Have you ever met someone who could only be described as a breath of fresh air?
It might have felt like they had a magical quality that allowed them to restore and renew everything in their wake. Having them around was like having an unseen ally for your well-being.
Saccharomyces boulardii is a natural yeast that has a similar effect on your digestive system. It is considered a hardy, acid-resistant probiotic that works its magic without ever attaching to the gut wall, as many other microorganisms do. If you struggle with your digestive health, here are five reasons to consider including S. boulardii.
1) Treat Diarrhea that can Occur as a Result of Taking Antibiotics
Have you ever heard the statement, I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news? If yes, then you have a small understanding of the dilemma in taking antibiotics.
The good news is that there are many kinds of antibiotics that successfully treat bacterial infections. The bad news is that in the process of killing the bad bacteria, good bacteria are also killed… setting the stage for disease-causing microbes to step in.
Clostridium difficile or C. diff is one such bacteria. It is actually a bacteria that is quite common. In fact, you could already have it present in your intestines. It becomes a serious problem when it is allowed to overpopulate in the gut, which could happen after taking a round of antibiotics.
The most common symptom of C. diff is watery diarrhea that occurs several times a day. It is sometimes accompanied by abdominal cramping and in very serious cases may cause blood in the stool.
Research shows that using S. boulardii can have a positive effect on the treatment of a C. diff infection.(1) Although diarrhea resulting from this infection may not be completely avoided, the duration can be shortened, thanks to the work of S. boulardii.
2) Get Relief From Traveler’s Diarrhea
References to “Montezuma’s Revenge” may prompt a chuckle in some circles, but it is really no laughing matter when you are the victim. Also known as traveler’s diarrhea, it is a condition that occurs as a result of consuming contaminated water or food – usually in a foreign country.
Very often it is caused by the E. coli bacterium and can be traced back to improper handling of food or insanitary conditions.
Some of the symptoms include an urgent need to have a bowel movement, cramping, abrupt onset of diarrhea, fever, and generally feeling miserable in the gut.
If you are expecting to travel abroad, you might be interested in a study that looked at supplementing with S. boulardii. It was found to significantly reduce the incidence of diarrhea.(2) This yeast produces acids that possibly combat the E. coli bacterium and it stimulates your immune system defenses resulting in a shorter duration of diarrhea.
3) A Safe Natural Help for Children with Acute Diarrhea
The one thing that might be worse than having diarrhea yourself, is caring for a child with an acute case of diarrhea. With immune systems that are not fully developed, children can quickly fall prey to viral and bacterial infections as well as the negative consequences of taking antibiotics mentioned earlier.
A study that looked at over 300 hospitalized children who had endured antibiotic regimens, determined that S. boulardii was not only safe but was also effective in preventing and treating diarrhea for these kids.(3)
Consulting your pediatrician is always recommended when a young child has diarrhea for more than a couple of days because of the risk of dehydration.
4) Managing the Disruptive Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Disruptive, painful, embarrassing, and anxiety-producing are just a few of the words that patients suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) use to describe what can be a life-altering condition.
The burden of IBS is felt with many of these common symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Frequent gas
- Loose stools
- Sudden urge to have a bowel movement
- Feeling that bowels are not completely emptying
- Loss of bowel control and/or soiling
The cause of IBS is not completely clear and may actually result from numerous factors. However, the symptoms all stem from disturbances in the muscles of the colon.
If you struggle with IBS there is good news. These lifestyle changes can make a big difference in managing the symptoms:
- Avoid those foods that are high allergens or cause inflammation; such as dairy, wheat, spicy foods, coffee, alcohol, nuts, eggs, and high sugar content.
- Reduce daily stressors.
- Exercise regularly; add yoga.
- Take a probiotic to help with digestion.
In regards to taking a probiotic, be sure that it includes our friendly little yeast, Saccharomyces boulardii. A study was done that demonstrated it was an effective and safe therapeutic step in preventing and treating IBS symptoms.(4)
5) Helps to Reduce H. pylori in the Gut
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is another one of the bad guys commonly found in the gut. In fact, it is the culprit responsible for most ulcers. In worst case scenarios, the damage it causes can actually lead to stomach cancer.
