With the discovery of the microbiome, a new frontier in science and health care was born. While still in its infancy, there is compelling evidence suggesting numerous health benefits of taking probiotics. While the benefits of probiotics were once thought to be restricted to gut and digestive health, new research on the gut-brain axis is connecting our microbiome to the health of the brain, immunity, bone density, blood sugar, mood and even our intuition – and this is the short list. 1-2
Transient vs. Colonizing Probiotics
One way of categorizing probiotics is whether or not they are transient or colonizing. The vast majority of all the probiotics on the market are transient probiotics, which transit through the gut but do not make a permanent or lasting home in the microbiome. There are plenty of studies supporting the numerous health benefits of transient probiotics, but once you stop taking them the microbiome generally returns to its original state before probiotic use; the health benefits gleaned are unfortunately dependent on continuous use.3-5
Colonizing probiotics, which are rare in the marketplace, actually adhere to the gut wall, become permanent residents, and help microbial diversity. In one study, a colonizing probiotic called Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 was shown to adhere to the gut wall and increase microbial diversity in a study group of subjects over 60 years of age. While the science studying our microbes is still in its infancy, it is clear that diversity matters. Westerners have significantly less microbial diversity than other cultures around the world. 6-8
A Four-Step Plan
A logical strategy for a probiotic regime would be to introduce colonizing microbes into the gut and digestive tract that support microbial diversity, and ultimately promote digestive self-sufficiency. In an effort to accomplish this, I suggest a four-step comprehensive plan for perfect gut health:
Step 1: Support the intestinal mucus membranes by introducing prebiotic soluble fiber to create the best possible environment for healthy microbes to thrive.
Step 2: Introduce healthy, colonizing probiotics that will scrub undesirable microbes and simultaneously make way for new beneficial, permanent residents to proliferate.
Step 3: After the gut is primed, boost colonizing microbes to complete the process of achieving thriving microbial diversity.
Step 4: Maintain with colonizing probiotics as needed and small amounts of fermented foods and seasonal eating.
To accomplish this, I suggest using a specific progression of synergistic pre- and probiotic products, formulated to efficiently create a healthy microbiome.
Step 1: Prepare the Gut with Slippery Elm Prebiotic Formula
The journey towards optimal gut health begins with Slippery Elm Prebiotic Formula, comprised of Organic Slippery Elm Bark, Organic Marshmallow Root, and Organic Licorice Root. This formula is called a prebiotic because it helps to create an environment in the gut where good bacteria can thrive, as the probiotic cultures feed on the ingredients of this prebiotic. Each of the 3 ingredients in the Slippery Elm Prebiotic Formula naturally lubricate and calm the entire digestive tract, priming it for the introduction of healthy bacteria.
- Step 1 Directions: Begin taking Slippery Elm Prebiotic Formula and the Gut Revival in conjunction with each other for 1 month. Take the Slippery Elm Prebiotic Formula until you finish the container or for 1 month (whichever comes sooner). If you feel that the Slippery Elm Prebiotic is making a noticeable difference for you and would like to keep taking it in conjunction with more of the following steps, feel free. Sometimes it is needed for a longer period.
It is important to support elimination during this gut-preparing step:
- If you experience dry or sluggish bowels during Step 1, our proprietary blend Elim 1 in conjunction with the Slippery Elm Prebiotic Formula can support you in achieving healthy elimination. Elim 1’s formula of Organic Licorice Root, Organic Psyllium Seed Husks, Organic Triphala, and Organic Slippery Elm Bark combined with the Slippery Elm Prebiotic Formula can be a powerful way to support healthy elimination while preparing the gut for repopulation of healthy microbes.
- If you experience loose bowel movements and mucus in the stool during Step 1, our proprietary blend Elim 2 used with the Slippery Elm Prebiotic Formula can be helpful in supporting proper elimination. Elim 2 is comprised of Organic Bilva, Organic Triphala, Organic Licorice Root, Organic Slippery Elm Bark, and Organic Psyllium Seed Husks. This is a supportive formula for balancing elimination while preparing the gut flora to support a healthy microbiome.
