Tag Archives: Probiotics

In Response to “Do Probiotics Really Work?” (Scientific American, July 2017)

 

Source: Time Magazine

 

An article titled “Do Probiotics Really Work? in the current (July 2017) issue of Scientific American really irked me so I decided to send a Letter to the Editor responding to it. Since the chances my letter will get printed are slim and I think it addresses several important issues, I’m putting it into this post.

Continue reading In Response to “Do Probiotics Really Work?” (Scientific American, July 2017)

Psychobiotics for Anxiety and Depression

 

 

Source: Gut Health Project

 

It may strain the imagination to hear that several pounds of organisms live inside your gastrointestinal tract and that they are in constant communication with your brain, but it’s true. Actually, the communication is two way – gut to brain and brain to gut – and operates via biochemical signaling. This process is called the gut-brain axis. The gut microbiome is so so important to the body’s functioning it’s often now referred to as our second brain.
Recent research has also demonstrated that our mood is greatly affected by certain bacteria living in our gut microbiome. These bacteria profoundly influence how anxious or depressed we are. Having lots of friendly probiotic bacteria in there exerts anxiety-reducing and antidepressant effects on our emotions and physical bodies.
Fortunately for us, there is an emerging field of neuroscience called psychobiotics that is studying how changing the bacterial composition in the gut affects the brain. (Atlay, 2016)
Psychobiotics researchers are beginning to identify which probiotics have psychotropic (mind-altering) effects – boosting mood and cognitive function; decreasing stress, anxiety, and depression.
Functional Medicine doc Kelly Brogan, along with numerous others, is convinced that mood disorders and many other psychiatric problems are the result of imbalances and chronic inflammation in the gut microbiome and that psychobiotics will become the treatment of choice for mood disorders and will also be used to prevent them. She wrote:
“For two decades now, pioneering researchers have been substantiating inflammatory models of mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.  Research has focused on markers that indicate immune distress in an important subset of patients, many of whom are labeled “treatment resistant.” Through this body of literature, we have identified that depression can be induced, in animals and in humans through inflammatory agents, that it is correlated with blood levels of inflammatory markers, in a linear way (more markers = worse depression), and that symptoms can be reversed through pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories.” (Brogan, 2014)

 

 

Source: Mercola

 

The well respected scientists who authored an article called Psychobiotics and the Manipulation of Bacteria–Gut–Brain Signals published a few months ago in Trends in Neurosciences believe that prebiotics (nondigestible plant fibers that nourish our probiotics) should also be included as actors in the gut-brain communication process and propose the diagram below to show how it all works (Sarkar, 2016):

 

Systems-Level Overview of Psychobiotic Action

Trends in Neuroscience

 

If you’re interested in a deeper understanding of how the process works, take a look at this explanation of the diagram provided by the authors:

“Probiotics directly introduce beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria into the gut. Prebiotics (e.g., galacto-oligosaccharides) support the growth of such bacteria. SCFAs and gut hormones: Both probiotics and prebiotics increase production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which interact with gut mucosal enteroendocrine cells and catalyse the release of gut hormones such as cholecystokinin (CCK), peptide tyrosine tyrosine (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide- 1 (GLP-1). Prebiotics may have stronger effects in this regard in comparison to probiotics. SCFAs and gut hormones enter circulation and can migrate into the central nervous system. Gut hormones are also secreted by tissues other than enteroendocrine cells. Neurotransmitters: psychobiotics enhance neurotransmitter production in the gut, including dopamine (DA), serotonin (5-HT), noradrenaline (NA), and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which likely modulate neurotransmission in the proximal synapses of the enteric nervous system. Vagal connections: the vagus nerve synapses on enteric neurons and enables gut–brain communication. Stress, barrier function, and cytokines: barrier dysfunction is exacerbated through stress-induced glucocorticoid exposure. This enables migration of bacteria with pro-inflammatory components, increasing inflammation directly and also triggering a rise in pro-inflammatory cytokines via the immunogenic response. These cytokines impair the integrity of the blood–brain barrier and permit access to potentially pathogenic or inflammatory elements. Pro-inflammatory cytokines (red circles) also reduce the integrity of the gut barrier. Psychobiotic action restores gut barrier function and decreases circulating concentrations of glucocorticoids and pro-inflammatory cytokines. They also increase concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines (blue circles), which enhance integrity of the blood–brain barrier, the gut barrier, and reduce overall inflammation. Cytokines clustering at the brain represent cytokine interaction with the blood–brain barrier. Central lymphatic vessels: cytokines may interact more directly with the brain than previously appreciated through the recently discovered central lymphatic vessels.” (Sarkar, 2016)

 

 

 

THE GUT-BRAIN AXIS AND MOOD

The gut microbiome and the brain, working together via the gut-brain axis, are jointly responsible for maintaining health in the body – including mental health. If a body has an unbalanced gut microbiome containing too few or unbalanced probiotics and prebiotics (dysbiosis) – because its owner consumes a nutritionally impoverished diet, has taken antibiotics that have killed off many probiotics in the gut, has been exposed to toxins, and/or isn’t doing a good job managing stress, the body’s intestinal lining may become too porous (a condition called leaky gut), creating chronic inflammation in the body and eventually a series of autoimmune diseases – and apparently mood disorders too.
In the diagram above from the Sarkar article, blue arrows indicate psychobiotic processes and effects, while red arrows indicate processes associated with leaky gut and chronic inflammation.

 

 

 

RESEARCH FINDINGS ON PSYCHOBIOTICS FOR ANXIETY & DEPRESSION

 

