Compelling research has revealed a very real link between what we put into our stomachs and the longevity of a healthy brain and there is plenty of information on this in a book from New York Times bestseller David Permutter called Brain Maker.
His book breaks down all the science into ‘digestible’ chunks and makes it easy to understand how we can make discernible changes to help protect against brain disease.
Dr Permutter explains how nurturing gut health through a few easy strategies can alter your brain’s destiny for the better.
Here is an edited extract from Brain Maker exclusive to The Carousel…
PROBIOTICS: FIVE CORE SPECIES
The number of probiotics available today can be overwhelming. This industry didn’t exist when I was going through medical school and during the early decades of my career. Now, the number of different com- binations available at health food stores and even added to various foods is growing. There are thousands of different species of bacteria that make up the human microbiome. But some major players have been identified and aggressively studied in both animals and humans, and I’ll focus on this core group.
To make the task of finding and purchasing the right formulas as easy as possible, I’ve simplified my recommendation to just five core probiotic species that are widely available: Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus brevis, Bifidobacterium lactis, and Bifidobacte- rium longum.
Different strains provide different benefits, but these are the ones that will, as we’ve been discussing since the beginning of the book, best support brain health in these ways:
● Fortifying the intestinal lining and reducing gut permeability
● Reducing LPS, the inflammatory molecule that can be dangerous if it reaches the bloodstream
● Increasing BDNF, the brain’s growth hormone
● Sustaining an overall balance to crowd out any potentially rogue bacterial colonies
While there is some debate as to whether or not particular preparations allow the organisms to remain viable when taken orally, I’m confident that oral probiotics can effect meaningful change in the gut bacteria.
That said, I must admit that in order to repopulate the gut with good bacteria and reestablish an effective barrier, I have had great success with variations of this core group of species administered directly into the colon using an enema.
To be clear, this would be something you would need to discuss with your treating physician. But it’s one of the most powerfully therapeutic interventions I have ever employed in more than 30 years of practicing medicine and in dealing with brain problems.
The probiotics industry is poised to explode. I am certain that, with time, other species of organisms will be identified that prove to be helpful and that they will make their way into various over-the-counter combi- nations.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations. But start by looking for the five particular species I’ve identified, because I do feel that these are the most important, given the scientific literature today.
Keep in mind that if you are using probiotics, it’s important to make sure you take in adequate prebiotics to allow these organisms to flourish and persist in the gut. You should get 12 grams a day by eating prebiotic foods twice daily. My meal plan will show you how to achieve this easily.
Prebiotic fiber supplements are also available, and there are even pre- and probiotic combinations. It’s critical to take probiotics with filtered water, otherwise you’ll defeat their purpose. Chemicals, such as chlorine, that are added to many sources of water to kill bad bacteria will also kill good, probiotic bacteria.
To find the highest-quality probiotics, go to a store known for its natural supplement section and speak with the person most familiar with the store’s array of brands (and who can offer an unbiased opinion). Probiotics are not regulated by the FDA, so you don’t want to end up with a brand whose claims don’t match the actual ingredients.
Prices can vary wildly, too. The store rep can help you navigate all the nomenclature, as some of these specific strains are sold under multiple names. Most products con- tain several strains, and I encourage my patients to seek supplements that are marked hypoallergenic and contain at least the following species:
This is an extract from Brain Maker by Dr David Perlmutter. Published by Hachette Australia TPB $29.99.
Main Image from the gorgeous recipe by Lee Holmes, ‘Gut Healing Kefir Yoghurt’ click here for the recipe!