Good Little Gut Monsters: Probiotics, Sanity & Babies

Human digestive systems can’t process plants. Who knew? Apparently health coach Alyson Roux and my friend Simon knew. So maybe you knew too! I just found out when I took a nutrition workshop with Alyson. She taught us that our good gut bacteria (probiotics) actually break down plants for us. What nice little monsters!

PLANT DIGESTION & ALLERGIES

15.2.22 TheWholeRuth Spinach Heart

That means that the less nice little monsters we have, the harder it is to process plant foods. I wonder if that’s the reason people have allergies to soybeans, wheat, peanuts, almonds and other plant-foods. I have allergic reactions to those foods and my tummy also doesn’t like it when I eat garbanzo beans (or chickpeas, depending on where you’re reading this). I wonder if this is one of the reasons why nutritionists can minimize people’s allergies. Is it because the nutritionists know how to rebalance the amount of good bacteria in a person’s intestines, which enables the person to digest these foods better?

MEANINGFUL FARTS

Also, I have noticed for years that I will fart if I have certain greens or broccoli, but only when I’m eating poorly. I used to think farts were nothing but hilarious things. Now I know they’re my body telling me something important, in a hilarious way. Farting is a sign my body is having trouble processing something I ate. I’ve heard friends say they won’t eat certain healthy foods because those foods give them gas. I always wanted to tell them that if they didn’t eat other unhealthy things, I think their bodies would not get gas from the healthy foods, based on my own experience. But that seemed weird so I never said it. Plus, it’s hard to quickly define “healthy” because it is different for each person and depends on the present strength of his or her immune system.

FEED THE MONSTERS

Here comes the good part. Alyson taught us that garlic and onion feed the good gut bacteria! They are called prebiotics that are fiber/carbohydrates that probiotics eat. You can feed your monsters! There are lots of foods that are prebiotics and they can be cooked or raw, although raw is better. But feeding them is only part of the good part.

MONSTA KILLAS

The Whole Ruth EAT ME Cupcake March 2014

The other half is: Sugar and vinegar kill them. That sounds like a bad part, but it clarified my fart hunch! When I was eating unhealthy foods that were packed with sugar or refined carbohydrates that break down as sugar, I was killing my good bacteria and it really was harder for me to process nutritious plant-food. Holy crap!

As for vinegar, it is in most of the fermented food I usually buy (tapenade, olives, pickles), so I’m not getting good bacteria from them either. Raw apple cider vinegar is good though, because it’s actually a prebiotic! It’s made from apples that contain the fiber pectin, which is the part of the vinegar that gives it its prebiotic quality. And I eat raw apple cider vinegar almost everyday, so it felt good to learn that it’s a food that feeds my little monsters.

Turns out that the only little monster I’ve been eating, that is a true probiotic with no vinegar or sugar, is raw, fermented sauerkraut from Trader Joes. It’s delicious. I think it’s important to say that the sugar and vinegar truly aren’t needed for a probiotic food to be tasty.

WHY DO WE HAVE TO KEEP EATING PROBIOTICS? WHERE DO THEY GO?

Since we are constantly eating things that destroy probiotics, it makes sense that we have to keep eating more probiotics.

That seems annoying. But when it comes to taking care of our bodies in the most healing way, I’m learning that it’s a life-long, slow task. When I think about healing from food, I don’t think, “I ate once last week. I don’t know why I’m not feeling better yet.” It’s sort of like building a brick house. It’s a repetitive task and you can’t just set down one brick and be done, or lay them all down at once. You have to let the mortar dry before you add another layer. Building a strong food foundation is slow, but the time lets the change settle in. I love eating! And I like that we need to do it regularly. I’m not annoyed about that. So once eating probiotics becomes habitual, I’m sure having another beneficial food to eat won’t be annoying either.

Damage isn’t the only reason we need to keep replenishing. Those little monsters get old just like us and aren’t as strong. So we need to keep adding spry, young fellows to do the heavy lifting.

HOW IS GOOD BACTERIA MADE?