Source: Organic Sunshine
Here are some intriguing results from research studies on probiotics’ and prebiotics’ effects on anxiety and depression:
A 30-day human study found these two probiotics helpful for reducing anxiety as compared to a placebo (Sarkar, 2016)
  • Lactobacillus helveticus R0052
  • Bifidobacterium longum
A mixture of these probiotics compared to a placebo, taken for four weeks, substantially reduced depression in human subjects (Sarkar, 2016)
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum W23
  • Bifidobacterium lactis W52
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus W37
  • Lactobacillus brevis W63
  • Lactobacillus casei W56
  • Lactobacillus salivarius W24
  • Lactococcus lactis W19 and W58
In a study of academic stress, healthy medical students took either this probiotic or a placebo for eight weeks before an exam. The day before the exam, plasma cortisol was substantially lower in the probiotic group  compared to the placebo group. (Sarkar, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus casei Shirota
In another study, student athletes who were given this probiotic had elevated mood and reduced natural killer cell activity after strenuous exercise, relative to placebo:
  • Lactobacillus gasseri OLL2809 LG2809
When the probiotic was taken along with this protein in milk,
  • Alpha-lactalbumin
the students also experienced less fatigue. (Sarkar, 2016)
Irritable bowel syndrome is known to be associated with disturbances in the gut-brain axis and composition of the gut microbiome. IBS is a chronic inflammatory condition and is  often accompanied by anxiety and depression. After human study participants with IBS consumed this probiotic,  their level of inflammation was reduced (as measured by the ratio of interleukin-10 to interleukin-12), compared to those who took a placebo  (Sarkar, 2016):
  • Bifidobacterium infantis 35624
In a clinical trial of people with major depressive disorder, patients were given these probiotics:
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus (2 billion CFUs)
  • Lactobacillus casei (2 billion CFUs)
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum (2 billion CFUs)
Compared with placebo, the people who took the probiotics were less depressed at the end of the eight week study  and also had significant decreases in systemic inflammation, reduced insulin resistance, and a significant rise in glutathione (the body’s master anti-oxidant). (University Health News, 2016)
A study looking at the effects of these probiotics (given as Probio’Stick®) on anxiety, depression, stress, and coping strategies in healthy human volunteers found a reduction of psychological distress (particularly depression, anger/hostility, and anxiety) and improved problem solving ability at the end of the 30 day study (University Health News, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus helveticus R0052
  • Bifidobacterium longum R0175
Harrington states, “For anyone experiencing anxiety and/or depression, regular supplementation with this probiotic combination seems a natural and worthwhile practice. It is conceivable that such supplementation could reduce reliance on prescription medications and deliver freedom from the burdens of these common mental illnesses.” (Harrington, 2016)
Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome were given either this probiotic or a placebo daily for two months. The people who took the probiotic experienced a significant decrease in anxiety (University Health News, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (24 billion colony forming units)
Animal studies have shown that this probiotic reduces depression by increasing dopamine and serotonin. This same probiotic decreased cortisol and increased dopamine and serotonin, normalizing the stress response system in depressed mice subjected to early-life stress  (University Health News, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus plantarum strain PS128
These two probiotics have been shown to reduce anxiety-like behavior and improve performance on cognitive tests in anxious mice (University Health News, 2016):
  • Bifidobacterium longum 1714
  • Bifidobacterium breve 1205
The same probiotic shown to help people with chronic fatigue syndrome has also been shown to help humans and lab animals undergoing other kinds of stress. This probiotic (consumed as kefir, a fermented milk drink that’s loaded with a variety of probiotics) prevented stress-related cortisol increases and raised serotonin levels in stressed medical students. The kefir also decreased stress-related physical symptoms such as abdominal pain and colds (University Health News, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota
Animal studies have also identified other probiotics that reduce stress-related depression and anxiety by affecting serotonin, cortisol, and other neuroactive compounds. These two, in combination, normalized anxious behaviors along with learning and memory impairments in immune-deficient rats (University Health News, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 combined with Lactobacillus rhamnosus R0011
This probiotic was more effective than the SSRI citalopram (Celexa) in reducing stress-induced anxiety, depression, and cognitive dysfunction in rats. It lowered their cortisol and restored their serotonin and other brain neurochemical levels back to normal (University Health News, 2016):
  • Lactobacillus helveticus NS8
Prebiotics, like probiotics, have also been identified as regulators of mood and brain function. A recent study found that this prebiotic decreased the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol and improved emotional processing and lowered anxiety in healthy human volunteers (University Health News, 2016):
  • Bimuno-galactooligosaccharides, B-GOS
A study of people with IBS, who typically have decreased microbial diversity in their gut microbiomes and often suffer from anxiety, found that daily consumption of this prebiotic mixture for four weeks reduced their anxiety (University Health News, 2016):
  • a galactooligosaccharide-containing prebiotic mixture in powder form
An informative article called 10 Best Probiotics For Depression & Anxiety: Gut-Brain Axis Modification names the following as the most helpful probiotics for mood regulation, describes their functions in the body, presents relevant research results from studies in which they were used as psychobiotics, and recommends some specific probiotic products. The first nine in the list are probiotics; the 10th is a prebiotic:
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus helveticus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Bifidobacterium animalis
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Transgalactooligosaccharides
The article also discusses pathogenic bacteria that may CAUSE anxiety and depression:
  • Citrobacter rodentium
  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • Clostridium
  • Enterococcus faecalis
Interestingly, these pathogenic bacteria have also been found to be associated with other serious physical problems, including GI disease, stress-induced memory dysfunction, autism, chronic fatigue syndrome, and heart valve damage.

 

 

COMMERCIAL PSYCHOBIOTIC  SUPPLEMENTS

If your interest in the relationship between the probiotics in your gut microbiome and your mood has been piqued, perhaps you want to pick out one or more of the probiotics mentioned above to experiment with. Start with the one that interests you most and take it for a month so it has a chance to  colonize in your gut.
If deliberately encouraging a strain of bacteria to colonize your gut sounds too much like a scary science fiction movie, please remember that we’re talking about GOOD (probiotic) bacteria, ones that create health in the body, not HARMFUL (pathologic)  bacteria that create illness.

 

Source: Happy Oligo
Here are a few commercially available probiotic supplements that provide  psychobiotic and other benefits:

 

Life Extension Florassist Mood Capsules

This supplement contains 3 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) of a blend of two probiotic strains demonstrated to improve mood, reduce perceived stress, and promote relaxation in humans.
  • Lactobacillus Helveticas strain R0052
  • Bifid bacterium longum strain R0175
“Research suggests specific probiotics positively influence biochemical signaling between the gastrointestinal tract and the nervous system- resulting in positive effects on mood.” (Amazon.com, 2017)

Contains milk and soybeans. The ingredients may be from GMO sources.
Life Extension  says this about the GMO issue:
“Q. Should I be concerned with the usage of genetically modified plants (GMOs)?
“A. Soybeans are an example of a crop that has used extensive genetic engineering to increase crop yield. The reality is that soybean oil and soy lecithin are highly processed derivatives of soy … far removed from their soy origin. Genetic modification doesn’t alter the entire plant… only a specific gene. Thus, specific molecules like soy lecithin are the same whether they come from a GMO or non-GMO soy source. However, due to our sensitivity to customer concerns, products with corn and soy-based active ingredients are in process of having the labels updated to list when soy and corn-derived active ingredients have been certified to be from non-GM food crops. As the labels are updated the information will be transferred to the product descriptions on our website and directory. Currently Life Extension already offers several premium quality non-GMO soy isoflavone extract products.” (Life Extension, 2017)

 

 

Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics Time-Release Micro-Pearls

 

