A “leaky gut” can im­pact health in more ways than one—how pro­bi­otics can come to the res­cue

Amazing Wellness - - CONTENTS - By Vera Tweed

Pro­bi­otics Up­date Re­searchers are dis­cov­er­ing new rea­sons to take pro­bi­otics—from im­prov­ing re­s­pi­ra­tory health to heal­ing a leaky gut.

The gut mi­cro­biome—the bac­te­rial com­mu­nity in our di­ges­tive tracts—con­tin­ues to be a hot topic as sci­en­tists

fi nd more ways in which it in­flu­ences hu­man health. Th is colony of gut bac­te­ria plays a key role in ev­ery­thing from di­ges­tion, to the health of our skin, to re­sis­tance to colds, fl u, and al­ler­gies, to the abil­ity to main­tain a healthy weight. And now, a new con­nec­tion has been iden­ti­fied: to se­ri­ous lung dis­eases.

In acute re­s­pi­ra­tory dis­tress syn­drome (se­verely in­flamed,

fl uid- fi lled lungs of crit­i­cally ill pa­tients), a study at the Univer­sity of Michi­gan in Ann Arbor found er­rant gut mi­crobes in the lungs. “We sus­pect that the gut wall gets leaky, and gut bac­te­ria ‘es­cape’ to the lungs,” says re­searcher Robert Dick­son, MD. Th e mis­placed gut bugs con­trib­ute to the dis­ease, and this dis­cov­ery may lead to new treat­ments for the con­di­tion, a lead­ing killer of pa­tients in in­ten­sive care units for which there is no ef­fec­tive med­i­cal treat­ment. Other lung dis­eases that may be in­flu­enced by the gut mi­cro­biome in­clude chronic ob­struc­tive pul­monary dis­ease (COPD), cys­tic fi bro­sis, pneu­mo­nia, and even lung cancer.


Also re­ferred to as per­me­abil­ity of the gas­troin­testi­nal tract, leaky gut means that toxic par­ti­cles, which can be detox­i­fied if they re­main in the di­ges­tive tract, es­cape into the blood and cir­cu­late. Th e leak­i­ness trig­gers sys­temic in­flam­ma­tion and con­trib­utes to a va­ri­ety of ills in­clud­ing weight gain, in­flam­ma­tory bowel dis­ease, prob­lems with im­mune func­tion, type 2 di­a­betes, heart dis­ease, men­tal de­cline, and even Alzheimer’s or other de­men­tia. Pro­bi­otics can help re­verse the con­di­tion.

At the Univer­sity of North Texas, Den­ton, the fi rst hu­man study of its kind mea­sured lev­els of “en­do­tox­ins,” sub­stances that are a marker of leaky gut, in a group of 28 healthy men and women. Th ose in the study were es­pe­cially vul­ner­a­ble to el­e­vated lev­els of en­do­tox­ins af­ter eat­ing a high-fat meal such as thin-crust pizza. Af­ter 30 days of sup­ple­men­ta­tion with a pro­bi­otic com­bi­na­tion (Just Th rive Pro­bi­otic & An­tiox­i­dant), lev­els of en­do­tox­ins af­ter a high-fat meal were 42 per­cent lower, in­di­cat­ing lower odds of a leaky gut and the re­lated ills. In con­trast, among peo­ple tak­ing a dummy pill, en­do­toxin lev­els were 36 per­cent higher.


Th e pro­bi­otic sup­ple­ment tested at the Univer­sity of North Texas con­tained a com­bi­na­tion of “spore”

pro­bi­otics. Spores are a dor­mant form of bac­te­ria with their own, nat­u­ral pro­tec­tive coat­ing, which pre­vents them from be­ing de­stroyed by stom­ach acid and en­ables them to travel to the in­testines, where the bac­te­ria can emerge, much like a but­ter­fly from a co­coon.

About one-third of the bac­te­ria in a healthy hu­man gut pro­duce spores, ac­cord­ing to the Sanger In­sti­tute, a non­profit re­search organization in the United King­dom. In na­ture, spore-form­ing bac­te­ria are mainly found in soil. For bac­te­ria that don’t pro­duce spores, some pro­bi­otic sup­ple­ment pills have a pro­tec­tive coat­ing to pre­vent stom­ach acid from de­stroy­ing ben­e­fi­cial mi­crobes.

Th e names of spore pro­bi­otics be­gin with “Bacil­lus.” Names of pop­u­lar pro­bi­otics that be­gin with “Lac­to­bacil­lus” or “Bi­fi­dobac­terium” are not spores.


Stud­ies have found ben­e­fits with all types of pro­bi­otics. For weight loss, a re­view of 25 stud­ies, with more than 1,900 sub­jects, found that sup­ple­ments with mul­ti­ple types of pro­bi­otic bac­te­ria pro­duced the most weight loss, more so if taken for at least 8 weeks. Other ben­e­fits in­clude preven­tion or re­lief from: Diar­rhea An­tibi­otic side ef­fects Colds and fl u Hay fever Eczema Ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome Ul­cers Di­ges­tive side ef­fects of cancer ther­apy Con­sti­pa­tion In­di­ges­tion Im­paired men­tal func­tion in peo­ple with Alzheimer’s Tox­i­c­ity from mer­cury, ar­senic, and cad­mium Vag­i­nal in­fec­tions De­pres­sion in peo­ple with ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome Un­healthy blood-sugar lev­els in di­a­bet­ics

Bac­te­ria make up about 2 per­cent of a per­son’s body weight. did you 'now...

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