The Current Message

May 25, 2017 – Grand Rapids, MI

Potatoes and Your Microbiome

A Cherokee legend talks of two wolves inside us, one good and one evil. Which one will win? The one you feed. It applies to our microbiome as well. We have good and bad microbes within us at all times. Which ones dominate? It depends on how we feed them.

In a recent study, researchers tested a prebiotic made up of a harder-to-metabolize starch extracted from potatoes. The subjects were a group of elderly and middle aged men and women. The objective was to compare the types of bacteria that responded positively to the prebiotic.

At baseline, the elderly subjects had higher amounts of the bad microbes, proteobacteria such as E. coli, compared to middle-aged subjects. After three months of using the prebiotic, there was a decrease in the bad microbes in the elderly subjects while both groups experienced in increase in bifidobacteria, the good microbes. The conclusion was that the prebiotic helped create a better microbiome balance.

While this was a small study that focused on one type of prebiotic, there’s a lesson. If you have a diet that includes vegetables, beans, and some starchy root vegetables such as potatoes, you will get a variety of prebiotics including the type used in this study. They will help you feed the good microbes to create the right balance in your digestive system. Which microbes will win? Your diet determines which ones dominate.

What are you prepared to do today?

             Dr. Chet

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