The human gut is home to over 100 trillion microorganisms. We have so many microorganisms living in us that only 1 out of 10 cells in our bodies is our own. Crazy, right?! It stands to reason that the delicate balance of this microscopic flora would have huge effects on our health. Recent studies have shown promising links between having the right balance of gut flora and being at an optimal weight. It is known that diet also has a huge impact on the type of flora inhabiting our intestines. Combining these two facts can be the key to your weight loss.
A diet high in plant foods has 3 ways it interacts with gut flora:
- First, the fiber only found in plant foods is digested by the good flora in your gut. This process releases propionate. You probably don’t care to know all the fancy names, but you should care about what this short chain fatty acid does for you. It has 3 main functions directly related to your weight: it decreases cholesterol, slows your digestion by making you feel fuller longer, and inhibits the formation of new fat cells.
- The digestion of fiber from your plant intake also forms a second short chain fatty acid called butyrate. Butyrate inhibits the growth of cancer cells in your colon and has amazing anti-inflammatory properties.
- The third way plant foods work with your gut flora to curb obesity is by feeding good bacteria and starving the bad.
A recent study on the effects of body weight and body mass index “showed that probiotic consumption could reduce body weight and BMI significantly. The improvement was greater among overweight and obese population when the probiotic administration lasted more than 8 weeks. The study also suggested a greater effect from consuming multiple rather than single species of probiotics.” 
In another study of the flora in thin people versus obese people, it was found that skinny people have a higher amount of bacteroidetes in their colon and obese people have a higher amount of firmicutes. It is known that polyphenols found in fruits, green tea, and vinegar promote the growth of bacteroidetes and suppress firmicutes.
Wow, that was a mouthful.
Simply put, plant food to grows gut flora that contributes to weight loss while hindering the growth of gut flora that contributes to weight gain.
So, the burning question is: should I take probiotics or not?
Well, the answer can be complicated. Just like bioindividuality when it comes to food, the same logic applies to the kind of probiotics you should take. Here are the top four I recommend for overall gut health and balance.
- Lactobacilis acidophilus is wonderful for taking after taking antibiotics and for preventing bladder infections in women.This probiotic readily colonizes on the walls of the small intestine and creates an unfriendly environment for bad bacteria. It adapts well to the human body because of its human origin and it is acid- and bile-resistant for intestinal survival.
- Bifidobacterium lactis is one of the most versatile and hardest working probiotic strains for the human body. This lactic acid bacteria can help fight lactose intolerance and boost the immune system.  Bifridobaterium. lactis may also support healthy cholesterol levels, ease ulcerative colitis, and even combat the effects of celiac disease. 
- Bifidobacterium longum converts many different types of sugars into lactic acid via fermentation. This helps to lower the pH in the lower intestine.
- Bifidobacterium bifidum is present in multiple stages of digestion, this probiotic is known for maintaining a healthy balance with yeast and candida. Aids in the release of minerals from food during digestion, particularly, magnesium and zinc.
Two of the most important criteria for evaluating a probiotic are whether it can survive passage through the stomach by resisting gastric acidity and survive the intestines by resisting bile acids – both of which my favorite probiotic formula has been proven to do in research studies. Not only does it contain the beneficial strains that I cover above; it’s also vegan, gluten-free, diary-free, and non-gmo. It has a potency guarantee of at least 25 Billion CFUs per capsule and a shelf life of 2 years at room temperature. For more information on this probiotic check out the video with celebrity nutritionist and registered dietician, Keri Glassman, at the end of this post!
Most people will benefit from taking a probiotic, but equally important is to eat a clean diet with a lot of real, whole food nutrition.
If you have been following me long enough, you know how I feel about seasonally detoxing your body and resetting your digestive system. The fiber and polyphenols in your fruits and veggies will work with the probiotics and your morning elixir to do all the wonderful things that new research is showing to be true.
Of course, nothing can replace eating a healthy diet loaded with a rainbow of fresh, clean plant food, but when things don’t feel right, supplementing with probiotics just might do the trick – and help shed a few pounds, too!
Cheers to your gut health!
http://nutritionfacts.org/video/fawning-over-flora/ part 1 of three (follow the links to get to the research)
Effect of probiotics on body weight and body-mass index: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials Qingqing Zhang, Yucheng Wu, and Xiaoqiang Fei International Journal Of Food Sciences And Nutrition Vol. 67 , Iss. 5,2016
Lomax AR, Calder PC. Probiotics, immune function, infection and inflammation: a review of the evidence from studies conducted in humans. Curr Pharm Des. 2009;15(13):1428-518.
K Lindfors, T Blomqvist, K Juuti-Uusitalo, et al. Live probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis bacteria inhibit the toxic effects induced by wheat gliadin in epithelial cell culture. Clin Exp Immunol. 2008 Jun; 152(3): 552-558. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2008.03635.x.
More information of Life’s Abundance Probiotic can be found at www.EatCleanWithKasey.com
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