Probiotics for Weight Loss, Health
Did you know that 80% of your immune system is
controlled by living organisms in your digestive tract?
Our digestives systems are loaded with over 100 trillion bacteria, both good and bad. The metabolic activities performed by these bacteria resemble those of an organ, leading some to liken gut bacteria to a "forgotten" organ. It is estimated that these gut "flora" have around 100 times as many genes in aggregate as there are in the human genome.
The "good" bacteria are called "Probiotics" and should comprise about 80% of the flora in a healthy GI tract. Why are these bacteria important? Researchers have only recently started looking into the benefits of probiotics, yet there is already encouraging evidence that probiotics:
• Aid in helping the body absorb more nutrients from food and supplements.
• Regulate and support a healthy immune system
• Aid in weight loss
• Reduce autoimmune disease and response
• Treat diarrhea, especially following a course of antibiotics
• Prevent and treat urinary tract infections and vaginal yeast infections
• Treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
• Reduce the recurrence of bladder cancer
• Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections
• Prevent and treat eczema
• Prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu
• Aid in prevention of allergies.
These microorganisms perform a host of useful functions, such as fermenting unused energy substrates, training the immune system, preventing growth of harmful, pathogenic bacteria, regulating the development of the gut, producing vitamins for the host (such as biotin and vitamin K), and producing hormones to direct the host to store fats.
How good are these organisms at nutrient absorption? In studies, Rodents raised in a sterile environment and lacking in gut flora need to eat 30% more calories just to remain the same weight as their normal counterparts.
But wait, you say, aren't Probiotics supposed to benefit weight LOSS?
Yes, but keep in mind, it's the balance of bacteria that is important. When the body does not get enough nutrition it stores more fat. So when the balance of good/bad bacteria is off, nutrient absorption is lower and more fat is stored.
A good balance of bacteria is 80% "good" and no more than 20% bad. Probiotics help keep the body from going into a "fat storing mode." Don't have enough of the "good" bacteria and your body is going to store fat - making weight loss challenging.
Probiotics aid in immune function as well. In the last 10 years research has determined that 80% of our immune system is controlled by the flora balance in our gut. The bacteria are key in promoting the early development of the gut's mucosal immune system both in terms of its physical components and function and continue to play a role throughout life in its operation.
Probiotics help prevent allergies, which is an overreaction of the immune system to non-harmful antigens. Studies on the gut flora of infants and young children have shown that those who have, or later develop allergies, have different compositions of gut flora from those without allergies.
Other immune related diseases are benefitted by Probiotics and "good" gut flora. Autoimmune conditions such as IBD and Crohns Disease are found in people who have a lower level of "good" bacteria and Probiotics are often prescribed, with good benefits.
With autoimmune diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis and Lupus, Probiotics can be life saving. Two Italian studies found a 50% reduction in symptoms and respiratory infections in CF patients, as well as a reduction in inflammation that causes pain.
A study funded by the Lupus research institute found that probiotics control lupus progression via induction of regulatory cells and IL-10 Production.
Probiotics also protect against some forms of cancer, especially colon and colorectal cancer by reducing the "bad" bacteria and inflammation.
So... now that we have an idea of the health benefits of gut flora... how do we know if we have a good balance... and what can we do to achieve it.
First, if you have any of the issues above, or even just want a healthier, overall immune system, you should be taking a good quality probiotic.
There are lots to choose from. A friend, who is a nutritionist, uses probiotics to aid weight loss with his clients. He would recommend daily probiotics to build up the amount of "good" bacteria. It would take weeks, even months, to see a positive result, but he credits them with helping one client lose over 100 pounds.
But then he realized why it was taking so long for the probiotics to have an effect, when he read the results of a study by Consumer Labs and another "consumer watch dog" organization.
Over 30 brands of probiotics were pulled from shelves and tested. It was found that the amount of live cultures (remember these bacteria are a living organism) that the amount of bacteria varied by over 10,000%. In one study over 25% of the pills had NO live probiotics in them at all!
There is a "challenge" with the delivery system of probiotics. There are two "hurdles" these bacteria have to get by to arrive alive in your lower GI tract, where they are needed. First they require a cool environment. Sitting in a hot delivery truck before being delivered to your pharmacy can mean you just paid $30 for dead, or dying, cultures.
The second hurdle is getting past the stomach acid. The reason that many probiotic brands pack billions of cultures in a pill is because the manufacturers know that only a small percentage will survive the stomach acid.
Think the health claims of probiotics in yogurt are meaningful? Dannon just settled a lawsuit about health claims of their Activa Yogurt. Sadly the media got the story wrong... with headlines that said "probiotics don't work." In some stories they explained further down that the bacterias in the Dannon yogurt didn't show, in studies, to work any better than cultures in other yogurts. They STILL didn't quite get it though because it wasn't the probiotics that didn't work... it was putting them IN the yogurt that was the "fail."
Studies STRONGLY indicate that probiotics DO work… but only if you can deliver them to your lower gut… where they live.
So… you have to look at what the delivery system is. I use one by a company that uses a Japanese technology that coats the probiotic with TWO layers of coatings that are designed to dissolve ONLY in the alkaline environment of the intestines, not the acid environment of the stomach. When you take them on a empty stomach, the stomach just passes them through as if you swallowed a small rock.
They are also stable at room temperature for over 18 months. I wouldn’t leave them in a hot car, but I like being able to carry them in my purse or travel with them, if need be.
I’ve been using them and I can say that, for me, the benefits were amazing. Weight loss, better digestion and an auto-immune disease I had that was supposed to be chronic… well, haven’t seen hide nor hair of it in over a year. Do I think they worked for me? Absolutely!
The company that makes these probiotics is called Qivana, and the probiotics are part of a 3 step integrated system called "Qore." Price wise, they are competitive with other brands on the market. Quality wise, in my opinion, they are vastly superior.
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Disclaimer: You can verify any of the information above by using Google and doing your own research. For interest of transparency I want to make it known that if you buy Qivana products from me, I do get a commission. In fact, that's one of the other things I like about their products... by helping other people, I get mine for free... win-win!