How to get good bacteria without probiotics
Confused about what to eat and what not to eat? Live yoghurt is an excellent source of so-called friendly bacteria, also known as probiotics. Look out for sugar-free, full-fat versions and add your own fruit for a tasty breakfast. Yoghurt drinks can contain high numbers of bacteria that are good for the gut, far more than you would find in a normal yoghurt. Do be mindful though as they can have a high sugar content. This probiotic yoghurt drink is made by fermenting milk and is packed with good bacteria.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Gut bacteria and weight loss: Mayo Clinic Radio
SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Growing your own Probiotic Bacteria (fruit ferment)Content:
Probiotics Are (Mostly) Powerless.
This article has been retracted. Retraction in: PLoS One. Manipulating gut bacteria in the microbiome, through the use of probiotics and prebiotics, has been found to have an influence on both physical and emotional wellbeing. Paired sample t-tests revealed a significant reduction in self-reported weight at the end of the intervention. Adverse medical symptoms related to digestion, cognition and physical and emotional wellbeing, were also significantly reduced during the course of the dietary intervention.
The intervention, designed to manipulate gut bacteria, had a significant impact on digestion, reducing IBS type symptoms in this non-clinical population. There was also a striking reduction in negative symptoms related to cognition, memory and emotional wellbeing, including symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Dietary gut microbiome manipulations may have the power to exert positive physical and psychological health benefits, of a similar nature to those reported in studies using pre and probiotics. The small sample size and lack of control over confounding variables means that it will be important to replicate these findings in larger-scale controlled, prospective, clinical trials.
The intestines of an average human contain trillions of gut bacteria. The diversity and strains of these bacteria vary dramatically between individuals. Research has shown that sub-optimal gut bacteria can have a profound impact on health. For example, the health of the microbiome, in terms of species and diversity of gut bacteria, has been found to be associated with digestive issues, such as nausea, bloating and diarrhoea [ 1 ] and Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS [ 2 ].
The ecology of the gut microbiome has been connected with weight in animal studies [ 6 , 7 ]. Low bacterial richness has been linked with higher body mass index in humans, and bacterial richness with lower body mass index [ 8 ]. Low diversity of fecal bacteria was recently connected specifically with visceral fat in human twin studies [ 9 ]; with visceral fat being linked with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes [ 10 ].
Gut bacteria have been hypothesized to influence weight by signalling satiety to the brain in animal studies [ 11 ] and by influencing caloric extraction from food [ 12 ]. The microbiota of obese youths have, for example, been shown to be more efficient at oxidising carbohydrates into storable fat than those of lean youths [ 13 ]. Additionally, evidence from murine studies suggests that, bacterial diversity plays a role in host metabolism and obesity [ 14 ]. Some studies have explored the influence of orally administered probiotics on weight in both human and animal populations.
Probiotics consist of a range of micro-organisms i. The Lactobacillus genus of bacteria, in particular, would appear to play a role in weight regulation [ 12 ] perhaps mediated by its involvement in the fermentation of sugars into acids [ 16 ].
Despite some inconsistency in study findings, orally administered probiotics have also been reported to help alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms in IBS [ 17 , 18 ]. However, as yet, it is unclear whether beneficial probiotic effects especially in healthy adults are mediated by directly altering the state of our gut microbiota [ 19 ], [ 20 ]. More research is needed to discover whether probiotic supplementation can have health benefits for non-clinical populations.
Taking oral probiotics, as a supplement, is not the only means by which we can influence our microbiome. The make-up of our gut bacteria does not necessarily remain stable throughout life [ 21 ] and can be influenced by factors such as parasites, disease and our environment [ 22 , 23 ]. Diet can rapidly influence the richness of bacteria in the gut with consequences for health [ 24 ] and is the most important influence on the microbiome [ 25 ]. Research has shown that gut bacteria can be manipulated in a matter of days by alterations to diet.
For example, altering the amount of vegetable-based or animal-based food within the diet, as well as adjusting carbohydrate intake, can influence the make-up of the microbiome [ 26 , 27 ]. This diet was devised primarily as a tool for weight-loss and resolution of digestive symptoms.
However, anecdotal reports of people taking part in this program suggest supplementary improvements in both physical and psychological wellbeing [ 28 ]. Although the effect of The Gut Makeover diet on the health and diversity of the microbiome has not been directly tested, its conceptualisation was based upon science that suggests these manipulations would promote gut health and a diverse microbiome.
Recommendations include consuming a wide variety of vegetables and fruit containing fibre [ 29 , 30 ] and phytochemicals [ 30 ] to feed gut bacteria and promote diversity of species. Individuals are encouraged to eat probiotic foods, to plant beneficial bacteria in the gut [ 31 ], and prebiotic foods, to feed gut bacteria [ 24 , 32 ]. Time restricted feeding is also suggested, which involves fasting for twelve hours between dinner and breakfast, to allow the gut time to stimulate gut bacteria regrowth overnight [ 14 , 33 ].