At time of manufacture, contains 5 billion Colony Forming Units per BIO-tract pearl,  equivalent to 75 billion CFU. Contains a minimum of 1.5 CFU at time of expiration date.
The 15 Group, B. (2015). biotic strains in this  supplement are:
  • Lactobacillus plantarum – Secretes the oxidant hydrogen peroxide which acts as a weapon to protect your body and must be present for your immune system to function correctly. Creates a healthy barrier in your colon and helps lower luminal pH, creating an unfavorable environment for the growth of pathogens including molds, yeasts and bacteria.
  • Lactobacillus fermentum –  highly antimicrobial and antioxidative. Helps inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, yeast and other pathogens and has demonstrated clinical efficacy within immune health.
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus – Creates a fortress of good colonies that helps keep unwanted organisms out of your gut. Studies show that L. acidophilus helps to reduce occasional diarrhea and enhances your immune system and may help to reduce cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that those taking L. acidophilus experienced significantly more relief from their gastrointestinal discomfort than did those taking a placebo.
  • Bifidobacterium Infantis – Has been shown to reduce the major symptoms of GI disorders, including diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, cramping and constipation. It is particularly popular as a means of combating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and has been shown to improve digestion and the body’s ability to absorb and process nutrients.
  • Lactobacillus casei – Along with L. Acidolphilus, converts lactose into lactic acid, helping those who are lactose intolerant. Helps to encourage the growth of other beneficial bacteria.
  • Bifidobacterium longum – Assists in breaking down carbohydrates and fighting free radicals. Provides potent antioxidant support and helps reduce the effects of seasonal allergens.
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus – Helps reduce occurrences of traveler’s diarrhea and food poisoning.
  • Bifidobacterium lactis – Helps decrease H. pylori (a bacterium associated with the majority of stomach ulcers) and helps the production of the front line cells in your immune system.
  • Lactobacillus reuteri – Improves cholesterol levels, reduces H. plyori, protects female urinary tract and vaginal health and aids infants’ GI health.
  • Lactobacillus salivarius – Helps with GI problems (especially diarrhea caused by antibiotics), helps lactose-intolerant people digest dairy. It may lower cholesterol and blood pressure, maintain dental health, help with IBS, and boost the immune system.
  • Lactobacillus paracasei – Is key for digestive function, boosts the immune system, and energy levels, resolves infant diarrhea. It may help fight infections and relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Lactobacillus gasseri – May speed up metabolism and encourage weight loss, protect against harmful organisms, lower cholesterol, reduce allergic response, ease symptoms of asthma in children, and lessen menstrual pain in women with endometriosis.
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum – Protects the intestinal lining from damage from toxins and pathological germs. Produces important vitamins like B12, biotin, and K2. Helps digest sugar and reduces incidence of colds and flu.
  • Bifidobacterium breve – Protects colon function, alleviates constipation, reduces gas and diarrhea. Stimulates the immune system, inhibits E. coli and suppresses the fungus Candida. Ferments sugars and produces acetic and lactic acids. Helps digest plant  fibers typically thought of as undigestible. May reduce intestinal irritation and allergic responses.
  • Streptococcus thermopholus – Breaks down lactose into lactic acid and helps boost the immune system. May lower the risk of colon cancer. May protect intestinal tissues from irritation during chemotherapy . Correlates with better growth in children.
plus 25 mg of prebiotic:
  • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)
This supplement is vegetarian; non-GMO; and free of yeast, lactose, soy, iron, gluten, wheat, nuts, preservatives, sugar, and artificial colors or flavors.
 – Information provided by Hyperbiotics on Amazon.com (2017), Dr Edward Group at Global Healing Center (2015A-F), and Examine.com (2011-2017).

 

 

Jarrow Formulas Ideal Bowel Support 299v Capsules

 

This supplement contains a single probiotic strain:
  • Lactobacillus plantarum 299v
Each veggie cap contains 10 billion viable cells of L. plantarum 299v, a clinically-documented, human-origin probiotic strain that resists stomach acid and bile salts and has been found to successfully colonize the human intestinal mucosa.
This strain reduces bloating, gas and Intestinal discomfort, and supports regularity.  The product is vegetarian/vegan and gluten free but contains trace amounts of soy.
– Amazon.com (2017)

 

 

align Probiotic Supplement Capsules

 

This supplement also contains a single probiotic strain:
  • Bifidobacterium infantis 35624
align was developed by gastroenterologists to promote and support a healthy digestive system. It’s especially useful for people with irritable bowel  syndrome (IBS) – sometimes called spastic colon. IBS is characterized by abdominal cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. (Amazon.com, 2017)
In the intestines of infants, B. infantis helps break down lactic acid in human breast milk.

“Adults who keep their B. infantis levels in balance enjoy better overall health, an active metabolism, and less discomfort after eating. British researchers reported it only took four weeks for women who took B. infantis to enjoy a significant improvement in their IBS symptoms. Another study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found B. infantis supports stomach health and digestion. But it does more than aid digestion. It also supports your immune system against unwanted bacterial growth in the intestines. And some strains even produce B vitamins.” (Group, 2015B)

 

 

Bio-Kult Advanced Probiotic Multi-Strain Formula Capsules

The beneficial bacteria in BioKult are freeze dried, a process which protects them from the harsh acidic environment of the stomach so they survive to colonize the intestinal tract. Each capsule contains a minimum of 2 billion probiotic microorganisms. BioKult is gluten free, uses no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.  It may contain traces of soy and milk from the growth medium of the strains. Lactose intolerant people shouldn’t have a problem with these traces of milk. BioKult is non-GMO. (Amazon.com, 2017)
Bio-Kult contains 14 probiotic strains:
  • Bacillus subtilis PXN 21
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum PXN 23
  • Bifidobacterium breve PXN 25
  • Bifidobacterium infantis PXN 27
  • Bifidobacterium longum PXN 30
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus PXN 35
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus PXN 39
  • Lactobacillus casei PXN 37
  • Lactobacillus plantarum PXN 47
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus PXN 54
  • Lactobacillus helveticus PXN 45
  • Lactobacillus salivarius PXN 57
  • Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis PXN 63
  • Streptococcus thermophilus PXN 66
Here’s information on the probiotic strains in Bio-Kult that haven’t already been discussed:
* Bacillus subtilis is ubiquitous in soil, produces an endospore that allows it to survive the stomach’s acidity. It is beneficial to the digestive system in general and is known to improve symptoms of IBS. It suppresses the growth of harmful pathogens, strengthens the gut’s mucosal lining, and enhances the growth of other good probiotic strains. (Jockers, 2014)
B. subtilis‘s other benefits include decreasing triglycerides, LDL levels and total cholesterol; increasing immunity; fighting viruses; improving leaky gut; decreasing inflammation;  decreasing diarrhea and nausea; improving dairy digestion; decreasing tooth decay; managing HIV symptoms; and fighting dyspepsia. (Jerkunica, 2009-2015)
* Lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies bulgaricus is one of the bacterial strains used to turn milk into yogurt  and is also found in other naturally fermented foods.
* Lactobacillus helveticus provides many health benefits – including inhibition of pathogenic bacteria, anti-mutagenic and anti-tumorigenic activity, anti-hypertensive activity, immunomodulatory activity, control of diarrhea, reduction of lactose intolerance, and enhancing recovery from gut atrophy induced by malnutrition. It has also been found to improve bone mineral density and bone mineral content, calcium and bone metabolism, arterial stiffness, and blood pressure. (Swartzburg, 2009)

 

* Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis, a strain of L. lactis,  is used widely in cheese making as a starter culture. It’s added to milk to make a variety of cultured dairy products: sour cream, buttermilk, blue cheese, Colby, Cheddar, and cottage cheese.
L. lactic ssp. lactis protects against strep throat, respiratory and non-respiratory diseases, L. lactis also delivers antigens that stimulate mucosal immunity to non-respiratory pathogens, including HIV, HPV, and the malarial parasite. It’s related to other lactic acid bacteria, such as L. acidophilus in the intestines and S. salivarius in the mouth. (Todar, 2008-2011)
I love this: In 2010, L. lactis was named Wisconsin’s Official State Microbe!
Source: Slideplayer

 

 

Earth’s Pearl Probiotic & Prebiotic

This is another probiotic supplement in pearl form, containing 4 billion cultures. The pearls contain no gluten, lactose, wheat, soy, eggs, shellfish, tree nuts, chemicals, or artificial ingredients.

