Stop Being Prone To Crohn
Ever heard of the 1908 Nobel Prize winning discovery of Elie Metchnikoff, PhD? No? Not for long. The Russian bacteriologist discovered a link between human longevity and the importance of keeping gut flora balance. Not rejoicing yet? Read on. He was certain that we could reach the age of 150 years, if we kept our gut flora blooming and didnt get hit by lightning. Its a state called homeostatic balance. The digestive system, that is the stomach, and the upper and lower bowels can be compared to a fingerprint of ones immune system, therefore probiotics are a very important element of homeostatic balance because they canalize the B-complex vitamins into a synthesis, do away with yeast and gut bloating molds and fungi, stabilize cholesterol levels, empower the immune system, and aid the all systems to clean themselves. Its easy to understand the immediate and obvious link between gut health, aging well and longevity.
How Do I Tell Whats In A Probiotic
Probiotics must list on their labels whats in them, including the strains and any other ingredients added.
On a product, a probiotic strain should be listed as a long name followed by a series of letters, and sometimes numbers too. For example, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG, or Bifidobacterium lactis HN019.
The first part of the name is the genus. The second part of the name is the species and the letters and numbers at the end are the strain designation.
If you know what the name of each strain in the probiotic is you can link it to any research thats been done into the strain.
Some companies produce a Trademarked name for strains of bacteria in their products. This can be for marketing purposes and isnt an indication of one strain being better than another. If a product contains a Trademarked strain the packaging must still list the scientific name for the strain.
If a probiotic does not list the full name of the specific bacteria in the produce or they do not state how much of the bacteria is present in the product this is a sign to be wary.
Make sure the product contains at least the level of probiotics that was used in the research. These are shown as CFU on the bottle/packaging/website. Most successful probiotic research has used more than or equal to 109 CFU per dose so this is the amount of that bacteria needed to have the beneficial outcome shown in the study.
Description Of The Intervention
Probiotics consist of live microorganisms that, by definition, should benefit health in humans. Common microorganisms that have been used as probiotics include Lactobacillus spp, Bifidobacterium spp, Streptococcus salivarius, Escherichia coli Nissle 1917, and yeasts . There has been an increasing interest in the use of probiotics for gastrointestinal diseases, as they are considered safe and easily accessible.
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Probiotics Dont Appear To Provide General Health Benefits
Although personal anecdotes from friends or a sales pitch from your local health store employee may sound convincing, experts say the evidence simply doesnt support popping probiotic pills for general good health. Research suggests that those that are generally healthy do not attain a benefit from probiotic supplements, says dietitian Suzie Finkel, RD, who specializes in digestive health.
In fact, a 2019 review of 45 studies on probiotic supplementation in healthy adults concluded that the beneficial bacteria may have benefits in specific populations, but general usage requires further investigation.
Rather than serving as a panacea for general health issues like energy levels, inflammation, or bowel regularity, it appears probiotic supplements have more to offer for people with specific health conditions.
Demonstrated benefits of specific probiotics are specific to certain types of conditions, not for general health. Suzie Finkel, RD
Which Probiotic Should I Take
Unfortunately there isn’t one probiotic that works for all. It is very individual as to whether probiotics will make a difference to you and depends on a number of factors including which type of IBD you have.
Probiotics can be expensive and there are dozens available to buy. They are all of varying quality and some are bought from a common distributor and rebranded by the company selling them. Some brands of probiotic do have clinical research available into their finished products in relation to IBD, but most do not.
Due to the cost of probiotics its worth spending some time doing research into them – such as the claims they make and the clinical research behind their product – before buying them. You may also find the experiences of other people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis who use probiotics useful in making your choice.
The success you have with probiotics will be very individual and if you find that one product doesn’t work for you it doesn’t mean that none of them will. Unfortunately you may have to go through a process of trial and error to see if they are of benefit to you.
What are the different types of manufactured probiotics?
Manufactured probiotics available generally fall into three types:
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Probiotics Bacteria And Gut Health
Often, bacteria are perceived as dangerous germs that lead to the development of disease. For instance, many people are familiar with strep throat a bacterial infection caused by the bacteria streptococcus. However, bacteria like probiotics can also be beneficial to your health, and many naturally live in the human body as part of the microbiome.
The microbiome and the bacteria in it are critical for proper digestion and overall health. The good bacteria within the microbiome are responsible for:
- Producing certain vitamins and amino acids
- Breaking down toxic food, complex carbohydrates, and sugars including lactose, which is broken down by the bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Forming short-chain fatty acids, which some clinical trials have demonstrated may help treat Crohns disease
The microbiome is responsible for many vital functions, so protecting and maintaining its health is important. Ingesting probiotics can help maintain and even boost the population of good bacteria in the gut. These good bacteria help preserve and thicken the barrier in the GI tract that blocks harmful bacteria from penetrating the lining of the GI tract . Probiotics may also help manage the health of the gastrointestinal immune system and reduce intestinal inflammation.
