Here is a terrific YouTube post by Dr. Terry Wahls. She is a person living with secondary, progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). By 2008, she could not walk more than a short way with two canes. At this point, she began a journey into understanding how her disease progresses and ways in which diet and supplements can have an impact on that disease. Check out the video and see her remarkable results–one of the always remarkable and inspiring TED talks series!
As this story notes, the bacteria in our guts are important for a variety of health issues, including production of vitamins as well as protecting the immune system. They note a study indicating that the use of probiotics (like acidophilus, bifidus and the like) can help reduce the insulin resistance seen with type II diabetes.
The article is a short review of a presentation given by Professor Willem M. de Vos at the fourth Environmental Microbiology Lecture: “Microbes Inside” on October 10, 2011.
Chlorella, a green food supplement derived from algae, has grown in popularity in recent years due to some striking new research on its potential benefits, especially for people susceptible to insulin resistance/diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure). It’s also been studied recently for its potential use in eliminating toxins such as mercury from the body, and for its potential as a chemopreventive agent against liver cancer.
See the NYBC entry for more details:
A 2011 lab study found that chlorella had the ability to significantly improve insulin sensitivity, improving the digestion of sugars. The study authors suggest that chlorella may therefore be useful as an additional therapy for people with insulin resistance or pre-diabetes.
In a 2009 report on a study involving 80 patients, researchers found that “Chlorella significantly decreased high-normal blood pressure and borderline hypertension, and is a beneficial dietary supplement for prevention of the development of hypertension.”
Y. J. Chiu, et al. Improvement of Insulin Resistance by Chlorella in Fructose-rich Chow-fed Rats. Phytother Res. 2011 Feb 10. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3379.
M. Shimada et al. Anti-hypertensive effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-rich Chlorella on high-normal blood pressure and borderline hypertension in placebo-controlled double blind study. Clin Exp Hypertens. 2009 Jun;31(4):342-54.
See also Journal of Toxicological Sciences 2010; 35(1): 101-105 (for chlorella’s ability to eliminate mercury from the body; and J Zhejiang Univ Sci B. 2009 Jan;10(1):14-21 (for chlorella’s chemopreventive effect against liver cancer cells).
NYBC is now stocking the “green foods” supplement Green Vibrance, which has a medley of nutrient dense foods, high fiber nutrients and prebiotics, immune supportive nutrients, and probiotics.
For complete ingredients list, see NYBC entries for
Probiotics such as bifidus, lactobacillus and saccharomyces boulardii are known first of all for their benefit to digestive health, and especially for their ability to help resolve various types of diarrhea (from antibiotic-associated diarrhea to “traveler’s diarrhea”).
But as they promote gastrointestinal tract health and good digestion, probiotics also support immune function and increase the body’s resistance to infection. This is because probiotic organisms produce compounds like lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid that increase the acidity of the intestine and slow the reproduction of many harmful bacteria. It’s also been discovered that probiotics produce substances called bacteriocins, which act as natural antibiotics to kill undesirable bacteria.
One example of recent research on probiotics and immune function: a double blind trial that looked particularly at supplementation with Bifidobacterium lactis showed that it significantly enhanced immune function in a group of healthy elderly people. This study, reported in 2000, showed immune function enhancement after six weeks of supplementation.
For further information on individual probiotics, see the NYBC entries:
See also the entry for the green foods supplement Pro Greens (Nutricology), which includes a substantial lactobacillus/bifidus component.
–De Simone C, Vesely R, Bianchi SB, et al. The role of probiotics in modulation of the immune system in man and in animals. Int J Immunotherapy 1993.
–Barefoot SF, Klaenhammer TR. Detection and activity of Lactacin B, a Bacteriocin produced by Lactobacillus acidophilus. Appl Environ Microbiology 1983.
–Arunachalam K, Gill HS, Chandra RK. Enhancement of natural immune function by dietary consumption of Bifidobacterium lactis. Eur J Clinical Nutrition 2000.
Some information about Women’s Blend from Super Nutrition, which also produces the Super Blend and Opti-Pack multivitamins.
Here are some excerpts from the Super Nutrition description of this multi:
This is a food-based multivitamin, enriched with organic green foods and herbs.