13.9.27 TheWholeRuth Green Olive Curing

A girl in our workshop was curious how something fermented could even be made with out putting vinegar in it. All I knew was that I was shocked when I had recently looked up how to make sauerkraut and the ingredients were only cabbage, salt, and water! But I didn’t know how that would answer the question of why it worked without using vinegar, which is already fermented, to start the fermentation process. Alyson explained it so simply: Everything has bacteria on it. Letting any plant-food sit in water would make it start to ferment, essentially start to rot. Bacteria would start to grow, but it would be bad bacteria. Adding salt regulates the bacteria growth so that just helpful, healthy bacteria grow instead.

She says it’s good to eat a probiotic each day and explained some more things about probiotics. I thought they were anything raw and fermented. But they need to be lacto-fermented and not yeast-fermented. I just looked up lacto-fermentation and it means anything that is fermented with water and salt! It all makes sense now. Alyson Tip: Beer and kombucha are yeast-fermented, but kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, and many other veggies are lacto-fermented.

So if you are in love with curing your own olives like my Dad and I, and like some of our dear Hollywood Orchard friends, you can cure them in salt and water like usual, and flavor them with raw apple cider vinegar if you want your hard-earned, naturally-cultivated, good-little bacteria monsters to stay alive and help you do the same. (Then of course you can add more flavors with whatever you want! Garlic, dill, lemon, whatever fluffs your muffins!)

CAN’T I JUST TAKE A PILL?

What about probiotic pills? Can’t I just put that into my biggest face hole? Sure, if you need to have a lot of probiotics in a short period of time. If not, I think getting them from food is better. There are many different strains of probiotics and more are being discovered regularly. I don’t know how many strains of probiotics are in lacto-fermented food vs. pills or how to find out. Also every pill brand has different amounts of strains. Health coach Wendy Myers says that the best probiotic pills have about 3-7 strands of probiotics in them. Any more than that and the pill will be too crammed with different types to have enough of any of the types to be effective.

She says to aim to buy brands with 10 billion CFU for each strain. That’s how many are in the bottle when they are packaged, but it usually gets down to the millions by the time it’s eaten because many die off in the heat and moisture of shipping and the time on the shelf. The goal is to have about 100 billion per milliliter in our colons to be healthy. The average american has four. Four per milliliter. Ha! Math is not my forte, but this one is easy. I know that $100 billion dollars is so very different than $four.

Look for them in a refrigerated area of your nearest health food or hippie grocery store. It’s possible for some for them to not be refrigerated and live if they are in Sporogenes form, but I don’t know what that means. It seems easier, if you are starting out, to only buy refrigerated probiotics. Either way, follow the storage instructions on the package. You’ll want to take good care of the little monsters, they’re alive!

EXPLAINING GOD |  FOOD VS. PILLS

13.6.13 TheWholeRuth Garden Squash Banana Peppers

Why do I think that getting probiotics from food is better? I’m a big believer in eating whole foods the way God made them. If you don’t believe in God, then eating whole foods the way the ground made them. My nutritionist in 2009, Dr. Thropay, taught me that my body more easily understands how to absorb nutrients from whole, organic food than from synthetic material. That makes sense to me because our bodies have had thousands of years of practicing converting food into nutrients. And because I pee neon yellow when I have vitamins and not when I eat food. Also, I think God did a good job making his nutrient packages already. And his taste better. And they’re pretty. And they’re free if you have a garden. And there’s less packaging waste and no capsules made of silicon. I also like the idea that God gave us what we need already, that it’s not such a mystery. He made us smart enough to invent delicious, delicious, deliciously maddening Samoa Girl Scout Cookies. But he also made us smart enough to eventually notice when our inventions hurt us. And to look around and use what heals us.

