In this post, I write about how to choose a good probiotic, and list some brands you can think about in your search for the ideal probiotic supplement.

Interested in reading the peer-review, scientific literature on probiotics?

It can be intimidating, if you’ve not searched scientific studies before, to wade through the myriad studies out there on probiotics (or any topic for that matter). Probiotic-research.com has done a lot of the work for you. The site provides abstracts and links to studies involving probiotics and health. They even break it down by category (probiotic studies on immunity, H. pylori, infants and children, IBS, etc.).

You can sign up for RSS feeds and have summaries delivered to your feed reader or email. It doesn’t get any easier than that unless you get your own research assistant.

You can also check out the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics for more information on probiotics.

 Eating an Anti-inflammatory diet plus consuming beneficial bacteria are the key factors in restoring gut health.

Before I get on with the meat of the post, let me remind you quickly why we talk so much about probiotics in the natural health and healing realm. Read the rest of this entry

[Note: I am not a doctor. Caution is the better part of valor here. Always be cautious when starting a new treatment, and never do it without the supervision of a doctor.]

 

Throughout this series, have alluded to my perspective on probiotic supplementation for IBD; I think it should be diverse. People with IBD should intake as many beneficial species as their body can handle.

Last week’s idea of a pathogenic community, a community of bacteria to which, because of its functional properties, our IBD-prone bodies react unfavorably, suggests that probiotic supplementation should encourage the building of an entire community of bacteria which are non-pathogenic to your body.

The question of how to best do that remains undecided in my mind. In my first post, I introduced Jini Patel Thompson’s approach using Natren probiotics; three or four (if you use B. infantis too) species, slowly introduced one at a time. This is a very good approach (the one I used) to beginning probiotic supplementation. It allows you to tell exactly how you react to each species, and allows you to tailor the doses accordingly (increase one, decrease another, etc.) However, it doesn’t meet my diversity criterion, and it didn’t work for me (more on this later).

Oh, what to do, what to do?

Evidence: Are Probiotic Mixtures more Effective than Single Strains?

The operant question here is, Do probiotic mixtures demonstrate more or greater positive health effects than their component strains, when administered separately? Read the rest of this entry

Probiotics for IBD, Part 2

My sincere apologies for the long silence between posts. Our new baby daughter was just born a week ago, and things have been a bit hectic. I’m getting settled back into a routine now, thankfully. So without further adieu…

My new lovely excuse for not blogging in April.

In my last post, I introduced this series on probiotics, and explained that the more I learn, the more I take issue with the way probiotic therapies are recommended and administered to those with IBD (Crohn’s/Colitis) today.

My goal with this post is to acknowledge what we know, and what we don’t know. In doing so, I will introduce a new theory for probiotic supplementation for IBD. Read the rest of this entry

So, I’ve finished—sort of. Let me explain:

I finished the antibiotics. I finished ten daily fecal transplant infusions. My colitis symptoms are gone (yea!). Now it’s on to maintenance doses. Only, that protocol not outlined anywhere I can find.

A maintenance schedule of infusions makes sense. Bacterial life cycles are such that the ‘bad’ bacteria could reemerge (bloom), and set me back. It could also be that diet and daily me encourage a shift in the bacterial community back towards a negative mix. It could also be that ten infusions wasn’t enough to establish permanent remission. It could be that some number of annual fecal transplants will be necessary for life, if I am to remain healthy.

See a pattern here?

One commenter, a nurse, wrote to me some of her musings on my experiment. I thought they might be helpful here, so I have included some of her thoughts—with her permission.

My guess is that the healing may not be [as closely] related to the number
of infusions –
[rather] time it takes for the bacteria to colonize
and move up the colon. The infusions do not infiltrate the entire colon,
[at once] so it may take a while for the bacteria to “settle in” – adapt to a new environment and start to function the way they are supposed to

[snip]

And also, these bacteria are used to growing on healthy tissue, which you do not have yet. As your gut heals, then the normal community of bacteria have a better chance of survival, and until then, you probably will experience partial recovery but not full—that to me would be a realistic expectation.

Just like you cannot put a skin graft on burned tissue until granulation takes place, and there has been normal tissue repair… So, the 10
day routine sounds like a firm plan and an effective one, but beyond
that a maintenance schedule would seem to be needed— the body reacts to many things by responding, then plateauing, and then responding again. So, adjustment time is needed, then time to leave the body alone to do it’s thing, then maybe more
[infusion] maintenance therapy.