About the Product
  • Increases the probiotic bacterial profile in the gut microbiome.
  • Pearls versus capsules: The Time Release Patented Technology, BioTract, allows pearls to be smaller than capsules and easier to swallow. The manufacturer says this product is 15X more effective than capsules and delivers 15X more live bacteria into the intestinal tract.
  • Provides relief from gas, bloating, IBS, diarrhea, constipation and other bowel discomforts.
  • Boosts immunity, energy and mood.
  • Improves vitamin absorption, which gives a big boost to your immune system.
  • Protects the body from yeast overgrowth and improves digestion,  contributing to overall well-being and more energy.
  • Earth’s Pearl Probiotics support and improve healthy digestion, improving the bio-availability of nutrients from the healthy foods and supplements you are taking.
This supplement is good for yeast infections, diarrhea, gas, bloating, diverticulitis, colon issues, leaky gut, digestion issues, poor immune system, constipation, IBS, lactose intolerance, allergies, antibiotics.
Probiotic ingredients:
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
Prebiotic ingredient:
  • Fructooligosaccharides
 (Amazon, 2017)

 

 

Probiotic Sticks

This probiotic supplement is for those who can’t or don’t like swallowing capsules. Each stick contains 3 billion active cells (guaranteed to expiration date). You tear the stick open and pour its contents onto your tongue, allow the powder to dissolve, and swallow. You could also mix the powder into water or juice, even stir it into a smoothie.
Each stick contains:
  • Bifidobacterium longum (R0175) 3.18 x 108 CFU
  • Lactobacillus helveticus (R0052) 2.682 x 109 CFU
Probiotic Sticks balance the intestinal microflora and help decrease stress-related GI symptoms – such as bloating, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. They are micro-encapsulated and gastro-protected. The powder is a red plum flavor. (Amazon.com, 2017)
An Amazon customer reported, “It is the best probiotic I have ever used. It really helps with anxiety.”

 

These are only a few of the probiotic supplements on the market. Some research should help you find one that’s high quality and addresses your health issues.

 

TIPS FOR CHOOSING A PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT

When selecting probiotic supplements, you want to make sure you’re getting something that your body can use. Many probiotic supplements on the market may start with billions of CFUs of various bacteria but they’ve died by the time you get them or they perish in the acidic environment of your stomach as they pass through on their way to your intestines (where you need them) and won’t do you any good. Do some research before purchasing. In general, try to get the highest quality supplements you can afford.
Dr David Williams proposes these four criteria for evaluating a probiotic supplement (Williams, 2017):
  • The specific probiotic strains included
  • The product’s packaging and delivery system
  • Product expiration dates
  • Money-back guarantee

I would add to his list:
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten free
  • Free of other common allergens
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Is able to survive stomach acid to reach the intestines

 

 

KEFIR

Kefir is a fermented drink that’s loaded with probiotic bacteria, including many of the ones discussed above that have been found effective for anxiety and depression. It can be made from any type of milk – usually cow, goat or sheep, and also from coconut water, juices, rice, soy – even plain water. It has impressive medicinal benefits for healing leaky gut and can be given to newborns to improve their gut microbiomes. It also contains high levels of Vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium and other essential minerals, Vitamin K2, biotin, folate, and digestive enzymes. The fermentation process breaks down the lactose in milk, rendering kefirs 99% lactose-free, so they’re tolerated well even by those who are lactose intolerant.
Kefir has been consumed for thousands of years for its numerous health benefits.

Lifeway organic plain kefir is an example of a tasty commercial kefir that’s widely available. Its culture contains 15-20 billion Colony Forming Units (CFUs) of live and active kefir cultures per cup. Kefir cultures include these probiotics:
  • Lactobacillus Lactis
  • Lactobacillus  Rhamnosus
  • Streptococcus Diacetylactis
  • Lactobacillus Plantarum
  • Lactobacillus Casei
  • Saccharomyces Florentinus
  • Leuconostoc Cremoris
  • Bifidobacterium Longum
  • Bifidobacterium Breve
  • Lactobacillus Acidophilus
  • Bifidobacterium Lactis
  • Lactobacillus Reuteri
See these resources for more information on the probiotic superfood kefir:

 

 

 

OTHER FERMENTED FOODS

Adding lacto-fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles  to your daily diet will provide a good dose of probiotics. If you’re buying commercial versions of these foods, be aware that ‘pickled’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘fermented. Most pickles and pickled foods are made with vinegar and provide NO probiotic benefits. They’re also usually made with lots of processed salt, which isn’t good for us. Real, lacto-fermented pickles, sauerkraut, etc contain no vinegar. Instead, they are brined with water and salt, and are sold refrigerated because the culture in the jar is alive with probiotics that would be killed if exposed to heat .

 

EXAMPLE OF PICKLES MADE WITH VINEGAR

Ingredients: Pickles (Cucumbers, Salt, Calcium Chloride), Original Curing Brine, Water, Salt, Distilled White Vinegar, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate as a Preservative, Natural Flavoring, Polysorbate 80

 

EXAMPLES OF LACTO-FERMENTED PICKLES AND SAUERKRAUT

Pickles Ingredients: Cucumbers. Artesian Well Water, Garlic, Salt, Dill, Spices

Sauerkraut Ingredients: Cabbage, Artesian Well Water, Salt

You’ll notice that the Heinz Premium Genuine Dills are made with vinegar and require a preservative. They don’t contain probiotics and are sold at room temperature.
Bubbies’ Pure Kosher Dills and Sauerkraut are full of healthy probiotics created by lacto-fermentation, contain no vinegar or chemical preservatives and are sold refrigerated. My only objections to them are that the company apparently uses processed salt in its culture and the ingredients are probably genetically modified.
Source: Pinterest

 

A note on yogurt: The probiotics in most commercial yogurts get killed off by heat during processing. Look for yogurts that are still tangy tasting. You can also make your own.

 

 

Source: preventdisease.com
Functional Medicine doc Kelly Brogan says in “Psychobiotics: Bacteria For Your Brain?” regarding getting your probiotics from food:
“Given how little is known about therapeutic applications of different strains, it may make sense to defer to ancestral practices that confirm the importance of probiotic exposures. In these foods such as lactofermented kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, and other traditional vegetables, microbes are acting on the food, and the food is then acting on our microbes.” (Brogan, 2014)

 

Source: Collective Evolution

 

“In the centuries before we had refrigeration or freezing, foods were often preserved by fermentation.  In eating and drinking those fermented foods, we regularly ingested prebiotics and probiotics that kept our gut flora balanced and happy.
“Live, lactic acid fermentation is the simplest and usually the safest way of preserving food. Before we had refrigeration, canning and chemical preservatives, humans in every culture preserved foods by fermenting them – sauerkraut, tempeh (fermented soybeans), miso (fermented soybean paste), kimchi, dry sausages, pickles, cheeses, yogurt, kefir, sourdough bread starters, beers and wines, among others.
“We pretty much stopped eating those digestion-enhancing foods when we started relying on foods kept ”fresh” by refrigeration and other artificial means – and even worse, started eating heavily processed, essentially fake and genetically altered foods. What we gave up in turning away from fermented foods was ingesting enough of the friendly bacteria our bodies need to maintain good health, the prebiotics and probiotics created by natural fermentation. (Hardin, 2011)
“Natural fermentation develops vast amounts of lactic acid bacteria, friendly bacteria our guts need to maintain good health. Take sauerkraut for example: The numbers of different lactic acid bacteria in live sauerkraut can reach concentrations of 10 (to the 8th) to 10 (to the 9th) per gram. ( Zdenka Samish,  1963)”
 – From my 2013-2014 post Prebiotics and Probiotics

