In discussing probiotic supplements, I mentioned several last time which contain only one strain. The best supplements of the future will likely contain multiple strains. One of my current favorites is “Prescript-assist”. It contains 29 strains and comes packaged with prebiotics in capsular form and a delivery system demonstrated to get most bacteria to the colon. In my experience, it is beneficial for general digestion and gut function. A small double-blind study in “Clinical Therapeutics” showed significant reduction in irritable bowel symptoms such as bloating/gas and indigestion. I haven’t seen any data on it relative to effects on diabetes or obesity.

What about metabolic benefits?  The species popular in studies previously mentioned are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium so Bio K + (L. acidophilus), Culturelle (L. rhamnosus) and Activia yogurt (B. lactis) may be of benefit. A company which seems to have quality products is Pure Encapsulations. They offer a product which contains a mix of 5 strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium with 10 billion CFU of beneficial bacteria. As mentioned above, I am in the exploratory phase regarding some of these products and would welcome any input. I will keep my eyes open for any studies confirming metabolic benefits.

I’ve spent a lot more time than originally intended on the topic of gut microbiota and have learned a lot in the process. As with all of these topics, one thing that stands out is how much we have left to learn. Serious scientific study of the microbiome is in its infancy, so the future will undoubtably yield many fascinating discoveries. In spite of that, we have learned a solid base of information which can be applied. We can eat foods which contain both prebiotics and probiotics and can avoid foods, antibiotics and other substances which are toxic to gut bacteria. Doing that is consistent with overall healthy eating, has many other benefits and will introduce you to some tasty and interesting foods from around the world. Enjoy!