I think she is right on in many respects. I do believe that the number and frequency (at least in the first 10 days after antibiotics) of infusions matter (to get proper colonization); however, her point about time for the bacteria to colonize the entire colon is well taken, and likely true, I think.

I had expected too much too soon from this therapy, and from my body at first, which lead to the mid-treatment disappointment I felt. Natural treatments in general take time, your body takes time. The good news is this treatment only took 17 days (so far…so good), whereas others take years.

The maintenance schedule is an educated guessing game, one that favors the cautious. I’ve heard stories of people doing these infusions; their symptoms disappear, only to reemerge a few months later. My goal is to minimize the chance of that happening by taking three basic, common sense steps:

  1. Stay on the SCD. It works for me. There’s an ancient Egyptian proverb [sic]: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I’ll wait at least 1-2 months of no symptoms before I try any non-SCD food.
  2. Keep taking my daily supplements. Vitamin D (2-4,000 IU), SCD-friendly multi, Aloe (500mg), SCD yogurt (2 cups/day).
  3. Go on a tapering maintenance infusion schedule. Below is my ideal, if nothing goes wrong. If my symptoms return, of course, I’ll do more.
    1. February: One infusion per week.
    2. March: Two infusions.
    3. April-January, 2012: 1 infusion per month for ten months, or until my donor gets tired of pooping in a cup.

Thank you to all who have been praying for and encouraging me.

In the next post, I will elucidate my (madness) methods, give you resources to look up for further reading, and I will give you other tools that I found useful in the process.

Until then…

Onward to Health.

Bacteriotherapy Journal #9

Days: 15 &16:

The last three months or so have shown me some new and interesting symptoms. I’ve itched like crazy. I’ve been cold–all the time. My libido has disappeared. I’ve been tired and lethargic, slow to recover from stress events and workouts. I got headaches and nausea at least 1x/week.

With the antibiotics, the itching all but disappeared. Now, nine days after antibiotics, I don’t itch, even when I take probiotics and yogurt (these were the culprits before). Yea!

After nine infusions, here’s what my symptoms look like:

  • I’m no longer cold.
  • I have crazy energy that I haven’t felt in years.
  • My libido is returning.
  • I have no noticeable undigested material in my stool.
  • My stools, which used to be very light in color and not hold together well, have darkened, and are well-formed (this is new just yesterday and today)
  • I’m still a little gurgly. More gassy than I have been in the last two years, but not overly so.
  • The past two days, I’ve only gone one time.

Sound like a turn around? Yea, it does to me too. Things started to turn after the seventh infusion, but I wasn’t sure. After eight, I was more sure. Now after nine, I am confident enough to write about it.

I’m holding back excitement, because I’ve been here before, but I can’t help but be optimistic. I have other signs that the bacterial colony is taking hold: My stools, creepily, smell exactly like my donor’s, and so does my gas. Yes, it’s a bit eerie, but it’s a good sign to me. Each time I pass gas, it’s as if there’s a foreigner in the room, and I look around: Was that me?

I try to look on the bright side: Now when I go over to my donor’s house for dinner (he and his wife are good friends), I can fart, blame it on him, and no one will be the wiser. Hey, may as well  have a little fun with it, right?

To sum up, I feel very optimistic, like I’ve turned a corner. Cautious, but optimistic. I will take the tenth infusion tomorrow, then pause to see how the week goes. If it goes well, I will take one infusion/week for the month of Feb. I will take them more often if I feel symptoms returning; however, the ideal, I think, will be to take 1/wk. in Feb., 2 in March, and then 1/mo. for 12 months.

I do this, because, yes I’m uber-cautious, and an over-achiever, but also because I’ve read about people doing these, feeling great, only to have their symptoms return in a couple of months. So for me, it’s important to stay (for now) SCD, stick with my supplements (the one’s that work), and keep doing infusions until I’m sure that everything is well. I will measure this in part through regular blood work, and maybe–maybe–a scope in the fall (more about scopes later).

For now, I’m celebrating what looks like (at least for now) a turning of the tide of battle. Celebrate with me…

Onward to Health!

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