Take care of your Gut for a healthy life

What is sometimes called the “forgotten organ,” the gut is an active and diverse microbial ecosystem that dramatically affects human health.

Shannon Frink, a registered dietitian with the Mary Lanning Healthcare wellness department, spoke about the link between the gastrointestinal system and overall health during a presentation Wednesday at the hospital called “Gut Reaction: Creating a Healthy Microbiome.”

Frink’s presentation is part of a series of Mary Lanning wellness classes the hospital is now offering to the public.

“This is kind of an interesting area of health that is evolving,” she said.

Babies are born without intestinal bacteria but that gut microbiome quickly begins to take hold and is established by age 3. However it can continue to change throughout life.

One third of each person’s gut microbiome is common to most people, while two thirds are unique.

“It’s as individualized as our finger print is,” Frink said.

The gut microbiome contains tens of trillions of microorganisms with at least 1,000 different specifies of known bacteria with more than 3 million genes, which is about 150 times more than human genes.

The goal is to keep that bacteria as diverse and active as possible.

The most effective way to do that, Frink said, is to eat a variety of probiotic and prebiotic foods.

Probiotics are good bacteria — live cultures — just like those found naturally in the gut. These active cultures help change or repopulate intestinal bacteria to balance gut flora.

Probiotic foods include fermented dairy such as kefir, yogurt, buttermilk, aged cheese with live cultures; as well as fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, cultured non-dairy yogurts, pickels and kombucha.

Prebiotics are natural, non-digestible food components that are linked to promoting the growth of helpful bacteria.

Prebiotic foods include: Bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans, whole-wheat foods, high-fiber foods and vinegar.

Frink said supplements can be helpful but are not as effective as getting those same nutrients from food.

There is also early data showing adequate vitamin D is important to maintaining a healthy gut biome. Foods containing vitamin D include mushrooms grown under UV lights, egg yolks, fatty fish and fortified milk.

The gut microbiome carries out a variety of known functions:

— Digesting dietary fiber to produce protective metabolites

— Influence serotonin levels

— Exerts anti-inflammatory activity

— Creates an unlivable environment for pathogens

— Detoxifies drug and other environmental metabolites

— Synthesizes essential vitamins, such as biotin, foliate and vitamin K.

— Competes with pathogenic and opportunistic microbes, maintain intestinal epithelial barrier

— Influences development and maintenance of immune system.

By performing these functions, the gut microbiome and its metabolites have been linked to protection from various diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, autism, neuropsychiatric disorders, irritable bowel syndrome and most, if not all autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. read more…

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FortiFlora (Probiotic) may be right for your pet


1. What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms similar to those found naturally in the intestines, which help maintain balance in the digestive tract. After being consumed, they help to inhibit harmful pathogens from colonizing the GI tract. Nestlé has pioneered research into how probiotics can be beneficial to health, leading to many products that help humans achieve healthy digestion, like infant formulas, nutritional drinks for children and yogurt for adults. At Purina, this research has gone to helping cats and dogs too.

2. When Might a Pet Need Probiotics?

If you’ve noticed your pet has had gastrointestinal incidents, like vomiting, diarrhea or excessive gas, your pet might benefit from a probiotic supplement.

These GI conditions are often associated with an imbalance in intestinal microflora (bacteria), which can be triggered by stress (related to boarding or changes in the home environment), dietary problems or food change. Since antibiotics work by killing bacteria, antibiotic therapy can also leave a pet in need of a probiotic boost.

3.  Do They Taste Good for Pets?

It depends how you feed the probiotic to the pet. Some supplements are oral pastes, some are powders, some are pills or capsules. In point 4, we’ll discuss why your pet may prefer the flavor of FortiFlora®.

4. FortiFlora® may be right for your pet

If you think probiotics might be right for your pet, you should ask your veterinarian about Purina Veterinary Diets® FortiFlora® Probiotic Supplements. Available only by prescription, they are safe and effective for cats and dogs. Here’s why:

  • FortiFlora Probiotic Supplements are made with a proprietary micro encapsulation process that stabilizes the microorganisms and creates multilayer protection against moisture. This helps make sure that when the probiotics get where they need to be in your pet’s GI tract, they’ll still be alive and effective at doing what they need to do.
  • Unlike traditional supplements, FortiFlora comes in a packet that you can sprinkle right on your pet’s food. We’ve made it so tasty to pets that it’s actually been shown to increase their desire to eat.
  • FortiFlora contains antioxidant Vitamins A, E and C, which can help support a strong immune system. read more…

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Gastric Ulcers in Horses

I great article in Causes, Prevention and Treatment.

horseGastric ulcers in horses are far more common than many people realize. The condition is very often found in horses kept in stalls, frequently trailered, or undergoing intensive training. The associated anxiety, in addition to artificial and controlled feeding routines alien to a horse’s natural grazing patterns, may put the animal under varying levels of stress. ….

Researchers have found that exercise increases gastric acid production and decreases blood flow to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. During exercise, the fluid in the lower segment of the stomach, where gastric acid is secreted, splashes and exposes the more vulnerable upper segment of the stomach to an acidic pH.

With an increase in exercise, training, and a demanding competition schedule, riders may sometimes change feeding routines, perhaps switching to more fasting and offering less roughage. That can put a horse on a path to developing an ulcer. In addition, the stress of trailering, competing, and adjusting to strange surroundings can add to the risk of ulcer development.

But to better understand gastric ulcers it is first necessary to understand the workings of the horse’s stomach. read more…

Shop for Equine Digestive & Immune products here…