6

votes

Can eating kefir / water kefir / yogurt / sauerkraut upset the microbial balance of the gut?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 06, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Hi. I've been having quite a lot of the above mentioned foods and drinks, to try to correct digestive problems.

This morning I read online that a healthy gut has over 100 different types of microbes working away.

Can too many probiotic foods and drinks diminish the number of beneficial microbes and lead to a proliferation of a much smaller number?

And if so - how harmful is this, and how does one best gain a wide spread of good bacteria?

I'm sure my gut problems stem from a course of antibiotics I was given a couple of years ago for a chest infection, in the days when I still ate wheat etc. And while it has improved greatly since cutting out grains, vegetable and seed oils etc, there could be more improvement, but I am worried that I may be going the wrong way about this?!

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 01, 2012
at 04:40 PM

I love "tum-tums" though. Makes me think about http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21VfEm0Z1WA&feature=related I loved when they did that to me :D.

Dc8bcab58161b2add8725b41a3cea1ce

(0)

on October 17, 2011
at 09:21 PM

Fermented salsa.... that I haven't heard much about, but sounds great!

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on September 06, 2011
at 07:33 PM

Thanks for this - so positive. I'll keep going! (not - I hope - to the bathroom!!!)

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 06, 2011
at 02:51 PM

Fascinating stuff. Thanks for the info.

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on September 06, 2011
at 01:19 PM

Thanks for this explanation Dr Cate. I shall carry on with my present regime! Andrew

C687adb6aeab5d10b73ae1e272bc348f

(664)

on September 06, 2011
at 01:06 PM

It's from my microbiology courses, about a zillion years ago. But you can learn some fun things about probiotics from these podcasts (you may need to register to access): http://www.reachmd.com/SearchResults.aspx?q=probiotics+program&cx=017877132539582777889%3Afblezcmhuzq&cof=FORID%3A9#927

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 06, 2011
at 01:01 PM

"Bacteria can encapsulate themselves in "spores" and survive the acid bath of the stomach" Do you have more info on this?

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 06, 2011
at 12:53 PM

Yay! So good to hear your take Dr. Cate.

  • 4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

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5 Answers

4
C687adb6aeab5d10b73ae1e272bc348f

(664)

on September 06, 2011
at 12:50 PM

Bacteria can encapsulate themselves in "spores" and survive the acid bath of the stomach and then the onslaught of digestive enzymes in the upper small intestine. This is how we get bacteria in our tum-tums (I love that word) in the first place.

Both the good and the bad bacteria enter this way. Fortunately, the more good bacteria we have the less likely bacteria like salmonella, shigella, campylobacter, etc will take root. Teams of good and bad bacteria are always ready to rumble over our internal territory. (Look up "quorum sensing" in Wikepedia)

But that's not the end of the story. Bacteria, like people, are very tribal. And you can, theoretically, have two different types of what we'd call "good" strains of bacteria that don't get along with eachother in your gut at the same time. That can lead to some rumblings of discord. In effect that's what traveler's diarrhea is.

If you have trouble in the tum-tum, your best bet is to add any new foods gradually, like we would when introducing new foods to babies: a few nibbles at first then increasingly more over a week or two.

C687adb6aeab5d10b73ae1e272bc348f

(664)

on September 06, 2011
at 01:06 PM

It's from my microbiology courses, about a zillion years ago. But you can learn some fun things about probiotics from these podcasts (you may need to register to access): http://www.reachmd.com/SearchResults.aspx?q=probiotics+program&cx=017877132539582777889%3Afblezcmhuzq&cof=FORID%3A9#927

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 06, 2011
at 01:01 PM

"Bacteria can encapsulate themselves in "spores" and survive the acid bath of the stomach" Do you have more info on this?

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on September 06, 2011
at 02:51 PM

Fascinating stuff. Thanks for the info.

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on September 06, 2011
at 01:19 PM

Thanks for this explanation Dr Cate. I shall carry on with my present regime! Andrew

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on September 06, 2011
at 12:53 PM

Yay! So good to hear your take Dr. Cate.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 01, 2012
at 04:40 PM

I love "tum-tums" though. Makes me think about http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21VfEm0Z1WA&feature=related I loved when they did that to me :D.

2
244e1f82efb3fd15d2da39397488fb24

(549)

on September 06, 2011
at 04:46 PM

I used to have issues with Kefir - 5 billion bacteria in a single tablespoon is a lot to swallow! It used to cause me to have cramps - I would have like six tablespoons at a time. I began to realize that I got these cramps because they were trying to find balance in my unbalanced colon - so I just drank an 8oz cup of kefir and I got the runs. I did this every day until I didn't get the runs anymore. I can now have as much kefir as I want with no side effects. I really was just getting cramps and bubbles because it was fighting with the bad environment I allowed to manifest in my gut. If you want a more balanced supplement, I know that there are formulas available in the refrigerators at health food stores, that contain 10billion good bacteria from ten different cultures - so you know you'll be getting a good variety.

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on September 06, 2011
at 07:33 PM

Thanks for this - so positive. I'll keep going! (not - I hope - to the bathroom!!!)

1
66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on September 06, 2011
at 02:09 PM

I used to have major digestive issues, IBS, etc (for about 30 years). After going paleo about 4 years ago everything cleared up. I make my own kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, fermented salsa and usually eat some of it daily and have done so for a while now, with no negative effects.

Dc8bcab58161b2add8725b41a3cea1ce

(0)

on October 17, 2011
at 09:21 PM

Fermented salsa.... that I haven't heard much about, but sounds great!

0
Df7e22dbbb8c39f5006d0784feb03845

(175)

on September 06, 2011
at 04:33 PM

Everybody is different. Over the years I've had trouble with certain fermented foods: raw yogurt, 3 day fermented beans, tofu. It'll feel like my small intestine is ready to explode. I think their are certain strains of beneficial bacteria, I need to avoid. I don't know which strains those are for certain. But, if I want to eat something fermented I'm better off with organic cottage cheese, fermented buckwheat, and red wine. I'm guessing that I need to build up other strains of beneficial bacteria strains in my gut, first. You are not alone in having issues with fermented food. Yet, you may be able to eat other fermented foods that you haven't tried, yet.

0
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 06, 2011
at 11:34 AM

From what I've read the bacteria in fermented food doesn't survive past your stomach and the reason there beneficial is because they provide food for your current bacteria to proliferate.

The real question would be if your already compromised is it possible for it to feed the wrong bacteria in your gut?? That I do not know.

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