 

 

 

 

TIPS FOR CHOOSING A PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT

When selecting probiotic supplements, you want to make sure you’re getting something that your body can use. Many probiotic supplements on the market may start with billions of CFUs of various bacteria but they’ve died by the time you get them or they perish in the acidic environment of your stomach as they pass through on their way to your intestines (where you need them) and won’t do you any good. Do some research before purchasing. In general, try to find the best supplements you can afford.
Dr David Williams proposes these four criteria for evaluating a probiotic supplement (Williams, 2017):
  • The specific probiotic strains included
  • The product’s packaging and delivery system
  • Product expiration dates
  • Money-back guarantee

I would add to his list:
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten free
  • Free of other common allergens
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Is able to survive stomach acid to reach the intestines

 

 

 

RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PSYCHOBIOTICS

The 2016 University Health News article, The Best Probiotics for Mood: Enhancing the Gut-Brain Connection with Psychobiotics: What are pychobiotics? They’re mind-altering probiotics that researchers say can boost mood, decrease anxiety, and ease depression, among other benefits, in case you want to track back to any of the human or animal studies described above.
10 Best Probiotics for Depression & Anxiety: Gut-Brain Axis Modification is chock full of helpful, detailed information.
Safely Reduce Anxiety and Mood Disorders is an informative article by Stephen Harrington published by  Life Extension Magazine.
Nutrition therapist Jo A. Panyko’s 2016  book  Probiotics: How to use them to your advantage – why you probably don’t have enough probiotics and what you can do about it  is an informative source of information about probiotics in general and what they do for our bodies. She also has a useful website called Powerofprobiotics.
Dr Kelly Brogan and Kristin Loberg’s best selling book A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives makes the case that depression is not a genetic disease caused by chemical imbalances but rather a result of chronic inflammation in the gut microbiome.  Dr Brogan has a website called Kelly Brogan. Own Your Body. Free Your Mind. 
My 2015 post Psychobiotics: Your Gut Bacteria – Your Mood

 

 

DOSAGES

The field of psychopbiotics is fairly new so dosages aren’t entirely clear yet. As the authors of The Best Probiotics for Mood: Enhancing the Gut-Brain Connection with Psychobiotics put it:
“The best psychobiotics and the best dosages for those psychobiotics have yet to be determined, but a number of them used in the studies described above are commercially available in probiotic supplements. Generally, at least 10 billion CFU’s per day are recommended for most probiotics, including psychobiotics, but higher or lower amounts may also be beneficial. Just make sure to give your psychobiotic a try for at least a month before deciding whether it’s working or not.” (University Health News, 2016)
A tip from my own experience: If the dosage instructions on your new probiotic supplement recommend taking more than one/day, it would probably be wise to start with one to see how your body reacts to it, stay on that dose for a while (at least a few days, maybe even a week), then work up to the recommended dose slowly.

 

Souce: Pinterest

 

 

PSYCHOBIOTICS VS PHARMACEUTICALS

While researchers currently can’t recommend doses for these probiotics and haven’t yet tested their long-term effects,  if you’re suffering from chronic anxiety and/or depression and are the sort of person who’s willing to be a pioneer, you might want to try adding them to your daily diet as an experiment and see if they help you.
I’ll point out here that the taking of prescription pharmaceuticals isn’t as scientific and safe as we’ve been led to believe.

 

Source: Quotes

 

 

 

RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PROBIOTICS IN GENERAL

Michelle Schoffro Cook’s book The Probiotic Promise: Simple steps to heal your body from the inside out is a bible of information on how probiotics influence our health. She also has a blog, drmichellecook.com.
Nutrition therapist Jo A. Panyko’s 2016  book  Probiotics: How to use them to your advantage – why you probably don’t have enough probiotics and what you can do about it  is an informative source of information about probiotics in general and what they do for our bodies. She also has a useful website called Powerofprobiotics.
Ed Yong’s 2016 book I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life. It’s a #1 Amazon Best Seller in Microbiology – but don’t let that put you off. It’s a primer for anyone interested in learning more about how we interact with the huge variety of probiotic bacteria and other microbes living in and on us.
My 2013-2014 post Prebiotics and Probiotics.

 

 

A REQUEST

If you’re willing, it would be helpful if you’d share information about your experiences with any of these or other psychobiotic supplements or foods. The field is still in its infancy and we can learn from each other’s experiences – what worked for you and what didn’t.

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Amazon.com. (2017). Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics.  See: https://www.amazon.com/Hyperbiotics-PRO-15-Probiotics-Technology-Supplement/dp/B00JEKYNZA/ref=sr_1_1?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1483825983&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=hyperbiotics+pro-15&psc=1 and  https://www.amazon.com/forum/-/Tx1GH3C15RF68NV/ref=ask_dp_dpmw_al_hza?asin=B00JEKYNZA

Atlay, K. (2016). Psychobiotics: Harnessing gut bacteria to improve your brain. See: http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/life/health/article/2016/10/26/psychobiotics-harnessing-gut-bacteria-improve-your-brain

Axe, J. (2015).  7 Kefir Benefits and Nutrition Facts. See:  https://draxe.com/kefir-benefits/

Brogan, K. (2014). Psychobiotics: Bacteria For Your Brain?. GreenMed Info. See: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/psychobiotics-bacteria-your-brain

Brogan, K. & Loberg, K. (2016). A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives. See: https://www.amazon.com/Mind-Your-Own-Depression-Reclaim/dp/0062405578

Brogan, K. (2017). Kelly Brogan. Own Your Body. Free Your Mind. See: http://kellybroganmd.com

Examine.com. (2011-2017). Lactobacillus reuteri. See: https://examine.com/supplements/lactobacillus-reuteri/

Group, E. (2015A). Bifidobacterium bifidum: A Healthy Probiotic Strain. Global Healing Center. See: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/bifidobacterium-bifidum-the-health-benefits-of-probiotics/

Group, E. (2015B). Bifidobacterium infantis: A Healthy Probiotic Strain. Global Healing Center. See: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/bifidobacterium-infantis-the-health-benefits-of-probiotics/

Group, E. (2015C). Bifidobacterium breve: A Healthy Probiotic Strain. Global Healing Center. See: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/bifidobacterium-breve-the-health-benefits-of-probiotics/

Group, E. (2015D). Lactobacillus gasseri: A Healthy Probiotic Strain. Global Healing Center. See: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/lactobacillus-gasseri-the-health-benefits-of-probiotics/

Group, E. (2015E). Lactobacillus paracasei: A Healthy Probiotic Strain. Global Healing Center. See: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/lactobacillus-paracasei-the-health-benefits-of-probiotics/

Group, E. (2015F). Lactobacillus salivarius: A Healthy Probiotic Strain. Global Healing Center. See: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/lactobacillus-salivarius-the-health-benefits-of-probiotics/

Hardin, J.R. (2013). Kefir. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/kefir/

Hardin, J.R. (2013-2014). Prebiotics and Probiotics. AllergiesandYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/superimmunity/prebiotics-and-probiotics/

Hardin, J.R. (2015). Psychobiotics: Your Gut Bacteria – Your Mood. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/07/04/psychobiotics-your-gut-bacteria-your-mood/

