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The Wonders of Prebiotics

Discussion in 'The Gut: De Meirleir & Maes; H2S; Leaky Gut' started by Hip, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I am getting pretty good results from taking high doses of PREBIOTICS, two or three times a day (along with some probiotics), and also cutting out most of the sugar from my diet.

    This prebiotic regimen has GREATLY reduced my anxiety levels, and and has also improved my mood (less depression), my brain fog, and increased my ability to concentrate. There are improvements in my energy levels as well. I believe that PREBIOTICS are much better than PROBIOTICS.


    Prebiotics Versus Probiotics

    A probiotics is defined as a live microorganism that confers health benefits to the host, typically as these friendly flora colonize your intestines.

    A prebiotic is defined as a food which provides nutrition to the only good bacteria in your gut, but not to the bad bacteria (or only provides very minimal nourishment to the bad bacteria, by comparison), so that the good bacteria flourish, and the bad bacteria starve to death.

    This very small scale study indicates that good bacteria rapidly flourish in the bowel when PREBIOTICS alone are taken, but that taking PROBIOTICS alone did not cause any improvement.

    This article also explains that prebiotics are much more important than probiotics.

    The take-home message is that prebiotics are much more beneficial than probiotics.



    Probiotic Overview

    Two well-known species of probiotics are: Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. Bifidobacteria species usually outnumber the Lactobacilli species by 1000 to 1 in the colon. Lactobacilli are generally a little more fragile and more easily killed than Bifidobacteria.

    Some Benefits of Bifidobacteria:
    • They manufacture B-vitamins in the gut.
    • Prevent bad bacteria and yeasts from colonization of the intestine by protecting the intestinal lining.

    Some Benefits of Lactobacilli:
    • Prevent overgrowth of the pathogens: Candida species, E. coli, Helicobacter pylori, and salmonella.
    • Help prevent vaginal and urinary tract infections.


    Prebiotic Overview

    There are several varieties of prebiotic:

    Ispaghula husk (psyllium husk) is a prebiotic, and a relatively inexpensive one. It can be bought in bulk as a loose powder. A good dose is 10 grams (= 2 heaped teaspoons) twice daily. Ispaghula husk is a well-tolerated prebiotic: most people have no problems with it. Ispaghula husk may help with irritable bowel syndrome. It is advised to drink plenty of water while you are taking ispaghula husk.

    Ispaghula husk also helps draw out toxins from the body. Since people with CFS usually have a high toxin overload, this detoxification ability is very useful (it is similar to chlorella's detoxification abilities).

    FOS (fructooligosaccharides). FOS can be bought as a loose powder. A good dose is 2.5 grams (= 1 level teaspoon) twice daily. FOS is also called oligofructose.

    FOS promotes the flourishing of Bifidobacteria populations; but pathogenic bacteria like Klebsiella and Escherichia coli do not flourish on FOS, as these can only utilize FOS nutrition with very low efficiency.

    FOS increases butyrate concentrations in the large intestine; butyrate helps reduce intestinal permeability. The typical US diet contains about 2.5 grams of FOS a day. A typical Mediterranean diet provides 12 or more grams of FOS a day.

    A study showed that a decrease in Bifidobacteria population occurs within 2 or 3 week of stopping FOS supplementation. So the message here is to keeping taking your prebiotics, in order to maintain friendly gut flora populations, and prevent the bad bacteria from re-establishing themselves.

    Inulin. A good dose is 2.5 grams (= 1 level teaspoon) twice daily. Some people get stomach aches or bloating with inulin. Inulin is another prebiotic that also helps draw out toxins from the body. Inulin may be a better prebiotic than FOS.

    GOS (Galactooligosaccharides), and TGOS (trans-galactooligosaccharides). A good dose of GOS is 5 grams daily. GOS is naturally found in human milk. GOS promotes Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria populations. GOS can be helpful for irritable bowel syndrome. "Bimuno" is one brand of prebiotic based on galactooligosaccharides.



