Good BacteriaOne of the things I miss from working in a health food store is the free trainings that the companies who supply the stores provide for the employees. So I have made arrangements for the training to come to me by hosting a free webinar with Caroline Farquhar, RHN and Director of Education for Renew Life Canada. I did this because I want to know about new probiotic products that Renew Life has produced for specific circumstances.

I want to know why they chose the different amounts for each of the products, and what specific strains have been added for each new probiotic and why. And now that I have seen the power point she is presenting, I will be learning other information that will help fill in some of the missing pieces about this topic (even though there are many pieces that are still unknown). So if you would like to expand your knowledge about probiotics, please join us:

Click here to register
I was listening to a webinar on Sunday with Dr Dian Ginsberg, OB/Gyn. She is a functional medicine doctor, and that makes her my favourite type of practitioner, even if she is an advocate of the Paleo diet. This means she missed seeing the forest for the trees a bit, but that is okay. Although her topic was pregnancy and hormones, she spent a good deal of time discussing good bacteria. The first thing she said, that I was not aware of, was this:

Apparently, there are three circumstances where large amounts of good bacteria die, not related to antibiotics. The first is surgery. The second is during a long distance marathon or triathlon (or any endurance-related exertion) and the third is a during a plane flight.

Now I understand the plane flight issue as apparently we are exposed to 4 times the amount of radiation going up in a plane than we receive from an x-ray and it makes sense that radiation can affect our microorganisms.

I can also understand the connections with marathon/endurance athletes as the exercise they do puts an extreme hardship on the body and uses up a lot of nutrients that can effect functioning. Also, a lot of athletes suffer from intestinal issues which are generally caused by good bacteria deficiencies. Surgery is also an extreme hardship on the body so that is possible as well. However, I cannot find any research to back this up. So take this information for what it is and maybe just fortify yourself with probiotics, fermented foods and prebiotic foods if you find yourself in any of these scenarios. It can’t hurt you and it may help you.

The second thing I learned was the need to fortify pregnant women with prebiotics and probiotics, with prebiotics being more important before the baby is born and the probiotics are more important for after, especially if the baby was delivered by caesarian section. Prebiotics are better at helping to improve our residential bacteria. Probiotics are generally transient bacteria that help us while they are there but just pass through and do not reproduce in our gut.

The logic for probiotics the birth is that the mother needs to have sufficient good bacteria in her gut in order for there to be healthy levels in the breast milk. Good bacteria travels from the gut and through the lymph nodes to the breast ducts and into the milk. If the baby has been delivered by caesarian, then it is even more important because the baby missed picking up good bacteria it would have received coming out through the vaginal tract.

She also discussed that generally women are not in the best nutritional shape when they conceive and this would include their intestinal health so more education is needed to help women prepare for pregnancy for the best outcome for them and their babies.

All of this information about probiotics adds even more fuel to the concept that the good bacteria plays so many roles in maintaining our health and optimal function. We still have much to learn but hopefully, everyone is getting the message to support gut health with fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha and prebiotic foods such as almonds, garlic, onions, berries, Jerusalem artichokes and chicory. Probiotic supplements are also helpful when you have special needs. Remember happy gut – happy life.