So why is a digestive health product included in a discussion on weight management? The microbes occupying the human gut have a direct relationship in how we digest and utilize the food we eat. The composition of the gut flora is connected to the energy-reabsorbing potential of undigested carbohydrates, especially polysaccharides. It is known from experiments on mice that the ratio between the bacteria divisions of Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes have a direct relation to obesity. If there is a shift towards the firmicutes strains, weight gain occurs. Conversely, if there is a shift towards the bacteroidetes strains, then weight loss occurs. If you could design a product that would provide a favorable shift in this ratio, then you could promote weight management and improve overall health. Shaklee’s Optiflora can accomplished this and I will explain how.
As stated previously, there is a direct relationship between the ratio of the gut bacteria strains Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes to weight gain and obesity. The greater the shift toward the bacteroidetes strains the more favorable the conditions are for weight loss.(1,2) So why not directly increase these bacteroidetes strains? The main reason is that there is no scientific proof that you can alter the ratio by directly supplementing with probiotics containing these beneficial strains. It is very difficult for probiotics to survive the very challenging conditions through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract before they are able to colonize the gut, however, Optiflora Probiotic’s patented triple-layer encapsulation technology does overcome this challenge. There is, however, several studies that have shown that you can alter this ratio by creating a favorable environment within the GI tract for these strains to live, grow, and thrive. You create this favorable environment through the proper use of prebiotics.
The prebiotics contained in Optiflora are Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and the resistant starch, Inulin. FOS serves as a substrate to encourage the growth of the right strains of gut flora provided by Optiflora Probiotic and also prevents yeast growth in the GI tract. FOS also promotes calcium absorption.(3,4) The microflora ferments FOS which lowers the gut pH. Since calcium is more soluble in an acid environment, more calcium is available to enter the bloodstream. The short chain fatty acids created by the fermentation of FOS and Inulin provide some energy to the body with a very low caloric value. We have discussed Resistant Starch in the posts on Cinch and you can review it here, but resistant starch is also a prebiotic and helps promote the favorable ratio.
1. Ley R, Turnbaugh P, Klein S, Gordon J (2006). “Microbial ecology: human gut microbes associated with obesity”. Nature 444 (7122): 1022–3.
2. Turnbaugh P, Ley R, Mahowald M, Magrini V, Mardis E, Gordon J (2006). “An obesity-associated gut microbiome with increased capacity for energy harvest”. Nature 444 (7122): 1027–31.
3. Zafar, T.A., C.M. Weaver, et al. 2004. Nondigestible oligosaccharides increase calcium absorption and suppress bone resorption in ovariectomized rats. Journal of Nutrition 134(February):399-402.
4. van den Heuvel, E., et al. 1999 Oligofructose stimulates calcium absorption in adolescents. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 69(March):544-548.