It’s no secret that I'm a big, big fan of fermented foods, specifically to maximize digestive health by increasing the number of beneficial gut flora (aka probiotics) in one’s gut. For example, I personally won’t go near grain or soy products unless they’ve been fermented. This is because the lectins, gluten, and phytates in grain are reduced by fermentation (one reason that the only bread I’ll usually eat is sourdough bread). Plus, the mineral-inhibiting properties of soy are vastly reduced with fermentation. Dairy is another example of a potentially gut-distressing food that can be made beneficial by fermentation since fermentation breaks down lactose in dairy and decreases the sugar content of dairy. This is great news for anyone who is lactose intolerant or trying to limit sugar consumption. Limiting damage to the gut is just one benefit of fermentation. For many people trying to optimize wellness, building a healthy immune system and optimizing digestive performance by maximizing probiotic (good bacteria) consumption are additional perks of eating fermented foods. A probiotic-rich diet can protect from colon cancer; relieve inflammatory bowel disease and lactose intolerance; improve oral health; increase the bioavailability of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals in food; and perhaps most significantly, increase the efficiency of the immune system, which is primarily located in the gut. This is why cultures around the world have traditionally fermented a wide variety of different food products. For example, in Asia, there is natto, kimchi, and kefir; in the Middle East, pickles, yogurts, and torshi; in Europe, use of sauerkraut and rakfisk; and for Pacific islanders, poi and kanga pirau. In America, we eat all these, and combine with kombucha and yes, even chocolate. (It counts as a fermented food!) But when it comes to the good bacteria found in fermented foods, there’s one particular probiotic that you’ve probably never heard of: GanedenBC30®. No, despite the funky scientific name, complete with acronyms and numbers, GanedenBC30® is not some alien rocket ship or supercomputer-equipped probiotic. Rather, it’s a special type of bacteria that possesses extremely high survivability in your gut. As a matter of fact, independent lab studies have found that GanedenBC30® has a 78% survival rate when passing through the acidic environment of your stomach. (You can compare that to the leading yogurt brand, which contains probiotics with less than 1% survivability!) If you have gas, bloating, indigestion or stomach issues, or you just want to optimize your overall well-being and gut health, you should consider the following:
- In a randomized, double-blind, parallel group, placebo-controlled trial, subjects with IBS who took GanedenBC30® demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in abdominal pain and bloating.
- In a randomized, double-blind, parallel group, placebo-controlled trial, subjects with chronic gas who took GanedenBC30® demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in abdominal pain and a strong trend for improvement in distention.
- In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in a senior population, subjects taking GanedenBC30® demonstrated a significant increase in Faecalibacterium prausnitzii (lower levels have been associated with various gastric disorders). In addition, significant increases in the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 were seen.
- In a randomized, double-blind, parallel group, placebo-controlled trial, subjects with Crohn’s disease who took GanedenBC30® demonstrated a strong trend for decreasing the CDAI (Crohn’s disease activity index), and the total number of stools daily. In addition, more subjects were able to stop taking anti-diarrheal medications versus the placebo.
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About Ben GreenfieldBen Greenfield is an ex-bodybuilder, Ironman triathlete, obstacle course racer, human performance consultant, speaker, and author of 13 books, including the New York Times bestseller “Beyond Training: Mastering Endurance, Health and Life.” (BeyondTrainingBook.com) In 2008, Ben was voted as NSCA’s Personal Trainer of the Year, and in 2013 and 2014, he was named by Greatist as one of the top 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness. Ben blogs and podcasts at http://www.BenGreenfieldFitness.com, and resides in Spokane, WA, with his wife and twin boys.