Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are both major diseases underneath the umbrella of what it commonly refers to as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). IBD is an inflammation in the lining of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It disrupts the body’s ability to digest food, absorb nutrition and eliminate unwanted material. While Crohn’s and Colitis are quite similar, the areas that they affect in the GI tract are different. Both diseases can be extremely painful and result in a series of symptoms including diarrhea, abdominal cramps and pains and constipation. However, probiotics and prebiotics can help regulate your gut and may actually help reverse the effects.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are the living bacteria and yeast that naturally occur in the intestine. We usually think of bacteria as germ-causing, but in reality, there are both good and bad bacteria. Good bacteria help nurture your gut and help keep your body healthy. These micro-organisms have been shown to provide health benefits when ingested and are reported to be especially helpful for those with intestinal and inflammatory disorders such as Crohn’s and Colitis.
Probiotic whole food sources include:
What Are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are carbohydrate compounds that induce the growth of beneficial microorganisms. They themselves are not living bacteria and are not digestible. But are found in many natural food items like bananas, onions and whole grains. When you ingest prebiotics, you selectively increase certain strains of bacteria that consume that prebiotic. In this way, you increase your own healthy probiotic bacteria increasing your protection against disease.
Prebiotic whole food sources include:
- Dandelion greens
- Chicory Root
Do Probiotics Help Those Living With Crohn’s Or Colitis?
While study results have not been conclusive on preventing the disease, they are encouraging. clinical studies in mice suggest that probiotics may help reduce flares and prevent complications of Crohn’s or Colitis such as pouchitis. Probiotics are typically considered safe to use as very few adverse effects have been reported with increased gas being the main complaint. Further studies are needed to determine how effective probiotics and prebiotics may be in bringing about remission or maintaining remission in Crohn’s and Colitis.
People with Crohn’s or Colitis should consult a doctor about taking probiotic supplements. After talking with a doctor, they should track what prebiotic and probiotic supplements they are taking and measure their progress for effectiveness.
How Can I Add More Probiotics & Prebiotics To My Daily Diet?
Of course, it isn’t always easy eating fermented foods so the other way you can add probiotics into your daily diet is through supplements. Living Alchemy offers probiotics, prebiotics and digestive enzymes all-in-one daily supplement from fermented certified organic whole foods. We are a proud partner with Crohn’s and Colitis Canada Association. The Your Flora series creates a balanced ecosystem in your gut to help nurture and heal your body. For more information on what our products can do for you, visit Your Flora Series here.