Building on the simple changes from last time, we bring you the first post of essential supplements for a healthy and fit life. The first of these supplements has tremendous and wide-ranging impact as you will see below.
Over 2,500 years ago, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, knew that gut health plays a vital role in our overall health. Digestion and absorption is a complex process, and vital to this process are bacteria that life in our gut. Harmful bacteria cause an inflammation response in the body. If you have ever received a cut on your skin, you know what an inflammation response is. Imagine something similar but inside your body instead on the surface. This in turn leads to a host of other problems, including brain function, obesity, energy balance, metabolic function, immunity, and also physical performance.
These harmful bacteria are countered by beneficial ones, called *Probiotics*. These occur naturally in a number of foods like fresh juices, curds, etc. However, due to the lack of ingesting sufficient quantities and varieties of these foods, a probiotics supplements is the easiest way to improve the following:
improve overall gut health
lose fat and improve metabolic health
decrease cholesterol levels
increase insulin sensitivity.
Improve recovery from intense workouts
That's a lot of bang for the buck from one single supplement.
PROBIOTICS are different than PREBIOTICS, which are non-digestible material that spurs the growth of probiotics bacteria.
Side effects of probiotics are generally limited to gas, and bloating. Although, in my experience, these have decreased. Another change you can expect when taking probiotics is changes in stool consistency, frequency, and level of elimination. In general, you should be feeling a lot lighter than earlier.
*Caution*: If you are on regular medication, please talk to your doctor before starting to take probiotics.
Dosage and getting started
Basic unit of probiotics is *CFU (colony forming units)*, and these are in the range of a few million (10^6) to billions (10^9). When choosing a brand, look for one that actually contains *live microflora bacteria*. Also, many products are only guaranteed at the time of manufacture, which means that the majority may have died off by the time you get around to taking them. Look for probiotics *guaranteed through the date of expiration*.
Typically studies on probiotics last about 4 weeks. However, we will start with a 2 week experiment. The recommendation is to start simple, start with a single dose per day and continue for 2 weeks. To begin with, take one dose at night before bed time. This will ensure you are not running around in the office, or worse :)
Once you are used to it, you can start taking the same on an empty stomach.
We will perform BCA in the centre early this week, and follow it up with one two weeks later to measure the effects.
Choosing the right probiotics for you:
A simple search on Amazon will reveal many brands, each with different CFU's and cost ranges.
Also, it’s important that you get products containing the species and strain that have been tested in research and shown to have worthwhile outcomes. Here are seven examples of what to look for:
• Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM
• Bifidobacterium lactis BI-07 or HN019
• Bacillus Indicus HU36
• Bacillus Subtilis HU58
• Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001
• Saccharomyces boulardii
Here again the recommendation is to start simple.
Sporlac is available in both powder and tablet form from most chemists. It is relatively cheap and an easy way to get started. Start with one tablet or sachet at bed time. After one week, can switch to having the same in the morning, but do try it out over the weekend.