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Power of Prebiotics

Prebiotics kill bad and grow good gut bacteria.

By Jan Walsh 

Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician and "Father of Modern Medicine," once famously said: "All disease begins in the gut." Recent advances in medical technology are finally proving this truth. For the past 20 years, scientists have been studying the "environment" inside the human digestive system, known as the "microbiome." The microbiome is home to trillions of microscopic cells: yeasts, viruses, and many hundreds of species of bacteria. Dr. Steven Gundry, a cardiologist, heart surgeon, medical researcher, and best-selling author further simplifies these bacteria into two main strains. “There are ‘good’ strains of bacteria, which keep you healthy and metabolizing food efficiently. And there are ‘bad’ strains, which make you sick, tired, fat, and unhappy.” 

Taking a prescription of broad-spectrum antibiotics kills off both types of bacteria, the bad and the good. It broadly attacks without targeting the specific the problem causing bacteria, destroying most gut microbes. And in some cases, it takes years for them to return. It is like a forest fire in your gut burning everything to the ground. Of course, antibiotics save lives and are often a necessary treatment. Unfortunately, medicine is not the only source by which Americans consume antibiotics. Antibiotics are given to animals and chickens at factory farms, as their crowded conditions make them more susceptible to disease. And antibiotics also make pigs, chickens, and cattle grow faster, larger, and fatter. Thus factory farms have widely used them for many years. The result is that people eating these animals are destroying their guts in a similar manner to taking antibiotics themselves. 

You have likely heard of probiotics and might be taking or considering a probiotic supplement. Yet probiotics can’t kill the “bad,” gut bacteria. Instead, probiotic supplements attempt to out-number harmful bacteria by just adding more good bacteria. In addition to feeding and nourishing the good bacteria with the nutrients they need (including polyphenols and avoiding lectins), Gundry recommends adding prebiotic fiber. Unlike probiotics, prebiotics neutralizes and kill bad gut bacteria and grow good gut bacteria. They are carbohydrates, which cannot be digested by the human body and are instead food for probiotics. Foods rich in this fiber include tubers, rutabagas, parsnips, chicory, apple skins, bananas, onions, and garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, and chicory root. Yet a person cannot consume enough of these to get the fiber needed to improve gut health. But adding a prebiotic fiber supplement to one’s diet can. While researching prebiotics I found Gundry’s PrebioThrive, which contains five of the most potent and effective prebiotic ingredients: acacia gum, agave inulin, flaxseed, galacto-oligosaccharides, and guar gum. And all except galacto-oligosaccharides are labeled as organic. I have been taking the supplements for a few months now. The mental and physical benefits were immediate and remain, some of which I was not expecting. I have seen a dramatic increase in energy and alertness. Even my general mood and motivation are improved. I make a shake of this powder with Mountain Valley Spring Water every morning. It is available at GundryMD.com and on Amazon. 

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