Vitamin Junkeys

What are Probiotics Ep 54


TAKE OUR SURVEY!  We want to get to know you better!  Please take our survey and if you supply your email address (and your from North America) you will be entered into a draw to win a $125 prize pack from Hey Jute.  (note this link will take you to Survey Monkey)

What are probitoics
Vitamin Junkeys Episode #54 (running time 8:25)
Date: February 8, 2010
Podsafe Music: Ice Cream by Christopher Dale Courtesy of MeVIO Music Alley
Show hosts: Jennifer Lyall & Dr. Jean Jacques (Dr. JJ) Dugoua, ND HBSc PhD (Cand.)


This episode examines:

What are Probiotics?

Why are probiotics important?

Why is it important to have a balanced intestinal flora?

How can I choose a good probiotic?

Is it possible to be deficient in probiotics?

Are there foods where probiotics occur naturally?

Today, we’re going to be talking about what probiotics and the different forms of probiotics.  


Probiotics are great. Probiotics are live bacteria or probiotic yeasts that impart a health benefit to the host.  Dr. JJ is taking a blend of different strains of probiotics: a Lactobacillus species, a Bifidobacterium species.

Probiotics can come in a capsule, a liquid and they can occur naturally in some foods.

What do probiotics do?

Probiotics are good bacteria they do a number of things.  Anything that says Lactobacillus will secrete lactic acid.  And when it secretes lactic acid, it’s able to kill of pathogenic microorganisms.   They can help women who are prone to vaginal yeast infections. 

A lot of the probiotics will also secrete things called bacteriocins which are like the equivalent of antibiotics.  They are bacterium secreting an antiobiotic to kill a “bad guy,” one of those bad bacteria out there.  Probiotics help with your immune system.  They decrease allergies.  They decrease your risk of colon cancer.  They improve your nutrient absorption.  You’re able to get more nutrients out of your food.  They prevent infection.  They prevent traveler’s diarrhea.  There are so many good treatments for probiotics so it’s quite impressive.  They also help with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s, these are inflammatory bowel conditions.


And is it true that if you take an antibiotic, that you should then a short while after it take a probiotic?

That’s true. Most patients who are taking an antibiotic, I’ll usually have them wait six hours and then they could take a probiotic.  But once you’re done your course of antibiotic -- you should always go through the full course that your doctor prescribes -- then you should definitely take a higher dose of probiotic.  This is because an antibiotic will kill everything.  It kills the good guys and the bad guys,  so you want to replenish with the good guys, which is a probiotic.

How do you pick a good probiotic? 

Some tips for picking a good probiotic, include choosing a blend of probiotics.  So you want to look for LactobacillusBifidobacterium.  In some cases, you may want to take the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces.  But really in this case, you should really have someone referring you before you take that one.  And usually you want to blend because depending on the nature of the probiotics, some probiotics have an affinity for the stomach.  Some have an affinity for the smaller intestines so basically the upper and small GI.  Some have an affinity for the colon.  So you kind of want a broad range of probiotics that’ll hit the whole aspect of the digestive tract.

Ideally, you want a human strain.  You want a strain that’s been cultivated in humans whereas some of the probiotic strains are bovine so they are cow-based.  So if you are sensitive to dairy then, you know, you wouldn’t want a probiotic that’s been cultivated from cows or some are cultivated from sheep.  So I point people towards human strains.


What does that mean cultivated in human?

It means it’s grown.  All bacteria -- if you’re taking a probiotic it’s grown.  So a human strain would mean it’s a healthy strain sampled from a human and they have just grown it.  They grow colonies of it.

Is it possible to be deficient in probiotics?

It’s not necessarily being deficient it’d be more of an imbalance which is evident in the symptoms.  So for example chronic yeast infection in women, diarrhea, irritable bowel, digestive issues, allergies, in those cases, you’re usually deficient in probiotics.

What foods do probiotics naturally occur in?

Sauerkraut, yogurt we talked about, so fermented foods.    These are good for just daily maintenance.  But if you’ve taken an antibiotic or you have allergies or diarrhea and so on, you’re not going to get enough from these foods to really help treat it.  You really need a capsule or one of those super yogurts to help.


In any case so it sounds like you should check in with a healthcare practitioner just to find out if it’s something that you should be adding or would everyone benefit from taking probiotics?

Most people should be taking it.  It’s very well tolerated, very rarely do people have side effects with probiotics.  Whenever there’s been a bad effect with probiotics it’s been usually with people that have had indwelling catheters or surgical procedures where an infection got in when there really shouldn’t have been an entry into the body.  But for the most part it’s very well tolerated.

When you start takingprobiotics at the beginning, it’s common to get a little bit of gas and a little bit of bloating because your body’s balance is being readjusted.  So the good guys are killing the bad guys.  That’s usually how I explain it to the patient.  And then usually about a week or so it rebalances and you’re good to go and you should notice a change.  It helps with constipation.  Your bowel should be a lot firmer and you’ll definitely feel a big difference.


Now even babies can take probiotics too, right?

Oh yeah.

Because diaper rashes, that’s a sign of the thrush or Candida?

Yes. Pregnant women could take in and then they could give it to their kids.  Actually when pregnant women take probiotics and then their children take it from birth onwards, it tends to prevent the risk of getting eczema.  


You should always consult with a healthcare practitioner though, especially if you have a serious health condition like cancer.

If you would like to find an alternative healthcare practitioner to help you address a health issue, you can find a naturopath, holistic nutritionist and other practitioners in your community through the Find a Practitioner link on our website

Join the addiction! Click on the Join the addiction button to subscribe to the Vitamin Junkeys weekly free health and wellness video podcast.

Camera: Jerome Marrin,  Jerome Marrin Media Production 
Editor: Jerome Marrin,  Jerome Marrin Media Production
Sound Recordist: Jeffery Magat, Eqtion 


Join the Addiction

About Vitamin Junkeys

Join Jennifer Lyall and Naturopath, Dr. JJ Dugoua as they have fun exploring alternative therapies and healthy living. Weekly episodes are released every Tuesday.

Jennifer Lyall Read Jen's Blog

Find a Practitioner
Toronto Web Design by LinxSmart