Those are all just my opinions and idealistic hopes, but receiving nutrients like our forefathers did truly does seem to help in ways we can’t yet completely explain with science. I asked nutritionist Rebecca Brenner, PhD, about this a while back and love her answer. She said that with all of the research humans have done and are continuing to do, we still don’t know exactly how a tomato works. For example, scientists noticed that people who ate more tomatoes had less cancer. So they studied tomatoes and figured out that it’s the lycopene in tomatoes that fights cancer. So they made a lycopene pill. After it was on the market for a while, they also learned that taking too many lycopene pills… wait for it… can give you cancer. Ha! (Cancer is not funny.) Until scientists can recreate everything that happens to you and the tomato as you are eating it, it’s best to choose the food over the pill.

Food benefits us over pills in some ways that we can explain with science too. For random example, the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University says that when we chew or chop kale, the enzymes in the kale trigger the hydrolysis of glucosinolates that help prevent cancer by more rapidly removing carcinogens in the body before they can damage DNA and before they can let normal cells change into cancer cells. So whoever has to chop the kale for dinner is getting a lil’ extra sumthin’ sumthin’ just by chopping!

I hope this helps you understand how, right now, the intricacies of food are really impossible to understand.

WHAT ABOUT YOGURT?

TheWholeRuth Yogurt

What about yogurt? Or kefir? Are those good probiotics? Miss Roux taught us that about 70% of American adults are allergic to dairy and when looking at only Asian and African American populations, it’s about 90%. I know that probably sounds like an over estimate, but many Americans live with symptoms that aren’t thought of as allergies, but actually can be mild allergic reactions to food: heartburn, eczema, mucus production, wheezing, coughing, acne, PMS, bloating, gas, certain cysts, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), to name a few. So looking for probiotics that are non-dairy is important for a lot of the population. But everyone is different and the most important thing is to be observant about how your body responds to certain foods and honest with yourself about what you notice.

I am allergic to milk protein and can’t even have raw milk. People who have lactose intolerance are allergic to milk sugar and it’s been shown that some of them can process raw milk well. Not cooking the milk keeps the enzymes alive that help baby cows digest the milk and those same enzymes help some humans digest it. Some people make homemade kefir out of raw milk and that has helped their good gut bacteria grow too.

After a traumatic life event, Shane’s sister developed a severe wheat allergy, where she would throw-up if she ate gluten or other food that had even touched gluten. A few years later, she drank homemade kefir for a few months and also became pregnant (not from the kefir, don’t worry) and now she can eat wheat again in small amounts. I think it was the combination of the probiotics and her immune system strengthening from the pregnancy. And her stress level also lessened, which assisted in her healing too.

Another lovely fact Alyson shared is that when our body is in Fight or Flight mode, we can’t absorb as many nutrients.

If you do go for a dairy probiotic, make sure it is in raw form, meaning it hasn’t been pasteurized. When it’s pasteurized, the good bacteria die from the heat and then good bacteria is added back into it. Again, this is fine, but having the most natural, fresh little monsters is more effective. Kefir made at home from kefir grains and raw milk is best because even the kefir in the store is usually pasteurized. Health coach Wendy Myers says, “We used to get beneficial bacteria from raw dairy products delivered straight from the farm — before pasteurization. We also got bacteria from our fruits and vegetables before we decided we had to sanitize them prior to eating. Our obsession with sterilization is wreaking havoc in our guts.”

Kefir can also be made from kefir grains and coconut or rice milk!

Kefir grains are alive so they can’t be manufactured, they have to come from existing kefir grains. Just like us, or puppies. A store can’t build puppies; they have to come from a puppy mama. You can order them online or get them from your healthy hippie friend who already has some and is willing to share. Then your friend will replenish their stash over time as the kefir mamas make more puppies.

WHAT REALLY IS A PROBIOTIC ANYWAY?

13.9.1 TheWholeRuth Hoost Window Shopping Female Body

Probiotic means pro-life. They are bacteria and yeasts that are alive and keep humans healthy. Also, my Word program keeps telling me that probiotic isn’t a word. I think that shows how much, as a society, we are still learning about what probiotics are and why we should care about them. I’d also like to mention that they are found in our bodies naturally, not just in food. That makes me feel less alone inside. Sorry if that joke upsets you.