    Some Other Prebiotics

    Other prebiotics (and probable prebiotics) include: flaxseed (another good colon detoxifier), oat bran, burdock root (this contains a lot of FOS and inulin), slippery elm, rhubarb root, apple pectin, citrus pectin (pectins are detoxifiers too), agar agar, chlorella (good detoxifier), polydextrose (brands: Tate & Lyle's Sta-Lite, Danisco's Litesse), sorbitol and maltitol (sugar substitutes), locust bean gum (also known as carob gum), gum arabic, guar gum, lactoferrin, arabinogalactan (found in many vegetables including: radishes, carrots, tomatoes and wheat), beta glucans, most mushrooms, active hexose correlated compound (AHCC), colostrum.


    Notes

    Note: if you are new to taking prebiotics, start with lower doses for a few days, otherwise you may experience some constipation.

    Note: be careful with the antibacterial herbs or supplements that you are taking, which may inhibit the good bacteria as well as the bad.

    Note: there is a small chance of increased gut permeability with FOS, but this occurs only if BOTH of the following are true: (1) you are taking very high levels of FOS, around 20 grams a day; and: (2) you also happen to have very low levels of calcium. Increased gut permeability will not occur if: you keep to lower doses of FOS, say 5 grams a day; and this increased gut permeability from FOS will not occur anyway if your calcium levels are fine. The permeability may be caused by the lactic acid that results from FOS fermentation by friendly bacteria. Lactic acid can irritate the walls of the intestine. (Ref).

    Note: it may be wise to avoid probiotic supplements containing homeostatic soil organisms (HSO are bacteria from the soil), such as "Primal Defense" probiotic, as the long term safely of HSOs has not been well researched.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
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  2. Tony

    Tony Still working on it all..

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    Just a point on FOS and inulin. Many people with ME/CFS, perhaps 45% according to De Meirleir, have fructose malabsorption. So FOS wouldn't be a good idea and fructose and fructan foods (wheat, some fruits and vegies) need to be kept low or avoided.

    Also in the general population, there are quite a few who have difficulty absorbing too much fructose. If you feel better off wheat you should be tested for this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fructose_malabsorption
    Wayne likes this.
  3. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    Psyllium husk is one of the worst things I can take. My stomach cannot handle fiber and it ends in severe pain, a grossly distended stomach, constipation and no improvement. FOS caused painful bloating and diarrhea.

    I've tried all the easy things and all the workarounds for the complications.

    I don't have anxiety or mood problems (just lucky here and have other symptoms) so cannot compare properly.

    We are all different and somethings work for people and some harm/do nothing.

    Probiotics stopped helping me about 10 years ago after a good 10 years of being wonderful.

    ME is so complicated. No easy answers here as most of these things have been tried for years.

    Hope that these things continue to work for you and others.
  4. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I also find that FOS also causes a lot of gas and bloating, but fortunately there is no pain in my case, so I can put up with it. The gas I believe is produced by the good bacteria happily feeding (fermenting) on the prebiotics, so this gas can be considered a good sign. I find ispaghula husk (psyllium husk) and GOS (galactooligosaccharides) give me much less gas than FOS(fructooligosaccharides).

    But I appreciate that if this gas/bloating causes pain, then that is a problem.

    Wikipedia says: "Fermentation occurs by the action of colonic bacteria on the food mass, producing gases and short-chain fatty acids. It is these short-chain fatty acids—butyric, acetic (ethanoic), propionic, and valeric acids—that scientific evidence is revealing to have significant health properties". "Short-chain fatty acids stimulate production of T helper cells, antibodies, leukocytes, cytokines, and lymph mechanisms having crucial roles in immune protection".

    So really, you get a nice immunomodulatory (immune boosting) effect from taking good doses of prebiotics.


    What about an insoluble fiber prebiotic like flaxseed? Have you ever tried that? Usually insoluble fibers like flaxseed produce much less gas than soluble fibers like ispaghula, FOS, inulin and GOS.

    Another option is taking activated charcoal tablets with prebiotics; charcoal significantly reduces intestinal gas. This might eliminate the pain produced from bloating. Charcoal also absorbs toxins, so it is another useful detoxifier (but note that charcoal can also absorb some of your medications, if you are taking any).