Probiotics May Not Be Worth The Money
Some probiotic supplements arent particularly expensive, but others can cost a pretty penny. According to Finkel, shelling out tons of cash for a designer probiotic might not bring the return on investment youre hoping for.
Contrary to what most would think, I often tell patients to remove probiotic supplements from their regimens, and I do see people feel better without them more often than not! she says. Or at the very least, they feel exactly the same and get to save a bunch of money. Since so many foods are naturally packed with probiotics, it may be smarter for your wallet and your health to get probiotics from your diet, rather than pills.
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How To Take Probiotics
When you take probiotics for UC, there are two key things to know.
To keep up the benefits, you have to keep taking them. If you stop, the balance of bacteria in your colon will change and a flare-up may occur. Talk to your doctor about a long-term probiotic plan.
Why You May Want To Think Twice Before Buying
Got a tummy ache? Have a bout of diarrhea? Want to feel less sluggish or dial down systemic inflammation? You might be used to reaching for probiotics. These supplements have been marketed as an over-the-counter cure-all for a variety of conditions, as well as a daily general health booster for just about anyone. These days, you can purchase an extraordinary array of probiotic supplements online and at your local health food or grocery store.
Despite their positive reputation and widespread availability, the science around probiotic supplementation isnt as solid as it might seem. According to gut health experts, probiotics may have benefits for specific health issues, but theyre not necessarily a wise choice for the general population.
Read on for what to know before you buy probiotics.
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Probiotics May Cause Gi Distress
Many people turn to probiotic pills to ease digestive distress caused by antibiotics or a stomach bugand its true that some research supports the use of probiotics for digestive complaints.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, probiotics could help prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea. But researchers still dont know which species and strains are helpful and which ones are not.
In fact, grabbing any old friendly bacteria off the shelf could actually exacerbate digestive issues, not help them. Adding an external bacteria pill that is not a good fit for you can cause unwanted gastrointestinal symptoms, or worsen symptoms you’re already experiencing, says Finkel. It is important to work with a healthcare provider that is well-versed in the latest research for these supplements.
Probiotics And Crohns Disease
Individuals with Crohns Disease often have an imbalance of gut bacteria. More specifically, most have fewer beneficial, anti-inflammatory bacteria than individuals without any form of IBD. It seems logical that using probiotics can restore the bacterial balance in those with Crohns Disease. However, the answer isnt quite that simple. Experts are still not sure how directly probiotics affect Crohns Disease symptoms.
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The Altered Microbiome In Crohns Disease
The microbiome of patients with Crohns disease is known to be different than healthy controls. This difference is frequently called dysbiosis. The faecal microbiota in patients with CD has less complexity compared to the healthy controls . Further, the temporal stability of dominant species of bacteria is lower in patients with CD compared to the controls . Biopsy specimens of patients with IBD showed an abundance of Enterobacteriaceae compared to the controls . Interestingly, in another study, biopsies from affected and unaffected areas of tissue of patients with IBD show significant differences in diversity . It is uncertain whether the changes in the microbiota in IBD contribute to the disease development or the reverse is true. The Genetics, Environmental, Microbial Project is looking for insight into this question by recruiting healthy first-degree siblings and offspring of patients with CD . Alterations of the microbiome may prove to be an effective approach for the treatment of IBD, especially if these changes in microbiome precede the onset of the disease.
Altering the microbiome as a way to treat active Crohns disease or maintain remission induced by surgery or medications is being explored. Current methods to alter the microbiome include diet, antibiotics, probiotics, and more recently faecal microbial transplantation.
Is It Dangerous To Take Probiotics
People with IBD may wonder what the harms of taking probiotics are. On the one hand, it can be expensive. On the other hand, it may not help.
While probiotics may not have any side effects in some cases, in some people, it may cause bloating, gas, or diarrhea. Sometimes these effects go away with time and continued use of probiotics.
Another potential hazard is cost: In some cases, probiotics can be very expensive. If they dont provide any benefit, thats a problem, especially for those who already have high medical bills.
Less clear is whether probiotics can be used in place of IBD treatments that have been shown to be effective in clinical trials. The danger is taking probiotics that may not be effective and forgoing other treatments.
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How Will I Feel Taking Probiotics
Again, this really varies from person to person. Some people who take probiotics – whether they have IBD or not – report feeling bloated and gassy or have a short bout of diarrhoea at the beginning. This may be a reaction to the changes in bacteria in your gut. To help prevent this some probiotic companies recommend you start by taking a small dosage and build up to taking the full dose to allow your body to adjust. If you are concerned, or these symptoms persist, you should stop taking the probiotic and speak to your doctor.
