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Your Healthy Family: You need more than probiotics for a healthy gut

Posted at 11:13 AM, Oct 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 12:33:04-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — In this Your Healthy Family story, we're talking more about gut health and the role it plays in our overall heatlh.

Dr. Sue Mitchell, MD with Gastroenterology Associates of Colorado Springs, is the founder of GUTWELL Medical. Dr. Mitchell explains, “A lot of the diagnosis we gave people over the last 23 years in GI medicine we are now finding these are caused due to the bacteria that live and exist in our microbiome. Imbalances in the bacteria that live there actually contribute to disease and many of our GI symptoms.”

Turns out the saying we are what we eat goes much deeper into the health of our gut and diseases we want to avoid.

Dr. Mitchell says, “Science shows us based on what we eat, we can actually create very positive changes in our gut. Many of these changes can be done through diet. I'm very passionate about what we call prebiotic fiber, and we now know that prebiotic fiber is literally the fuel for what the good bacteria that live in us, need to continue to grow. The healthier species of good bacteria that live in our gut, that translates into us being healthier. The healthier we are in our gut, the less likely we are to get disease and that includes cancer and autoimmune disease.”

While probiotics have become very main stream over the last several years, Dr. Mitchell says we need to go a step further and add those prebiotics. “Any patient who sees me in clinic, they don't make it out of the clinic without me mentioning prebiotic fiber. I think probiotics definitely have been mainstream and almost everybody comes in taking a probiotic because they really believe that's healing their guts. What I think I would love for patients to understand is that probiotics are only good bacteria that provide a benefit, while they're there. When you take probiotics you are providing an amazing environment for your gut, but these bacteria are never going to set up shop in your colon, they're never going to take hold and grow. When we combine probiotic with prebiotic fiber you're actually providing the fuel for what already lives there to grow and reproduce to healthy numbers. The concept of introducing probiotic and prebiotic together is definitely going to grow as time goes on. We're already starting to see that in the supplement world and when we go to vitamin stores. When people go into the grocery store, and they're looking in the over-the-counter section, there seeing foods and supplements starting to be labeled with prebiotic, and probiotic.

What foods in your diet can provide you with prebiotics? Dr. Mitchell says, “Prebiotic foods I think are fascinating because a lot of patients are not aware of what prebiotic foods are. We typically have only been very fiber driven, and so we look at serial we look at protein bars or healthy foods, and we're so excited when we see that it contains. however, many grams of fiber. Really, prebiotic fiber are foods that you wouldn't typically think of, some of the top 10 prebiotic foods include bananas, especially bananas that are not ripe, apples with skin, garlic, leeks, jicama, root vegetables are very powerful prebiotic foods and obviously legumes and beans.”

But if some of these foods are not to your liking, Dr. Mitchell says not to worry. “You can also find excellent prebiotic supplements. At our GUTWELL Medical practice we have spent a lot of time researching some of the highest quality supplement companies. I love prebiotic supplements because I think if someone can combine a prebiotic supplement, especially in a beverage like a kefir, or a probiotic beverage, you are starting your morning off right with a combination of probiotic and prebiotic all in the same drink and I think that's a great way to nourish your gut and get your microbiome off to a great start.”

To learn more about gut health, and the GUTWELL Medical program, you can visit their website, (HERE) or listen to the latest GUTWELL MEDICAL PODCAST.

Gastroenterology Associates of Colorado Springs is a proud sponsor of Your Healthy Family