Posts Tagged ‘Probiotics’

(Reuters Health) – “Stealth fiber” increasingly added to processed foods, while not a problem for most, can cause gastrointestinal discomfort for some who may not know they’re consuming too much of it, Minnesota researchers warn. The fiber is called “inulin.”  http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6675QC20100708

Here’s what AKA has to say about Inulin:

With health recommendations pointing to the benefits of increased fiber intake as well as acknowledging those of beneficial bacteria (‘probiotics’), much attention is being given to sources of fiber and prebiotic fiber. The following reviews inulin, a polyfructose (meaning several fructose chain) or fructan carbohydrate, and from a nutrition standpoint is known for its fiber and prebiotic benefits.

For humans, inulin is known as an indigestible fiber meaning that it passes through the stomach and small intestine into the large intestine which provides for its health benefits. On arrival in the large intestine, bacteria ferment the inulin, a process which produces carbon dioxide (and / or methane) and short chain fatty acids. Many of the short chain fatty acids (i.e., acetic, propionic, and butyric acids) have known health benefits from aiding hepatic cells to cancer prevention (especially for the colon) to cholesterol and insulin optimization as well as increased mineral absorption. The production of carbon dioxide and / or methane can trigger bloating and release of gas and be painful for individuals with sensitive digestive tracts or those that over consume inulin containing foods or supplements.

So what do we need to know about inulin as it relates to food production?

Key Points

  1. Although chemically similar, inulin and FOS are different (fructan versus fructo-oligosaccharide) which can explain differences in how they are received in the digestive tract. Some people are sensitive to one versus the other, some to both, others to none.
  2. There are only a few whole food sources of inulin (chicory root, sunchokes / Jerusalem artichoke, dandelion and burdock roots and small amounts in garlic and onion). Note that growing behavior and storage conditions may affect the inulin content
  3. Food first? While it makes sense that inulin’s benefits would be best conferred by consuming the food, since the inulin portion of inulin-containing foods goes undigested through to the large intestine, its benefits will maintain intact even if properly isolated and used as an isolated supplement. That said, the foods that contain inulin have lots of health benefits beyond inulin – so, as always, go for whole food first.
  4. High heat causes inulin’s molecules to separate so inulin processed under high heat would likely not retain its health benefits
  5. Contraindications:
    1. based on inulin’s ability to cause digestive distress in some (see data statement below), I would recommend avoiding inulin (in its food sources and as an ingredient) if you suffer from gastrointestinal issues – celiac disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), candida (no sugar), SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth),
      1. It has been speculated that people fall into one of three categories regarding sensitivity to inulin: 1) nonsensitive persons can consume 30 g/d (grams per day) or more of the compound with little or no symptoms as described 2) sensitive persons can consume 10 g/d of the compound without discomfort but might experience undesirable reactions with doses of 20 g/d; 3) very sensitive persons can experience symptoms of intolerance at doses as small as of 10 g/d.
    2. It is not clear if only beneficial bacteria ferment and thrive from the presence of inulin – meaning that inulin may feed bad bacteria as well
    3. Children
      1. I would use caution with supplemental inulin quantity in products targeted for children for concern of digestive distress due to lack of adequate water intake, gram to size of GI tract ratio (the above noted grams are for adult digestive tract not children), and known health benefits from whole foods.
  6. Opportunities
    1. Products containing inulin can provide health benefits for diabetics, persons with elevated cholesterol levels (including triglycerides), with fatty liver, and at risk for colon cancer.
    2. For healthy individuals (especially digestive tracts), inulin can improve the body’s ability to retain bifidobacteria and lactobacillus probiotics which have a host of health benefits as well.
    3. Consider using foods containing inulin such as burdock, Jerusalem artichoke (sunchokes) and chicory roots for their inulin content

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I can’t believe it! I have been working for years with patients who were on Accutane at some point and now have digestive issues, some as severe as inflammatory disease. Imagine my surprise, pleasure, and sadness then as I am sitting on the plane watching basketball and just saw an ad for a recall and a class action lawsuit asking for patients who have taken Accutane asking for those who now have these issues to come forward. Its sad but I am so glad this issue is coming to attention.

Key takeaways:

  1. Indeed, the liver IS part of the digestive system, you make life tough on it with meds (with Accutane you have to have your liver function tested each month to make sure your levels don’t go up), you will likely hear its frustration.
  2. Indeed, skin problems ranging from minor acne to severe are a sign that something is very wrong inside – in the digestive system, so we need to address those issues – not supress it with antibiotics or Accutane…the world of classical dermatology needs to meet the Integrative medicine approach. For at the end, in these cases, we often trade a topical problem for a severe internal one.
  3. Heal thy gut: begins with proper nutrition and may include supplementation (as needed) to heal what has become imbalanced. Typically this looks at giving the body nutrients in its organic whole food form (Companies like Earthbound Farm organic produce, Nature’s Path organic cereals and gluten-free waffles), limiting known gastric irritants, improving gut bacteria balance (probiotics – I recommend Align, and probiotic-rich foods like coconut water kefir and cultured vegetables – I recommend healingmovement.net), (more…)

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I was recently asked for some Best Of tips and thought I’d share my replies with you. Email me your additions too.