Previous research has identified significant reductions in adverse digestive symptoms [ 17 ] and improvements in weight regulation [ 12 ], mood [ 34 ] and other aspects of general health and well-being [ 35 ] for individuals who take probiotics. In this exploratory study, we investigated whether a dietary intervention, designed to manipulate gut bacteria, could have a positive effect on physical and emotional well-being in healthy adults.
This retrospective assessment of nutritional therapy work with no control group was based on a repeated-measures design. Participants had all undertaken group nutritional therapy as part of routine clinical practice. All except two participants consented; one was non-contactable and the other did not wish for their data to be used.
All participants gave written informed consent for their before and after data to be used for research purposes. The study was carried out on 21 participants 20 females and 1 male aged 27 to 64 years, mean age 47 years. Of the participants, 20 were Caucasian and one Asian. As a part of routine group nutritional therapy, participants had followed the dietary program designed to optimise gut bacteria for 4 weeks, completing a questionnaire about their health and well-being before the diet and after the diet.
The Gut Makeover [ 28 ], is a dietary program that was designed to improve the health and diversity of the microbiome, leading to weight loss and subsidiary health benefits primarily digestive. The groups were a convenience sample of people seeking the services of a nutritional therapist. None of the participants took part in the nutritional therapy with the explicit aim of improving emotional or cognitive well-being.
Participants either attended an in-person or online workshop at the start of the program, where they were briefed by a nutritional therapist, trained in the procedure, on the dietary protocol for the four-weeks.
They were also given handouts detailing the plan. Further in-person or online conference call group briefings with the nutritional therapist were conducted at the half-way point of the diet after two weeks and at the end after four weeks. A private Facebook group was also offered to both groups during the program where they could share experiences and ask the nutritional therapist questions.
The Gut Makeover protocol was developed based on research into the microbiome and gut permeability. Details of the protocol are described fully in the published guidelines [ 28 ] and summarised below. Undergo a hour overnight fast between dinner and breakfast, with just water permitted between. Eat seven American cupfuls of plants uncooked volume per day five as vegetables, two as fruit. Eat between 20 and 30 different types of plants fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruits over the course of a week for variety.
Increase their intake of prebiotic vegetables such as bananas, fennel, asparagus, cold potatoes, onions, garlic, leeks, fennel, Jerusalem artichokes, pak choi. The research aimed to quantitatively assess the impact of The Gut Makeover program on different aspects of health and wellbeing.
This was assessed using the Functional Medicine Medical Symptoms Questionnaire MSQ [ 36 ], which consists of 71 questions, relating to 15 areas of health detailed in Table 1 , including symptoms related to the digestive tract, the mind and emotions. The MSQ [ 36 ] is a tracking tool used by clinicians to assess patient progress to dietary and lifestyle changes. It was given to participants, as part of their routine intervention, to assess any changes in symptoms from pre- to post-intervention.
It was not selected specifically for the purpose of research, and is lacking in detailed information relating to its reliability and validity compared to scales used more specifically for research. Nonetheless, it contains valuable information which can be explored to guide further hypothesis-driven research.
Participants were requested to rate each of the following symptoms based upon their typical health profile for the past 14 days and responded to each item on a five point scale, ranging from 0—4, to indicate the presence or absence of each symptom.
The subscales contain different numbers of questions and therefore different ranges of possible scores; this information is detailed in Table 1. Participants completed the questionnaire at time point one the beginning of The Gut Makeover program and at time point two on completion of the four-week program. The questionnaire was handed to participants to complete as a paper copy within the room in which the sessions with the nutritional therapist were run or sent to participants at their home.
The questionnaires took approximately 10—15 minutes to complete. Once the questionnaires were completed, they were returned to the nutritional therapist. Scores for each sub-section were totalled to give a severity of symptoms score for each health area, together with an overall score. Of the 21 participants, 20 reported their weight at time point one, and time point two. Weights were self-recorded and subjects were asked to weigh themselves on the same set of scales, at the same time of day, at the start and end of the program.
Weight loss ranged from 1kg 2. The mean weight loss for females was 3. Within the clinician debrief, a range of gastro-intestinal improvements were reported by participants and included: reduction or cessation of chronic bloating, acid reflux, wind, erratic stool movements either loose or constipation, or chronic alternation between the two. Also noted were self-reported improvements in mood, energy and quality of sleep.
Total medical symptoms scores were submitted to a paired-sample T-test. Total scores at time 1 before dietary intervention and time 2 after the four week dietary intervention were entered as the paired variables. Without exception, all participants saw a drop in their total medical symptoms scores from before the intervention to post-intervention; these symptom score changes are depicted in Fig 2. No participant saw their symptom score increase, or stay the same, from pre-intervention to post-intervention.
Total scores for each of the 14 subscales of the Medical Symptoms Questionnaire MSQ were then entered into paired-sample t-tests. Since 14 tests were conducted, Bonferroni corrections were applied to the significance level. After this correction was applied, a significant difference between symptom scores, before and after the dietary intervention, was found for 11 of the individual subscales.
