In This Article
Boost Bifidobacteria + Change Your Life
How well do you know your microbiome?
The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched the Human Microbiome Project in 2007, with the aim of better understanding the roles microbes play in human health and longevity. Since the project launched, microbiome research has advanced quickly and thousands of studies have been published.
The human gut is made up of four dominant bacterial phyla: firmicutes, bacteroidetes, actinobacteria, and proteobacteria. While there are thousands of species of intestinal bacteria, one strain, bifidobacteria, has shown to be among the most important and beneficial.1 Bifidobacteria are in the same family as bacteroidetes.
At birth, the gut is inhabited by 90% bifidobacteria. As we age, the numbers of bifidobacteria dwindle to a mere 3-6% of the microbiome.2,3
Benefits of Bifidobacteria2,3
- Support healthy homeostasis of gut bacteria
- Support natural defenses against undesirable gut microbes
- Support healthy immune system
- Produce enzymes and vitamins
- Produce beneficial short-chain fatty acids in the gut
- Play an important role in intestinal skin integrity
- Support healthy pregnancy weights
Bifidobacteria for Longevity
Research conducted on centenarians (those who live to or beyond 100 years) shows higher percentages of bifidobacteria present in older centenarians compared to younger elderlies. This suggests longevity may be linked to sustaining healthy populations of bifidobacteria.2
Lifestyle, diet, stress, and antibiotic use all contribute to the demise of a once healthy bifidobacteria population.2 Strategies to support bifidobacteria have made probiotics quite popular these days—which is great—but you can’t grow grass in a desert!
We recommend "Gut Immunity for Your Ayurvedic Body Type": https://lifespa.com/gut-health-body-type-vata-pitta-kapha/
Feed Your Bifidobacteria with Soluble Fiber
How do we prime our guts for healthy bacteria? According to Ayurveda and now Stanford University science, establishment of a healthy gut microbiome is greatly dependent on the environment, and that environment changes from one season to the next.4 Soil microbes change seasonally, which changes microbes on our foods, which changes microbes in our microbiome.
Fall- and winter-harvested grains, nuts, and seeds are rich in soluble fiber. When soluble fiber mixes with water, it becomes slimy and lubricating for the gut. This is the food bifidobacteria love!
Oatmeal, slimy flax, chia seeds, and teas made of slippery elm, marshmallow, and licorice root are all rich in soluble fiber. These fibers not only feed a new population of bifidobacteria, they also protect the intestinal lining from the dryness of winter, bolstering immunity.1-3
Your Probiotic Regimen Should Not Be a Life Sentence
There are two types of probiotics available today: colonizing and transient.
Most probiotics on the market are transient, which means they go right through you, offering healthy services along the way. The rarer form is resident or colonizing. These probiotic strains adhere to the gut wall, become permanent residents, and encourage microbial diversity.
One such strain is Bifidobacterium lactis HN019. This strain has shown to adhere to the gut wall and support proliferation of new and diverse strains of bifidobacteria and lactobaccilus in the gut.
I do not believe we need to take probiotics for the rest of our lives. Resetting a healthy microbiome seasonally with colonizing probiotics makes sense. Laying down the right fiber in the right season to act as natural, food-based prebiotics makes sense as well.
Once you create the proper environment and re-populate the gut with colonizing probiotics and organic (not sprayed with microbe-killing insecticides) seasonal foods, a healthy gut microbiome should take care of itself.
Are You Ready for a Microbiome Reset?
You can start this reset with the following three steps:
- Sign up for my free 3-Season Diet Challenge, where I’ll guide you through a full year of eating with the seasons.
- Drink my Slippery Elm Prebiotic Tea/Decoction for 1-2 months to restore the gut environment with healthy and gentle soluble fiber.
- Supplement your seasonal diet with my Flora Restore Max probiotic—a well-studied colonizing bifidobacteria-packed probiotic shown to support proliferation of other healthy gut bacteria.
We recommend "4 Steps to a Healthy Microbiome": https://lifespa.com/from-prebiotic-to-probiotic-4-steps-healthy-microbiome/