Tag Archives: probiotics

Lifestyle Nutrition

How To Keep Your Gut Happy On Your Summer Vacation

digestive issues - keeping your gut happy

Nothing ruins a vacation faster than having to spend all of your time in the bathroom. Severe digestive issues keep you stuck indoors and miserable for days after it’s ended. Then you spend the rest of the time wondering if it’s really over.

Keeping your gut happy is key, and it actually starts way before you even pack your suitcase.

  1. A healthy diet with plenty of dietary fiber and water will clear your digestive system and keep things regular. A few weeks before your vacation, you want to add some extra fiber to your diet. Oatmeal, chia seeds and celery are easy ways to naturally increase fiber, and as a bonus, they help lower cholesterol. Vacation often means fast food that’s high in fat and sugar, so keep that fiber in check to keep things moving.
  2. Probiotics will help to increase the amount of good bacteria to maintain healthy intestinal flora. We need a lot of good bacteria in the intestines to break down food. This ensures we absorb all the good stuff we’re eating. When there is a disruption in this system, things like fungus (candida) can flourish, causing bloating and other unpleasant symptoms. You can also add fermented foods, like pickles, sauerkraut, and miso to your diet daily to get the naturally occurring probiotics present in these foods.
  3. Eliminating dairy helps to reduce the body’s production of mucous. Mucous forms in your respiratory system and can cause infections, but it also forms in the gut. When it does, it prevents food from absorbing properly and can speed up the digestive system. Food is then eliminated before it is completely broken down, causing gas and bloating, as well as irritating the bowels.
  4. Drink bottled water and avoid iced drinks if possible. Ice is directly handled frequently and by numerous people where the weather is warm, and the tourists plentiful. Utensils and/or hands that are not clean frequently and can transfer food borne diseases easily. In countries where the water is not potable, ice should be avoided as there is no guarantee that the water is purified.
  5. Reducing stress is vital to gut health. Stress can wreak havoc on your digestive system, causing diarrhea and dreaded constipation. Balance getting enough sleep and being active to keep your digestive system moving.

If you end up getting sick, avoid over the counter anti-vomiting or anti-diarrhea medications. These only temporarily stop the symptoms, which is trying to physically purge the virus/bacteria out of your system. Resting and staying hydrated (even if it keeps coming up) will help your body fight off the illness.

Chronic digestive issues include frequent constipation, diarrhea, excess gas and bloating, acid reflux, and abdominal pain, especially after eating. There are many reasons for chronic digestive issues, like poor diet, frequent use of antibiotics and/or NSAIDS, inefficient waste removal or an imbalance in intestinal flora, just to name a few.

If you have chronic digestive or bowel issues, contact our Naturopath’s. They can help resolve these digestive issues.


Latest Research

Effective Dietary Treatments for IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be a frustrating and debilitating condition. Fortunately for those seeking naturopathic care, there are effective dietary and nutritional treatments. One dietary treatment option utilized in IBS involves the avoidance of short chain carbohydrates, referred to as FODMAPs ((Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols). These short chain carbohydrates are poorly absorbed leading to an overgrowth of gut bacteria and the symptoms of IBS .

In a recent randomized study, 30 patients with IBS received a typical diet or low FODMAP diet for three weeks then the opposite diet for three weeks. These were compared with 8 healthy individuals (without symptoms of IBS) who received the same dietary treatments. All participants were unaware of which diet they were receiving.

In the IBS patients, bowel symptoms significantly reduced during the FODMAP diet and increased during the typical diet phase. The healthy group did not experience any changes in bowel symptoms during either diet.

This high quality study should compel doctors to incorporate more dietary treatments to treat IBS. At the Village Health Clinic, we utilize a variety of evidence based therapeutic diets and nutritional supportive supplements to treat IBS, customizing the treatment plan to fit each individuals unique imbalance.

Allan S. Brett, MD and Douglas K. Rex, MD Reviewing Halmos EP et al., Gastroenterology 2014 Jan 146:67

Latest Research

How Long Does it Take for Gut Bacteria to Return To Normal After Antibiotic Therapy?

