Novel Ways To Use Probiotics

Probiotics have been called tiny superheroes. They swoop in and fight off bad bacteria to help us achieve a balanced gut microbiome. However, new findings suggest that caution is needed when using probiotics and that there should not be a one size fits all approach to probiotic supplements.

Today we are updating you on probiotics, the microbiome and on new ways to put probiotics to work for your patients. Probiotics have been around for over a century but are also one of the hottest trends in food and medicine today. Probiotics are defined as live microorganisms that confer a health benefit through alterations in the gut microbiome.

Science keeps evolving regarding the mechanisms of action and range of disorders that available probiotics can address.  On this episode of Nutramedica, two guest experts will address new and interesting ways to use probiotics in your practice. 

Dr Yasaman Tasalloti received a doctorate in naturopathic medicine from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ, where she acquired extensive training in both conventional and traditional medicine. Dr David Lescheid holds a PhD in molecular biology and protein chemistry, is a naturopathic physician, and has taught physiology, microbiology, and infectious disease as well as clinical care at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.

Key Take-Aways

Benefits of Probiotics
Probiotics can enhance the production of a variety of beneficial metabolites and help the gut epithelial barrier prevent bad actors from penetrating the gut. Evidence also suggests that probiotics possess anti-inflammatory roles.

Mechanisms of Action
Short chain fatty acid production is enhanced with use of probiotics. Short chain fatty acids promote healthy mitochondrial metabolism. Healthy secondary bile acids are also produced by probiotics. 

Gut Microbiome Testing
Evaluating the need for probiotics by assessing gut microbiome dysfunction is important. In 2020, the gut microbiome health index concept was evolved, which looks at 50 different species associated with health. Of these 50 species, seven are affiliated with health with 43 linked to gut dysfunction. The ratio of the good to the deleterious bacteria forms the basis of the gut microbiome health index.  Several other useful gut microbiome tests are also available.

What Disorders Do Probiotics Assist With?
Immune dysfunction conditions, allergies, autoimmune disorders, viral infections can be improved by use of probiotics. Mental health, anxiety, and stress can also be helped using probiotics. Dental and gum health is another system which is positively affected through use of probiotics. Combining probiotics with diet, exercise and stress reducing behaviors further enhances their benefit.

Which Probiotic to Choose?
Evidence suggests that individual strains can be used for specific disorders such as cholesterol modulation. Thus, probiotics need to be tailored to the specific health application.  

Antibiotics and Probiotics
Probiotics can help  improve dysbiosis following antibiotic use. However, antibiotics and probiotics need to be taken in a staggered manner as using the two simultaneously means that the antibiotics will kill the probiotics. Many other commonly prescribed drugs including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and antipsychotic drugs also affect the gut microbial balance. A new branch of science termed pharmaco-microbiomics is exploring the impact of pharmaceutical interventions on the microbiome.

Adverse Reactions
Adverse effects of taking probiotics are rare. For instance, the probiotic E coli 1917 has been used for over a century with almost no side effects.  Exceptions are individuals who have compromised immune systems, where probiotics such as this E Coli strain may develop side effects. However, the benefits of using probiotics outweigh the possible risks and side effects .

Key Quotes

“Patients ought to gain at least a general idea whether they have dysbiosis in a more sophisticated way by doing some of this specific testing. You're going to get the most benefit if you can determine that the person actually has some dysbiosis and actually needs a probiotic.”  Dr David Lescheid

“Those bidirectional connections in the body and all of this simultaneous communication between the microorganisms and the host; I just love all of the research and data that we're continuing to find so incredible.”  

Dr Yasaman Tasalloti


The opinions expressed in this Nutramedica program are those of the guests and contributors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Nutritional Fundamentals For Health Inc.

This video is intended for licensed or registered health professionals and students of health professions only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Information contained in these programs are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.