Research conducted by Emily Winokur, Senior at University of Central Missouri
Live microorganisms intended to support digestion
Probiotics help improve immune function, protect against hostile bacteria to prevent infection, improve digestion and absorption of food and nutrients
Can help offset bacterial imbalance caused by taking antibiotics
Our gut has a combination of good and bad bacteria
Some studies suggest that they can help in the treatment and prevention of diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease
May help aid in the breakdown protein and fat in the digestive tract
Sources of probiotics can be found in sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, yogurt (and some non-dairy yogurts), kombucha, miso, tempeh, and supplements (sometimes is added into cereals or granola bars)
Many people associate bacteria as all bad; however, many microorganisms are needed to help the body function properly
The ones in the gut help for digestion, destruction of disease causing microorganisms
70% of our immune system is located in the GI tract, therefore a healthy gut=a healthy immune system and will lead to less illness
For healthy individuals, probiotics are a good addition to a healthy diet. Those with compromised immune systems should consult with a registered dietitian before incorporating into the diet.
Not to be confused with prebiotics which are non-digestible food components
These work to promote good bacteria growth in the gut and feed the probiotics (whereas the probiotics are the microorganisms that actually change, repopulate, and colonize the gut with good bacteria, helping with balance)
These include fructooligosaccharides such as inulin and galactooligosaccharides. In simpler terms, eating more fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.
Non-digestible carbohydrates, found in foods such as garlic, bananas, oats, onions, and leeks.
Should be included daily
Bacteria can be affected negatively in the gut from antibiotics, fermentable carbohydrates, and smoking.
Antibiotics, while helping kill the bad bacteria making you sick, will also kill the good bacteria as well. This ultimately leads to an imbalance in the gut
A low FODMAP diet can affect the bacteria in the gut negatively as well. Following this diet should be done under the guidance of a registered dietitian
Signs of an unhealthy gut consist of the following
Upset stomach and irregular bowel movements are the most common
Fatigue, constant colds, struggle to lost weight, constant migraines, or irritated skin, these may also be signs of unhealthy microflora
For IBS patients, supplements or foods containing Bifidobacterium have been linked to reduced occurrence of symptoms such as bloating, cramping, and stool frequency
When selecting a probiotic supplement, it is important to ensure it has an appropriate number of bacteria to have an effect (107-1010 per gram) and that it is able to survive the acidic environment of the stomach
Not all probiotic supplements are created equally and will not all work the same for all individuals (some strains of bacteria may be more beneficial for one individual than for another, but that requires a more detailed approach and many studies are still being done in this area)
Having a balanced microbiome through the use of probiotics (and regular consumption of prebiotics) can help promote digestion (eliminate occurrence of digestive woes) and overall gut health
Moderate <=1 drink/d for women; <=2 drinks/d for men
Binge Drinking 4 drinks for women, 5 drinks for men on one occasion
Heavy Drinking is binge drinking 5x in the past month
Alcohol Use Disorder - compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using
Who should avoid drinking
Plan to drive a vehicle or operate machinery
Take medications that interact with alcohol
Have a medical condition that alcohol can aggravate
Are pregnant or trying to become pregnant
Rates of drinking
56.0 percent of adults reported that they drank in the past month
26.9 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month
7.0 percent reported that they engaged in heavy alcohol use in the past month.
Alcohol and your body
Brain: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
Heart: Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including:
Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle
Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat
High blood pressure
Liver: Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver, and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including:
Steatosis, or fatty liver
Pancreas: Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
Cancer: Source: National Cancer Institute -- see https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/alcohol/alcohol-fact-sheet
Head and neck cancer
Immune System: Drinking too much can weaken your immune system, making your body a much easier target for disease.
Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much.
Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.