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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Probiotics and RNY

To be a successful RNY patient, there are different things that you can do to "up" your losses. One of them is exercise that will tone your body and of course, help you lose a wee bit more in the long run - especially the last 20 lbs. One often underlooked other advantage can be probiotics.

So what are probiotics? They actually sound rather disgusting when you think of the actual concept. They are basically healthy microorganisms. These microorganisms may help with digestion and offer protection from harmful bacteria, just as the existing "good" bacteria in your body already do.

Probiotics can be added to your diet through nutritional supplements or foods such as yogurt, fermented and unfermented milk, miso, and some juices and soy drinks. When reading a label you would be looking for a statement that the product contains "live and active cultures," such as lactobacillus.

Although more research is needed, there's encouraging evidence that probiotics may help:

* Treat diarrhea, especially following treatment with certain antibiotics
* Prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections
* Treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
* Reduce bladder cancer recurrence
* Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections
* Prevent and treat eczema in children
* Prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu

In a study published in the July issue of the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, the Stanford University School of Medicine and Stanford Hospital & Clinics, showed that patients who take probiotics after the gastric-bypass procedure tend to shed more pounds than those who do not take the supplements. Probiotics are the so-called “good” bacteria found in yogurt as well as in over-the-counter dietary supplements that help in the digestion of food.

The researchers followed 44 patients that had RNY from 2006 to 2007. Patients were randomized into either a probiotic or a control group. Both groups received the same bariatric medical care and nutritional counselling, as well as the support of weight-loss study groups. Both groups also were allowed to consume yogurt, a natural source of probiotics. In addition, the probiotic group consumed one probiotic pill as well.

The study showed that at three months, the probiotics group registered a 47.6 percent weight loss, compared with a 38.5 percent for the control group.

The study also found that levels of vitamin B-12 were higher in the patients taking probiotics — an important bonus since patients often are deficient in B-12 after gastric-bypass surgery. So an added benefit that they didn't expect as well!

Morton (the surgeon that lead the study) said the study was prompted by the fact that some patients have problems eating after gastric-bypass surgery. “For some reason, the food doesn’t go down right,” he said. When no anatomical reasons could be found for blockages, he hypothesized that a build-up of bacteria in the intestine — bacterial overgrowth — might be the culprit.

“Bacterial overgrowth can be bad in that it changes your motility, how you empty,” Morton said. “A lot of people aren’t aware that we all carry about a lot of bacteria in our intestines and that they’re extremely helpful in aiding digestion. And I thought, ‘Well, if we give these patients probiotics, then maybe we can improve these symptoms.’

“Part of the obesity puzzle may be due to the kind of bacteria you have in your intestine,” he said.

So how can you get in probiotics - yes you can look for yogurts or foods with added cultures but as well, many supplement companies offer probiotics in a little sleeve (much like the packages of Crystal Lite Singles) that you just add to your drink or to regular yogurt. I've purchased them at Walmart, made by Jamieson Labs.

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