Calorie Restriction, Probiotics, and Gut Health

Gut Bacteria Is An Important Factor In Maintaining A Healthy Body And Mind

Calorie restriction has beneficial affects on basically every system in the body, and gut health is no exception here. Gut bacteria is made up of different types of bacteria, good and bad, and these play a significant role in the host. In fact, we have about 10 times more bacteria that we have human cells! If we could weigh all the bacteria we have, it would come to about 3-4 lbs!

Gut bacteria can change depending on many different factors, such as weight gain or loss, stress, and antibiotics, illness, and having a bad diet. Maintaining good gut health will provide us with many benefits, but can easily be wiped out by overuse of antibiotics. Gut bacteria can recover, within a few weeks of ceasing antibiotic usage, but if you use them often, then this can give bad bacteria a chance to grow and take hold.

Many of the foods people consume today which is loaded with sugar, processed and devoid of any nutrition, does nothing good for the gut. Is it no wonder there are now many kids suffering with IBS and other conditions related to the digestive system?

Calorie Restriction and a healthy diet improved my gut health

When I was younger my diet was really bad and I would put sugar on just about everything. Like many other kids, I had also been on antibiotics a few times during my childhood. Sometimes I really needed them, but other times, probably not. We now know the consequences of using antibiotics too much. Bacteria build up resistance over time and can cause disease, sometimes requiring even stronger antibiotics.

By the time I reached I reached high school, around 11, I had symptoms of IBS and got diagnosed by the doctor as having this condition. As far as I can remember, there was no real advice from the doctor, but suggested that anxiety might be making it worse. While this is true, anxiety can make things worse, it was not the cause of the IBS — it was my diet! 

I began strict calorie restriction in 2005, but began eating healthier in 2003. It wasn’t until I had completely overhauled my diet did I notice a significant difference in my gut health. For the first few months, interesting things happened, I won’t go into detail! Mostly that foods didn’t seem to digest or breakdown well. This didn’t seem normal to me and worried me, but many months after I began calorie restriction, my gut health was better than ever.

After some time All the IBS symptoms had disappeared. So why was the doctor not able to link my diet to my IBS problems? For one, he never even asked me or my mother about my diet at the time.  I had suffered from this condition all through high school and in college, but I didn’t have to if I had been told the important connection between diet and gut health.

I believe the main reasons why my symptoms disappeared was because I had cut out all processed sugar from my diet. I cut out sweets, and other junk food. I included lots of fruits, and vegetables in my diet, and also a bit of meat like chicken and fish.

I’ve since became ‘mostly’ vegan, but in inclusion of meat in my diet didn’t stop me from curing this condition. Calorie restriction has been found to improve gut bacteria in mice and dogs, whilst studies looking at obesity in humans have shown a negative effect on gut health.

Gut bacteria plays a huge role in our health

  • Supplying essential nutrients
  • Aiding digestion and gut health
  • Keeping the immune system healthy
  • Mental health
  • Skin Health
  • Longevity

When I had to take antibiotics

I’ve mentioned before that I have been prone to UTI infections when I was younger, and that once a person gets one, it is 50/50 whether or not you will get another one. I don’t suffer from them anymore, but I did have to take low dose antibiotics for years because of repeated bladder infections, most likely from prostatitis. At times, especially on high doses of doxycycline, during an active infection, I felt increased anxiety, which seemed to be alleviated by taking probiotics.

I also had suffered from overgrowth of candida from taking these antibiotics, but this eventually regressed by itself once I had ceased taking the antibiotics. Before I had combined the probiotics with my antibiotic, I noticed my skin would break out after finishing a course. These side effects though were prevented once I introduced probiotics into my supplement regimen.

What are the best probiotics supplements?