Harrington, S. (2016). Safely reduce anxiety and mood disorders. Life Extension Magazine. See: http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2016/3/safely-reduce-anxiety-and-mood-disorders/page-01

Jockers, D. (2014). Bacillus subtilis and the nutritional benefits of dirt. Natural News. See: http://www.naturalnews.com/046826_bacillus_subtilis_good_bacteria_dirt.html

Jerkunica, E. (2009-2015). Lactobacillus Bulgaricus Probiotic Information. Probiotics.org. See: http://probiotics.org/lactobacillus-bulgaricus/

Life Extension. (2017). You should know how far we carry our commitment to Quality, Purity & Efficacy. See: http://www.lifeextension.com/Vitamins-Supplements/Health-Nutrition-Awards/Good-Manufacturing-Practice

Mental Health Daily. (2016). 10 Best Probiotics for Depression & Anxiety: Gut-Brain Axis Modification. See: http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2016/03/01/10-best-probiotics-for-depression-anxiety-gut-brain-axis-modification/

Panyko, J.A. (2016). Probiotics: How to use them to your advantage – why you probably don’t have enough probiotics and what you can do about it. See: https://smile.amazon.com/Probiotics-Advantage-Probably-Enough-about/dp/1478767928/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483397650&sr=8-1&keywords=probiotics+panyko

Panyko, J.A. (2016). PowerOfProbiotics.com: How to Be Healthy With Probiotics, From a Nutritionist. See: http://www.powerofprobiotics.com

Sarkar, A. et al. (2016). Psychobiotics and the Manipulation of Bacteria–Gut–Brain Signals. Trends in Neurosciences, 39:11, 763-781. See: http://www.cell.com/trends/neurosciences/fulltext/S0166-2236(16)30113-8

Schoffro Cook, M. (2015). The Probiotic Promise: Simple steps to heal your body from the inside out. See: https://www.amazon.com/Probiotic-Promise-Simple-Steps-Inside/dp/0738217956/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1483402934&sr=8-2&keywords=schoffro+cook

Schoffro Cook, M. (2016). drmichellecook.com. See:  http://www.drmichellecook.com

Swartzburg, R. (2009). Lactobacillus Helveticus. Probiotics.org. See: http://www.probiotic.org/lactobacillus-helveticus.htm

Schwenk, D. (2015). Cultured Food for Health: A Guide to Healing Yourself with Probiotic Foods Kefir * Kombucha * Cultured Vegetables. See: https://www.amazon.com/Cultured-Food-Health-Probiotic-Vegetables/dp/1401947832/ref=pd_sbs_14_t_0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=AX2C1JTDA62EGTMQT2QJ

Schwenk, D. (2017). CulturedFoodLife.com. See: https://www.culturedfoodlife.com

Todar, K.  (2008-2011). Lactococcus lactis nominated as the Wisconsin State Microbe. Todar’s Online Textbook of Bacteriology. See: http://textbookofbacteriology.net/featured_microbe.html

University Health News. (2016). The Best Probiotics for Mood: Enhancing the Gut-Brain Connection with Psychobiotics: What are pychobiotics? They’re mind-altering probiotics that researchers say can boost mood, decrease anxiety, and ease depression, among other benefits. See: http://universityhealthnews.com/daily/depression/the-best-probiotics-for-mood-enhancing-the-gut-brain-connection-with-psychobiotics/

Williams, D. (2017). How to Choose the Best Probiotic Supplement. See: http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/how-to-choose-the-best-probiotic-supplement/

Yong, E. (2016). I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life. See: https://www.amazon.com/Contain-Multitudes-Microbes-Within-Grander/dp/0062368591/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483909736&sr=8-1&keywords=i+contain+multitudes

 

 

© Copyright 2017. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Probiotics for Spring (and Other) Allergies

Updated on 4/4/2016. Last updated on 4/15/2016.

 

(Source: blog.thewellnessuniverse.com)
(Source: blog.thewellnessuniverse.com)
A recent article called The Surprising Way to Beat Spring Allergies by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, ROHP, one of my favorite writers on probiotics and the gut microbiome, caught my eye and I want to share its information with those of you who suffer from allergies, seasonal or otherwise.
Her article starts out this way:

“Before you grab that decongestant to subdue your sinus congestion or antihistamine to stop the sneezing linked to spring allergies, you might want to give your gut some attention. More and more research shows that probiotics can reduce allergy symptoms and may even prevent allergic conditions altogether if they are started early in life. But not just any probiotic will do; with thousands of probiotic strains available, it’s important to choose the ones that have an anti-allergy effect. The right probiotic strains can heal the intestinal walls and reduce low-grade inflammation in the gut, but also prevent or reduce allergies.” (Cook, 3/17/2016)

 

(Source: www.internetbillboards.net)
(Source: www.internetbillboards.net)

 

The most common symptoms of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis are inflammation in the nose, sinuses and eyes. You inhale some pollen or other allergen and your nose and sinuses become congested or blocked. Maybe your eyes itch, burn, tear up or become red. Maybe your eyes become hypersensitive to light. Your nose may itch and discharge watery mucus. Your ear canals may get irritated. You sneeze a lot, feel physically depressed and generally miserable.

 

 

1192bc66146b1640928751a11eaaec94

 

 

ALLERGIES & ME

In my case, decades of year round chronic allergies resulted in the growth of nasal polyps in my sinuses that dropped down into my nose every time I inhaled, causing me to have to breathe only through my mouth. I was exhausted all the time, had frequent sinus infections, a tenderness in the bridge of my nose that made wearing glasses painful, and such swollen nasal and sinus tissue that I could never blow my noise. And I had to wear tinted glasses even indoors to deal with light sensitivity.
The chronic inflammation and difficulty breathing made me physically depressed and, as a result, I also believed I was emotionally depressed. Basically, I was and felt like an inflamed mess – and the number of things I was allergic to kept growing: cat dander, dust, cigarette smoke, foods, scents.
I went to allergy doctors who prescribed decongestants (they made my heart race) and antihistamines (most of them severally sapped the little energy I had). I remember lying on our living room couch once after taking a prescription pill containing both a decongestant and antihistamine, my sinuses so dried up I could hardly breathe and my heart beating so rapidly I thought I was going to die, unable to lift my head or get up to call for help … long before cell phones.
I told my ENT doc, after the second surgery to remove nasal polyps (the chronic inflammation caused them to grow back), that I was going to find a non-pharmaceutical/ non-surgical way to fix both my allergies and sinuses. He was a good guy and asked me to please let him know when I’d found the information I was seeking.

 

(Source: www.dailymail.co.uk)
(Source: www.dailymail.co.uk)

 

Thankfully, I’ve been tenacious over several decades in seeking that information and choosing helpful health care providers to work with, never grew another nasal polyp, and am no longer done in by upper respiratory allergies.
This website, Allergies And your Gut, is a by product of that determined quest to feel well.

 

 

 

 

BACK TO MICHELLE SCHOFFRO COOK’S ARTICLE

“The ideal time to be introduced to beneficial allergy-preventing strains of bacteria is actually before birth. Research in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology shows that when a pregnant woman consumes probiotic-rich milk or yogurt during pregnancy, an infant or child is less likely to suffer from allergic conditions such as eczema or rhinoconjunctivitis.” (Cook, 3/17/2016)

Of course, we’re not able to go back and make sure we got sufficient beneficial microbes during our fetal development but we can provide ourselves now with pertinent probiotics  to prevent or reverse our allergy symptoms and conditions.
The milk and yogurt products used in this study  contained three types of probiotic bacteria:
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
Cook reports on work done by scientists at the Osaka University School of Medicine that found ingestion of another probiotic,  Lactobacillus casei (L. casei), delayed the occurrence of allergy symptoms and reduced allergic nasal and sinus congestion. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study results were published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology.

