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Fertility: Feeding the Microbiota with Stacey Roberts

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Fertility: Feeding the Microbiota with Stacey Roberts

Microbes and gut health may not be the things you would think of when addressing reproduction and fertility, but research has revealed their importance.

In this podcast, Stacey The BabyMaker Roberts discusses the role of the microbiota in fertility and shares her clinical perspectives on the importance of supporting microbial diversity and how this forms part of her "Five Step Fertility Solution".

Covered in this episode:

[00:26] Welcoming back Stacey Roberts
[01:20] The role of microbiota in the reproductive system
[07:58] The issues with "evidence"
[09:56] Vitamin K deficiency at birth
[11:40] Strain specificity
[13:26] The importance of diet
[15:29] Bacterial vaginosis
[16:40] The diverse application of probiotics
[20:53] Clinical approaches
[28:41] Probiotic yeast
[32:39] Herbal Medicines
[33:41] Final summary & thanks.

Andrew: This is FX Medicine and I'm Andrew Whitfield-Cook. Joining me on the line today is Stacey Roberts, The Baby Maker. A former physiotherapist turned herbalist and naturopath. Stacey has been involved in healthcare since 1989 in both conventional and complementary medicine. Stacey is an internationally recognised natural fertility and women's health expert who has assisted people in over 32 countries with improving their overall health and well-being by addressing not just their physical, but also their physiological and psychological health with complementary products and services. 

Welcome back to FX Medicine Stacey. How are you? 

Stacey: I'm good. Thank you again so much for having me back. It's always wonderful to talk to you. 

Andrew: Pleasure. So today we're gonna be talking about an area of interest to me. Somewhat controversial because people like to own things, but we're going to be talking about the microbiome in pregnancy and fertility so. 

If I can just first ask you, where do we start right back with fertility issues? Like I guess we need to start with diseases that prevent successful pregnancy, right? 

Stacey: Well, you know, Andrew, when we talk about this stuff… I guess I want to preface it with the fact that I mean, we have just started to tap into the very beginning of this research. 

So, you know, a lot of it is centred around what we can talk about today is bacterial vaginosis and things like that which has more research on it. But when we talk about specific fertility diagnosis, you know, as I'm doing the fertility mentoring program with modules about PCOS, Endometriosis, recurrent miscarriage, there is more and more research that's starting to be utilised or done in these areas. 

So we're just kinda scraping the tip of the iceberg as we talk about specific, you know, fertility issues related to the microbiome. But...and there is going to be so much more that's out there, but there is definitely in the research the correlation with issues with the microbiome and fertility issues. Whether they’re cause and effect? That, you know, we just don't know that at this point. 

Andrew: I wonder if we'll ever get to a stage where we have medical, like true medical guideline with regards to probiotics . Because we like to think that we can isolate one and then therefore that's the hero. But that's not necessarily true from one population to another, one group to another. So there's is just so many things that we need to work out before we can say that is true for instance. 

But things like bacterial vaginosis (BV), Group B Strep infections, they have a real issue. Notwithstanding that they're not medically treated with probiotics, but they certainly are bacteria that, you know, may normally reside and they're out of whack causing a disease.

Stacey: So, you know, some of the new research is actually pointing in the direction of women who are resistant to antibiotic treatment for BV to utilise probiotics as a possible, either along with the antibiotics or if the antibiotic hasn't been, you know, creating the results that they want. 

So we are moving in that direction I think, from eventually will be a medical doctors recommending probiotics, at least I'm hoping that, they'll be recommending probiotics as one of the first line treatments for BV. Because, you know, it's the most common vaginal disorder in reproductive woman and there’s often millions of visits to healthcare providers every year. So it's definitely something that you could utilise from an educational point of view to help women understand the importance of the microbiota and their gut health as well as their vaginal health. So it's...I'm hoping that based on these studies we're going to be starting to see it go that way.

Andrew: I'm glad you said the word microbiota because the flavour-of-the-month word is microbiome. But that's regarding the genetic material not the organisms. And you know, I think we really need to make that distinction. We're falling into this trap of saying microbiome, which I've got to say it's very easy to do that. You know, we fall into these colloquialisms because they roll off the tongue but you said the right word microbiota. 