    Lactose intolerance can cause a lot of bloating, so this might be worth looking into. You can test to see if your lactose intolerant by cutting out all dairy and seeing if your gas/bloating is noticeably better.

    Have you ever had a digestive stool analysis (Genova Diagnostics do a good one) to find out whether you have any particularly nasty species of bacteria in your gut contributing to your symptoms?

    You could also try taking butyric acid capsules. Butyric acid is the main beneficial substance that many probiotic bacteria make. So you can have perhaps most of the benefits of probiotics, without actually taking probiotics that you say upset your gut. (Of course, it could be the butyric acid itself that is upsetting your gut). Butyric acid is anti-inflammatory, and helps fix leaky guts.
  5. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I think GOS (galactooligosaccharides) and ispaghula husk (psyllium husk) are fine for people with fructose malabsorption, however.

    Even if you don't have fructose malabsorption, eating lots of fruit may not be such a good idea, if you have any gut dysbiosis, as the fructose sugar in fruit can feed the bad bacteria. As of course can sucrose. Vegetables might be a better option in the case of gut dysbiosis.
  6. Tony

    Tony Still working on it all..

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    Yes, you're right about not eating too much fruit with frucmal. I'm not advocating that of course as I have fructose malabsorption. But it isn't necessary to completely cut fruit from the diet with frucmal. The idea is to eat the fruits that have an even glucose to fructose ratio such as bananas, berries and kiwi fruit etc. And to eat only one or two serves per day with a low sugar diet in general. The other tip is to eat them with or just after other foods such as meats, fish, nuts and eggs.

    Some vegies as I mentioned above, are also a problem as they have a high fructan load...green beans, asparagus, onions, leeks etc so you need to choose your vegetables too.

    I don't think that bloating is normal or a good sign with digestion.
  7. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    Thanks Hip,
    I've pretty much done everything to death here. Been ill for over 25 years so have tried the normal methods and tests. Been too poor of course to keep having them done year, after year. With so many protocols to try for ME I can't keep "flogging a dead horse" and try testing/treatment eternally. Especially when I get no benefit from it.

    Facing 5 /10/15/10 years of taking a supplement that causes painful bloating and doesn't improve any symptoms is simply not something I am going to do. I can only physically handle taking a limited number of things each day.

    One of the things I've noticed is how this disease changes. For examples the probiotics stopped giving me relief after so long. The external fights against bacteria/viruses and parasites that have been or may be in my gut. It goes on for decade after decade and can be very different from year 1 to year 5 for example.

    One of the best things I do for my gut is take Betaine HCL. The low stomach acid angle has been covered pretty well by others and discussed before. It's been the single best thing for my stomach.
  8. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Dr Cheney has noted that there are 3 disease phases of myalgic encephalomyelitis, and your own experiences seem to reflect this.

    I sometimes wonder whether such changes in disease pattern might be due to catching an additional virus/bacterium. If CFS is underpinned by the action of certain viral/bacterial infections, and was caused by catching a microbe at a certain point in life, then you might assume that say 10 years down the line, another bug might be picked up, and this then alters the course of your ME condition.

    So far I seem to be OK on the stomach acid front (in that I tried betaine HCL, and it made only a very minor improvement in my case, so I think my stomach HCl output must be reasonable).
  9. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Experimental Treatment for Social Anxiety / Social Phobia

    I have just found another individual who has also cured their Social Anxiety / Social Phobia, simply by repopulating their gut with good bacteria. In his case, he did it using megadoses of probiotics. Here is what he wrote:

    Megabiotics: Experimental Treatment for Social Anxiety / Social Phobia

    I am pleased that someone else other than me has also experienced this powerful healing effect of prebiotics/probiotics. It is clear that this prebiotic/probiotic approach does work miracles for other people too.
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  10. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Probiotic bacteria stimulate virus-specific neutralizing antibodies

    The above study found that: Probiotics increased antiviral neutralizing antibody titers, IgA and IgG in serum by: 2 times, 2.2 times and 4 times respectively. (The study was performed using poliovirus, but it applies to a range of viruses),

    In short: probiotic bacteria have strong antiviral effect.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
  11. Lotus97