The National Institutes of Health did a study in 2012 revealing the ratio of human cells to bacteria cells in our bodies. “The human body contains trillions of microorganisms- outnumbering human cells by 10 to 1. Because of their small size, however, microorganisms make up only about 1 to 3 percent of the body’s mass (in a 200 pound adult, that’s 2 to 6 pounds of bacteria), but play a vital role in human health.”

In an article by Mary Jo DiLonardo reviewed by David Kiefer, MD, Mary states that probiotics “move food through your gut… Some common conditions they treat are: Irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and infectious diarrhea (caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites)… There is also some research to show that they ease the symptoms of non-stomach related problems. For example… skin conditions, like eczema, urinary and vaginal health, oral health and preventing allergies and colds.”

Other than doing all of those amazing things and letting us process plant-foods, which help us fight off cancer, keep our blood thin, keep our cholesterol low, give us good poops, and a slew of nutrients, among so many other positive things, new studies show that good little gut monsters keep us sane.

THE MONSTERS MAKE US SANE

14.5.22 TheWholeRuth Patti Beachwood Cafe Good Mood

My mom suffers from bi-polar disease and I am pretty good at getting down in the dumps myself, so this idea is especially fascinating to me. In 2013, a UCLA study revealed that women who consumed probiotics on a regular basis demonstrated altered brain function while they were resting and when given emotion-recognition tasks. The study, which appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Gastroenterology, was done at the Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress, part of the UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases, and the Ahmanson–Lovelace Brain Mapping Center at UCLA. (Shane says that’s his favorite brain-mapping center.)

Our society is very comfortable with the idea that if someone is stressed, they can get a stomach ulcer. But we rarely think of the opposite, of our gut affecting our mental wellbeing. Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, lead author of the study and an associate professor of medicine in the digestive diseases division at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine says, “Our study shows that the gut–brain connection is a two-way street.”

“There are studies showing that what we eat can alter the composition and products of the gut flora — in particular, that people with high-vegetable, fiber-based diets have a different composition of their microbiota, or gut environment, than people who eat the more typical Western diet that is high in fat and carbohydrates… Now we know that this has an effect not only on the metabolism but also affects brain function,” said Dr. Emeran Mayer, a professor of medicine (digestive diseases), physiology and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the study’s senior author.

Another study done at Oxford University that was published in the journal Psychopharmacology in December of 2014 also showed that gut bacteria affect mental health.

One of the tests revealed that participants who had taken prebiotics gave less attention to negative information and more attention to positive information, compared to the participants who received the placebo. This proposes the idea that people consuming probiotics could potentially react more calmly in negative situations, in the same way that people who are on antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications react to negative stimuli.

STRESSED OUT SPIT

TheWholeRuth InTheMorning

Another intriguing change happened in the group that took prebiotics regarding their cortisol levels. Cortisol is a glucocorticoid, a steroid hormone, released in response to physical or emotional stress and in natural cycles that often follow circadian rhythms.

I only knew that it creates belly fat when we’re stressed. But it also helps us start the day by rising its levels in the morning and slowly lowering its levels until it reaches its lowest between 3:00-4:00pm. Maybe it’s my specific cortisol levels that are what make me feel stressed when I wake up and want to take a siesta at siesta time.

When cortisol is released during stressful times, it shuts down a lot of our other bodily functions, majorly important ones, including our reproductive system, our thyroid production and our immune system. Cortisol shuts them down so we can focus on the stress at hand. In caveman times, that was probably great for fleeing from tusked cats. In present day times, we are usually under a lot of stress while simultaneously being sedentary: freaking out about traffic, freaking out on hold on the phone, freaking out because computers make us freak out.

And when we keep ourselves in a state of stress for too long, our helpful cortisol can overproduce making our reproductive system or thyroid glands or immune systems sick. It can also under produce making us lethargic, or produce at the wrong times, which can make us awake at night and sleepy in the day. When the UCLA study prebiotic group woke up in the morning, they had lower cortisol levels in their saliva. For people who are overproducing, this could be a very good thing.