It is estimated that ⅔ of the world’s population has H. pylori, however it is difficult to understand why some people never have symptoms and others experience abdominal havoc.
Some common symptoms of an overgrowth of H. pylori are:
- Burning pain
- Lack of hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
In a study that looked at children who had symptomatic H. pylori, colonization of this bad guy was reduced by our yeast, S. boulardii.(5)
4 Ways You Might Be Disrupting the Work of S. boulardii in Your Gut
A balancing act between the helpful, good bacteria and the pathogenic, bad bacteria takes place in your gut daily. S. boulardii is just one example of a probiotic species that fights for your good health. However, even if you include probiotic-rich foods daily in your diet it is important to realize that certain foods, toxins, and stressors that we are regularly exposed to threaten to tip the scales in favor of the bad guys. Here are just a few of them:
1) Excess Sugar and Sweeteners
Even if you feel that you have your “sweet tooth” under control, the amount of hidden sugars and artificial sweeteners in our food is staggering. Bad bacteria feed off of sugar and as it grows in the gut, it competes for space with the good guys. Simply put, the more sugar you consume – real and fake – the more the bad guys win.
2) Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s)
GMO’s started out as a good idea; they were genetically modified to resist pests and disease. However, consuming GMO’s comes at a price. Unfortunately, your gut is getting the invoice. Some of the chemicals used in producing GMO’s are disturbing to your gut flora in favor of the bad bacteria.
3) Chemicals in Tap Water
This is another case of “too much of a good thing” creating new problems for us. Clean water is vital to health and is probably something we take for granted. However, the chemicals used to keep water clean are not just killing off pathogenic bacteria. You guessed it, they are also killing your good bacteria.
4) Emotional Stressors
The human body has systems in place to deal with stress. The problem occurs when those systems are kept on overdrive due to chronic stressors. The trillions of bacteria in your gut are negatively affected. Specifically, the diversity in our gut flora changes and this is not ideal for keeping everything in balance.
Give Your Gut and Bowels a Fighting Chance
Maintaining a healthy balance in spite of the daily assaults on your gut requires deliberate steps. If you suffer from bowel woes, consider taking a probiotic with the S. boulardii species. Research consistently shows that this good yeast safely passes through your digestive tract and in the process reinforces the good bacteria while inhibiting the bad guys.
A quality probiotic, along with healthy lifestyle choices is your best preventative maintenance for your gut and your overall health.
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Steve Sisskind, M.D.
Hi, I'm Dr. Steve Sisskind, Chief Medical Officer & Founder at RealDose Nutrition.
As a young physician, I struggled because my patients came to me with serious health issues, but I didn't have the right tools to help them. Medical school taught me how to put "band aids" on their symptoms with drugs and surgery, but not how to address the root causes of their problems.
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References:1) Tung, Jennifer M. and Dolovich, Lisa R. and Lee, Christine H (2009) Prevention of Clostridium difficile infection with Saccharomyces boulardii: A systematic review. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805518/
2) Kollaritsch, H and Holst, H and Grobara, P and Wiedermann, G (1993) [Prevention of traveler’s diarrhea with Saccharomyces boulardii. Results of a placebo controlled double-blind study].Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8486328
3) Shan, LS and Hou, P and Wang, ZJ and Liu, FR and Chen, N and Shu, LH and Zhang, H and Han, XH and Han, XX and Cai, XX and Shang, YX and Vandenplas, Y (2013) Prevention and treatment of diarrhoea with Saccharomyces boulardii in children with acute lower respiratory tract infections. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24311316
4) Kelesidis, Theodoros and Pothoulakis, Charalabos (2012) Efficacy and safety of the probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii for the prevention and therapy of gastrointestinal disorders. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3296087/
5) Namkin, Kokab and Zardast, Mahmood and Basirinejad, Fatemeh (2016) Saccharomyces Boulardii in Helicobacter PyloriEradication in Children: A Randomized Trial From Iran. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4733292/