Pre vs. Probiotics and 5 Ways They Can Boost Your Metabolism

Your body contains nearly 100 trillion bacteria, which is more than 10 times the number of cells in your entire body. It’s incredible – we are literally made up of bacteria!  Your gastrointestinal, or G.I., tract is one of the most important homes for that healthy bacteria. Here, they serve to secrete enzymes, help to absorb nutrients, and help to balance mood and appetite. Among other things,antibiotics, processed foods, and foods that make the body acidic, like read meat, can affect the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut. But probiotics and prebiotics can help restore and maintain that balance.  When it comes to achieving a fast metabolism along with health and healing, healthy digestion is key. I often see clients whose weight loss is stuck, and once we boost the health of their gut bacteria, they break through that weight-loss plateau.

Why is our gut bacteria so important?

The microbiome is the gut’s ecosystem, which rules a majority of our internal homeostasis. Processed foods, environmental toxins and heavy dose antibiotics can wipe out entire colonies of beneficial bacteria and cause dysbiosis. When the ratio starts tipping in favor of the “bad” bacteria in the gut (the gatekeeper of what our body takes in or leaves out), a variety of unwanted effects can occur. Everything from thinning hair and nails, to allergies, sinus infections, gas/bloating, dental decay, and yeast infections can result from an imbalance of gut bacteria.

Probiotics and prebiotics can help bring your microbiome back to balance, which is the key to how we digest, absorb, and metabolize our food. Feed the gut the right stuff and all the metabolic processes will begin to fall into place.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are the “friendly bacteria.” These friendly living microbes help regulate the balance of microflora within your digestive tract, which we know is the gatekeeper of what we digest and absorb from our food.  Examples of “good bacteria” are lactobacillus, bifid bacterium, reuteri, plantarum and salvarius (you may have seen some of these words written on a yogurt label or kombucha bottle).

How to get your dose of probiotics? I recommend both eating probiotic rich foods (see below) as well as supplementing with a high-quality supplement like my Metabolism Pro-Biotic. My Metabolism Pro-biotic is a vegetarian, dairy and gluten-free four-strain probiotic with 30 billions CFU’s (colony forming units). The researched strains of beneficial bacteria within these capsules have proven health benefits and well-established safety. And unlike other probiotics which need to be refrigerated to protect their potency, mine come in blister packs, which protect each capsule from exposure. That means you can toss them in your purse.

Fermented foods can be so helpful in restoring the probiotic balance in the gut.

  • Kombucha is a great probiotic, meaning it helps feed your good gut flora and correct imbalances.
  • Fermented veggies are great. Try a couple of tablespoons of kimchi (Korean fermented-vegetables), cultured cabbage (sauerkraut) and cultured salsa with meals. I love my Fermented Salsa as a topping for veggies or just to have on it’s own as a snack.
  • Coconut kefir is another source of probiotics. Try a couple of tablespoons or more per day.
  • Aim to consume about a cup of probiotic foods each day.

What are prebiotics?

Probiotics, those good gut bacteria, are living things, and like all living things, they need food to thrive. That’s where prebiotics come in.

Prebiotics are non-digestible dietary fibers that we get from food. Prebiotics are the food for our “good bacteria.” In scientific terms, prebiotics are inulins, fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), that are in certain foods that go undigested as they pass through the digestive tract. Inulin, for example, is a key ingredient in my Fast Metabolism Baking Mix.

Foods rich in prebiotics include asparagus, artichokes, leeks, onions, garlic, whole grains, legumes, cruciferous vegetables, and leafy greens. Aim to consume at least four cups of high-fiber vegetables like these every day.

5 Ways prebiotics and probiotics positively impact your metabolism

  1. Improves thyroid conversion rate. The microflora (gut bacteria) helps convert inactive thyroid hormone into its active form (T3) which helps to boost metabolism. Especially for those with signs of autoimmune and thyroid conditions, adding my Metabolism Pro-Biotic can be helpful for improving metabolism.
  2. Reduces body fat. A recent study found that treatment with probiotics helped to further metabolize bile acids, whose purpose is to breakdown fats. This means that probiotics could change how much fat the body absorbs and stores.
  3. Balances hormones. Gut bacteria regulate the secretion of hormones that control blood sugar, and hormones that control satiety (when we feel full). With an unbalanced microbiome, we might find we’re hungry all of the time, craving carbs and sugar, and unable to lose weight.
  4. Enhances detoxification. When toxins build up in our system, we can start to experience difficulty losing weight, experience joint pain, and possibly a drop in our immunity. Promoting a healthy balance within the microbiome (using pro and prebiotics) helps clear the toxic overload and rev up our metabolism.
  5. Improves mood. Your brain and gut are directly related! An imbalance within the G.I. tract can have a major impact on our mood. Certain gut bacteria have been studied in their effects on mood disorders, sadness and depression. By promoting balance within our gut using probiotics and prebiotics, we can help regulate this connection between gut and brain and improve our mood.

OK so let’s recap: Probiotics = the living “good” bacteria in our gut. Prebiotics = the food for our good bacteria. Consuming pre and probiotic rich foods allows you to create a beautifully balanced ecosystem within your gut. The G.I. tract is the mode of delivery for the most powerful medicine (your food), so let’s make sure we feed it what it needs to keep our metabolism fired up!