The Importance of Probiotics

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

In the past I have blogged all about why I think probiotics are so essential for optimal health (here and here). Due to this strong belief in there effectiveness I eat a 16oz Greek yogurt everyday. I toss in some blueberries, chia seeds, and some mixed nuts for a delicious and satisfying meal.

Keeping the GI tract healthy is of utmost importance to overall health. Here are some really important and interesting points about why:

  • The gastrointestinal system comprises 75% of the body’s immune system.
  • There are more neurons in the small intestine than in the entire spinal cord.
  • It is the only system in the body that has its own, independently operating nervous system, called the enteric nervous system.
  • If you stretched out the gastrointestinal system in its entirety, it would have the surface area of a regulation sized singles tennis court.
  • There are over 400 species of microbes living in your gut, totaling over 15 pounds of mass and containing more bacteria than there are known stars in the sky.

The last point relates a lot to the importance of probiotics and their impact on your health. The fact that there is more bacteria in your GI tract than there are known stars in the sky is insane. So lets ensure that it is beneficial bacteria making up that population. You can do that by eliminating processed foods, eating a lot of fruits and veggies and by consuming cultured foods like yogurt and supplementing with probiotics.

A brand I really like is Integrative Therapeutics Probiotic Pearls. I have found that just consuming one of these every day has greatly improved my digestion and the digestion of my clients.

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Posted on September 9th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

15 Comments

  1. Jack Says:

    Brian,

    I eat Greek yogurt on an almost daily basis, and I also consume 1-2 servings of raw sauerkraut per day (I ferment my own). Even with that, do you think that adding a probiotic supplement would be a good “insurance” policy?

  2. Craig Says:

    So if one started taking Probiotics, when could they stop? Would your guy health go back up to normal and you could just resume life without the probiotics?

  3. Bartt C Says:

    Probiotics are temp sensitive to heat therefore the consumer must decide if a genetically manufactured product such as this is better for them or the natural byproduct of eating healthy yogurt.

  4. andy Says:

    I believe there has been some research showing that the bacteria do not live through the stomach acid, which is why it’s a good idea to include the enteric coated probiotics. However even if the bacteria found in the yogurt do not live to repopulate the intestinal track the various chemical by-products they produce are hugely beneficial.

  5. Barry Says:

    Can you please cite the scientific studies that justify your assertion that eating processed foods has a negative impact on the bacteria in one’s GI tract, OR that eliminating so-called processed food will improve the amount and/or functioning of good bacteria in the GI tract?

    Throwing out claims like that without so much as a single reference to a credible study makes my BS meter go off.

  6. Barry Says:

    Also if you could formally define “processed food” that would be much appreciated. I think this is another one of those phrases that get thrown around without a clear and concise definition of what it is being talked about.

  7. Brian St. Pierre Says:

    Jack,

    It might be. If you don’t have great bowel movements, it might be something to consider. With all of the fermented food you eat, maybe 1 every other day would help, and not lighten the wallet too much.

  8. Brian St. Pierre Says:

    Craig,

    I would say it is more of a daily thing, like fish oil. You excrete GI bacteria with every bowel movement, and you are always replacing them, so replacing them with good bacteria is a constant battle.

  9. Brian St. Pierre Says:

    Bartt,

    Well since there is real scientific evidence supporting the use of probiotics in restoring gut flora, I fail to see how this is a poor choice. Its like saying that you shouldn’t consume fish oil, only fish, because of the manufacturing process, when there is actual documented evidence supporting intake of the oil. Not too mention possible risks associated with consuming too much dairy.

  10. Brian St. Pierre Says:

    Barry,

    This is a blog, not an article, so unfortunately I am not specifically citing research.

    It is known that consuming large amounts of refined carbs and sugars may cause inflammation and a more acidic environment, helping to eliminate bacteria and possibly lead to problems like leaky gut syndrome. Which can to a whole host of problems. Granted there is still a lot unknown about the situation, but many health care practitioners have had great success in treating the problem by greatly decreasing those foods (along with others).

  11. Stuff You Should Read : The Home of BSP Training & Nutrition Says:

    [...] – by Precision Nutrition. This article is all about one of the few supplements that I recommend, probiotics. Helen Kollias goes over some relevant research showing the effectiveness and benefits of these [...]

  12. perel Says:

    I have recently started a website, the information you provide on this site has helped me greatly. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  13. Gut Check – How Is Your Digestive System? « Body By Mitch Says:

    [...] St. Pierre, Brian, (CISSN). The Importance of Probiotics.  (2009) Webpage: http://brianstpierretraining.com/index.php/the-importance-of-probiotics/ [...]

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