Tuesday, December 22, 2009
This past summer there was a study published in the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery about the use of probiotics after gastric bypass surgery.
Probiotics are the so-called “good” bacteria found in yogurt as well as in over-the-counter dietary supplements that help in the digestion of food. It was shown that "the probiotic group attained a significantly greater percent of excess weight loss than that of control group." How much more? Nearly 10% more weight was lost at the 3-month post-op mark. The study also showed that B12 levels were higher in patients who took probiotics than in those who did not. Read the whole story here.
So why am I posting this information now -- 5 months after the breaking news? I started taking the Acidophilus tablets shortly after I learned about the research. Remember, back in July I was desperate for anything that'd help me lose more weight and if it worked for new post-ops, maybe it would for me too? The other benefit that I kept hearing about was related to digestion and constipation - people were reporting happy bathroom visits within a week of taking the probiotics. So why not give it a shot?
We all know the weight loss never came. But that's a whole other issue. But did it help with constipation? Yes it did! It essentially cured 20 years of chronic constipation for me. For most people they saw a difference in a week or two, but for me it took about five weeks. I still keep up my normal routine of fiber, water and fat to keep the digestive tract running - but the probiotics was the last thing that made a big difference.
What do I use?
After reading the original published study I discovered that the researchers used a regular old probiotic from Puritan Pride -- a tablet that had 3 billion live cultures. They didn't use the type that health food stores sell that claim they must be refrigerated at all times. Those are fine, but are we paying too much if we choose that type? Maybe? I found a acidophilus tablet at Walmart that fit the criteria the study used - once you open the bottle it should be stored in the fridge.
I use Spring Valley Acidophilus (2 billion active cultures) in a bottle of 60 tablets for around $12 at Walmart -- or you can get it on Amazon if you can't find it locally. It's cheaper on Amazon, of course - basically half the price of Walmart.
I've passed this information along to my nutritionist and I hope they are recommending all new patients start taking these right after surgery. We want folks to have the best chance at success as possible, right? And if these little pills help produce 10% more weight loss in the early months after surgery, let's all get on board!