Did You Know Probiotics can Save a Marriage?

I am definitely a fan of probiotics. Heck—I should run a campaign to put them in the water supply here in Chandler.

And, given the focus of the post, I’m sure I’ll have plenty of supporters.

I should probably outline something first. When I mention that I’m a fan of probiotics, this is not entirely accurate. In reality, I’m a fan of maintaining a healthy gut bacterial flora with the right lifestyle choices while at the same time avoiding those things that destroy a healthy gut.

There are some 400+ different species of organisms that live in our gastrointestinal tract. Not just bacteria, but viruses, fungi and parasites. It’s quite the party. I always describe the gut as a game of king-of-the-hill. We want the good guys that do good things for us to always be at the top and the bad guys continually being pushed off.

And it is not a single bacterial species that should be on top. Lactobacillus, Acidophilus and Bifidobacteria are among the most popular in supplements, but by no means the only bacteria in use. Personally, I recommend a blend of bacteria in a probiotic supplement and, for an average sized adult, this should start at around 20 billion. Anything less is not going to cut it (so run to the fridge and toss the yogurt you thought was good for you into the garbage…).

Along with the supplement, antibiotics should be avoided except in the most extreme cases (yes—I can easily admit that they can be lifesaving, but far too often antibiotic prescriptions are given out merely to appease the sick patient who mistakenly think the antibiotic is going to help him or her. As little as 400 mg of ibuprofen can disrupt the balance in the gut. Stress destroys the gut. Steroids destroy this delicate balance as well. And I’m sure there are other things I’m forgetting. I’m not sure about the other factors just listed, but I know that, even two years later, the gut has not recovered by the devastation wrought by the antibiotics.

Soluble and insoluble fiber support the growth of healthy bacteria. Exercise plays a positive role. Fermented foods such as pickles (just the real ones—not the fake ones with the common brands names) and sauerkraut continually support friendly bacteria populations.

The benefits of having a healthy bacterial flora are way too numerous to notice and these benefits play a huge role in our health and immune system. So the results of this particular article should come as no surprise and might just save your marriage.

Researchers compared patients complaining of flatulence to healthy subjects under the influence of a high-flatulogenic diet. While the abstract doesn’t exactly go into detail, I’m sure we can all imagine what type of foods this diet would contain. Anyway, here’s the details:

1. Flatuent patients recorded more abdominal symptoms (5.8 vs 0.4 on discomfort/pain score) and more gas evacuations (21.9 vs 7.4).
2. On flatulogenic diet, both groups recorded more abdominal symptoms (7.9 vs 2.8 scores) and the number of gas evacuations (44.4 vs 21.7).
3. On the flatulogenic diet, gassy patients’ bacteria were much more unstable (developed variations in the main phyla as well as a less bacterial diversity).
4. Bacteroides fragilis and Bilophila wadsworthia seemed to lead to more gas events or volume.

Now, I’m not sure who got the glorious job of record keeping in this study (most likely the new intern….), but this study suggests that a less diverse and adaptive bacterial flora is going to have a greater response to a diet that is going to lead to more gas production.

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.