Also, who knew we had stress hormones in our saliva?!?

When I go to acupuncture, the acupuncturists always look at my tongue for a long time. Probably just cause it’s pretty. Ha, no! But I still don’t know why completely. They’ve told me that if it’s quivering, I may be consuming too much caffeine or be anxious. If it has ridges, I may be dehydrated which is making my teeth leave an imprint on my tongue. And if it’s coated, that means something important, but I can’t remember what it is. I wonder if my stress hormones affect the way my tongue looks too.

Or if it affects the way I taste. Not how things taste to me… But how I taste to Shane. Maybe this is why our breath can smell bad in the morning. “You have cortisol breath.”

I wonder other things too…

HOW DO GOOD LITTLE GUT MONSTERS AFFECT MY GOOD LITTLE MAMA?

14.12.4 TheWholeRuth Skinny Mama 2 year bday

First, as a kid and an adult, mama ate like a bird and I wonder if her good gut bacteria levels have always been low, and if that started contributing to her condition decades ago.

Second, when Mama is manic or on medications that make her manic, her blood sugar goes up. It got so high in 2009 that she was one point away from getting diabetes. We took her off that medicine, not just because of the high blood sugar, but because it was letting her stay manic. We also changed her diet and because of the two changes, her blood sugar is healthy now. But it still rises if she gets manic on her own or takes a new medicine that pushes her into mania. Many bi-polar medications are known to give patients diabetes. So here’s my wonder: If her blood sugar gets so high, does that sugar kill her good bacteria? Are we giving her medicine to lift her out of depression that is actually contributing to keeping her there?

Third, Mama’s doctors have said repeatedly that she has a chemical imbalance. The two chemicals they say are imbalanced are serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and a hormone, derived from tryptophan. “Of the approximately 40 million brain cells, most are influenced either directly or indirectly by serotonin. This includes brain cells related to mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some social behavior,” says Collette Bouchez in a WebMD feature. Mom said, “Ha! That’s EVERYTHING.” Also the WebMD feature was reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD. I trust anyone named Brunilda.

The doctors only talk about serotonin being in her brain. And it is, but health coach Wendy Myers says, “95% of [serotonin] is produced in the gut and dependent upon good intestinal health.” Brunilda says it too. Well, she and Collette say, “90% of our serotonin supply is found in the digestive tract and in blood platelets.” I wonder if the probiotics help serotonin thrive and balance, and if that has anything to do with why scientists are discovering that there is a gut-brain connection.

Medical News Today writer, James Macintosh, states that the serotonin used in the brain must be made in the brain. But Joel C. Bornstein, from the Department of Physiology at the University of Melbourne in Australia, says the opposite. In an article for the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine, Bornstein states, “There are both neural and mucosal sources of serotonin within the gut.” He also shares that the role of gut serotonin “remains enigmatic and requires further study, especially as this is the source for all circulating serotonin.”

So I don’t have answers to any of those wonders. And as far as I can understand, science is still wondering too.

VEGAN QUESTION

I have another wonder. For my vegan friends! Since y’all don’t eat anything made from animal products, even honey, can y’all eat probiotics? They’re alive. But they’re already inside you too. And if you don’t feed them, isn’t that like animal cruelty? I’m only sort of kidding. I honestly don’t know which way a vegan-hearted person would lean. But, since know we know there is bacteria on everything, even fruits and veggies, maybe eating probiotics is just fine.

MONSTA KILLAS THE SEQUEL: ANTIBIOTICS

15.5.5 TheWholeRuth Antibiotics

Rachel Champeau, a writer for UCLA Newsroom, is wondering about something else. In response to the UCLA study showing a link between probiotics and brain function, she said, “By demonstrating the brain effects of probiotics, the study also raises the question of whether repeated courses of antibiotics can affect the brain, as some have speculated.”

