CAT | Probiotic Supplements
The human gut is home to thousands of different bacterial species, totaling 100 trillion bacterial cells—that’s about four pounds of bacteria, or the weight of a brick. The composition of this bacterial population (also known as the gut microbiota), is currently being studied.
A new study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, published in Science, takes the findings further. This new study found two major gut types—Bacteroides and Prevotella—based on gut bacterial population groups in 98 healthy volunteers who were asked to fill out questionnaires that assessed dietary habits. Stool samples were collected to determine their gut microbiota composition.
The researchers found a link between dietary habits and gut types. People who ate a diet high in meat and saturated fat were higher in Bacteroides bacteria, and people who had a diet high in carbohydrates had more Prevotella bacteria. Researchers then took ten volunteers and fed half of them a diet high in fat and low in fiber, and fed the other half a low-fat, high-fiber diet. By the end of ten days, the bacterial populations had begun to change but were still predominantly the same Bacteroides and Prevotella groups. This indicates that it’s possible to change the gut microbiota with diet, but it will take more than a short-term change to see any major difference.
Next steps will be to replicate these findings to confirm them and to take the studies further by looking at whether these gut types are associated with health. It’s an exciting area of research, working out the details of what health advocates like ReNew Life founder Brenda Watson has said all along—your gut is the foundation of the health of the rest of your body. It all begins in the gut!
It’s frustrating for parents and miserable for kids, but unfortunately childhood constipation is an ever-increasing issue in America. For many, constipation is just an occasional nuisance, but in some cases it can be serious, causing about 2 million trips to the doctor each year! Natural health experts believe that constipation in childhood is partially due to heavily refined foods, sedentary lifestyles and low fiber diets and are concerned about the potential link between childhood constipation and the development of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) later in life. Luckily, new research published in Nutrition Journal is uncovering some natural relief for constipated kids and yet another benefit of probiotics.
The study revealed that that when taken over four weeks, the probiotic bacteria Bifidobacterium breve significantly improved bowel motility and lessened abdominal pain in children. The study documented twenty children, with an average age of 7, who were given anywhere from 100 Million to 10 Billion active cultures of Bifidobacterium breve daily and asked to keep a journal of bowel habits. The journals took note of bowel frequency, stool consistency and any abdominal discomfort during the study. At the conclusion of the study, the children who took the Bifidobacterium breve daily experienced more frequent bowel movements, fewer incidences of abdominal pain, better bowel consistency and best of all no side effects.
In addition to trying probiotics, consider the following factors when addressing childhood constipation:
Constipation can be caused by dehydration, so encourage your child to drink water. Try diluting your child’s fruit juice with 50% water to sneak in some H20.
Fruit, vegetables, beans and whole grains are just a few of the many sources of dietary fiber, but don’t be afraid to use a natural supplement to boost fiber intake. Follow the age plus five guideline – take your child’s age, add 5 and that’s how many grams of fiber he or she should consume daily.
This applies to adults and children alike. Regular exercise stimulates lymphatic flow, which encourages healthy elimination, so make sure your child gets enough daily physical activity.
Today, more research is revealing the importance of probiotics for children’s health. A healthy balance of beneficial bacteria can positively influence digestion, elimination and even support immune system function, protecting kids from the countless germs at daycares and schools. To try a probiotic for your child, take a look at the variety of strains and consider either a powdered or chewable probiotic to help make the health-promoting bacteria more appealing for the little ones.