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May 15, 2013 12:58 PM

Do you take a probiotic supplement or purposely eat probiotic foods?

I have had some unrest in my GI tract lately. I was concerned that it might be related to my Type 1 Diabetes so I visited a GI Dr. She thought my issues might be minor and recommended I try Florastor and see if it helps reset my GI good health.

I did some reading and I had no idea that these yeast-based probiotics were so widely used for everything from GI issues to help battle the common cold. They also are recommended for folks suffering from stomach viruses (said to reduce symptoms) and for people who travel abroad.

In addition to the dietary supplements, some foods that can help keep your GI balanced are pickles (refrigerated), kimchi, probiotic yogurts, kefir, aged cheeses, sauerkraut, etc. Who knew?!

Do you take and find this supplement helpful? Do you purposely eat some of the above foods (or others) to maintain good gut health? This is new to me and I'm just curious what other's experiences are. Thanks!

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  1. Good topic! There have been many great things written about gut health, inflammation and immunity for decades.

    I always have lacto fermented foods in my fridge and eat them regularly as well as cook and bake with items that promote gut health ( upper and lower GI) with probiotic and prebiotic food. I eat an anti inflammatory diet.

    Also, I don't use all the bacteria and virus killing soaps and sprays in my kitchen either. I don't demand super sanitary conditions at all times by using hand sanitizer ( other than for high risk situations- flu season risk, etc).

    I don't ask my doc for antibiotics or eat foods likely containing remnants of them.

    All these other things effect gut health as well as just "feeding the good bugs in your gut" is important not to kill them off (once you grew them) too! :D

    2 Replies
    1. re: sedimental

      I'm curious - what is in your anti-inflammatory diet? Thanks.

      1. re: skytop

        There is a ton of information on the internet on chronic inflammation and diet. I follow mostly a primal diet, with an emphasis on low carb, limiting all grains, no sugar. But, also really important in inflammation is the use of cooking methods and herbs, spices and supplements. So, it doesn't do any good for inflammation to buy a nice organic chicken breast, dredge it in white flour and fry it in corn oil :)

        Everyone is different with how they tolerate some foods but mostly grains, legumes and dairy. If you have inflammation, it is best to eliminate those things, then add them back in to experiment.

        For example, I found that I tolerate dairy very well, legumes okay in very limited quantity and infrequently, and grains not well at all. Grains make me feel heavy, bloated, set off food cravings, and I get hungry within hours of eating them. I limit soy to mostly fermented soy. Eat clean meats.

        Here is a starter cheat sheet with at least an overview look:

      1. re: sedimental

        sedimental, thanks for the article. Wow! I should have known Michael Pollan would be all over this. I'm working my way through the article, there's a lot to digest (nice pun, right?), but its very interesting and informative.

        So, I suppose my microbiome is out of whack and needs re-populated. ;-)

        1. re: sedimental

          I recently read and love this article (referenced by another Chowhound thread). I am not new to this subject but the article will be a fundamental piece to how I manage my health for many years to come.

          For example, I now give my daughter more hugs and the Eskimo kiss after reading that.

        2. I'm on high dose antibiotics a lot. I take saccaromyces boulardi and other mixed probiotics several times a week while I'm on them. If you overdo them, you'll get bad pain from overgrowth, too. Helps a lot.

          I do eat probiotic yogurt, aged cheeses, sauerkraut and lots of veggies with fiber. Not eating grains or much sugar is the single most important thing, though. They really disregulate gut flora and feed overgrowth of some stuff.

          1. Oh gosh yes. Dedicated yogurt and fermented foods eater here. Gut health declines as you age, in addition to being affected by diet, medication, and just about everything else. Artificial sweeteners, yikes. Steroid medications, same. Pesticides, factory farmed meat, antibiotics, even NSAIDS.
            It's huge, and hugely related to so many aspects of health that we are just starting to acknowledge and understand. Do some research on gut flora aka "poop" transplants. There have been several articles in the media lately that have been really interesting that speak to the emerging understanding of the importance of gut health.

            This is "new" because the answers don't serve the medical and pharmaceutical establishment so it's not a message you are likely to hear broadly anytime soon.

            1 Reply
            1. re: splatgirl

              I've read about the poop transplants recently. Mind-blowing! And I hear what you are saying about Big Pharma and the medical community not wanting to shine a light on it. There's no money - yet - in it. At least not for them. However, I tip my hat to my GI who opted to go the conservative route and introduce me to probiotics first. No tests, no colonoscopy, no pharmacueticals.

            2. As well as liking a lot of fermented foods and including them in what we eat regularly, I ferment both milk and water kefir daily and drink it all the time. (Ingesting varied probiotic food and drinks will give you far more strains of beneficials than any supplement.)

              Paired with cutting grains out of my diet I've never felt better. My energy is up, my immune system is strong.

              I'm also a big believer in bone broth for gut healing.

              4 Replies
              1. re: weezieduzzit

                Another thumbs up here about the bone broth for recovery.

                1. re: vil

                  @ vil....what is bone broth please?

                    1. re: bcc

                      Cool, that page also explains exactly what I suspect were the reasons why it helps... I haven't read through the whole page or the links it refers to (giving further info on the benefits).. but am looking forward to reading through them when I have time!

                      Also I might consider adding a bit of vinegar as suggested to help with getting more minerals into the broth - I suppose it would not affect the flavour of the end result?

                      Grangie angie: what I mean by bone broths is in the very general sense - it can be pho broths (i.e. Vietnamese style), Cantonese broths (with chicken/pork, fungus and other medicinal ingredients), Korean style, or some hybrid. The more variety the better!