Sunday, January 26, 2014

It's Alive, It's Alive!

Original Author: Nina Cocina

Digestive issues can be at the root of a lot of maladies including bloating, the wind beneath your glutes, constipation, indigestion, mal-absorption, high cholesterol and weight gain to name a few.If you feel heavy, bloated and just "not good" after most meals chances are your body is having trouble breaking down your foods.Of course the first thing I would recommend is to consult a professional for their opinion and advise a course of action beneficial to you specifically but there are some general tips to help your body be all that it can be (in the army lol).

One thing to consider adding to your diet are probiotics, live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health bene t on the host according to the World Health Organization.You can usually find probiotics in the refrigerated section of your local supermarket because in the words of Gene Wilder (an amazing actor!) in the original Frankenstein "It's alive, it's alive!"

Probiotics are key to proper digestion and nutrient absorption to keep us well nourished and luckily science keep discovering more and more to support the potential benefits of probiotics.One of these benefits is the major role they play in supporting a healthy immune system in addition to helping maintain blood sugar levels, mood and even for their part in long-term weight loss.That's all pretty impressive and makes sense when you consider that up to 80% is housed in your gut.Now do I have your attention?

Numerous published studies continue to confirm what perhaps rural populations of Bulgariaand Russia who are outliving some of their neighbors already knew as a result of the consumption of probiotics and foods fermented by lactic-acid bacteria, that it's good for you.

In a study published by the British Journal of Nutrition, when compared to a control group, the group consuming probiotics combined with fermented milk for 12 weeks lost approximately eight percent visceral fat while also losing up to three percent of their belly fat.Put simply, subjects lost a significant percent of the visceral fat-unhealthy fat that build up around the heart and other organs- and fat around the abdomen-a known contributor to heart disease among other diseases.

If that's not enough to peak your interest, may I try the vanity angle?

A study published by the journal Nature (December 2006) noted that "the gut microbial populations between those who are obese and those are lean are different.It also noted that when heavier people lost weight, their gut flora became like that of leaner people".The investigators were curious to see if there was a microbial component of being overweight and transferred gut flora from obese mice to lean mice and the lean mice gained weight!Science, you're so crazy.The results of the investigations supported the idea that gut flora composition can directly affect weight!

Intrigued, Dr. Toughy from the University of Reading, indicated "that overweight animals have substantially lower Bifidobacteria probiotic levels in their bodies than leaner animals do."Lactobacillus has also been found to play an important role in weight management.If those cultures of bacteria sound familiar it's because they're a found in kefir drinks, at the magical Yogurtland-even the naughty birthday cake batter yogurt-and interestingly enough found in breast milk.If you were breastfeed as an infant, your mother helped protect you by giving you bacteria that supports a healthy immune system through what is known as passive immunity (put that on her Mother's Day card).Dr. Toughy's study also showed that modification to gut bacteria could directly affect metabolism and positively influence the body's glucose balance, the crux of the weight management and an important factor for quality of life in diabetes.

Likewise, a study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggests thatLactobacillus probiotics may assist in increasing weight loss.A fact supported by animal studies from the University of Georgia showing that probiotics may support a decrease in weight, accompanied by a greater expression of leptin, a key hormone involved in appetite control, metabolism and weight loss.

Another important use for probiotics that I have to mention is their use in combination with antibiotics.Antibiotics can be harsh on your immune system, knocking out the bad bacteria but taking out a lot of good bacteria in the process.It is common practice for doctors to recommend to patients to take a probiotic if they're currently on or have recently taken antibiotics to curb antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD)-a result from an imbalance in the colonic microbiota caused by antibiotic therapy.

This is also of critical importance for anyone that has any chronic diseases or autoimmune disease like Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis or Thyroiditis to name a few.Although it won't cure your disease, it may help alleviate symptoms of inflammation that are inherent to autoimmune diseases that may lead to an improvement of the disease or at least help prevent further damage.

If you are considering probiotics, like with everything, moderation is key and it's better to err on the side of caution and start with lower billion levels of probiotics (1-5 billion active cultures) and fermented foods. As always, do your research and ask around before you go buying the "super-sized, super-strength" version of the latest health trend.All in all, probiotics and fermented foods have recently stepped into the health food spotlight and with good reason (hence the recent rise of popularity in Kombucha tea).Their ability to boost your immune system combined with their power to help maintain healthier blood sugar levels and their role in weight management are nothing to scoff at and definitely something to look into.

Prosperity, abundance and health from the team at AWNW
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