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Probiotics - Do I Need to Take Them Long Term?

Posted: 2019-03-04 17:13 Permanent Link

Julia Fountain ND

We are more microbe than human. We each carry an estimated four to ten times more bacterial cells than human cells. If you could package all the bacteria together they’d be the size of a basketball and weigh about 3-6 pounds.  While probiotic supplements can help with transiently populating the GI tract, the propagation of these colonies will depend on the gut environment including pH, diet and antibiotic use. There is a rapid change in gut microbiome within 24 hours of diet change.  Fiber serves as the primary food for probiotics and is essential in repopulating the GI tract with beneficial flora.  Probiotic supplements will not provide a long term solution if the supply of fiber in the GI tract is inadequate. While RDA fiber recommendations are 30mg/day, it’s now thought a healthy gut microbiome requires 40-60 grams of fiber per day. Specifically, people who consumed more than 30 different types of plants each week had a much more diverse microbiome than those who consumed only 10 or fewer types of plants weekly.  Fermented foods in the diet (sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kefir, yogurt, kimchi, kombucha) also serve to diversify the GI flora. A diverse gut microbiome is associated with better digestion, a balanced immune response (less autoimmune disease, better infection-fighting), less depression and every weight loss! 

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