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Aug

26

The Dangers Of Sucralose, Why Is It Considered Diabetic Friendly?

Is Sucralose Safe For Diabetics?With all the negative media I’ve been reading lately in regards to sucralose, it started to make me think…can sucralose really be that bad for you?

As a type 1 diabetic, lets just say I had a lot of WOW moments when deciding to research what was going into my body. If you think sucralose is safe, you may want to think again. Why they consider and promote this as safe for the diabetic community disturbs me on a lot of levels, lets take a look why!

When it comes to sucralose and diabetes, it seems like a perfect match. Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that is nearly 600 times sweeter than the ordinary (table) sugar. It contains zero calories and hence, is popular as a zero-calorie sweetener. It is widely used by diet and weight conscious people all over the world. Sucralose is sold under the brand name Splenda, which is commonly available in the market. It is also better than other artificial sweeteners as it can be used in baking. Most of the artificial sweeteners cannot be used in baking due to their instability. But, this is not the case with sucralose as it remains stable even when exposed to heat for a longer time. This additional property makes it a favored choice among other artificial sweeteners including aspartame. Also, due to its extra sweet property, it is used for making a variety of sweets and desserts like jams, jellies, candies, sweet fillings, fruits juices, etc. However, you should be aware of the negative side effects that sucralose can pose.

Sucralose And Chlorine:

One possible side effect from Splenda unrelated to allergies is the possibility of chlorine poisoning. Sucralose is one of the few artificial sweeteners that claims to be made from sugar; chlorine atoms are added. In most cases, using Splenda won’t be harmful because the amount of chlorine is so small, but constant consumption of sucralose, compounded daily, year after year can reek some major havoc on your body as your body does not fully get rid itself of what you consume.  There is also one study shows negative metabolic effects and weight gain in today’s younger population with the consumption of artificial sweeteners, you can check that out here.  

Another study shows that Sucralose vastly depletes our intestine flora as it destroys the beneficial bacteria which is a main driver for a healthy immune system.  Our stomach houses over 70 of the the cells that make up our immune system to help protect us from various disease and sickness.  

Per the study:

A randomized controlled trial was performed by Abou-Donia et al46 in 2008, in which male rats were randomly assigned to 1 of 5 groups: control, or sucralose plus maltodextran in the following doses (mg/kg/day): 1.1, 3.3, 5.5, or 11. Fecal pH and bacterial analysis were conducted weekly, and after 12 weeks half of the rats from each group were sacrificed. Small intestinal tissue was used to evaluate the effects of sucralose and maltodextran on levels of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and cytochrome P-450 (CYP450). The remainder of the animals underwent a 12 week recovery period after which further assessment of pH/bacteria/P-gp, CYP450 was performed. During the duration of the study, no diarrhea in any of the rats was observed. In terms of the effect on the microbiome, they found that the total number of anaerobes decreased significantly in all sucralose plus maltodextran groups. At the lowest dose, total anaerobes were reduced by approximately 50% compared with controls. Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, andBacteroides were significantly reduced at the lowest dose as well. Aerobic bacteria decreased significantly in all sucralose plus maltodextran groups except at the lowest dose (decreased by 51–68% of controls). The enterobacteria count was not different from the control population in any group. In the recovery period, the total anaerobes remained significantly lower in all groups, as did bifidobacteria (other specific bacteria were not significantly different from the controls). The mean fecal pH significantly increased in all sucralose plus maltodextran groups at end of 12 weeks and stayed significantly elevated in all groups except the lowest sucralose plus maltodextran group after 12 weeks of recovery. Sucralose plus maltodextran enhanced the intestinal expression of P-gp up to 2.4-fold, and increased CYP3A4 and CYP2D1 intestinal expression (though these effects were not seen in the group that received the lowest dose of sucralose plus maltodextran). In summary, sucralose plus maltodextran significantly decreased beneficial intestinal bacteria (ie, Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Bacteriodes), but had no effect on enterobacteria. Sucralose plus maltodextran also resulted in elevated fecal pH and enhanced intestinal expression of P-gp and CYP450 enzymes. Several parameters continued to differ after 12 weeks of recovery, including a decrease in the total number of anaerobes and enhanced P-gp and CYP expression.