Caution should be taken around taking probiotics when you are on immunosuppressant medications or are acutely unwell – always speak to your doctor before starting a probiotic to check it is safe for you to do so.
Description Of The Condition
Crohn’s disease is a chronic relapsing, remitting inflammatory condition that can affect any segment along the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus. Symptoms of CD may include oral ulcers, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, obstruction, fistulisation to surrounding tissues, abscesses, malnutrition, and anaemia. The diagnosis and monitoring of CD is predominantly performed via endoscopic and histologic examination, although these can be complemented by use of imaging, serologic, and fecal data. There is no known cure for CD and treatment is largely focused on the induction and maintenance of remission , correcting malnutrition, addressing complications, and improving the quality of life for patients. In children, a major additional goal is to facilitate normal growth and pubertal development, which are frequently impeded. The incidence of CD is approximately 20 per 100,000 personyears in North America and 13 per 100,000 personyears in Europe . There has been a progressive increase in incidence and prevalence throughout the world, particularly in regions where CD was historically not common . Although the aetiology of CD is still unknown, its pathogenesis is believed to involve the interaction between genetic and environmental factors. In particular, the gut microbiome may play a role in disease pathogenesis and activity, thus prompting great interest in the potential use of probiotics as a therapeutic strategy via microbiome manipulation .
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Risks Of Probiotics For Crohns
When taken as recommended, probiotics are generally considered safe. However, because there havent been many studies that actually look into the long-term safety or side effects of probiotics, its hard to say for sure that theyre completely safe for everyone.
To date, theres not one probiotic product thats approved by the Food and Drug Administration . This means that companies can make claims regarding the ingredients of their products that arent always verified.
If you choose to buy probiotics, research the companies youre buying from, as well as the ingredients and type of probiotics theyre selling.
In addition, theres a risk of probiotics producing harmful effects in some cases involving extremely ill or immunocompromised people. In these cases, probiotics may:
- cause infections
Can Probiotics Actually Help With Crohns Symptoms
Individuals with an IBD, like Crohns, typically have less beneficial and anti-inflammatory bacteria than individuals without IBD, so the theory that probiotics can improve and populate that missing bacteria makes sense.
However, research conducted on the benefits of probiotics in treating Crohns symptoms has not shown consistent results. While there may be some promise when it comes to treating the symptoms of ulcerative colitis, another IBD, with probiotics, studies around Crohns arent as conclusive.
Additionally, because there are many kinds of probiotics, its still a mystery as to which kinds are most beneficial for individuals with IBDs.
If youre considering adding probiotics to your diet to help with your Crohns symptoms, talk with your doctor first.
Probiotics For The Treatment Of Active Crohn’s Disease
What is the aim of this review?
The aim of this Cochrane Review was to find out whether probiotics can induce remission in people with Crohn’s disease. We analysed information from two studies to answer this question.
It is unclear whether probiotics are better than placebo . No serious adverse events occurred in either study.
What was studied in the review?
Crohn’s disease is a medical condition that causes inflammation of the bowels and can lead to symptoms of ulcers in the mouth, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, obstruction, fistulisation , abscesses, malnutrition, low haemoglobin levels, and fatigue. There is some evidence to suggest that an imbalance in the bacteria of the gut is a cause of the disease. Probiotics, which are live microorganisms, could alter the bacteria of the gut and possibly reduce inflammation.
What are the main results of the review?
We searched for randomised controlled trials comparing probiotics with placebo. There were two RCTs, with information on 46 people. The trials looked at adults. It is unclear whether probiotics are different to placebo for inducing remission of Crohn’s disease. It is unclear whether probiotics lead to a difference in adverse events when compared with placebo.
How up-to-date is this review?
Potential Pros Of Using Probiotics For Crohns Disease
Some experts believe that probiotics can help restore the good bacteria imbalance in microbiome, which can help to subdue the immune response in the gut and reduce Crohns Disease symptoms. These experts maintain that adding probiotics reduces intestinal inflammation, which alleviates frequent symptoms such as diarrhea and upset stomach.
However, although some scientists believe that probiotics can help, very little research has been done to establish a direct link between probiotic consumption and improved Crohns Disease symptoms. The research that does exist has only been conducted on a very small number of people. Consequently, it is hard to generalize these results to everyone who suffers from Crohns Disease. One of these small studies showed improvements in the barrier function of the intestine and an increase in anti-inflammatory compounds in the gastrointestinal tract. These findings led the researchers to conclude that probiotics are promising as a treatment for Crohns Disease.
A review of existing research on probiotic supplementation for Crohns Disease concluded that more research is necessary to establish a link between cause and effect.
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