Antibiotics kill bad bacteria, but they also kill good bacteria. Also, my Word program is fine with the word antibiotics. That says a lot. Americans are used to the pattern of taking an antibiotic for a week or so when we’re sick. It’d be so good for us to get used to taking a round of antibiotics with a round of probiotics afterwards. Right now we’re only accustomed to half of the treatment and that treatment leaves us missing our good little monsters!

Also we are over-prescribed antibiotics, which is bad for many reasons, not just killing our good bacteria. I’ll only list one reason so I don’t get off track, but also so it doesn’t look like I’m saying that for fun. Even though that’s not fun to say. One reason: There hasn’t been a new antibiotic discovered for 40 years so while our antibiotics stay the same, the bacteria that make us sick are evolving so that the antibiotics we have are less effective.

Sanjay Gupta, MD, wishes patients were more involved in the decision of whether or not to take antibiotics. He invited patients to play a larger role in their health by asking, “Next time a doctor gives you an antibiotic, ask yourself, do I really need it?” Sometimes, we need them. But I think if people knew that we didn’t need them as often as they are being prescribed, if they knew that repeated exposure to the same antibiotics strengthens bad bacteria, if they knew how beneficial probiotics are and how much work it takes to build them up, they would reach less quickly for antibiotics every time.

HE’S A TALL GLASS OF ANTIBIOTICS

15.3.5 TheWholeRuth Mason Jar Water

What if you never take antibiotics? I think it’s relevant to say that antibiotics are in our drinking water supply so there is a possibility that, overtime, they are adding up in our bodies. Harvard Health says, “It’s possible that there’s a cumulative effect on people from even tiny amounts of these and other pharmaceuticals in drinking water, but this hasn’t been proven… In contrast to the uncertainty about human health effects, there’s quite a bit of evidence for pharmaceuticals in the water affecting aquatic life, particularly fish.” I think that since it’s affecting fish, it’s affecting us too, only more slowly.

I also wonder if it hasn’t been proven to affect humans because there have been studies showing it is safe or because there just haven’t been any studies.

Non-organic meat also has antibiotics in it that were given to the animal to keep it from getting sick in its over-crowded, confined living space. Cows are also given antibiotics because instead of being fed grass that they naturally eat, they are fed corn that they can not digest which makes them sick. So even if we aren’t taking antibiotic prescriptions, many of us are still ingesting antibiotics in trace amounts in our water and larger amounts in our meat.

MONSTA KILLAS: UNCUT

There are other things that destroy beneficial bacteria. Health coach Wendy Myers lists stress, PH imbalance leaning toward acidity, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen, chlorine, overuse of antibiotic herbs, low iron, cancer treatments, alcohol, cigarettes and constipation, because the longer the poo sits in you, the longer the bad bacteria can multiply. But I want to focus on antibiotics just a bit more.

LITTLE MONSTERS FOR KIDS

What if you currently don’t take antibiotics, but did a lot as a kid? In her UCLA Newsroom article, Rachel Champeau said, “Antibiotics are used extensively in neonatal intensive care units and in childhood respiratory tract infections, and such suppression of the normal microbiota may have long-term consequences on brain development.”

I was one of those children who took antibiotics every month. And look how my brain developed. I CAN’T STOP WRITING PARAGRAPHS IN THIS THE LONGEST BLOG POST AND I’M OBSESSED WITH LITTLE ANIMALS INSIDE MY TUMMY TALKING TO MY BRAIN.

I was a colicky baby and as a kid, I tested as allergic to milk. I would get ear infections regularly because I always wanted cheese anyway. My cousins would sneak me grated cheese as Nana was making enchiladas. I would trade my bag lunch for the grossest rectangular gray sausage pizza with cheese that seemed like it was made out of an old airplane’s soul. Whatever that means. But I loved it. (Shane just brought up that he always saw kids trade their bag lunch for school lunch, but who were those kids that wanted a bag lunch instead of pizza? “I have this soggy PB&J with carrots, do you want that instead of your delicious pizza?” “You said it’s soggy, right? Sold.”) Also, each month, I would read all five books assigned for the Book It Club and mom would feel bad if I didn’t receive my award: a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. It takes about 30 days to get rid of an ear infection, which is how long it takes to read five more books… So I was on antibiotics often. Maybe this contributed to my allergies later in life.