Antibiotic treatment can significantly alter the composition of bacteria in our digestive tracts leading to the common side effects associated with these drugs – diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain. In particular, it is the healthy bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species, that are destroyed. In infants, many studies have revealed how these healthy bugs play an important role in the development of the their immune systems and digestive tracts. Alterations in these gut bacteria lead to increased risk for infections, allergies, autoimmune disease, obesity and serious digestive disorders.

How long do the negative effects of antibiotics last? A study looked at the stools of 18 infants, half of which were treated with antibiotics within 48 hours of birth and half did not receive any antibiotics throughout the study. Stools samples were compared at 4 and 8 weeks after the antibiotics were completed.

At 4 weeks, the proportion of healthy bacteria was significantly lower in the infants receiving antibiotics compared to those found in untreated infants. At 8 weeks, the levels of healthy bacteria in the treated infants had partially recovered to those found in the untreated infants. But, the levels of Bifidobacterium, which appears to be the most important bacteria at this age, did not fully recover. Also, longer treatment times of antibiotics resulted in further decreases in healthy bacteria.

This study reveals how vulnerable the balance of bacteria are in infant digestive tracts. It suggests the importance of appropriate probiotic supplementation particularly during or immediately after antibiotic therapy to reduce long term health risks.

Fouhy F et al. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2012 Nov 56:5811

Latest Research

Gut Bacteria Influences Obesity

Three recent studies involving both mice and humans have shown that the type of bacteria in your gut influences your risk for obesity. In the first study, gut bacteria was analyzed in about 300 humans, half of which were obese. The researchers found significant differences in the species of gut bacteria between the obese humans compared the lean humans.

In the second study, fecal material (consisting of mostly bacteria) from humans were transplanted into mice. Half of the human participants were lean and half were obese. The mice that received the gut bacteria from obese humans became obese and developed issues commonly found in obesity – elevated cholesterol, diabetes, and increased inflammation. The other mice that received gut bacteria from lean humans did not become obese.

In the last study, the gut bacteria in obese individuals was analyzed before and after high calorie and restricted calorie diets. The high calorie diet resulted in gut bacteria typical for obese individuals and in the same individual the restricted calorie diet resulted in gut bacteria that are found in only lean individuals.

These studies highlight the importance of gut bacteria in human health. They also reveal the potential benefits of probiotics and diets that influence gut bacteria. There are several therapeutic diets that we utilize at our clinic to influence both gut bacteria and weight loss. We have observed for years the influence of these diets on improving digestive symptoms and weight loss. It is reassuring to see the science “catch up” with clinical practice.

Ridaura VK et al. Gut microbiota from twins discordant for obesity modulate metabolism in mice. Science 2013 Sep 6; 341:1079.

Le Chatelier E et al. Richness of human gut microbiome correlates with metabolic markers. Nature 2013 Aug 29; 500:541.

Cotillard A et al. Dietary intervention impact on gut microbial gene richness. Nature 2013 Aug 29; 500:585.

Latest Research Nutrition

Healthy Bugs May Help with Autoimmune Diseases

Certain white blood cells, called regulatory T lymphocytes, play an important role in suppressing the excessive immune response that is involved in autoimmune diseases – such as hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and ankylosing spondylitis. These white blood cells are produced by the immune system that surrounds the digestive tract.

A Japanese team of researchers has been exploring ways to increase the number of these specific white blood cells. By introducing varying strains of human gut bacteria into mice, they were able to identify 17 different species of bacteria that increased production of these white blood cells. Subsequently, they introduced only these identified species of bacteria in to the mice and were able to further enhance the production of these immune “calming” white blood cells.

This study, along with the many similar studies, highlights the important role gut bacteria play in human illness. Probiotics, friendly gut bacteria, have been shown to reduce risk of allergic disease in children. Hopefully, future studies will show that they have a similar “calming” effect of the immune system in more serious autoimmune conditions.