    Lotus97 Senior Member

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    If psyllium, apple pectin, and modified citrus pectin bind to toxins does that mean would also bind to probiotics? Should we take them at separate times?
  12. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Psyllium and pectin can help draw out toxins from the gut, but they are also prebiotics — that is, they are a food source specifically for the probiotic bacteria. They have a dual function. So it is a good idea to take these with your probiotics, as you are then providing ample nourishment for the probiotic bacteria, which will help these probiotics establish themselves in your digestive tract.
    Lotus97 likes this.
  13. Lotus97

    Lotus97 Senior Member

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    Although I'm still not completely convinced that prebiotics don't also feed the "bad guys" I have decided to continue to take them for the time being. I noticed that Agave inulin wasn't mentioned. It's supposed to be "long-chain" inulin, but I'm not sure if it's better than short chain or if it's good to take both kinds. BTW, don't confuse agave inulin with agave syrup/nectar. That stuff is bad news.
  14. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Prebiotics are, by their definition, a food source that is far more assimilable by the beneficial bacteria in the gut, than by the pathogenic bacteria.

    Prebiotics do also feed pathogenic bacteria in the gut to a small extent, but to a much lesser degree than they feed beneficial bacteria. Therefore, prebiotics are able to manipulate the bacterial populations in the gut, favoring the growth beneficial bacteria over pathogenic bacteria.
    Lotus97 likes this.
  15. Lotus97

    Lotus97 Senior Member

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    How does Pau D'Arco fit in with this? On the NOW Foods label it says: More recent scientific studies indicate that Pau D'Arco helps to support healthy intestinal flora. But when I did a Google search there was no mention of it being a prebiotic.
  16. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    This study on pau d'arco (Tabebuia impetiginosa) indicates it has mild antibacterial (antibiotic) effects on Clostridium perfringens and Escherichia coli, without affecting beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.

    It would be good to have a list of antibacterial substances that just target the pathogenic bacteria, but leave the beneficial bacteria alone.
  17. Lotus97

    Lotus97 Senior Member

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    Yeah. I'm not sure about pathogenic bacteria, but as far as Candida treatment goes that topic is almost never addressed. While it seems like Pau D'Arco would be ok, other things mentioned seem to have more broad antibacterial properties. I was just reading a thread on Curezone where someone was talking about adding different antifungal/antibacterial herbs to a homemade probiotic yogurt culture to see what happens.

    Some people recommend taking probiotics before bed and antibiotics/antifungals in the morning if possible to allow the probiotics to colonize overnight. I suppose prebiotics could be taken any time, but does it make a difference whether they're taken with a meal or empty stomach? It seems the advantage taking it with a meal would be that it would pass through the digestive tract slower, but this is just speculation on my part.
  18. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I try to take my probiotics away from a mea, so that there are not high levels of stomach acid that could kill them. I sometimes also take an ⅛ teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate with my probiotics to neutralize the stomach acid.

    This study is interesting: it says that taking some glucose sugar with your probiotics will enhance their survival through the stomach.

    It is a good idea to get digestive stool analysis at a quality lab like Genova Diagnostics. Then you will know what pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and protozoa you have in your gut.
    Gondwanaland likes this.
  19. perchance dreamer

    perchance dreamer Senior Member

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    I've never taken prebiotic supplements, but I do enjoy eating Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), which are high in inulin. They are delicious roasted.
  20. Lotus97

    Lotus97 Senior Member

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    Lactoferrin which was mentioned here as a prebiotic also has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. And it binds to iron so candida and pathogenic bacteria can't feed on the iron.

    I also found a list of prebiotics. Some of these have already been mentioned in the thread, but at least a few haven't.
    Prebiotic foods help to feed probiotics and are known to be as important a consideration in gut health. Prebiotic foods include chicory, onions, leeks, garlic, beetroot, cabbage and Jerusalem artichoke. Eat raw where possible; raw, grated beetroot is particularly good on salads, with grated carrot, courgette, olive oil, lemon juice, turmeric and cumin and fennel seeds – a real digestive combination. Sauerkraut is particularly effective and ensuring a portion of beans, peas or green beans can provide resistant starch, a particularly good form of prebiotics.

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