Step 2: Prime the Gut with Gut Revival
Gut Revival, taken in conjunction with the Slippery Elm Prebiotic Formula, has probiotics that scrub harmful microbes and begin to seed the gut with good microbes. The immune-supportive beneficial bacteria in Gut Revival include the probiotics Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 (15 billion CFU) and a proprietary blend of Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-14, Lactobacillus plantarum LP-115, and Bifidobacterium longum BI-05 (15 billion CFU), as well as Saccharomyces boulardii (10 billion live organisms) and arabinogalactan. These components have been shown to survive the digestive tract, which few probiotics have the ability to do.
Not only do they survive the digestive tract, but they adhere to the gut wall, restore healthy flora, and support a healthy microbial environment against unhealthy microbes through the ingredients Saccharomyces boulardii (a non-pathogenic yeast) and Lactobacillus acidophilus.9 The Slippery Elm Prebiotic Formula and the Gut Revival work synergistically to positively impact bad microbes and line the digestive tract with a supportive mucilaginous coating, so that the gut is prepared to be repopulated with the good bacteria.
- Step 2 Directions: Take 1 sachet of Gut Revival in 1-2oz of pure water, twice a day alongside the Slippery Elm Prebiotic Formula. After 1 month, begin taking Step 3, Flora Restore Max.
Step 3: Repopulate the Gut with Flora Restore MAX
After finishing the Slippery Elm Prebiotic Formula and Gut Revival and the gut is primed, it’s time to repopulate the gut with Flora Restore MAX. This will introduce 100 billion CFU per capsule into the gut, which adhere to the gut wall and proliferate new and lasting residents there. These new residents will then continue to proliferate on their own. Flora Restore MAX has been shown to establish new permanent microbial residents and microbial diversity in the gut through its combination of Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 (50 billion CFU), which is the specific probiotic strain that adheres to the gut wall, and a proprietary blend of Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-14, Lactobacillus plantarum LP-115, and Bifidobacterium longum BI-05 (50 billion CFU).
- Step 3 Directions: After finishing the combination of Slippery Elm Prebiotic Formula and Gut Revival, begin taking Flora Restore MAX. Continue taking Flora Restore MAX for 1 month. At this point, begin taking Flora Restore for optimal maintenance of the gut flora.
Step 4: Maintain the Gut with Flora Restore
After creating an optimal gut environment repopulated with healthy microbes by taking the Flora Restore MAX, the gut can still benefit from ongoing maintenance for an optimal level of gut health. This can be achieved by taking Flora Restore as necessary, which encourages a long-lasting healthy microbiome. Flora Restore contains Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 (15 billion CFU), and a proprietary blend of Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-14, Lactobacillus plantarum LP-115, and Bifidobacterium longum BI-05 (15 billion CFU), all of which support and maintain a lasting healthy microbiome in the gut.
In addition, consider introducing more fermented foods into the diet. Remember, fermented foods create heat in the body and are best consumed in the winter. Be mindful not to eat excess amounts of fermented foods in the summer. Fermented food was traditionally used as a condiment – taken in small amounts with meals – not a meal in and of itself.
Nature also supports a healthy microbiome with its seasonal harvests. Don’t miss out on our free monthly seasonal eating guide. Sign up for the free 3-Season Diet Challenge now!
- Step 4 Directions: Once you have completed Steps 1-3, begin taking Flora Restore for 1 month to maintain this new thriving level of healthy flora.
Once the microbiome has been reset and the desired health benefits have been achieved, probiotics can be weaned off and a seasonal diet of fermented foods can be continued.
*A Note Regarding How to Effectively Use Probiotics to Balance the After-effects of Antibiotics
Antibiotics, while helpful in many situations as prescribed by your primary care physician, also have the ability to wipe out the healthy bacteria of the gut. Therefore, if you have finished a course of antibiotics, it is important to take probiotics to address microbial diversity. However, it matters when you take each of them.
For optimal results, As soon as you have completely finished the antibiotics, take 1 packet of Gut Revival and 1 capsule of Flora Restore Max together each day for about a month (and no more than 3 months if you require support for a longer period of time). This is an excellent way to positively impact the gut’s healthy microbiome after antibiotic use.
Wishing you a wonderful journey toward establishing thriving microbial diversity in the gut!
If you want to dive deeper into the research on any of our probiotic products, check out the list of product-specific references below.