Sucralose and Gastrointestinal Problems:

According to Vanderbilt University, about 27 percent of the sucralose in Splenda is absorbed by the body, meaning the substance will stay in the bloodstream and organs for long periods of time. This can not only potentially damage the internal organs, but also has negative gastrointestinal effects, like bloating, painful gas or diarrhea. The gas some people experience when eating foods or drinking beverages with sucralose is due to the fact that the natural bacteria that occurs in the stomach metabolizes parts of Splenda once it’s ingested to produce nitrogen gas.
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Aug

25

Blood Glucose Control and Exercise, Get Moving!

Blood Glucose Control and Exercise, Get Moving!Most of you already know that I love to exercise.  My day starts out at 4am, early yes, but its the only time that I get to myself during the day.  As a stay at home dad of 4, I consider this a small sacrifice for my sanity as well as to benefit my bottom line as a type 1 diabetic, my health!  

What makes exercise so important?  Well I think we all know the answer to that question as there are so many benefits including better control of our overall blood sugars.  There is a list of exercises you can do, but lets take a closer look at how you can exercise safely for better control!

Diabetes And Exercise:

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, diabetes and exercise should go hand in hand, at least when it comes to the management aspect of the disease. Not only can exercise can help you improve your blood sugar control, boost your overall fitness, it can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, provide more stable blood sugar readings, and help lower blood pressure ~ all risk factors that we face.

While exercise is great for us and the benefits are well documented, as diabetics it also poses some unique challenges. To exercise safely, it’s crucial to track your blood sugar before, during and after physical activity. You’ll learn how your body responds to exercise, which can help you prevent potentially dangerous blood sugar fluctuations.

Exercise And High Blood Sugars?

This was one of the biggest hurdles for me when I was first diagnosed.  My numbers would skyrocket after a workout or even during a gym session.  The issue is that exercise triggers the body to release stress hormones, like adrenaline. Adrenaline tells the liver to release glucose, or cortisol which makes you more resistant to insulin, and since strenuous activity triggers an increase in these stress hormones,  chances are (even temporarily) your blood sugars are often increased.

That being said different exercises affect us differently and we also know that we’re all very unique, and lets face it, type 1 diabetes effects everyone differently and no situations are ever the same. Our blood sugar response to exercise will also depend on our level of physical fitness and personal exertion. Generally speaking, 30-40 minutes of high intensity interval training will bring different results than an hour of running, doing the stair climber or even walking the dog so it will be important to closely monitor your blood sugars during exercise and see how these activity levels effect you.

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Aug

24

Celiac Disease And Type 1 Diabetes, Is There A Connection?

Celiac Disease And Type 1 Diabetes, Is There A Connection?So the other day I fielded a question about celiac disease and if there is a direct correlation between having celiac and type 1 diabetes.  A great question as more type 1 diabetics seem to be diagnosed with celiac disease after their type 1 diagnosis.  So what’s the deal with celiac disease?  What is it exactly and what can be done to help alleviate the symptoms?  Lets take a closer look!

 

What Is Celiac Disease:

Celiac disease is a digestive illness that occurs due to the ingestion of gluten. If you have celiac disease, your intestines cannot tolerate the presence of gliadin, which is a component of gluten. Gluten is present in wheat, barley, and rye. When a person with celiac disease eats foods with gluten, such as bread or cereal, their immune system inappropriately reacts to the ingested gluten and causes inflammation and injury to the small intestine. This results in symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, and weight loss, as well as an inability to absorb important food nutrients.

Celiac Disease And Type 1 Diabetes:

So what’s the deal when it comes to type 1 diabetes and a celiac disease diagnosis?  While there doesn’t appear to be a direct link between type 2 diabetes and celiac that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to type 1. 

Per the celiac disease foundation:

“The link between type 1 diabetes mellitus and celiac disease was first established in the 1960s. The estimated prevalence of celiac disease in patients with type 1 diabetes is approximately 8%, and about 1% in the general population. Most patients with both conditions have asymptomatic celiac disease, or symptoms that may be confused for symptoms of their diabetes. For this reason, and the significantly higher prevalence rate of celiac disease in diabetes patients, many doctors recommend getting screened for celiac disease after a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, as well as celiac patients getting screened for type 1 diabetes.

