62 million Americans suffer from gastrointestinal disorders/disease.  Before nutritional therapy, you must heal your digestive tract first!  Seventy percent of your immune system is in your GI tract.  When your gut microflora is altered, abnormal symptoms and health problems will result.

Your stomach, pancreas, gallbladder, small or large intestines may be causing your GI discomfort.  Leaky gut and food allergies are common causes of intestinal permeability, leading to your chronic symptoms.  Intestinal permeability, leaky gut, is when the gate keepers no longer allow nutrients only to enter your blood stream, but also, partially digested particles of food, toxins, and harmful microbes.  When your small intestinal wall becomes damaged, you can no longer absorb all of the nutrients your body needs and these harmful materials that passed through the no longer “tight” junctions, enter your blood stream, triggering an inflammatory alarm system, because they are not supposed to be there.

 If your gut is not absorbing nutrients properly, it cannot properly utilize probiotics or any vitamins you may be taking.  The immune system will respond to harmless substances (pollen, body tissues, food substances).

An effective probiotic offers billions of live cultures, that won’t be damaged by heat, moisture, oxygen or stomach acid, before entering your intestines.  Having a good balance of good and bad bacteria in your body is essential to good health.  When these good and bad bacteria become imbalanced it is called, dysbiosis.  Dysbiosis also leads to a depletion of essential nutrients like, Vitamin K, B vitamins, butyric acid and estrogen.  Dysbiosis leads to GI disorders, autoimmune conditions, allergies, asthma, behavioral problems, cognitive and neurological disorders, diabetes and heart disease.  Chronic stress, antibiotics, high sugar/low fiber diets, alcohol use, heavy metal exposure, and more can lead to dysbiosis.  There are four different types of dysbiosis: putrefactive, fermentative, sensitized and deficiency.  Candida overgrowth is the most common form of dysbiosis, and one which you may have heard of before. Why is candida overgrowth so common?  Yeast overgrows and creates a large amount of toxins, which then break down the intestinal lining, allowing toxins to leak into the bloodstream, aka, leaky gut.

To heal your gut you must, remove the offending toxins, replace specific digestive enzymes, reintroduce pre and probiotics, and repair your intestinal wall with extra support.  These 4 R’s are different for every person, depending on what is causing your leaky gut and GI symptoms.

When choosing a probiotic, it is necessary to get the correct strain.  The properties of each probiotic are species and strain specific.  Strains of different probiotics include: Lactobacillus: more in small intestine Bifidobacteria: more in large intestine.Produce acidophilin (natural antibiotic). Prevents Candida overgrowth. Protects body from endo/exotoxins.

  • For overall GI health and irritable bowel syndrome, L. acidophilus NCFM and B. lactis BI-07 are suggested.
  • For overall inflammation and irritable bowel disorder, L. plantarus 299v is recommended.
  • After a course of antibiotic therapy, S.boulardii, B. lactucs HN019 and L. rhamnosus HN0001 are recommended.

These are examples of why just picking up a generic probiotic off of the shelf may not do you any good.  For example, if you have known or unknown reactions to dairy, getting probiotics from yogurt, may not be ideal for you.  15-20 billion CFU/day is recommended for patients with increased inflammation, IBS and GI distress.  Yogurt only offers specific strains in the 100-200 million CFU’s/carton.  Yogurt may also contain added sugars, aspartame, food dyes, high fructose corn syrup, contributing to your symptoms.

It is recommend that you consult with a health care professional to determine what exactly is causing your GI symptoms, autoimmune condition.  These symptoms may be caused by several different variables, which are different for every person.  Once the cause of your symptoms is determined, the proper vitamins, supplements and pre and probiotics can be prescribed.  If you don’t heal your gut first, taking pre/probiotics will be ineffective.