For all of these subscales, fewer medical symptoms were reported post-intervention see Table 2. The Gut Makeover program was developed with the aim of optimising the health and diversity of the microbiome and thereby promoting weight-loss and helping to resolve digestive issues. Results of this exploratory study revealed that the program did indeed produce significant reductions in self-reported weight and also in symptoms on weight subscale of the MSQ.
Participant responses on the weight sub-scale of the MSQ suggest that issues such as binge eating, cravings, carrying excessive weight, compulsive eating and water-retention improved with the four-week intervention. If we assume that adherence to the diet had an influence on the health and diversity of the microbiome, this fits with research which suggests that the microbiome appears to play an important role in energy regulation [ 12 ].
Transplanting faeces from obese individuals into mice has been found to induce weight gain in the mice [ 37 ] suggesting a direct effect of microbiota in influencing weight which can occur rapidly upon microbiome modification. However, long-term maintenance of a lean phenotype, resulting from transplant, is not yet well-demonstrated and likely requires dietary modification to support the additional microbial diversity[ 38 , 39 ].
In humans, more diverse microbiomes are associated with lower weight and less visceral fat [ 8 , 9 ] and in theory The Gut Makeover intervention should promote greater microbiome diversity [ 28 ]. It is unknown whether calorie intake was reduced from pre-intervention levels, due to the removal of certain foods from the diet.
However, the diet required no calorie or portion size restriction and allowed unrestricted use of extra virgin olive oil, butter, and coconut fat, meaning that a reduction in calorific intake was not an intended consequence of the diet.
The participants, in this observational study, also saw a significant reduction in self-reported digestive symptoms on the MSQ; there was a lower frequency and severity of nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, passing gas, heartburn and stomach pain after the four-week intervention. Our study attempted to manipulate gut bacteria, not by probiotic supplements, but through the use of diet to promote beneficial bacteria.
Our findings are consistent with research suggesting that enhancing gut bacteria, through probiotic interventions, can alleviate some of the symptoms of IBS [ 17 , 18 ]; with the further suggestion that similar digestive improvements may be achieved through dietary therapy.
Improvements in weight and digestion were expected outcomes for participants undertaking this protocol. We were, however, more surprised by the positive impact of the intervention on a vast range of other areas of well-being.
Probiotics: What You Need To Know
This post contains sponsored links. When you buy through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All sponsored links are marked with red font. To learn more, click here. That mystery world of gut bacteria that helps us do everything from digest food, to regulate mood.
This article has been retracted. Retraction in: PLoS One. Manipulating gut bacteria in the microbiome, through the use of probiotics and prebiotics, has been found to have an influence on both physical and emotional wellbeing. Paired sample t-tests revealed a significant reduction in self-reported weight at the end of the intervention.
Gut Food - 15 Foods For Good Gut Health
Bacteria is usually viewed in a negative light as something that makes you sick. However, you have two kinds of bacteria constantly in and on your body — good bacteria and bad bacteria. Probiotics are made up of good bacteria that helps keep your body healthy and working well. This good bacteria helps you in many ways, including fighting off bad bacteria when you have too much of it, helping you feel better. Probiotics are part of a larger picture concerning bacteria and your body — your microbiome. Think of a microbiome as a diverse community of organisms, such as a forest, that work together to keep your body healthy. This community is made up of things called microbes. You have trillions of microbes on and in your body.
10 Ways to Cultivate Good Gut Bacteria and Reduce Depression
Support our lifesaving work. Make a donation to the Physicians Committee today. Donate Now. A plant-based diet can improve health and prevent disease by feeding the good bacteria in your digestive tract. Trillions of bacteria live in your digestive tract and play an important role in health.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are intended to have health benefits when consumed or applied to the body. They can be found in yogurt and other fermented foods, dietary supplements , and beauty products. Some bacteria help digest food, destroy disease-causing cells, or produce vitamins.
What should I eat for a healthy gut?
Back to Health A to Z. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts promoted as having various health benefits. They're usually added to yoghurts or taken as food supplements, and are often described as "good" or "friendly" bacteria.
When I was younger, I remember thinking that bacteria was a bad word. It represented something that should be avoided at all costs. Now, I know better. In recent years, we've all heard a lot about probiotics, from health reports on the news to marketing blurbs on our favorite yogurts. In fact, our intestines have more than types of bacteria. Some are beneficial, and some are not.
Consider certain factors before buying a particular brand. What is an NPN number? Which is the best probiotic for you? But, you've got to take the correct ones at the correct time! By reading through the descriptions of these five supplements, hopefully you can narrow down which one is best for you.
There are two ways to get more good bacteria into your gut: fermented foods and dietary supplements. Fermented foods are the best source, as probiotic supplements, which are typically sold over the counter, are reserved to treat specific ailments as suggested by your doctor, and not recommended for everyday use. Plus, supplements do not have the same FDA oversight as medications do. There is no recommended daily intake for probiotics, so there is no way to know exactly which fermented foods or what quantity is best. Therefore, the general guideline is to just add as many fermented foods to your daily diet as possible.