A recent study in 2013, contributed to by Dr. Peter Green, a member of Celiac Disease Foundation’s Medical Advisory Board found that there were no standard uniform practices for screening type 1 diabetes patients for celiac disease. Of the facilities in the study that did screen for celiac disease, 60% of them only did so if there were symptoms present. The authors of the study suggested that a uniform protocol for screening should be in place, as well as a need for further education on the gluten-free diet in patients with type 1 diabetes for dietitians.”(1)

The unfortunate part of this is that once you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, such as type 1 diabetes, you become prone to developing others.  As for the signs, symptoms and treatment options, lets take a look.

Symptoms Of Celiac Disease:

Celiac disease symptoms typically involve the intestines and digestive system. They can also affect other parts of the body and children as well as adults tend to have a different set of symptoms.  Those symptoms are as follows:

Celiac Disease Symptoms in Children:

Children with celiac disease can feel tired and irritable. They may also be smaller than normal and have delayed puberty. Other common symptoms include:

  • weight loss
  • vomiting
  • abdominal bloating
  • abdominal pain
  • persistent diarrhea or constipation
  • pale, fatty, foul-smelling stools

How To Diagnose Celiac Disease In Adults

Adults with celiac disease may experience digestive symptoms. In most cases, however, symptoms also affect other areas of the body. These symptoms may include:

  • iron-deficiency anemia
  • joint pain and stiffness
  • weak, brittle bones
  • fatigue
  • seizures
  • skin disorders
  • numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • tooth discoloration or loss of enamel
  • pale sores inside the mouth
  • irregular menstrual periods
  • infertility and miscarriage

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Aug

23

What Is HHNS And Why Are Type 2 Diabetics More At Risk?

What Is HHNS (Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome)?I fielded a question the other day on my Facebook page asking if I’ve ever head about a condition called HHNS or hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome.  HHNS can happen to people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes that is not being controlled properly.  What is HHNS though, and is it really similar to DKA or is it just your typical run of the mill high blood sugar?  Lets take a closer look!

 

 

What Is HHNS?

People over the age of 65 with type 2 diabetes are at greater risk of hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome (HHNS).  Even though it is possible, it is very rare in people with type 1 diabetes can develop HHNS. HHNS is a medical emergency caused by a very high blood sugar, typically over 600 mg/dL due to poor control. Your kidneys try to get rid of the extra blood sugar by putting more sugar into the urine. This makes you urinate more and you lose too much body fluid, causing dehydration.

As you lose fluids, your blood becomes thicker and your blood sugar level gets too high for the kidneys to be able to fix. With the high blood sugar and dehydration there is also an imbalance of minerals, especially sodium and potassium in the blood. The imbalance of fluids, glucose, and minerals in the body can lead to severe problems, such as brain swelling, abnormal heart rhythms, seizures, coma, or organ failure. Without rapid treatment, HHNS can cause death.

Signs & Symptoms Of HHNS?

As mentioned earlier, HHS can happen to anyone, but is more common in older individuals who have type 2 diabetes. Symptoms may begin gradually and worsen over a few days or weeks. A high blood sugar level is a warning sign of HHS. I also found it very interesting that the symptoms are very similar to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) so its extremely important to be aware and if you suspect anything out of the ordinary, its imperative that you call 911 or get yourself into your doctors office.

Symptoms include:

  • excessive thirst
  • high urine output
  • dry mouth
  • weakness
  • sleepiness
  • fever
  • warm skin that doesn’t perspire
  • nausea, vomiting
  • weight loss
  • leg cramps
  • vision loss
  • speech impairment
  • loss of muscle function
  • confusion
  • hallucinations

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Aug

22

Looking For Some Added Protein? Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds!

Looking For Some Added Protein? Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds!I’ve been fielding a lot of questions lately in regards to the health benefits of chia seeds and more importantly what are chia seeds?  Well, if your looking for a great way to boost your energy and add some protein to your diet, or boost your omega 3 intake, look no further.

Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. Salvia hispanica seed is often sold under its common name “chia” as well as several trademarked names.

Its origin is believed to be in Central America where the seed was a staple in the ancient Aztec diet. The seeds of a related plant, Salvia columbariae (golden chia), were used primarily by Native Americans in the southwestern United States.  These gems are fantastic in so many ways, what makes chia seeds so powerful?  Lets take a closer look!

Skip The Coffee And Boost Energy:

Don’t want to feel like taking an afternoon nap? Your energy levels have a lot to do with what you eat. Chia is one of nature’s highest plant-based sources of complete protein. Usually protein from items like peanut butter and some beans are incomplete, meaning you have to combine them with other foods to get the full benefit. Not Chia though, it’s protein is complete to raise your energy levels. The combination of complete protein, vitamins, minerals and blood-sugar balancing gel all work together to make sure you have steady, never jittery energy.

