T Nation

Healthy Bacteria?

My brother was on Minocycline for minor acne, after stopping a few days ago he is convinced that it has come back worse than before. Could the bacteria becoming stronger while the good gut flora/ bacteria being killed be causing it? If so, what are the best prebiotics, probiotics, etc. to get back to normal?

Lactobacillus tends to fight off bad gut bacteria. It can be found in naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi and really helps aid in digestion of other nutrients.

Prebiotics: chicory, all kinds of leafy greens, onions, garlic.
Probiotics: greek yoghurt, kefir, unpasteurised sauerkraut and olives, kimchi.

A few servings of each every day (gradually ramped up over a couple of weeks so as not to cause gastrointestinal distress) works wonders.

Incidentally, the amount of bacteria found in a product having, for example, 30 billion bacteria is absolutely trivial compared to the amount in foods such as you describe.

30 billion (as an example figure) sounds like a lot but actually with bacteria, it’s quite few. A number such as that is in itself pretty trivial and would have to multiply through very many generations to amount to anything.

Fun experiment: add a little kefir or Greek yogurt with live cultures to a liter of UHT milk, shake occasionally, and see how long it takes the liter to curdle and give a new batch of “kefir” or Greek yogurt. Not long.

To another liter, add a capsule of a 30-billion-live-bacteria product, which lists having mostly the same bacterial species, and see how many days it takes for anything at all to happen.

I am not saying the capsules are useless: those who’ve found that they’ve enjoyed a benefit did get a benefit, or at least probably in most cases. But the above foods provide far more bacteria.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Incidentally, the amount of bacteria found in a product having, for example, 30 billion bacteria is absolutely trivial compared to the amount in foods such as you describe.

30 billion (as an example figure) sounds like a lot but actually with bacteria, it’s quite few. A number such as that is in itself pretty trivial and would have to multiply through very many generations to amount to anything.

Fun experiment: add a little kefir or Greek yogurt with live cultures to a liter of UHT milk, shake occasionally, and see how long it takes the liter to curdle and give a new batch of “kefir” or Greek yogurt. Not long.

To another liter, add a capsule of a 30-billion-live-bacteria product, which lists having mostly the same bacterial species, and see how many days it takes for anything at all to happen.

I am not saying the capsules are useless: those who’ve found that they’ve enjoyed a benefit did get a benefit, or at least probably in most cases. But the above foods provide far more bacteria.[/quote]

Thanks, I just ordered some kefir grains both water and milk. Would someone with lactose intolerance and/or whey intolerance be able to drink milk kefir?

Something that confuses me is the type of probiotics in products. When you look at a probiotic supplement label some will list many while, a yogurt or milk label will have 2-4. Do different foods have different amounts/types, do you need different cultures? Can you even get all the probiotics already in the gut through foods?

Our bodies are different.

The balance of bacteria in your body will be altered through a variety of things:
-Whether or not you were birthed vaginally
-Whether or not you were breastfead, including the nutritional status of the mother
-Genetics
-What you ate growing up
-Sugar consumption during your life
-Exposure to disease and harmful organisms etc
-Stress / coping strategies

That being said, I do believe that PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENTS should be seen only as a temporary means of support. I worked in natural supps for 3 years and I have seen MANY people benefit from probiotic supplements. However, people need to modify their diets if they want long term success.

Seraphim, a significant amount of bacteria ingested through food will simply pass through the gut and into your feces. However, DURING THE TIME that the bacteria is in the gut, it creates a healthy environment so that your own natural bacteria can continue to flourish. That is the KEY.

This is why I consume fresh Ginger 5x+ times per week. It is a major pre-biotic and anti-inflammatory absolutely amazing for gut health and recovery purposes.

If you want a therapeutic dosage of bacteria. Raw Kefir is the most powerful food I have ever used. (Real Kefir grains + Raw Milk 24-48 hour fermentation, you get hundreds of billions of bacteria easy). Again, even with the Kefir, most of those bacteria do NOT form colonies in the gut. However, during the time that the bacteria passes through the body, it promotes healthy immune responses and promotes a healthy ecology within the human gut.

Congrats to you for learning more about gut health – this is seriously the most important thing that people have no freakin’ clue about.

[quote]xXSeraphimXx wrote:
Thanks, I just ordered some kefir grains both water and milk. Would someone with lactose intolerance and/or whey intolerance be able to drink milk kefir?
[/quote]

Yes.

The kefir feeds off the sugar (lactose) and transforms it into a substance more readily available to the human digestive system.