 

 

BREWER’S YEAST (DRIED, FERMENTED SACCHAROMYCES CEREVISIAE)

And finally, Cook cites 2009 research results from a 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial published in the medical journal Advanced Therapeutics demonstrating the benefits of consuming a dried, fermented probiotic yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Study participants consisted of 96 healthy people with a recent, clinically documented history of seasonal allergies. The researchers  were testing the efficacy of 500 mg of a fermented, dried Saccharomyces cerevisiae product during the highest recorded concentrations of total pollen counts for the Midwest area where the study was conducted and found it reduced allergy symptoms, especially nasal congestion. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is also known as ‘brewer’s yeast’.

 

Dried, fermented Saccharomyces cerevisiae (brewer’s yeast)
yeast-flakes
Dried yeast fermentate helps balance your immune system by:
  • boosting the strength of your skin and mucus membranes
  • stimulating immune cells
  • supporting the production of T-cell and B-cell immune factors
In case you want to read more on dried, fermented Saccharomyces cerevisiae, here’s a useful article about it.  (Day, 2014)
If you’re inclined to want your information from a strictly Western Medicine source, here’s information on Brewer’s Yeast from WebMD. (WebMD, 2016).
 Note added on 4/4/2016:
See Sorting Out Yeast: Nutritional and Brewer’s for a comparison of nutritional yeast vs brewer’s yeast. (Mercola, 4/4/2016)

4/15/2016

Following up on Scott Moshen’s helpful COMMENT below, I found Bragg Nutritional Yeast Seasoning for a reasonable price at my local health food store. It’s also available from Amazon.com. Bragg is also the long time maker of other raw, organic products that many health conscious people swear by, including an Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar  that’s unfiltered and contains the ‘mother’.

 

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PROBIOTICS VS DRUGS FOR ALLERGIES

If you’re like me, you prefer consuming foods and natural substances to taking pharmaceutical drugs whenever possible to prevent inflammatory, autoimmune problems – or to treat them if they have already developed.
The authors of the 2009 Advanced Therapeutics article described above noted:

“Allergic rhinitis (AR) impacts around 25% of the worldwide population. However, cost, safety, and a high dissatisfaction rate with numerous conventional medications continues to be an issue in the largest patient surveys, due primarily to a lack of efficacy on nasal congestion.” (Moyad et al, 2009)

And Cook has this to say on the subject:

“Unlike drug products, antihistamines and decongestants you take when symptoms are severe, the probiotic-based approach works differently. Probiotics are best taken on a daily basis (follow package instructions of the specific product(s) you select) before and during allergy season. Select products that contain the specific probiotic strains mentioned in this article, as others have not been tested for effectiveness against seasonal allergies.” (Cook, 3/17/2016)

For more information on the benefits of consuming fermented foods and how to do it, check out Cook’s article, 25 Ways to Get More Fermented Foods in Your Diet. (Cook, 3/10/2016)

 

(Source: www.amazon.com)
(Source: www.amazon.com)
I also recommend Dr Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook‘s book The Probiotic Promise: Simple Steps to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out to you. Here’s a list of its chapters:
  • Chapter 1: The Health Secret We’ve All Been Waiting For
  • Chapter 2: The Surprising Worlds Within Your Body
  • Chapter 3: From the Common Cold to Superbugs: Probiotics to the Rescue
  • Chapter 4: New Hope for Serious Illnesses
  • Chapter 5: How to Select Probiotic Supplements
  • Chapter 6: Fall in Love with Fermented Foods
  • Chapter 7: Easy, Delicious, Probiotic-Rich Recipes
(Source: nerdygirlnutrition.com)
(Source: nerdygirlnutrition.com)

 

 

 

 

MICRO-ORGANISMS FOR PEOPLE AND PLANTS

 

 

VB montgomery bikle

 

I want to add to all the above what Professor of Geomorphology David R. Montgomery and Biologist and Environmental Planner Anne Biklé have to say about why allergies have become so prevalent. They are husband and wife – and the authors of an engaging and timely new book called The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health.
Their book began with a desire to create a garden in the yard of their house in Seattle. They soon discovered the soil had become barren, depleted of nutrients, dead – so they started feeding it a steady diet of organic matter (coffee grounds, wood chips, leaves, home-brewed compost – lots and lots of it). Soon the soil  was teeming with microbial life and supporting a lush garden supplying them with nutrient-rich organic plants.
As scientists, they were fascinated by this experiment. Then Anne was diagnosed with cancer and they turned their attention to the question of what supports health in the body. They began to move away from the view of microbes as mostly pathogenic and toward understanding that the vast arrays of invisible micro-organisms (pounds of them) that live in and on us are actually what maintain our health – or make us ill if they’re not well nurtured.
They’d seen this interaction at work in the relationship between the soil in their miraculous garden and the plants that grew in it. Now they were able to start understanding that the same relationship exists between the health of the micro-organisms in the various human microbiomes and the health of the host’s body.
Here’s part of what they have to say about gut micro-organisms and allergies:

“Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, neither of us can recall classmates or friends with severe enough allergies and asthma that it required hypervigilant parents and teachers to help them avoid near-death experiences. We also don’t recall today’s prevalence of common gut dysfunctions like Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

“In the past fifty years researchers have seen not just an uptick in the incidence of gut dysfunctions, but a fortyfold increase…. While our genes may make us more or less susceptible to such ailments, changes in our gut microbiome are increasingly implicated as well.

“Gut dysfunctions and autoimmune diseases like asthma and allergies are turning out to be, at least in part, consequences of an immune system gone alarmingly awry. The hallmark symptom of all these diseases is an over-the-top immune response that damages our own cells and tissues.

“How does our own immune system turn against us? Increasingly, it seems that a major contributing factor is a severe case of atrophy for our efficient and evolutionarily honed immune system. Without a challenging workout and the help of beneficial microbes, our specialized immune cells and tissue grow lazy, or one might say, hazy. It is the day in, day out saturation of the inside and outside of our bodies with microbes that tones and sharpens the various feedback loops that drive our immune system to learn and recognize microbial friends from foes. A too-clean environment, ultrasanitized food and water, repeated doses of antibiotics, and minimal contact with soil and nature all work against us. These factors interfere with communication between microbes and our immune system. And this throws off the balancing act of meting out inflammation that our immune system evolved to do.” (Montgomery & Biklé, 2016, 189-190)

I highly recommend this book to you. Some comments from reviewers:

“I love this book! It’s genial, erudite, and wise. Using their personal story, historical fact, and cutting-edge science, Montgomery and Biklé have given us a great gift – a deep understanding and appreciation of our relationship with the microbial world.”

The Hidden Half of Nature reads like a fast-paced novel but tells the true story of the workings of soils, and even our own bodies.”

“I wish I had learned this in medical school.”

The Hidden Half of Nature draws a straight line from the microbes that live in healthy soil to those that live in healthy guts, skillfully blending the personal and the scientific. This is a must-read for anyone concerned with their own health.”