14.3.29 TheWholeRuth Little Caesars Pizza

 BABY FORMULA: IT’S ALIIIIIIVE!!!

Is this why babies on formula have more allergies? Most formulas are made of cow dairy and soy, which are some of the most common allergens (that’s why the back of food labels often say “Made in a facility that processes dairy and soy”). Since the dairy is pasteurized, cooking out the enzymes that help baby cows process their mother’s milk, won’t it be harder for the human baby, who also doesn’t have the right enzymes to digest it? More importantly, what if formula doesn’t have probiotics in it? How will babies drinking formula have good odds to process the dairy and soy (a plant food) with comfort? And how will they start to build up their good gut bacteria to process plant foods later?

Breast milk has powerful probiotics in it that get a baby’s gut bacteria going. Even though we all have probiotics in us naturally, maybe it’s the lack of extra probiotics and prebiotics in most formulas that makes it harder for babies later in life. If so, why don’t we add those to formula? Or, in the same way that we should include probiotic treatment in tandem with antibiotic prescriptions, why don’t doctors tell parents to focus on their baby’s gut health after they get off of the formula?

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that without a balance of good bacteria, the baby’s bad bacteria “could cause infections and inflammation.” Inflammation sounds like a harmless thing, but it makes it harder for their digestive systems to break down food, which can cause vomiting, heartburn, and colic. Inflammation is also the beginning of many diseases. If left as a chronic condition, it can cause heart disease, gum disease, some cancers, rheumatoid arthritis and many other problems. I know the baby wouldn’t be a baby anymore by the time those things happened, but I’m just saying inflammation is something that needs more than ice.

The good news is… Drum rrrrrrrollllllll….. it turns out that there are many baby formulas with probiotics in them! And some companies make probiotics that can be added to formula. Yay! I just didn’t know that as I started writing this. And for us adult-babies, after all this, it seems like there are many probiotic options out there for us too! Yay, everybaby!

14.3.7 TheWholeRuth Bright Baby

SO,YEAH!

I feel the sauerkraut kicking in. I feel very mentally good and calm about all of this. I’m going to stop writing all of the paragraphs now. Instead, I’ll go sanely talk to God, or to the ground, and say “Thank you for my good little monsters.”


 SOURCES

Probiotics:

Mary Jo DiLonardo, reviewed by David Kiefer, MD. “What are Probiotics?” December 24, 2014. WebMD. Retrieved March 5 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/what-are-probiotics

Alexander, Rhonda, MS, MA, CFT. “Is Apple Cider Vinegar a Probiotic?” Live Strong. Dec 18, 2013. Retrieved March 5 2015 from http://www.livestrong.com/article/508833-is-apple-cider-vinegar-a-probiotic/

Myers, Wendy. “Probiotics- The Foundation of Health.” Live to 110. February 9, 2015. Retrieved March 5 2015 from http://liveto110.com/probiotics-the-foundation-of-health/

Myhill, Sarah, MB, BS. “Probiotics – we should all be taking these all the time and double the dose following antibiotics and gastroenteritis” Dr.Myhil.co.uk. Last modified on 5 March 2015, at 14:02. Retrieved March 5 2015 from http://drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/Probiotics_-_we_should_all_be_taking_these_all_the_time_and_double_the_dose_following_antibiotics_and_gastroenteritis

Madden, Michelle. “Are You Pro-Life” The Sweet Beet. December 15, 2010. Retrieved March 5 2015 from http://www.thesweetbeet.com/probiotics/

Probiotics & the Brain:

Champeau, Rachel. Changing Gut Bacteria Through Diet Affects Brain Function, UCLA Study Shows. May 28, 2013. Retrieved March 5 2015 from http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/changing-gut-bacteria-through-245617