I remember reading a story and I still need to find this paper ,but I remember a paper talking about the temporal progression of the various probiotics when they were recovering from vaginal infections. So I think...forgive me, our listeners, if I get this wrong but I think from memory it was Lactobacillus iners was first, and set up the shop, and seemed to make the foundations for the progression that then Lactobacillus crispatus could come in and then there were others in temporal progression. Is that right? Is that what you see or? 

Stacey: That's basically what I've seen in the research especially what you talked about the Lactobacillus iners as kind of that first primary one, that it’s kind of ‘setting the stage’. But I think, you know, what we're going to find is, again, from a microbiome point of view, and a genome point of view, that it's going to probably vary in populations and where people have lived and what will we see in regards to things like that. But yeah, that's absolutely what I've seen in the research is all true. 

And there's a temporal shift with pregnancy as well. So...

Andrew: Of course. Yes.

Stacey: So if it changes, the microbiome changes and microbiota changes through pregnancy, as well as in breastfeeding, becomes much more...much less diverse in that. So the body is obviously doing that to prepare for something to be able to support the growth of the foetus and support the mother as well or prepared for after, you know. Your body is pretty smart so if it's doing that, it's doing it for a reason.

Andrew: So, with regards to the recovery from bacterial vaginosis after antibiotic therapy which may well be appropriate, and certainly Group B Strep which can have some devastating consequences if left uncontrolled, is that really the place for probiotics to recover?

Stacey: I think, you know, we've seen some benefits with probiotics along with the antibiotics as they're taking the antibiotics as well. 

You know, off the subject of fertility, I just had my son who went to the doctor because we had a persistent - what we thought was a sinus infection, ended up being glandular fever, but we didn't know that at the time, and they prescribed an antibiotic, only because they were absolutely, totally desperate to do something about this, what seemed to be a sinus infection that wasn't clearing up. But the physician also prescribed along with that, the use of probiotics. And my son's mouth just about dropped to the floor and he just smiled and looked at me because we've been talking about that since he was a little guy. 

So I think in that sense we're finding that along with the antibiotic treatment whether its BV or any bacterial issue that the probiotic along with the antibiotic can be useful. And certainly from recovery. I mean that's without question. That's been shown in research from the diarrhoea point of view, to the thrush point of view from antibiotics, for sure. 

So and also again like I said at the beginning that there is some treatment for women who have been resistant to recovering from the antibiotics to actually utilise probiotics vaginally to combat the BV.

Andrew: You know what's interesting to me is, you know, that when you're looking at research, obviously scientists want to control things so they need something specific. And that's down to the strain level. And I have no issue when you've got, you know exactly what you're using, the cohort fits the patient, the cohort of the research fits the patient that you're seeing and so you go, "I want to use that strain." 

But I do have issues where we think, you know, it's basically “your poo's better than mine”. But particularly when you get research done in one culture transposed to somebody of a totally different culture. I just, I have issues. And, you know, we've seen this with like for instance, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG. It was touted for atopic dermatitis. Actually no. You know, you use that in Western Australia and it fails and indeed can increase wheeze. Now it may be that it might be the timing of when you give the organism, but it certainly doesn't seem to be the hero that it was originally set up to be, for that condition.

Stacey: Right across the board. And that's where like you said population is going to be a big impact on your results. 

What bugs they're exposed to in their environment and then how the body reacts to that. So I think we're getting better there as we're looking at the genome and specific, you know, having personalised medicine, personalised nutrition. That's certainly going to be affecting probiotics as well. But just like trying to take the active out of a plant and make it into a medicine...

Andrew: That's right, yeah.

Stacey: ...that is going to be... that active is going to be the answer. It's not necessarily the case, many times. 

So it's about what colonies, what groups, what communities work best together to create the healthiest microbiome for that particular microflora, microbiota for that particular person. 

Andrew: One issue that interests me, and I'm not saying don't do it, I just think it's very interesting that, it's standard operating procedure to give all babies a Vitamin K injection, Konakion, at birth. And that's to prevent profuse bleeding tendencies two weeks on. You know, obviously fatal, devastating. 

So notwithstanding the consequences of not having the Konakion can be devastating, I just think it's interesting that why have humans evolved to be Vitamin K deficient at birth?

