Equilibria
Leave this field empty

Tag Search: Crohn's disease

Page 1  

Do Probiotics Work?

Posted: Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 10:22:50 AM EST by Alyssa Tait

A (Greatly Truncated) Response to the Question of Whether Probiotics are Overrated

Probiotics: myth or miracle?

It’s the kind of grab-your-attention, oversimplified, dichotomized headline we are used to in the media. But, I was grateful to be asked for my opinion on an article of this name:

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/nov/30/probiotics-myth-or-miracle-prebiotics

So here is the quick 10-minute version of my opinion on this, straight from my Facebook response.

This article is better than I expected from the headline - at least they correctly cited some conditions there is evidence for treating with probiotics, such as IBD and traveller's diarrhoea. Until the concluding line! Just focus on consuming good quality yoghurts, my foot! Do they exist?! Aside from the ones you make yourself, that is. There are two problems with this statement.

Problem number one: numbers in yoghurt are too low.

For therapeutic effect - that is, not just to "stay healthy" (never mind that most people trying to "stay healthy" have symptoms or conditions they could be treating nutritionally) but to treat a condition, you simply need higher numbers than are in yoghurt - especially standard store-bought yoghurt. Problem number two: strain specificity. While a healthy gut has hundreds of different species and strains (and by extension we can assume we need to be consuming these, unless of course we have a perfect gut microbiome handed down from a mother with a perfect microbiome, have never had antibiotics etc) to actually treat a health condition (such as ulcerative colitis) the specific strains used in the research are necessary. Assuming that taking Inner Health is going to correct all our microbiomial shortcomings is analagous to taking a multivitamin and expecting it to correct the health problems arising from the epigenetic problems from the MTHFR polymorphism (i.e. doesn't work).

probiotics

This article has picked and chosen a couple of conditions there is evidence for. Actually, there is evidence for probiotic treatment of urinary tract infections, thrush, bacterial vaginosis, (for more information on these, subscribe to our newsletter and tick "vaginal health, thrush and BV") allergic rhinitis, eczema, diarrhoea from chemotherapy, cow's milk protein allergy, irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, diarrhoea from radiation, viral gastroenteritis. The bottom line is strain specificity.

Asking "do probiotics work?" is like asking "does physiotherapy work, or is it overrated?" Work? For what? What kind of physiotherapy approach/technique? We don't give staged basal expansions (i.e. breathing exercise) for patellar maltracking (i.e. a biomechanical problem at the knee). Choose the intervention according to clinical reasoning, basic science, clinical experience and, ideally and where available, the evidence base. We need to remember that a lack of available evidence to show effect is not the same as availability of evidence showing no effect.

And make no mistake: with the very real problem of antibiotic resistance, the price we pay for being too skeptical about probiotic therapy is prohibitively high.

Sure, there's a lot more research to be done. But there is research available, and not making ourselves aware of it (and thus failing to educate our patients) is a mistake. I am so glad to see physios interested in the concept of the microbiome and probiotic therapy. What I find discouraging is the idea that people will read an article like this on probiotics and fail to change their habits (overusing antibiotics, failing to incorporate fermented foods into the diet, not considering probiotics and adjuncts to therapy for their particular health condition) due to a misinterpretation that the probiotic thing is overrated and a fad.

And by the way, as the article points out, prebiotic foods ARE incredibly important...but they can only feed what is there. If you lack bifidobacteria - as I see frequently on stool analyses of my patients - then eating artichokes and onions is not going to make them magically materialise. Take home message: don't just lucky dip and hope for the best. See a functional medicine practitioner! Or at least read their blogs :)

Perhaps start with this one on the role of the microflora in a healthy and balanced vagina.

http://www.equilibriahealth.com.au/Blog/equilibria-blog/Post/the-healthy-and-balanced-vagina

And please…tell me about your experience with probiotics by commenting below!

photoforwebsitesmallest

About Alyssa Tait

Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel control issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Alyssa’s website www.equilibriahealth.com.au is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.

She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.

Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.

Connect with Alyssa  |  Facebook  |  Google Plus | linkedin | Twitter

Nutritional Nuggets: Nine Big Culprits Behind The Rise of Autoimmune Disease

Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 11:42:02 AM EST by Alyssa Tait

Autoimmune disease is exploding: Hashimoto’s, Graves, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s…but why? 

One major factor in the development of autoimmunity is increased intestinal permeability.

Or, in fewer letters: leaky gut.

If your gut is a mosquito net, imagine puncturing a few small holes in it: that’s leaky gut. Sounds minor, but as anyone who has had a holey mosquito net when camping can attest, it’s a BIG deal.

Leaky gut exists in such diverse autoimmune diseases as type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and coeliac disease.

But what causes the leaky gut? Lots of things.

Alcohol is a big one, but it’s temporary.

Aspirin and anti-inflammatories.

Gluten.

Too much glucose and salt.

Weird additives used in food processing like organic solvents, nanoparticles and microbial transglutaminase. (Hint: stop eating packaged processed food.

But the one I really want to harp on about? Imbalance of gut bacteria.

Lousy gut flora is a big trigger for leaky gut.

And the causes of this?

Medications.

Stress.

The Pill.

ANTIBIOTICS.

“But I have not had antibiotics for thirty years, and then only once!”

Oh yeah? How’s this then:

Being born in the age of antibiotics when they were used by all ancestors over multiple generations.

Luckily, manipulating the gut microbiome and using specific nutritional strategies can sew up those little holes in the mosquito net. Keep an eye out for future blog posts on this topic.

Or to cut to the chase, see your trusty functional nutritionist. Skype appointments available.

appointment_button

alyssa_may16_1868_highres_headshotcropped_1_resize

About Alyssa Tait

Alyssa runs Equilibria Physiotherapy & Nutrition, a clinic focusing on integrative solutions for pelvic health issues including all types of pelvic pain, bladder and bowel issues, fertility, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Alyssa’s website www.equilibriahealth.com.au is an information hub related to all things relating to the function of the female pelvis.

She aims to help as many people as possible restore balance to their pelvis through education, effective treatment and empowering lifestyle choices.

Alyssa enjoys playing the clarinet and rollerblading, though (much to the gratitude of her patients), not while she is consulting.

Connect with Alyssa  |  Facebook  |  Google Plus | linkedin | Twitter
Page 1