Taking the right probiotic, combined with the right fiber, for you and the season, can help eliminate uncomfortable digestive issues.
The New Science on Bifidobacterium lactis HN019
Fun fact: constipation is a concern that affects almost one fifth of the American population. When we’re constipated, we’re usually told to eat more fiber to bulk up our stool. But this often doesn’t deliver the complete and regular bowel movements we were hoping for.
While fiber plays an important role, one study found that a specific strain of yogurt-based probiotic called Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 decreases the time from eating to elimination by a whopping 57 percent.
In this triple blind study, in which no one knew what study participants were being supplemented with, 100 subjects with a variety of digestive concerns were randomized to consume a placebo or a low or high dose of the colonizing strain of Bifidobacterium lactis called HN019, the same strain that is in LifeSpa’s Flora Restore and Flora Restore MAX probiotics, for 14 days.
Researchers measured the effect of this probiotic on whole gut transit time, which is the time from ingestion to elimination, and saw a 31percent decrease in transit time in the low dose HN019 probiotic group (1.8 billion CFU of HN019) and a 57 percent decrease in transit time in the high dose HN019 group (17.2 billion CFU of the HN019), compared to the placebo. (LifeSpa’s Flora Restore has 15 billion CFU of HN019 and Flora Restore MAX has 50 billion CFU of HN019).
In this study, digestive health questionnaires were also evaluated. In addition to faster digestion times, the high dose HN019 probiotic group saw these other health benefits, as compared to the placebo:
- 52% reduction in abdominal discomfort
- 48% reduction in queasiness
- 42% self-reported healthier elimination
How Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 Works
Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 supports healthy digestive function by supporting the conversion of intestinal fiber to short chain fatty acids, which feed a healthy gut microbiome while providing energy for the cells that line the gut.
Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 adheres to the intestinal wall, acting as a colonizing bacteria that can increase the proliferation of other beneficial bacteria species by 40-60 percent. Choosing colonizing probiotics over transient probiotics allows probiotics to help repopulate your gut with permanent residents and helps you eventually wean off of the probiotic.
Feed Your Gut Bacteria the Right Seasonal Fiber
Dietary fiber feeds the good bacteria in your gut and few of us get enough. In fact, most of us are getting the wrong kind of fiber.
Knowing how and when to get the right fiber is an important part of the solution.
There are two basic kinds of fiber:
Soluble Fiber: This kind is primarily fall harvested. Soluble fibers, including psyllium, chia, flax, slippery elm, oatmeal, and okra, are soluble in water and become slimy and demulcent, lubricating the intestinal lining and supporting a healthy population of beneficial fall and winter gut bacteria.
Insoluble Fiber: Insoluble fibers, including leafy greens, grain bran, and most vegetables, are harvested in the spring and summer and are not digestible. Instead, they provide important nutrients for gut bacteria during the summer months, when the insoluble fiber acts like roughage for the intestines.
Both types of fiber feed a healthy stable of beneficial bacteria seasonally.
And both can support healthy bowel function. Soluble fiber attaches to bile from the liver and escorts it to the toilet, supporting healthy elimination and acting as an effective antidote to the dryness of the winter. Insoluble fiber feed a different stable of bacteria that populates the gut each summer, also supporting healthy elimination.
See also Eat the Right Fiber