Probiotics in Youth – The Good, The Bad, and The Healthy
The gut is often thought of as simply a tube running through our body. Although this may be functionally true, the health of this “tube” and the mix of organisms that live along its surface has a huge impact on how our body responds to food and other stimuli.
Your Gut is a Battlefield
As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” To be more accurate, it should be, “You are what you absorb from what you eat.” Or even better, “You become what you absorb,” when you consider that what you absorb from your food is what’s incorporated into your body’s cells. In addition, you have a world of microorganisms – estimated to weigh between 3-6 pounds – that live along your GI tract.
There is, however, a fixed number of bacteria that can live in your gut, so the number stays relatively constant. What can change is the mix of “good” and “bad” bacteria, and it does so constantly based on what you eat and a number of other factors.
Consider the gut to be a battlefield – the lining of the gut is the frontline – where a battle between good and bad bacteria is constantly going on.
To maintain the integrity of the battle’s front line, and to allow us to absorb the nutrients we ingest, we need to make sure we have enough of the “good” bacteria to win the war against the “bad” bacteria.
Sending in Reinforcements
We don’t create the bacteria in our gut – collectively known as the microbiome – it must come from somewhere else. Our original bacterial mix came from our mother at birth. But after that, our environment and our diet supply us with the bacterial mix that makes up our microbiome.
Good bacteria originates from a variety of food sources – such as fermented foods – but sometimes we need reinforcements in the form of a probiotic supplement. Probiotics are a concentrated source of different strains of “good” bacteria that research has shown will support numerous functions in the body.*
When you remember that the number of bacteria making up the microbiome is fairly fixed – there can only be so many troops on the battlefield – then the more good bacteria you can introduce, the stronger the front line gets.*
Protecting the Youth
Recently, DNA testing of the microbiome’s bacterial mix has become available. This testing can identify the amounts and types of bacteria that reside in our gut. And the amounts and types of bacteria that researchers are finding relate to a host of conditions within the body. For example, Yale University researchers found a significant difference between the microbiome of children who are lean and children who are obese. They observed that the microbiome of obese children more easily metabolize carbohydrates.
Probiotics and diarrhea
Researchers continue to look at the impact of probiotics on minimizing the length of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and what specific strains of bacteria are beneficial in managing travel-induced diarrhea.
Probiotics and respiratory health
Probiotics and brain health
This finding is allowing researchers to look at this exciting pathway – known as the gut-brain axis – and how it affects many outcomes in the brain. For example, research at Ohio State University is exploring the impact of gut health on the temperament of young children.*
Until then, you can provide your gut with an excellent mix of “good” bacteria through a variety of fermented foods and from a robust probiotic supplement that will help you win the battle of good versus bad in your gut.*
About Thorne Research, Inc.
Thorne Research is a personalized health solutions company dedicated to improving individual outcomes through science and technology. For 30 years, Thorne Research has led the nutritional supplement industry in providing researched-based, high-quality natural products, including foundational vitamins and minerals, therapeutic-focused nutritional supplements, and soon to include botanical drugs. By leveraging cutting-edge research and personalized data through affiliate WellnessFX, Thorne Research offers customized preventive health solutions for health-care practitioners, their patients, and athletes. Thorne Research is a majority shareholder in WellnessFX, a San Francisco-based personalized wellness company providing home kit testing and actionable recommendations from the analysis of blood chemistry, genetics, and microbiome.
Thorne Research is headquartered in New York City, with a manufacturing facility in Sandpoint, Idaho. Further information on Thorne Research is available at Thorne.com