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Digestive Health

Postbiotics versus Probiotics

It seems like just yesterday when we discovered the wonderful microbiome and its impact on our health. Since then, the numerous benefits of probiotics became mainstream and hit the mass market. More recently, we have been introduced to the concepts of prebiotics and postbiotics to complement the action of probiotics, but some confusion remains. Let’s dive into the amazing universe of the ‘biotic’ family of terms (probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics and postbiotics) which coalesce around microbes or their substrates.[i] Probiotics Probiotics are live non-pathogenic microorganisms which have demonstrated beneficial effects on human health.[ii] They consist of lactic acid bacteria, such as Lactobacillus

Probiotic-3: The Super Efficient and Sustainable SCFA Generator

One of the key attributes of any probiotic or for that matter prebiotic and postbiotics is the ability to generate short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s). Unfortunately, very few prebiotics and probiotics will generate any significant amount of SFCA’s that will impact health in any demonstrable way. In most cases it is assumed that the probiotic will generate SCFA’s but there is little proof. Short chain fatty acids have been recognised for their health promoting effects for some time. The three that are widely acknowledged are, acetic, propionic, and butyric acids. All three have their own unique properties and functions. It

Sugar and the Microbiome

The idea that our bodies are inhabited by trillions of bacteria is no longer a farfetched Sci Fi scheme. We now know that our colon is home to critters of all kinds – friendly and not so friendly microorganisms doing their part to stay alive. Moreover, they help us survive, aiding everything from our digestion to immunity. Studies have linked our gut microbes to mood regulation, tendency towards obesity1, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular health2, colon cancer3, Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome4. On a daily basis, these microbes help us metabolize foods and ascertain key nutrients, producing their very own

Antibiotics Don’t Play Favourites

Many of us have had to take antibiotics for one reason or another. They are often necessary to avoid or treat a serious infection. While they are great at targeting the bacteria that can harm us, they are unable to differentiate between the good bacteria and the bad. Millions of good bacteria live in our intestines and are vital to the digestive process. These bacteria colonize in the gut shortly after birth and are comprised of approximately 1,000 different species. They supply and synthesize essential nutrients like vitamin K, aid in the breakdown of various foods and play an important

How the Western Diet Causes Gut Inflammation

With multiple documentaries highlighting the negative effects of eating fast food, it’s not surprising that consuming processed foods – including the ones in your grocery store – contribute to inflammation and poor health. You might wonder, how exactly does that happen? If we are consuming foods made with grains and protein, why does this affect us so badly? We’re finding multiple mechanisms at play here, which is likely why we see such drastic changes when individuals attempt to live exclusively off fast foods in as little as days to weeks. First, consuming overly processed foods negatively impacts our gut microbiome,

Potassium and Constipation – The Forgotten Mineral

Have you ever felt backed up and received the advice to eat a banana or perhaps, some well-meaning friend tells you to avoid bananas at all costs when constipated? The truth, of course, lies in the details. You see, the regular functioning and regulation of our bowel movements is a multifactorial complex process. Constipation is defined as any difficult, incomplete, or unsatisfactory and/or infrequent defecation. Meaning that there can be many causes and many treatments – therefore, a banana may make good sense for some and not for others. Since constipation can be acute or chronic it’s important to note

IBS, Why Give a Sh*t

Irritable bowel syndrome, as any syndrome, is a constellation of symptoms that vary greatly between individuals, making it difficult to diagnose. Often individuals will suffer from chronic reoccurring abdominal discomfort or pain, bouts of diarrhea and/or constipation, changes in frequency and form of stool, bloating and gas, even changes in appetite. These symptoms indicate an underlying inflammatory disorder causing the gut to not function normally and individuals may not be properly absorbing nutrients from their food. The health of our bowels tells us a lot about our overall health. In some cases, these symptoms may be indicative of a more

Benefits of Butyric Acid

Short chain fatty acids (SCFA) are produced by the gut microbiota largely in the large intestines or the colon. SCFA have numerous health properties including maintenance of good gut and brain health via the gut-brain axis but also in metabolic syndrome (MetS). This article discusses the effects on the latter. Many of us are familiar with long chain fatty acids comprising 18 carbons to 22 carbon length, like the ones present in flax, hemp as well as olive, evening primrose, borage and fish oils. Omega 3 fatty acids include DHA and EPA which have been widely studied for benefits for

Probiotic-3: More than what meets the eye

This is my rebuttal to the article written October 3, 2018 by by Mr. John Brisson, at FixYourGut – his original article can be found here: Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion, however this article highlights some of the misinformation regarding the pathogenic potential of strains in AOR’s Probiotic-3. First, let us start with the definition of probiotics – according to the World Health Organization and The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics, the internationally endorsed definition of probiotics are as “live microorganisms, which when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”.

Postbiotics, the New Microbiome Hero

Interest in gut health has become popular as more and more studies underline the significance of the gut in health and in whole host of diseases. There are many pieces in this puzzle including, the microbiome, probiotics, and postbiotics. First, let us get definitions and nomenclature out of the way. The microbiota is the total number of microbes that are present in out entire gastrointestinal tract. These include, bacteria both “good” and “bad”, viruses, fungi, parasites, archaea protozoa, and many other players. Many factors influence the number and diversity of these “guests” including what we inherit from our mother at birth,

Butyrate: a New Health Biomarker

How to increase butyrate levels and achieve health effects beyond the gut! Our gut or the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is a fascinating microcosm, busy generating a complex and diverse set of chemicals that greatly impact our overall health and wellness. Besides the common duties of elimination and absorption, our GIT also helps metabolize or break down and change existing molecules whilst generating new ones, which can be both friend and foe. Whilst the small intestine is largely responsible for digestion and absorption, the large intestine or the colon, is the epicenter of generating these chemicals. This is because the colon

Hormonal Constipation: Get Moving Again

Constipation is defined by infrequent bowel movements, hard, dry stools, straining and pain with defecation, and can lead to the development of hemorrhoids. There are many different causes of constipation, including intestinal dysbiosis, lack of dietary fiber, dehydration, food sensitivities and medication use such as opioids and antihistamines. Constipation could also occur due to structural issues of the intestines, or due to hormonal responses. The occurrence of hormonal constipation is more common in females. Women tend to have changes in stool consistency throughout the menstrual cycle as hormone levels fluctuate. It’s not uncommon for women to experience firmer stools and

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