Healthy Origins Probiotic 30 Billion CFU was one that I found to work best for me and so of course I highly recommend it. It contains 8 different strains which are resistant to stomach acid, so you can just add to some food, or take them however you wish, which is great for those who can’t swallow tablets. I recommend to store them in the fridge, but you don’t have to. One important factor when choosing a probiotic is either that it has a coating on there to prevent stomach acid from killing the friendly bacteria, or that the bacteria are resistant to the pH of your stomach acid. The probiotic below meets that criteria.

healthy origins probiotic

Blend of 8 Probiotic Strains 30 Billion Colony-forming units

Lactobacillus acidophilus (La-14) 12 Billion
Bifidobacterium lactis (BI-04) 12 Billion
Bifidobacterium longum (Bl-05) 1 Billion
Lactobacillus rhamnosus (Lr-32) 1 Billion
Bifidobacterium breve (Bb-03) 1 Billion
Lactobacillus casei (Lc-11) 1 Billion
Lactobacillus salivarius (Ls-33) 1 Billion
Lactobacillus plantarum (Lp-115) 1 Billion

See Reviews for Healthy Origins, Probiotic supplement (US)

 

Symptoms of an unhealthy gut

  • Frequent infections
  • Poor skin
  • Fungus / candida infections
  • Acid Reflux
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Autoimmune issues and allergies

Should you take a probiotic?

If you’ve have used antibiotics in the past, especially recently, then it is worth doing 1-3 months of probiotics to see if you benefit from taking one. I’ve talked about, and I’ve used Healthy Origins Probiotic many times before, and keep going back to it because it’s one of the better quality probiotics out there.

To help make the probiotics more effective, make sure to include plenty of foods which are prebiotic such as garlic, leeks, onions, almonds. Foods include things like kimchi, kefir, and yogurts are also great sources of good bacteria.

I don’t take this probiotic all year, but usually during the winter months or when going through some kind of stress, to help boost my immune system.

In this BBC Article it was reported that ‘Older people have 1000 times less friendly bacteria in their gut’ – and researchers have since found that probiotics improves immune function in elderly persons.

What is the best probiotic for seniors?

There are many probiotics out on the market, but in some products, the friendly bacteria inlcuded do not make it destination where they can be beneficial to you the host. Friendly bacteria need to be resistant to stomach acid, and therefore only certain strains will work. The probiotic above from Healthy Origins is also suitable for elderly persons. Probiotics in seniors have been found to be safe, and increases resistance to gastrointestinal diseases associated with antibiotic usage, and also helps with symptoms like constipation in the elderly [4].

 

References

1. Structural modulation of gut microbiota in life-long calorie-restricted mice
http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms3163

2. Dogs Lived 1.8 Years Longer On Low Calorie Diet: Gut Flora May Explain It
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070419160140.htm

3 Changes seen in gut bacteria content and distribution with obesity: causation or association?
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26474235

4. Review on microbiota and effectiveness of probiotics use in older persons

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4317609/

  4 comments for “Calorie Restriction, Probiotics, and Gut Health

  1. 09/14/2016 at 1:05 am

    Great post Matt! Juicing helped me get my digestion back on track. It really did, and staying away from processed food and especially SUGAR is so important. No more soft drinks, no more fast food! Thanks Matt!

    • 09/14/2016 at 1:46 am

      Thank you! 🙂 Oh yeah, sugar is definitely up there for being really bad for health. I was addicted to sugar when I was younger… I would add loads of it to my cereals and tea. I started eating healthily by cutting out sugar first! Cutting out sugar also made a big difference in being able to appreciate the tastes of different foods… = )

  2. Kile
    09/16/2016 at 4:37 pm

    Great to see some new posts on here, Matt!

    I assume you’re on a vegan diet? As am I, but I’m always curious about protein sources.

    May I ask what some of your staples are? In your diet plan, you make mention of yogurt — is it a milk-based or of a different variant?

    Take care

    • 09/16/2016 at 8:00 pm

      Hey thanks Kile!

      I think I’ve mentioned around here somewhere that I am “mostly” vegan. Jared Leto called it Cheegan? :p I’m vegan about 95% + of the time, but on occasion I will eat a bit of dairy or eggs.

      I avoided being specific on purpose, just because the blog is primarily about calorie restriction, which can mean any kind of diet. I thought it was easy enough to understand one can just substitute dairy for soya or vice versa. 🙂

      I eat a lot of beans, ya lots of beans, peas. Soy milk (hot chocolate). I haven’t been tracking as carefully lately but my protein is usually around 10-12% of my calories. I’m thinking about experimenting a bit by increasing my protein (I’ll explain that in a post). Would like to get my IGF-1 levels tested first, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. I’ll see if I can though…

      Both, I eat soy and dairy, but the latter, maybe 3 times a month or something. It really depends. As I said I’m not a strict vegan, but I am always vegetarian. 🙂

      I’ll be posting more soon! Please check back. 🙂

      Thanks, you too!

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