Contact Nikki: 07972 257004 or nikki@heartfeltnutrition.co.uk

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Heartfelt Nutrition

Nutritional Therapy, Advice, Education & Support

 

PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENTS 

 

The health of the intestinal tract is of utmost importance for health and well-being


Gut health is a key focus of any nutritional therapy program.

 

Our gut contains both beneficial (good) and non-beneficial (bad) bacteria, together with yeasts and other organisms. These gut microflora help to support good elimination and absorption of nutrients, and to remove toxins and support the immune system.

 

People born by caesarean section miss out on good bacteria from the mother’s birth canal, and not receiving colostrum, the ‘first milk’ that is expressed in the days following birth, puts people at a huge disadvantage when it comes to establishing good microflora. The state of the mother’s microflora will also have an effect but even with a good bacterial start in life, the balance between good and bad bacteria can be upset in many ways, including:

  • Antibiotics – indiscriminately destroy all the bacteria in the body as the way of fighting disease. Whilst antibiotics are sometimes necessary they are often over used and advice is not given as to how to replace the good bacteria.
  • Over-the-counter products, such as mouthwashes, aspirin, antacids, painkillers and laxatives, anti-depressants and sleeping pills.
  • High intake of sugar and processed carbohydrates, and highly processed/sterilised foods.
  • Over use of cleaning products, especially anti-bacterial soaps, shampoos and creams.
  • Chlorinated drinking water because chlorine destroys bacteria, whether good or bad.
  • Wide spread pesticide and herbicide use.
  • Exposure to pollutants such as heavy metals, including amalgam dental fillings.
  • Anti-cholesterol drugs.
  • Increased use and variety of vaccinations.

The most effective way to increase the level of good bacteria in the gut is to add more probiotic foods to the diet, such as live yoghurt, sauerkraut and kefir. This may not always be possible and probiotic supplements are a good alternative, especially after taking antibiotics or other medication. Not all probiotics are equal and we tend to get what we pay for in terms of quality. Things to consider:

  • More bacteria are not as important as the number of strains, because many strains work synergistically to support health.

    Good strains to look out for include: L. acidophilus, B. longum, B. bifidum, L. fermentum and L. rhamnosus.
    .
  • How the product is packaged and delivered – the bacteria need to be kept alive until they are swallowed and reach the gut. A company that is willing to explain how their product works will most likely have a product that works. The probiotics need to be protected from too much exposure to light, heat, and moisture.
  • Expiry dates – provides reassurance that the probiotics will remain active and potent.

  • Money-back guarantee – is evidence that companies truly believe in their products and will stand by them. 

Lactobacillus Species reside in the small intestine and produce lactase, which helps to breakdown lactose, the sugars in dairy products. They create lactic acid and an acidic gut environment, discouraging unwanted micro-organisms and helping absorption of minerals, such as calcium, copper, magnesium, and iron.

 

L. acidophilus: colonises most densely in the small intestine, maintains the integrity of the intestinal wall and supports nutrient absorption and overall digestive function. Helps with symptoms of IBS, immune health and urinary and vaginal health in women.


L. fermentum: important for overall digestion and detoxification.

 

L. rhamnosus: good for traveller’s diarrhoea, ability to survive passage through the gastrointestinal system and is thought to be among the best Lactobacillus strains for vaginal health.


Bifidobacterium Species line the walls of the large intestine (colon) and help to ward off harmful microorganisms, including yeast. Like Lactobacillus species they produce lactic acid and also produce B-complex vitamins and vitamin K. 
 

B. longum: good for overall digestion, detoxification and immune health, and have anti-oxidant properties.


B. bifidum
: prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria, moulds, and yeasts by naturally adhering to the intestinal mucosa better than other bacterial strains. Good for overall digestion, nutrient absorption and relief from occasional diarrhoea, especially when travelling.


B. infantis:
good for overall digestion and relief from occasional bloating and constipation.
 


Introducing Supplements
 

Slowly does it! 


Probiotic supplements will start to restore the balance of good to bad bacteria in the gut. In doing so they will kill bad bacteria, yeasts and other unhelpful micro-organisms. Supplements are more concentrated than food sources of probiotics and will do this more quickly, as will supplements with high numbers of beneficial bacteria.


The dead micro-organisms need to be removed from the body and this can only be achieved as quickly as the liver and gut can process them. To avoid detoxification symptoms, such as headache, aches and pains, cold symptoms and fatigue, it is important to introduce probiotics at a pace that the body can cope with. Unless under the supervision of a nutrition professional, chose probiotic products that contain moderate numbers of probiotics and introduce them slowly, perhaps one every other day to start with.


If taking antibiotics, take probiotics about 5 hours away from taking the antibiotics, and take probiotics for about 2 months after a course of antibiotics. It will not harm the body to take a moderate intensity probiotic daily indefinitely.


 

Reputable Brands

 

There are very many companies selling probiotics and to determine the best product for you it may be worth seeing a nutrition professional. 

As a general rule the more expensive products are the more effective ones.


Probiotic products may not suit everyone and so listen to your body and be prepared to try another brand if necessary.


A few popular and good quality brands that are easy to obtain include, but are not limited to:


Cytoplan

Biocare


Lamberts


Nutri-Advanced 

Solgar  


Veridian


When booking a nutritional consultation, 10% discount is available on all supplements purchased.