 

 

(Source: farmviability.wordpress.com)
(Source: farmviability.wordpress.com)

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Bertelsen, R.J. et al. (2014). Probiotic milk consumption in pregnancy and infancy and subsequent childhood allergic diseases. Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, 133:1, 165-71. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24034345

Cook, M.S. (3/10/2016). 25 Easy Ways to Get More Fermented Foods in Your Diet. See: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/25-easy-ways-to-get-more-fermented-foods-in-your-diet.html

Cook, M.S. (3/17/2016). The Surprising Way to Beat Spring Allergies. See: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-surprising-way-to-beat-spring-allergies.html

Cook, M.S. (2015). The Probiotic Promise: Simple Steps to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out. See: http://www.amazon.com/Probiotic-Promise-Simple-Steps-Inside/dp/0738217956/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458929224&sr=1-1&keywords=probiotic+promise

Day, K. (8/17/2014). Nutrient Spotlight—Dried Yeast Fermentate. See: http://www.wholehealthinsider.com/newsletter/nutrient-spotlight-dried-yeast-fermentate/

Mercola, R. (4/4/2016). Sorting Out Yeast: Nutritional and Brewer’s. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/04/04/nutritional-yeast.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art2&utm_campaign=20160404Z1&et_cid=DM102154&et_rid=1427794112

Montgomery, D.R. & Biklé, A. (2016). The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health. See: http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Half-Nature-Microbial-Health/dp/0393244407/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458929335&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Hidden+Half+of+Nature%3A+The+Microbial+Roots+of+Life+and+Health

Moyad, M.A. et al. (2009). Immunogenic yeast-based fermentation product reduces allergic rhinitis-induced nasal congestion: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Advanced Therapeutics, 26:8, 795-804. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19672568

Tamura, M. et al. (2007). Effects of probiotics on allergic rhinitis induced by Japanese cedar pollen: randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, 143:1, 75-82. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17199093

WebMD. (2016). Brewer’s Yeast. See: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-715-brewer’s%20yeast.aspx?activeingredientid=715&activeingredientname=brewer%27s%20yeast

 

 

 

© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Dr Kelly Brogan: When it comes to treating depression & anxiety, we’ve had it all wrong

 

(Source: freshpickeddeals.com)
(Source: freshpickeddeals.com)
The following is a guest post written by Kelly Brogan, MD, a New York City based holistic women’s health psychiatrist and author of A Mind of Your Own: How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives for ParsleyHealth.com:

 

 

7 facts about Depression that will Blow You Away

March 16, 2016

ParsleyHealth.com

By Kelly Brogan MD

“A silent tragedy in the history of modern health care is happening right now in America, but no one is talking about it. We have been told a story of depression: that it is caused by a chemical imbalance and cured by a chemical fix—a prescription. More than 30 million of us take antidepressants, including one in seven women . Millions more are tempted to try them to end chronic, unyielding distress, irritability, and emotional “offness”—trapped by an exhausting inner agitation they can’t shake.

The human body interacts in its environment with deep intelligence. Your body creates symptoms for a reason.

“It is time, even according to leaders in the field, to let go of this false narrative and take a fresh look at where science is leading us. The human body interacts in its environment with deep intelligence. Your body creates symptoms for a reason. Depression is a meaningful symptom of a mismatch, biologically, with lifestyle—we eat a poor diet, harbor too much stress, lack sufficient physical movement, deprive ourselves of natural sunlight, expose ourselves to environmental toxicants, and take too many drugs. Inflammation is the language that the body speaks, expressing imbalance, inviting change. We usually suppress these symptoms with medication but that is like turning off the smoke alarm when you have a fire going on.

 

LET’S GET THE FACTS STRAIGHT:

 

“1. Depression is often an inflammatory condition

a manifestation of irregularities in the body that often start far away from the brain and are not associated with so-called “chemical imbalances.” The medical literature has emphasized the role of inflammation in mental illness (1) for more than twenty years (unfortunately, it takes an average of 17 years (2) for the data that exposes inefficacy and/or a signal of harm, to trickle down into your doctor’s daily routine; a time lag problem that makes medicine’s standard of care “evidence-based” only in theory and not practice). Not a single study has proven that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.(3).

That is about as misguided as putting a bandage over a nail stuck in your foot and taking aspirin. It’s absolutely missing an opportunity to “remove the splinter” and resolve the problem from the source.

 

“2. Antidepressants have the potential to irreversibly disable the body’s natural healing mechanisms.

Despite what you’ve been led to believe, antidepressants have repeatedly been shown in long-term scientific studies to worsen the course of mental illness—to say nothing of the risks of liver damage, bleeding, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and reduced cognitive function they entail. The dirtiest little secret of all is the fact that antidepressants are among the most difficult drugs to taper from, more so than alcohol and opiates.

 

“3. The effect is not a cure.

Even if we accepted the proposition that these drugs are helpful for some people (82% of which is due to the placebo effect according to Dr. Irving Kirsch), extrapolating a medical cause from this observation would be akin to saying that shyness is caused by a deficiency of alcohol, or that headaches are caused by a lack of codeine. And what about a genetic vulnerability? Is there such thing as a depression gene? In 2003, a study published in Science (4) suggested that those with genetic variation in their serotonin transporter were three times more likely to be depressed. But six years later this idea was wiped out by a meta-analysis of 14,000 patients published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (5) that denied such an association.

 

“4. Most prescriptions for antidepressants are doled out by family doctors—not psychiatrists,

with seven percent of all visits to a primary care doctor ending with an antidepressant (6) prescription. What’s more, when the Department of Mental Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health did its own examination into the prevalence of mental disorders, it found that most people who take antidepressants never meet the medical criteria for a bona fide diagnosis of major depression, and many who are given antidepressants for things like OCD, panic disorder, social phobia, and anxiety also don’t qualify as actually having these conditions.

 

“5. The Great Pretenders.

Many different physical conditions create psychiatric symptoms but aren’t themselves “psychiatric.” Two prime examples: (8). We think that we need to “cure” the brain, but in reality

WE NEED TO LOOK AT THE WHOLE BODY’S ECOSYSTEM: INTESTINAL HEALTH, HORMONAL INTERACTIONS, THE IMMUNE SYSTEM AND AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS, BLOOD SUGAR BALANCE, AND TOXICANT EXPOSURE

 

“6. Basic lifestyle interventions can facilitate the body’s powerful self-healing mechanisms to end depression:

dietary modifications (more healthy fats and less sugar, dairy, and gluten); natural supplements like B vitamins and probiotics that don’t require a prescription and can even be delivered through certain foods; minimizing exposures to biology-disrupting toxicants like fluoride in tap water, chemicals in common drugs like Tylenol and statins, and fragrances in cosmetics; harnessing the power of sufficient sleep and physical movement; and behavioral techniques aimed at promoting the relaxation response.

 

“7. Depression is an opportunity.

It is a sign for us to stop and figure out what’s causing our imbalance rather than just masking, suppressing, or rerouting the symptoms. It’s a chance to choose a new story, to engage in radical transformation, to say yes to a different life experience.

“Join the revolution. Find out more in A Mind of Your Own: How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives.

“Kelly Brogan completed her psychiatric training and fellowship at NYU Medical Center af