Probiotics in Baby Formula:

American Academy of Pediatrics. Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. Copyright 2009, Updated July, 9, 2014. Retrieved March 5 2015 from http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Probiotics-in-Formulas.aspx

Serotonin:

Myers, Wendy. “Probiotics- The Foundation of Health.” Live to 110. February 9, 2015. Retrieved March 5 2015 from http://liveto110.com/probiotics-the-foundation-of-health/

Bouchez, Collette reviewed by Nazario, Brunilda, MD. “Serotonin: 9 Questions and Answers” Web MD. October 12, 2011. Retrieved March 5 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/serotonin

serotonin. (n.d.) Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. (2003). Retrieved March 5 2015 from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/serotonin

Bornstein, Joel. “Serotonin in the Gut: What Does It Do?” PubMed Central at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine. February 6, 2012. Retrieved March 5 2015 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3272651/

Macintosh, James. “What is serotonin? What does serotonin do?” Medical News Today. February 12, 2015. Retrieved March 5 2015 from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/232248.php

Cortisol:

Bennington, Vanessa, NP. “The Ups and Downs of Cortisol: What You Need to Know” Breaking Muscle. Retrieved March 5 2015 from http://breakingmuscle.com/health-medicine/the-ups-and-downs-of-cortisol-what-you-need-to-know

Inflammation:

Nordqvist, Christian. “What is Inflammation? What Causes Inflammation?” Medical News Today. February 12, 2015. Retrieved March 5 2015 from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php

Antibiotics in Water:

Curfman, Gregory, MD, Editor in Chief. “Drugs in the Water” Harvard Health Publications. June 1, 2011. Retrieved March 5 2015 from http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/drugs-in-the-water

Antibiotics in Meat:

Pollan, Michael. PBS’s Frontline Modern Meat Interview: Michael Pollan. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/meat/interviews/pollan.html

Environmental Working Group. Decoding Meat + Dairy Labels. 2011. http://www.ewg.org/meateatersguide/decoding-meat-dairy-product-labels/

Cruciferous Vegetables Fight Cancer:

Hidgon, Jane, Ph.D., “Cruciferous Vegetables” Linus Pauling Institute
Oregon State University. July 2005. Updated December 2008 by
Victoria J. Drake, Ph.D. Reviewed December 2008 by David E. Williams, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator, Linus Pauling Institute
Professor, Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology
Oregon State University. Retrieved March 5 2015 from http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/foods/cruciferous/

Personal Interviews:

Roux, Alyson, Certified Health Coach. Nutrition workshop. February 15, 2015. www.AlysonRoux.com

Thropay, Adam D., DC. Nutrition appointment. 2009. www.athropay4health.com

Brenner, Rebecca, Ph.D. Phone conversation. 2009. www.RebeccaBrenner.com

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9 thoughts on “Good Little Gut Monsters: Probiotics, Sanity & Babies

  1. Holy Moly!! This is the most powerfully written, helpful, and hilarious health article I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. So well researched yet so acutely personal, so ridiculously funny yet so damn serious. I’ve never read anything like this before, it has me totally rethinking my eating patterns and re-appreciating the relationship between gut, mind, and maw. A must read for everyone who eats food.

    Like

  2. Claus, I had to look up “maw.” OooOOooOOO, great word! Thank you for being you! For anyone else who doesn’t know what maw means, other than being the second half after MEE on my sweet neighbors license plate growing up…
    maw: noun
    the jaws or throat of a voracious animal.
    “a gigantic wolfhound with a fearful, gaping maw”
    or
    the mouth or gullet of a greedy person.
    “I was cramming large pieces of toast and cheese down my maw”
    synonyms: mouth, jaws, muzzle;

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    1. You reading this means the world to me! Thank you Jeison! And thank you for writing and for your kindness, insight, and hilariousness 🙂 I’m tickled pink to be dubbed a good little monster! And thanks for the link with great info about how humor is seriously good for us!

      Like

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