Stacey: We could speculate on that obviously, but I think well, Vitamin K is found in green vegetables. And Vitamin K1 specifically. And what've we completely gotten away from in our diet becoming a more industrialised society over the last 100 years? You know, clearly vegetables and all the good things that we should be eating that are very diverse in all micronutrients and macronutrients that they have. And then the Vitamin K2 is, you know, made from bacteria in the gut. So if you're talking about this, and probiotics, and the flora, and microbiota…

Andrew: And antibiotics. 

Stacey: The use of antibiotics, absolutely. 

That's going to then deplete the viability to create those types, two types of K1 and 2. So it doesn't, you know...It makes a lot of sense of how we have evolved to that point, unfortunately. So hopefully it's common sense for people to, as we change that idea of how we need to eat and how we need to take care of our gut. But hopefully that improves and maybe someday we won't need to be doing those injections? 

Andrew: So what do you find the facility of using specific strains? Like for instance I remember there was a product and it contained the Lactobacillus rhamnosus L60 and the Lactobacillus fermentum L23, for use with...actually was that Group B Strep? Or was that for bacterial vaginosis...I think that was for bacterial vaginosis? Might have that wrong. Hopefully those strains are for that condition. Forgive me if they're not listeners. 

But what do you find the usefulness in patients? Like is it something that you can say yes it works? 

Stacey: You know, that's a really good question. It's what we kind of alluded to before. Is, it doesn't always have that same effect that we want to see across board. So where I'm at in this whole situation is looking at; all right, what is the evidence that's in front of us? We know that Lactobacillus is at a very high level in the vaginal flora, and it's an area that when the BV is present, we usually see less of the Lactobacillus present. So, am I really worried that this point about the absence of specific strains? And which one is going to work? And which specific combination? And how much of each strain? And how many of each do we need? At this point I just don't think we're there yet. 

So what I'll do is start really with the gap, really, first of all. Because that's going to have a systemic impact on the whole person, and then look at doing things vaginally, if necessary, and having unique lactobacillus because that's the environment that we want it to support.

Andrew: So you mentioned diet and look, I wholeheartedly support that. Indeed I think that's the way that we're going to find, you know, this sort of area progressing is the use, at least the use of prebiotics and certain other fibres and foods and substrates, to help bacteria to grow. Probiotics to grow. Not restricting them to the dairy-type based probiotics that we have available to us in Australia. Because I think there is what? 14 species that we have of the plethora, the legion of organisms that we have growing in our gut. 

But like, I love the way that you say about diet. So when you're talking about certain fibres and when you're talking about fertility issues, what sort of fibres do you tend to recommend or what sort of foods do you tend to recommend indeed? 

Stacey: Well so, I have my Five Step Fertility Solution, which the number one step is Optimal Eating Plan. So I'm going be looking at getting more fibre both soluble and insoluble fibre in their diet, as a general rule. 

However, if their gut health is poor you start to add this extra fibre in let's say, in the form of psyllium, and sometimes that can set them back and they can become more constipated. So it's also important to assess how their eating plan is, what their gut health is at first, and then potentially you know, starting with some probiotics and obviously getting the sugars and things out of the diet that are causing the issues in the first place. And then slowly adding in fibre. I'm not a big proponent of doing 40 or 50  of fibre, you know, right away. Even though that's what they're saying we should be having in our diets. 

So it's more I start with their eating plan first just to get the most optimal basic eating plan, and get the things out that are causing the inflammation and causing the dysbiosis. And then, you know, supporting that with a good probiotic, occasionally doing a cleanse if necessary, and then adding fibre if they’re about to tolerate that, both soluble and insoluble.

Andrew: Stacey, forgive me. I just want to backtrack a little bit to bacterial vaginosis, BV. Would you mind taking our listeners through some of the associated morbidity and indeed mortality issues with regards to BV and later pregnancy? 

Stacey: Sure. Absolutely. BV has not been associated with decreased conception rates either naturally or with assisted reproductive techniques. But it has been associated significantly with the elevated risk of pre-clinical pregnancy loss. So, a person is pregnant, but before they're officially pregnant, clinically, they have seen that women with BV usually are higher as part of the pre-clinical pregnancy loss. 

But it's not associated with increased risk with in the first trimester miscarriage. But it can be associated with later term miscarriage as well too. So it is definitely something that needs to be addressed, and a physician needs to be evaluating them for the appropriate use of antibiotics through pregnancy as well . And from a naturopathic point of view and being able to support that from the probiotics point of view as well too. 

