Off the bat: what are probiotics and prebiotics? Probiotics are our gut bacteria. We get them many different ways. The primary method is through birth, from our mother. Later in life we get them from playing in the dirt, dog kisses, fermented foods, unwashed veggies, and little pills. We kill them off with antibiotics, excessive hygiene (think OCD hand washing), and starvation when we eat a limited diet. If you (and most of us do) have a gut ecosystem that has suffered from bad diet or antibiotics, it’s important to take the right probiotic as many of them really aren’t worth taking. Some have a limited number of species, others have casing that dissolves before making it to the intestines, and many don’t preserve the probiotics so that the probiotics you are taking are live. I use Mark Sission’s Primal Probiotics and highly recommend them. I’ve noticed a difference between them and other brands I’ve taken; more noticeable increase in mood and decrease in discomfort.
How does this relate to leaky gut? Probiotics do a host of cool things, I’ve seen research on gut health effecting everything from moods to immune functioning. From Dr. William Davis (Wheat Belly Total Health), probiotic species such as Lactobacillus break down the prebiotics inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) into butyrate which repairs tight junctions between intestinal cells (areas the leaks are occurring). One of the easiest sources of FOS I’ve found is coconut vinegar. I add a splash in a glass of water.
How do tight junctions get broken in the first place? Again from Dr. William Davis, when we eat grains, our bodies can only break down the proteins so much. Gluten, for example, is broken down into gliadin which is too big of a protein to pass easily through our intestinal walls. Our tight junctions are broken to allow these proteins to pass. Proteins from other grains, proteins collectively known a prolamins, are linked to this intestinal damage as well.
If a person do not have the probiotics and prebiotics necessary to repair these tight junctions, then things that should be kept inside the gut will leak out as they pass through the damaged area. This can lead to a host of issues associated with IBS and IBD.
To me, this all poses an interesting idea. Crohn’s, for instance, is noted to run in families but a genetic link has not been found. Given that we get our probiotics primarily from our mother during birth, this could suggest that the issue is caused not by a genetic predisposition, but an inherited–and fixable–lack of probiotic species.
Source: Rx Primal Blog