Chia Seeds And Weight Loss:

Chia seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber in chia absorbs water and expands to form a gel that fills you up faster, so you consume fewer calories, hence weight loss. Fiber and protein slow the digestive process so hunger isn’t triggered as quickly as with sugars, starches and other simple carbohydrates. The insoluble fiber, which does not digest, aids in preventing constipation and digestive disorders by cleaning the colon.
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Aug

19

Health Benefits Of Vitamin D3, Is There A Type 1 Connection?

Health Benefits Of Vitamin D3While you’re catching some rays this up coming summer, think about vitamin D. Sometimes its called the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight, but what about vitamin D3? Is it as simple as getting out into the sun and voila, vitamin D3!  I mean, what is vitamin D3 anyway? How much vitamin D3 should I take?

Did you know that the human skin makes vitamin D3 when exposed to ultraviolet rays of the sun? According to the National Institute of Health, some of the best food source for vitamin D3 are fish products, such as: cod liver oil, salmon, tuna, and sardines.  With that being said, lets take a closer look at how vitamin D3 can benefit you.

Vitamin D3 Benefits:

Vitamin D3 promotes calcium’s absorption and functions for teen’s and children’s healthy teeth and bones, prevents loss of bone mass, and treats bone disorders.

It protects against adult and elderly muscle weakness and immune system issues, and lowers the risk of colon, breast, and prostate cancers. Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis is improved with vitamin D3.

Vitamin D3 has been show to prevent/treat rickets, post menopausal osteoporosis. The vitamin also been show to help treat multiple sclerosis.  Something that I found extremely interesting is that they are still conducting studies (more research is definitely needed) seeing if there is a connection between lack of Vitamin D3 and the development of Type 1 diabetes.

Benefits of D3 in the elderly and fractures are still under investigation. An analysis, reported in August 2007 by the University of Ottawa Evidence-based Practice Center, showed higher doses of vitamin D3 of between 700-800 IU’s per day combined with calcium help prevent hip fractures for institutionalized elderly. The study did not include elderly living independently in the community.

Vitamin D3 And Your Immune System:

Cells of the immune system, such as macrophages, which hunt the body for dangerous pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and cancer cells, have receptor sites for vitamin D3. Research suggest that D3 may play a role in stimulating these cells to be more active in their hunt for disease-causing microbes and act as an immunity booster especially during the winter months when sunlight is more scarce. 

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Aug

18

Ketoacidosis In Diabetics, Know The Warning Signs.

Ketoacidosis In Diabetics, Know The Warning Signs.As a type 1 diabetic I am quite familiar (unfortunately) with the signs and symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis.  Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) results from dehydration, associated with high blood levels and your body starts to produce acids called ketones.  Diabetic ketoacidosis is associated with significant disturbances of the body’s chemistry, which resolve with proper therapy.

This usually occurs in people with type 1 diabetes, but DKA can develop in any person with diabetes.  Since type 1 diabetes typically starts before the age of 25, diabetic ketoacidosis is most common for this age group, but it may occur at any age with both males and females are equally affected. So is DKA something that we should be worried about? Lets take a closer look!

What Causes Ketoacidosis ?

So what’s the deal when our results come back showing ketones in urine? Circumstances arise for people with type 1 diabetes when the individual does not have enough insulin, a hormone the body uses to break down sugar (glucose) in the blood for energy. When glucose is not available to feed our cells due to high blood sugars, fat is broken down and used as fuel vs glucose and this is particularly not a good thing.  As fats are broken down, acids called ketones build up in the blood and urine.  In high levels, ketones are extremely poisonous.  This condition is known as ketoacidosis.

Blood glucose levels rise (usually higher than 300 mg/dL) because the liver makes glucose to try to combat the problem.  However, the cells cannot pull in that glucose without insulin.

DKA is often the first sign of type 1 diabetes in people who do not yet have other symptoms.  It can also occur in someone who has already been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  Infection, injury, a serious illness, missing doses of insulin, or surgery can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis in people with type 1 diabetes.

Although not common, people with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but it is rare and typically triggered by a severe illness.

What Are The Warning Signs Of DKA?

