Did you know that a specific probiotic called Lactobacillus provides us with various B-vitamins as well as vitamin K2 (which most of us are terribly deficient in)?
That’s not all: probiotics also help the body better use nutrients from foods and supplements. Keep reading to learn more about the impressive digestive prowess of your body’s tiny superheroes.
Probiotics are involved in the production of digestive substances
We eat various types of carbohydrates daily (yes, even if you are following a ketogenic diet) – some are so complex that only gut microbes can digest them.
If your gut is unhealthy, it is likely that pathogens (nasty bacteria) living in your gut will feast on these complex carbohydrates to produce energy they can use at your expense.
This is where probiotics come in. Researchers found that some probiotics can produce their own enzymes whilst other probiotics enhance the release of digestive substances by the pancreas, stomach, and gall-bladder .
These enzymes, or digestive substances, facilitate the break down (and utilization) of real food supplements [2,3].
When probiotics like Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG ferment carbohydrates, they produce short-chain fatty acids, primarily acetate, propionate, and butyrate [4, 5].
Your gut cells depend on butyrate for energy and nourishment. Butyrate also stimulates the production of gut-protective substances which help strengthen the gut [5 -7].
Butyrate also decreases the colon’s pH and thus hampers the growth of pathogens in the gut .
Remember that your gut needs to be healthy to adequately absorb nutrients. By helping to maintain the gut’s health, probiotics improve its absorptive function and ensure that your body won’t flush out the supplements you take .
Probiotics are able to bind to micronutrients like vitamins and minerals and release them in the colon where they can be more easily absorbed [9, 10]. In an unhealthy gut, pathogens would be the ones benefitting from these micronutrients – as opposed to YOU.
Moreover, the short-chain fatty acids produced by probiotics create an acidic environment in the colon. This improves mineral absorption by :
Despite what you may have come to believe, your body needs healthy dietary fats. Period.
Dietary fats play an essential role in the body. For instance, your body needs them to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K that are critical for health. Plus, fats are the building blocks of nerve tissue in the brain and are absolutely essential for hormonal health and a healthy ticker.
What’s that got to do with probiotics?
Well, research shows that certain probiotics are able to enhance fat absorption . And in doing so, these friendly microbes make it easier for the body to use the fat-soluble vitamins.
Cells throughout the body have receptors – these are special proteins that act as the cell’s ‘eyes’.
A 2013 study conducted on humans showed that probiotics stimulate the activity of vitamin D receptors in the presence and absence of short-chain fatty acids . Subject participants benefited from a 22.4% increase in vitamin D levels.
Not sure which probiotic to get? How about trying Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG, the most studied probiotic strain and the one used in the 100% food-derived organic formula; Samuraw Organic Complete?
Patterson, E., et al. (2014). Gut microbiota, the pharmabiotics they produce and host health. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 73(4), 477-489.
McNulty, N. P., et al.. (2011). The impact of a consortium of fermented milk strains on the gut microbiome of gnotobiotic mice and monozygotic twins. Science translational medicine, 3(106), 106ra106-106ra106.
Bisanz, J. E., & Reid, G. (2011). Unraveling how probiotic yogurt works. Science translational medicine, 3(106), 106ps41-106ps41.
LeBlanc, J. G., et al.. (2017). Beneficial effects on host energy metabolism of short-chain fatty acids and vitamins produced by commensal and probiotic bacteria. Microbial cell factories, 16(1), 79.
Wong, J. M., et al.. (2006). Colonic health: fermentation and short chain fatty acids. Journal of clinical gastroenterology, 40(3), 235-243.
Andoh, A., Tsujikawa, T., & Fujiyama, Y. (2003). Role of dietary fiber and short-chain fatty acids in the colon. Current pharmaceutical design, 9(4), 347-358.
Brouns, F., Kettlitz, B., & Arrigoni, E. (2002). Resistant starch and “the butyrate revolution”. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 13(8), 251-261.
Canani, R. B., et al.. (2011). Potential beneficial effects of butyrate in intestinal and extraintestinal diseases. World journal of gastroenterology: WJG, 17(12), 1519.
Scholz-Ahrens, K. E., et al.. (2007). Prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics affect mineral absorption, bone mineral content, and bone structure. The Journal of nutrition, 137(3), 838S-846S.
Sheridan, P. O., et al. (2014). Can prebiotics and probiotics improve therapeutic outcomes for undernourished individuals?
Semova, I., et al.. (2012). Microbiota regulate intestinal absorption and metabolism of fatty acids in the zebrafish. Cell host & microbe, 12(3), 277-288.
Jones, M. L., Martoni, C. J., & Prakash, S. (2013). Oral supplementation with probiotic L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 increases mean circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D: a post hoc analysis of a randomized controlled trial. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 98(7), 2944-2951.