–Includes a robust B-Complex formula to increase energy throughout the day
–Immune supporting, anti-aging antioxidants
–Bone support – 1,000 mg Calcium, 600 mg Magnesium, 1,000 IU Vitamin D, 3 mg Boron and 1,000 mg Vitamin C
–Heart Healthy – 1,000 mcg Folic Acid, 200 mg Vitamin B6, 200 mcg Vitamin B12 plus 400 IU Vitamin E
–Enriched with 600 mcg Biotin & 100 mg GLA
–Special female herbal blend with Pau d’Arco, Peony, organic Nettles and Rosemary
100 mg 5:1 Vitex extract*
–Special flower petal blend, featuring Red Rosebuds
–200 mg Vitamin B6 to help reduce PMS*
–6 tablets per day
*Here’s some additional information, supplied by Michael Mooney at Super Nutrition in response to our request:
> Vitex for PMS. A placebo-controlled study showed that 20 mg of Vitex extract reduced PMS 28> percent better than placebo. Women’s Blend has 100 mg of 5:1 extract.
> 200 mg B6 reduced PMS 79 percent of the women in a PC study, 100 – 160 reduced it 68 percent.
NYBC stocks two supplements that provide an array of nutritious green foods and select botanicals (such as gingko biloba) combined with probiotics. ProGreens has the wider spectrum of greens, botanicals and probiotics, while Green Defense is the purchasing co-op’s basic greens + select botanicals + probiotics product. As you’d expect, they vary in price as well, with Green Defense being about half the price of Pro Greens. Both are one-month supplies, so we are talking about a daily expense of a little more than a dollar (for Pro Greens), or about 50 cents per day (for Green Defense).
ProGreens (NutriCology). This contains greens together with a wide spectrum of probiotics to support gastrointestinal health. Used as directed, this is a 30-day supply.
Each serving (approximately 8.8 grams) contains:
Organic Wheat grass powder 350 mg
Organic Barley grass powder 350 mg
Organic Alfalfa grass powder 350 mg
Organic Oat grass powder 350 mg
Organic Spirulina 1,000 mg
Chlorella (cracked-cell) 350 mg
Dunaliella salina 40 mg
Dulse powder 30 mg
Licorice root powder 100 mg
Eleuthero Root Extract 130 mg
Pfaffia paniculata (Suma root powder) 60 mg
Astragalus root extract 60 mg
Echinacea purpurea leaf and stem extract 60 mg
Ginger root powder 5 mg
Soy Lecithin (99% oil-free) 2,000 mg
Wheat sprout powder (gluten-free) 350 mg
Acerola berry juice powder 200 mg
Beet juice powder 200 mg
Spinach powder (1.5% octacosanol) 150 mg
Royal jelly (5% 10-HDA) 150 mg
Bee pollen 150 mg
Flax Seed powder 500 mg
Apple pectin and fiber 500 mg
Total count non-dairy probiotic cultures: 5.0 billion
Lactobacillus group (L.rhamnosus A, L.rhamnosus B,
L.acidophilus, L.casei, L.bulgaricus) 3.5 billion
Bifidobacterium group (B.longum, B.breve) 1 billion
Streptococcus thermophilus 500 million
Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) 500 mg
Milk Thistle extract (80% silymarin) 60 mg
Ginkgo biloba leaf extract 20 mg
Green tea extract (60% catechins) 20 mg
Grape pip extract (92% proanthocyanidins) 20 mg
Bilberry extract (25% anthocyanidins) 20 mg
Green Defense (Jarrow). This is a mix of greens with a probiotic to support gastrointestinal health as well. Used as directed, it’s a 30-day supply.
Each single (6 g) scoop provides:
Grasses and Algaes – 980 mg
The following are organic:
Barley Grass Juice
Oat Grass Juice
Wheat Grass Juice
[The remainder are not organic]
Vegetables – 1,430 mg
Spinach Juice Powder
Broccoli Juice Powder
Botanicals – 320 mg
Tiger cane extract (Resveratrol source)
Milk Thistle Extract
Green Tea Extract
Grape Seed Extract
Fibers – 2,760 mg
Rice Bran Powder
Apple Fiber Powder
Probiotic Metabolites – 60 mg
Metabolin (Propionibacterium shermani)
Pro Greens and Green Defense can be added to juice or water. Drink immediately; best taken on an empty stomach. More than one scoop per day may be used if desired. Pregnant or lactating women considering taking more than one serving per day should consult their healthcare practitioner prior to use.