DKA usually develops slowly. But when vomiting occurs, this life-threatening condition can develop in a few hours. Early symptoms per the American Diabetes Association include the following:

  • Thirst or a very dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • High blood glucose (blood sugar) levels
  • High levels of ketones in the urine

Then, other symptoms appear:

  • Constantly feeling tired
  • Dry or flushed skin
  • Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain
    (Vomiting can be caused by many illnesses, not just ketoacidosis. If vomiting continues for more than 2 hours, contact your health care provider.)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fruity odor on breath
  • A hard time paying attention, or confusion

Any of these symptoms should immediately be discussed with your doctor and they will let you know the next course of action, including treatment options.  Speaking of treatment options, what can you expect?  Lets take a closer look.

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Aug

17

The Cost Of Fast Acting Insulin, Are There Cheaper Alternatives?

Fast Acting Insulin Side Effects As diabetics, we are all well aware of fast acting insulin and the vital role it plays when it comes to keeping us alive and upright, but for those newly diagnosed diabetics (type 1 and type 2), Insulin is secreted by the beta cells in the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, a small organ between the stomach and liver. This hormone regulates the sugar levels in the human body. When the pancreas stops secreting insulin, it results in hyperglycemia which is a common and lethal symptom of diabetes.

There are several rapid acting insulin brands, and  as a type 1 diabetic, I am extremely reliant upon fast acting insulin, Novolog in particular. When discussing a topic over on The Organic Diabetic Facebook page, we got onto the subject of all the negative side effects associated with insulin and blood sugar regulation.  So for all you newly diagnosed type 1’s, lets take a peek at some of the most dangerous side effects associated with fast acting insulin.  Also, what drives the cost of insulin and are there programs to help defer the costs?  Lets take a closer look! 

Diabetes And Insulin:

Less common, but potentially more serious, is generalized allergy to fast acting insulin, which may cause rash (including pruritus) over the whole body, shortness of breath, wheezing, reduction in blood pressure, rapid pulse, or sweating. Severe cases of generalized allergy, including anaphylactic reaction, may be life threatening. Localized reactions and generalized myalgias have been reported with the use of cresol as an injectable excipient (preservative to keep insulin potent).

Fast Acting And Hyperglycemia:

Hyperglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, or diabetic coma may develop if the patient takes less fast acting insulin than needed to control blood glucose levels. This could be due to insulin demand during illness or infection, neglect of diet, omission or improper administration of prescribed fast acting insulin doses. A developing ketoacidosis will be revealed by urine tests which show large amounts of sugar and acetone. The symptoms of polydipsia, polyurea, loss of appetite, fatigue, dry skin and deep and rapid breathing come on gradually, usually over a period of some hours or days. Severe sustained hyperglycemia may result in diabetic coma or death.

Fast Acting Insulin And Lipodystrophy

Long-term use of fast acting insulin, can cause lipodystrophy at the site of repeated insulin injections or infusion. Lipodystrophy includes lipohypertrophy (thickening of adipose tissue) and lipoatrophy (thinning of adipose tissue), and may affect insulin absorption. Its extremely important to rotate insulin injection or infusion sites within the same region to reduce the risk of lipodystrophy.
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Aug

16

Insulin Basics: What Is Insulin & Stop With Cinnamon Claims.

Insulin Basics: What Is Insulin?

Over the past couple of days, we’ve been discussing several diabetes related topics but what about one of the most important ones, especially when it comes to keeping us type 1 diabetics alive. No I’m not talking about okra, some exotic fruit, cinnamon, or essential oil I’m talking about insulin! 

For those of you who make these claims (especially about okra and cinnamon) in regards to treating or as many of you like to say “cure” type 1 diabetes, you really need to stop. Over the past year I’ve been getting bombarded with sales pitches and I’m honestly tired of it. Cinnamon is a great antioxidant and comes with some fantastic health benefits but when it comes to type 1 diabetes, don’t you think if it was that easy, it would be mainstream information and the millions of us that battle with this disease day in and day out would avoid the BS that we deal with daily?  

Or perhaps the miracle lies within the specially formulated product you are trying to sell me? Its utterly ridiculous, and the fact that you know nothing about the disease itself or how it works, you need to take a step back and take your products with you.

I mean, you realize that you produce insulin naturally, its a normal human bodily function.  What makes you think that okra, cinnamon, or your essential oil is going to magically wake up my dead beta cells (these are the cells that actually produce insulin, feel free to google, its a fascinating read).  Perhaps your cinnamon, shake or oil defies all science and type 1 diabetes research?  