Depending what state you live in, I highly recommend Raw Milk. I live in WA so we have raw milk all over in our natural markets, but I realize that most states have hefty regulations.

[quote]xXSeraphimXx wrote:

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Incidentally, the amount of bacteria found in a product having, for example, 30 billion bacteria is absolutely trivial compared to the amount in foods such as you describe.

30 billion (as an example figure) sounds like a lot but actually with bacteria, it’s quite few. A number such as that is in itself pretty trivial and would have to multiply through very many generations to amount to anything.

Fun experiment: add a little kefir or Greek yogurt with live cultures to a liter of UHT milk, shake occasionally, and see how long it takes the liter to curdle and give a new batch of “kefir” or Greek yogurt. Not long.

To another liter, add a capsule of a 30-billion-live-bacteria product, which lists having mostly the same bacterial species, and see how many days it takes for anything at all to happen.

I am not saying the capsules are useless: those who’ve found that they’ve enjoyed a benefit did get a benefit, or at least probably in most cases. But the above foods provide far more bacteria.[/quote]

Thanks, I just ordered some kefir grains both water and milk. Would someone with lactose intolerance and/or whey intolerance be able to drink milk kefir?
[/quote]
I suppose it depends on the extent of the lactose intolerance. Some lactose does remain with kefir, but there’s a large reduction compared to milk. Lactase enzyme such as Lactaid could be added after making the kefir if sensitive to even the small amount of lactose remaining.

Btw, on making kefir, personally at first I found separating the milk kefir grains from the curds to be a real problem. Since I was also doing water kefir and those grains are more easily seen and are fragile, I had concern that I couldn’t treat the harder-to-see milk kefir grains too roughly. In fact however they are much more physically durable than the water kefir grains. The milk kefir can and should be shaken very vigorously, and there’s no problem using the back of a spoon to push curds through a strainer.

It also works well to strain the well-curdled kefir through a cloth and get a cheese from it.

A yet different approach is to culture the milk kefir grains in half milk / half coconut water. Personally I prefer the taste, it’s easier to do, and if anything the grains grow faster.

You absolutely can have an issue where the kefir goes very quickly from not being ready yet to being quite acidic and hard-curdled. There is however nothing wrong with it being quite acidic.

On the water kefir, it seems to me that people keep trying to defy physics, and hope that somehow bacteria can grow when supplied only carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen (the only elements present in sugar.) No, they need nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, etc as well. One way to address this is to use for example a 1:4 mix of coconut water with pure water, and to add 1/4 tsp per liter of glycine. This is more effective than adding a small amount of molasses, as sometimes recommended. The water kefir grains grow much faster, and done this way, not only is water kefir produced, but also a lot of water kefir grains to eat.

Water kefir with the coconut water as an ingredient is absolutely delicious to drink and even lightly alcoholic!

And the kefir grains are also delicious to eat!

how much?

I eat home made kimchi. But most days I only eat like an ounce. Somedays I get crazy and have 2 but is this small amount anywhere near enough to help my gut bacteria?

Kefir sounds great.

Would the sugar content of the Kefir go down the longer you leave it, and does this in any way harm the probiotics?

I do not handle whey that well so I was planning on leaving the kefir grains for 12-48 hrs straining it then letting it sit until is begins to solidify, strain it to keep kefir cheese and discard the whey or give it away. Would I be losing a lot of the benefits?

The lactose content does go down the more it is fermented. Partly I judge whether milk kefir is done from whether there’s no longer any perceptible sweetness. I think most people, myself included, usually stop before all the lactose is consumed, because it’s still actively fermenting when stopped. Going yet further would make it really strongly acidic. Which wouldn’t be harmful; it just isn’t how most (I think) do it.

On straining it to keep the kefir cheese and discarding the whey: I don’t think you’d be losing much benefit at all, and would be getting more benefit if it causes you to consume more.

It still has a considerable amount of fermenting left to do at the point where it begins to solidify, but it will need frequent shaking at that point, as if a grain is embedded in curd it probably can’t access much further nutrients. But it’s certainly an option to end the process relatively early. There won’t be much lactose in the curds (cheese) either way.

[quote]paulieserafini wrote:
how much?

I eat home made kimchi. But most days I only eat like an ounce. Somedays I get crazy and have 2 but is this small amount anywhere near enough to help my gut bacteria?[/quote]

My mother in law in Korean, so I eat kimchi with just about everything. Their always making gallons and gallons of it. I’ve been getting tons of probiotics without ever knowing it. I always eat extra greek yogurt cause i thought it was the only probiotic in my diet.