From the Mailbag: Probiotics vs. Poop, and Psoriasis Solutions

Dear Living Well Daily Reader,

You’ve got questions…

We’ve got answers!

Today we are going to revisit some topics from the last few weeks. Many readers wrote into ask if probiotics were an effective way to treat C. difficile infections. So today will tackle this question and discuss how probiotic treatment differs from fecal transplants in effectiveness and invasiveness.

Plus, we will share a few helpful reader suggestions on how to treat psoriasis naturally.

Let’s dive in…

--Probiotics vs. Poop

Hi Natalie,

Last week, you discussed fecal transplants as a way to treat C. difficile infections. This procedure seems extreme to me. Couldn’t you just use probiotics instead of having some else’s poop put in you? Is there any research on probiotics and C. diff?

Looking forward to your answer,

Claude S.

Thanks for your question, Claude.

Yes, you are correct. Fecal transplants are an extreme procedure. They are typically reserved for cases where conventional antibiotic treatment and other methods (including probiotics, in some cases) aren’t able to stop recurring infection.

There is some evidence that probiotics can help relieve some symptoms of C. difficile infections, such as diarrhea. A meta-analysis looked at health data on over 7,957 patients from 26 randomized clinical trials and included men, women and children in both hospital and outpatient settings.

After crunching the numbers, the researchers found that folks taking probiotics had a significantly lower risk of having C. diff symptoms — 59.5 percent reduction for adults and 65.9 percent reduction in children. This was especially true for folks who were hospitalized during the study.

Of the probiotics tested in the studies, Lactobacillus GG was the most effective, with a 63.7 percent reduction.

Because of the positive research done on probiotics and C. difficile, some medical facilities are now using probiotics as a preventative measure for C. difficile infections. If you find yourself in the hospital, you should ask if they offer this treatment.

In addition, you can take Lactobacillus GG at home along with your antibiotics to reduce your risk of tummy troubles or future poop transplants. Probiotics can’t interfere with the effectiveness of antibiotics, but antibiotics can make probiotics less effective. To prevent drug interaction, you should take two hours before or after taking antibiotics.

Live cells are the unit of measure for probiotics. The recommended dosage for folks suffering from C. diff-related diarrhea is 1.25 billion live Lactobacillus GG divided into two daily doses for two weeks. Check your labels to find dosages for use with antibiotics not related to C. difficile.

--Psoriasis Solutions

A couple weeks back, we answered a reader’s question about how to treat psoriasis naturally. We suggested supplementing with vitamin D. And while we got a lot of positive feedback about how vitamin D worked for some you, we also received several other tips on how to treat psoriasis naturally.

So today we will share why two most popular — Dead Sea salt soaks and aloe vera — may help keep your psoriasis at bay.

Let’s get started…

Dead Sea Salt Soaks

Soaking in mineral waters, also known as balneotherapy, has been used as a cure-all for thousands of years. More recently, research indicates that taking a soak in mineral rich waters may help reduce the levels of psoriasis-causing bacteria on your skin, which may help decrease your psoriasis symptoms up to 50 percent.

Balneotherapy in nature is best, but since most folks don’t live near mineral-rich springs, there are other options.

One of them is find a spa that offers balneotherapy. A quick internet search of “balneotherapy spas near me” should lead you to a spa in your area if there’s one available. However, these spas aren’t exactly common. So, your next best option is to bring balneotheray to your bathtub with Dead sea salts.

Dead Sea salts are rich in minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium. These minerals may be the key to killing off the bad bugs on your skin. Soaking in Dead Sea salts for 15 minutes or more a day could also help remove scales and stop itching.

You can find Dead Sea salts in health food stores or get them from online retailers like Amazon.com.

Just be sure to apply a moisturizer after your soak, which brings us to our next solution…

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a succulent plant that has thick, goo-filled leaves. This plant has been used for thousands of years as a topical treatment for skin problems like burns, rashes and minor abrasions.

Currently, aloe vera can be found in hundreds of skin products like lotions, creams and shampoos. For the purposes of relieving psoriasis, using a cream or gel with a concentration of 70 percent aloe vera is best. These are available at your local drugstore.

You can also take the goo straight from the plant. Simply break off a leaf, slice it open and scrape out the gel.

Aloe vera can be applied three times a day.

Do you have any health questions you want answered? Drop me a line nmoore@lfb.org

Live well,

Natalie Moore
Managing editor, Living Well Daily

Ed. Note: Please send your feedback: nmoore@lfb.org – and click here to like us on Facebook.


Sources

[1] Probiotics are effective at preventing Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis

[2] Lactobacillus

[3] Do mineral baths hold water as a psoriasis treatment?

Natalie Moore

Written By Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is a dedicated health researcher with a passion for finding healthy, natural, and science-based solutions. After a decade of direct healthcare experience in western and natural medicine, she was involved in public health research before joining Living Well Daily.

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