Or perhaps you have magic okra that you purchased from the same person who sold Jack his beanstalk beans? Perhaps the laws of physics cease to exist in your potent concoction? Either way you need to stop before you seriously put someone in a very bad predicament.

Now I can only talk about type 1 diabetes as this is what I  eat, breath and live with daily. With type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks part of its own pancreas. Scientists are not sure why, but the immune system mistakenly sees the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as foreign, and destroys them. This attack is known as autoimmune disease.

Insulin is vital for survival because without it, simply put, life would cease to exist (including yours).  So what is insulin and why is it so important for type 1 diabetics, lets take a look!

What Is Insulin?

So the most basic question, what is insulin? When you digest food, your body changes most of the food you eat into glucose (a form of sugar). Insulin allows this glucose to enter all the cells of your body and be used as energy. When you have diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin (zero in the case of type 1, unless your in your honeymoon phase) or can’t use it properly, so the glucose builds up in your blood instead of moving into the cells. Too much glucose in the blood can lead to serious health problems.

All people who have type 1 and some people who have type 2 diabetes need to take insulin to help control their blood sugar levels. The goal is to keep your blood sugar level in a normal range as much as possible so you’ll stay healthy. Insulin can’t be taken by mouth. It is usually taken with injections (shots). It can also be taken with an pre filled syringe or an insulin pump.

Types Of Insulin:

Manufactured insulin comes in several types that differ in the way in which they act inside the body. Each type differs in three ways:

  • Onset: The length of time after injection that the insulin begins to work
  • Peak: the length of time after injection that the insulin takes to reach its maximum effectiveness
  • Duration: the length of time in which it remains effective

The four basic types and their respective onset, peak and duration are as follows:

  • Rapid Acting: begins to work after 15 minutes, peaks in 30 to 90 minutes, and has a duration of three to four hours.
  • Short Acting: begins to work in 30 to 60 minutes, peaks in two to three hours, and has a duration of three to six hours.
  • Intermediate Acting: begins to work in 90 minutes to six hours, peaks in four to 14 hours, and has a duration of up to 24 hours.
  • Long Acting: begins to work in six to 14 hours and remains effective for 24 to 36 hours.

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Aug

15

The Health Benefits Of Probiotics For Diabetics

The Health Benefits Of Probiotics For Diabetics

Ok, so there I was researching some information the other day for a particular blog post, and I came across an article pertaining to probiotics.  The fact that I’m not great at multi-tasking, I was immediately side tracked and became submerged in the world of probiotics an all their amazing health benefits.  So what are these little gems all about?  How do we go about getting them in our diet?  What about other alternatives to increasing the amount that we get?  Lets take a closer look! 

 

Well, first off, what are probiotics? Probiotics are microorganisms—such as bacteria, viruses and yeasts—that can be seen only under a microscope and that are often referred to as “healthy” or “good” bacteria.  According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and defined by the World Health Organization, probiotics are “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”.   The benefits of incorporating probiotics into one’s diet have been widely speculated, as little evidence exists to support the long-term health benefits.  Despite the lack of formal evidence, the probiotic trend has swept the health and diet industries for their potential cleansing benefits, immune boosting powers and nutritional value.

Benefits Of Probiotics:

Probiotics are believed to protect us in two ways.  The first is the role is how probiotics play in our digestive tract. We know that our digestive tract needs a healthy balance between the good and bad bacteria, so what gets in the way of this?  It looks like our lifestyle is both the problem and the solution.  Foods high in probiotics (Kombucha, Kefir, pickles, tempeh, just to name a few)  are an amazing way to start getting more into your system, but poor food choices, emotional stress, lack of sleep, antibiotic overuse, other drugs, and environmental influences can all shift the balance in favor of the bad bacteria.

When the digestive tract is healthy, it filters out and eliminates things that can damage it, such as harmful bacteria, toxins, chemicals, and other waste products.  On the flip side, it takes in the things that our body needs (nutrients from food and water) and absorbs and helps deliver them to the cells where they are needed.

The idea is not to kill off all of the bad bacteria.  Our body does have a need for the bad ones and the good ones.  The problem is when the balance is shifted to have more bad than good.  An imbalance has been associated with diarrhea, urinary tract infections, muscle pain, and fatigue.

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