On the way to the supermarket on Saturday the children and I listened to Kim Hill and Roger Lentl – Professor of Digestive Biomechanics at the College of Health, Massey University. National Radio’s programme on ‘probiotics and faecel transplants’ (from Valentine’s Day 2015) is embedded above.
They were talking very eloquently and with big words like purpor…porten…purposit…(a synonym for impoverished and for which Kim Hill got very excited) about how to keep our guts ‘well’ and how important this is for general health.
I got very demanding with my children and said could they please listen to the story on the radio (until I remembered I could listen online at probably another importune time such as this morning during my ‘sleep in’ of which the 4 year old crashed into the room of bed and up essentially on to me, to whisper the most interesting made up language with hot breathing and some spit).
Bottomline (to recycle Kim Hill’s pun) I am interested in probiotics and thought you may be too.
Our daughter has been on them (mentioned within the Eczema stories).
I have been on them, or at least, they’re in my fridge door and sometimes a couple manage to leap down my throat.
I just visited Dr Mike Godfrey after reading his miraculous book “What’s the matter?” He told me to make sure those probiotics do more regular leaping.
And now Lentl and Hill are starting up.
Righto – I’m listening.
I feel i need to find a further opportune time to listen to the 48 minutes of gut and poose talk, because i feel i didn’t get the real gist of what they were talking about. But…
I think they were saying oral probiotics get destroyed once they pass through the gut, with ‘her’ bile and other acidic and bacteria destroying agents. Lentl backed this up when he went to talk about one faecel transplant trial (in a hospital) being very successful when used in conjunction with routine antibiotics and being administered via the nose straight into the intestine – so bypassing the gut and her (bacteria deadly) secretions?
It gets a bit muddy for me, the anatomy and functions of each of the ‘processing plants’ of our body. Stomach, large intestine, small intestine – does this equal gut?
Who wants to do a weekend afternoon course in ‘the workings of the gut’ and other organs? Is it an organ (even)? Why don’t I know this shit?
In another segment Lentl said one has to keep taking the probiotic each day i.e. it doesn’t ‘deposit’ like a bank account. My take on this is we can’t just take an oral probiotic (for a limited period) and build up our ‘good bacteria’ and then feel confident we can walk away, job done. It’s more like flossing & brushing – probiotics require daily ritual.
In the last 10 minutes of the interview Kim Hill introduces Lentl to Kombucha – and I probably found that last section most helpful re: day to day, ordinary Joe Bloggs living.
Throughout the interview he talks about stuff i’d already heard of: how our babies get necessary bacteria when they pass through the vagina and that, babies’ immune systems and health born via c-section, are disadvantaged by not being exposed to this bacteria AND that antibiotics destroy gut flora (bacteria).
Details i hadn’t heard before were: using probiotics could be contributing to humans’ developing resistance to antibiotics, and that there are different bacteria that help ‘process’ different food groups i.e. bacteria for meat, bacteria for carbohydrates…
And the helpful fact I was most interested in is when ‘one’ is exposed to rotovirus, if ‘one’ doesn’t take a probiotic (during/after) then ‘one’ cannot process lactose (found in milk/milk products) and can suffer from diarrhoea.
Lentl suggests the best thing for a healthy gut is a balanced diet free from processed foods and nutrient dense food. He gave the chocolate bar as an example of being dense in nutrients (sugar) – I found this curious that he saw sugar as a nutrient.
He also wonders if the bacteria we are most deficient in (because our gut is more deficient in bacteria compared with our ancestors), could be the bacteria which helps to break down meat.
I have a few questions for Roger.
1) Could it be we are all eating too much? Now we (most of us at least in New Zealand) no longer have to grow or hunt for our food, has eating gone from a necessity to a hobbie, a past-time? Do we need to eat less? Maybe smaller meals. Maybe meat only 4 times out of 7 days. Maybe we have a brothy soup a couple of meals a week. Maybe 2 main meals instead of 3. Maybe no snacking (as the French). Maybe we don’t simply have less bacteria than our ancestors, maybe we are just using them up faster?
2) How does Professor Roger Lentl define processed foods? Is bread processed food? Is supermarket bread processed food but homemade bread not? Is white supermarket bread processed food but vogels original thin slice not? Is processed food, food with preservative in it?
Talking about – what is processed food? starts me thinking about The Whole 30 challenge.
Back to Lentl, he seemed to be in favour of carbohydrates within the interview. But would he rate potatoes and rice, over pasta and burger buns?
In my recent conversations on digestion with my GP and with Dr Mike Godfrey from the BOP Environmental Health Clinic in Tauranga, they have pointed me towards carbohydrate free ‘diets’ such as specific carbohydrate diet or candida diets.
I’m thinking i’m going to email Prof. Roger Lentl with my questions. I really loved listening to him. He has a beautiful clear and enthusiastic way of explaining things and happily reminded me of David Attenborough.
In thinking about contacting Roger whilst waterblasting the fence today i realised perhaps there is another sinister level to mainstream media (especially TV NEWS). I don’t subscribe to the NEWS. I see it as gossip. I find it deeply disturbing. I see an abundance of drama, violence, pain, tragedy and i don’t see how this helps me or the people suffering. If i could help everyone i ‘watched’ then maybe i would ‘watch’. Somehow i feel i judge when i watch and don’t do. I believe most people watch the NEWS so they can be informed and perhaps ‘prepared’. But my feeling is watching / subscribing / being informed by the ‘NEWS’ / ‘government’/ ‘corporations’ causes more suffering than alleviating it. But this post wasn’t going to address this. It’s 10.31pm – past my curfew, considering our youngest is currently waking throughout the night in need of a nipple to sooth his cold and teeth travelling into his mouth.
My point was:
Let us (all) be journalists in our lives. Be investigators. Question. Contact these experts with our ‘small’ questions. We are all one. Industries, professions, titles are there to help us locate what we need rather than to dictate, or to alienate.
We are all qualified to wonder.