Here are the lists:

1) Top 10 Health Breakthroughs for the 21st Century

  • Vitamin D is a hormone not a vitamin and we need a lot more of it and the right kind for optimal health than previously thought (vitamin D3 1000 -2000iu daily).
  • Probiotics – especially the Bifidobacterium strain – improve digestive function for optimal immune function as well.
  • Magnesium – as Mother Nature’s muscle relaxant it reduces stress (by turning off the fight or flight response), aids headaches, insomnia, and constipation. We need Magnesium as much as Calcium so supplementation as well as diet should reflect this. Food processing, dietary choice, and overemphasis of calcium needs have created conditional deficiencies of magnesium for most.
  • DHA for pregnant women to support fetus brain development, reduce risk of ADD / ADHD, autism, and allergies

2) Top New Year’s Resolutions

  • Resolve to really learn nutrition for optimal health as opposed to a fad diet
  • Resolve to get more and better Sleep: it’s Mother nature’s weight loss / health gain drug
  • Resolve to make time for daily activity by reducing the amount of time you spend seated in front of the TV or computer
  • Resolve to UNPLUG weekly – spend and hour, ten hours or a full day without your cell phone, blackberry, computer, games etc – what if you couldn’t be reached? Have someone else’s answers in a moment’s notice? Where would your imagination take you?
  • Resolve to eat organic – it’s just food (as opposed to conventional which is food + chemicals)
  • Resolve to really experience your emotions as opposed to eating / drinking them away – be sad (skip the sugar or alcohol), be tired (pass on the coffee or energy drink), etc. (more…)

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Buzz Girls

Buzz Girls 2nd Anniversary Party

The products that were featured were as follows:

Align Digestive Care – probiotic supplement  – Not all probiotics are created equal – for optimal results, strain specificity and quantity are critical as well as viability at the time of consumption (bacteria must be alive to be effective).

Ascenta NutraSea fish oils – Not all fish oils are created equal – what matters is purity (look for “pure √” symbol), concentration, and how it is processed to prevent oxidation.

Ayala’s Herbal Water – Many are bored with plain water, this provides flavor with health benefits (i.e. digestion, stress reduction) without adding sugar, calories or artificial ingredients.

Coconut Bliss soy, dairy & gluten free ice cream – A true treat is one that is indulgent, tastes great and contains ingredients about which you can feel good.

Crofter’s Superfruit Spread – Unlike competitors’ products, this sweet taste comes from mostly organic berries and a little organic sugar.

Dr. Khalsa’s Vitamin D3 – Low Vitamin D is implicated in everything from ADD/ADHD, cancer risk and survival, and hormonal health. This site offers a test kit to test your levels, a book and supplements for further information and treatment.

Healing Movement – Raw Cultured Vegetables and Young Coconut Kefir – Optimal health begins with a healthy digestive system.  These organic products help reduce bloating, alleviate sugar cravings and assist transition to a healthy digestive tract.

Late July Organic Snacks – mini sandwich cookies – Mom knows best (in this case, Grandma, Dad and Mom)! Providing all of our favorite snack treats made healthy without sacrificing taste.

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils – hemp protein and hemp seeds – In hemp, nature provides us the only food source of certain fatty acids as well as a complete protein.

Natural Calm – The Anti-Stress Drink – nutritional magnesium powder – When it comes to magnesium, whose benefits include – aiding digestion, reducing the effects of stress, and heart and bone health, this product stands out as organic and highly absorbable.

Nature’s Path Pumpkin Flax Plus Granola – because organic can and does taste great, these products make any meal satisfying and healthier.

Nuttzo – organic, omega 3 multi-nut butter – this crazy combo of nuts and seeds provide fiber, omega 3’s, complete protein and minerals with a delicious crunch.

Olade organic, electrolytes, zero sugar added beverages – diabetics and non-diabetics alike should choose organic beverages that are naturally very low in sugar (sweetened with stevia)…and taste great!

R.W. Knudsen Sparkling Essence – light and refreshing beverages for anytime of the day.

Yummy Earth Organic Candy – lollipops, gummy bears and gummy worms – a candy you can feel better about because they are organic with no artificial coloring and per portion are lower in sugar than other candy – a treat for kids and adults alike!

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