supplements of the common lactobacillus bacterial strain can trigger these brain fog symptoms. He says, “This is due to an over production of lactic acid (in fact, two to three times the amount typically found in the body).”
Dr. Micozzi says this is just one of the reasons he’s skeptical about supplemental probiotics.
For instance, he notes that probiotics in supplements are chosen mainly for their shelf-life — not for their effectiveness.
And he adds, “Quite frankly, I find the results of studies on probiotics extremely questionable and concerning, since many of the studies have found that people who take them simply have more healthy immune systems to begin with.
“So it’s difficult to say what — if any — effect the standard probiotics have on overall immunity and the reduction of chronic inflammation.”
Avoid these 3 gut-disruptors
Instead of focusing on supplements, Dr. Micozzi believes the best way to begin gut health support is to ensure your GI microbiome is balanced and healthy by avoiding factors that disrupt your bacterial balance.
He starts with three must-avoid recommendations…
- Avoid processed foods and foods with sugar. Sugar (including high-fructose corn syrup) and processed food ingredients can disrupt the good bacteria in your gut.
- Avoid use of “anti-bacterial” gels and soaps. Dr. Micozzi notes research that links triclosan (a common ingredient in anti-bacterial products) to GI microbiome disruption.
- Avoid use of antibiotics, unless they’re absolutely necessary. “Antibiotics” he explains, “disrupt the normal GI microbiome, causing adverse health consequences that scientists are just now beginning to understand.”
After you banish these common microbiome troublemakers, Dr. Micozzi suggests giving your grocery list a makeover by incorporating these delicious GI-supporting foods…
Don’t fear full-fat dairy
In Dr. Micozzi’s view, you can easily keep your microbiome balanced by eating foods that are rich in probiotics. Some excellent sources include:
- Yogurt. But not just any Dr. Micozzi cautions, “Always be sure to choose a yogurt with full-fat, and little sugar, like Greek yogurt.
- Cheese. Dr. Micozzi notes that cottage cheese and soft fermented cheeses like Gouda, some cheddars, and Parmesan, are all packed with probiotics.
- Raw milk. “From my experience as a physician,” Dr. Micozzi says, “a good dose of raw milk seems to be able to help just about any gastrointestinal problem. In this way, I’ve always considered it more as a medicine than a food.”Unfortunately, many states outlaw the sale of raw milk. To find a source near you, refer to the Resource Directory that accompanies his protocol.
- Full-fat dairy. Dr. Micozzi recommends 3 servings each day, with this added tip: “Just make sure it comes from grass-fed animals, as it contains more, healthier compounds, like healthy fats—which aid gut absorption, as well as other aspects of your health— including your heart and brain.”
- Traditionally cultured foods. These include sauerkraut, Korean kimchi (fermented cabbage, Korean radish, and other vegetables), and fermented soy sauce.
- Home-brewed beer and wine. These are natural sources of probiotics, but only if they haven’t been pasteurized.
In addition to these probiotic-packed foods, Dr. Micozzi also recommends fiber-rich “prebiotic” foods that help nurture the microbiome. “In other words,” he says, “these foods contain compounds like inulin that nourish probiotics in the gut.”
So add these to your shopping list too:
- Green, leafy vegetables
If you implement these simple changes, Dr. Micozzi says, “You’ll reduce inflammation — and really be able to feel the head-to-toe benefits that a healthy GI microbiome provides.”
Balancing your GI microbiome is just one of the many strategies you can use to cool chronic inflammation, which will ultimately help you to preserve good health and prevent chronic disease.
For more time-tested anti-inflammation strategies, refer to Dr. Micozzi’s Protocol for Eliminating Deadly Inflammation. Simply click here for a comprehensive overview of this unique online learning course, or to enroll today.
“Brain fogginess, gas and bloating: a link between SIBO, probiotics and metabolic acidosis” Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology 2018; 9(6): e162. DOI: 10.1038/s41424-018-0030-7