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. 

There was very interesting research done by Madrid University, a group there. Forgive me, Rodriguez Fernandez, I think there was Esther Jimenez, she's one of the highlighters. This group did research on the health of breast milk. Now they were looking at mainly mastitis, they're branching out into other areas now. And they isolated certain strains, the CECT strains which they've used for mastitis. Indeed there was some research showing that we're using I think it was Lactobacillus salivarius CECT 57313, and that had better outcomes than the antibiotics and less recurrence which is a common issue with mastitis. 

But what about the use of other species for the health of breast milk in general, indeed for the health of the mother during pregnancy with other the conditions? 

And I guess where...I guess where I'm looking at is practical things like, you know, what about in later pregnancy with things like heat burn?

Stacey: Absolutely. Probiotics certainly has helped with digestion, you know, we know that. I would say all the listeners from a clinical stand point understanding that it supports nutrient absorption. So anytime your supporting nutrient absorption, you're going to support improved overall cellular health. But definitely benefits here would be decreasing reflux and those types of symptoms in pregnancy. 

But also probiotics can help reduce the risk of postpartum depression in some cases. So, you know, there's been some preliminary research on that, that the probiotics alter the neurotransmitters in the gut which, you know, can boost the ability to deal with and cope with anxiety and depression. So, you know, utilising probiotics it should hopefully either decrease the risk, or prevent postpartum depression is, you know, is fantastic. 

And also there is been research about women with taking probiotics that have a reduced risk of preclampsia as well. So, you know, it's just a lot of really good information out there about that. And is that bottom line because it's encouraging nutrition absorption? Potentially decreasing inflammation in the gut? We don't know exactly why that is, but they're definitely making these associations in. 

As far as, you know, probiotics in breastmilk. One study that I found really interesting is that, women who were given probiotics throughout the pregnancy, and then the amount of probiotics in their breast milk was measured afterwards. Women who gave birth vaginally had higher levels of probiotics in their breast milk than women who had birthed via C-Section. So again, I mean they're taking the same probiotics but why is that happening in the body? 

But clearly, you know, prebiotics that the human milk has, human breast milk has with the oligosaccharides to promote the growth of more probiotics, you know, that's definitely present in breast milk as well as probiotics. So we know that it has a beneficial effect. I'm not sure again that we're there on specific strains from mastitis or anything else. But certainly it's marketed for that, in many cases. But it just makes...it's kind of common sense, isn't it? I mean looking that as a bacterial infection a probation helped to support optimal health and decreased those types of bacterials infections. 

Andrew: Yeah. What I think is really interesting is when you get lead setters like Lisa Amir and she did the Castle trial. Found that we weren't just seeing...that they weren't seeing the traditional culprits for mastitis, but they were also seeing candida albicans, as a sort of emerging culprit. And so it sort of begs the difference, what should we be doing to treat these women? Very, very interesting stuff. 

Stacey: Absolutely. 

Andrew: So we might put that research up on the FX Medicine website for practitioners to access. 

Stacey: Exactly.

Andrew: So where to now with probiotics? What do you think the practical utility is, and can you give any hints to our listeners, our practitioner listeners with regards to dosage or indeed combinations, or indeed use with diet to make them more affective?

Stacey: And we talked about it in my other podcasts, it's always difficult to say, to give a recipe that's going to be good for everybody. So I'll give you my philosophy and then as practitioners we've got to decide, you know, what's right for that person in front of us. 

So basically my philosophy as we talked about in my Five Step Fertility Solutions, number one is going to be looking at their eating plan. If we can get prebiotics in their eating plan, fermented foods as much as they can tolerate, or if they can tolerate that. You know, starting to introduce that into their eating plans. You know, something simple as sauerkraut or kimchi, or something like that that they can utilise and begin to introduce. 

And then starting to reset the overall health of the gut. You know, depending again on how severe their gut health is, starting with a gentle cleanse. I don't do very heavy detoxes when somebody is trying to become pregnant because I don't want to upset their system and put more stress on their system when it's already significantly stressed both emotional and physiologically. So I'll do more of a gentle cleanse with some great herbs and then add in some probiotics. Usually multi strain probiotic, because it's very diverse and a broad spectrum and I think it gives such a good base for the majority of people. 

And then from there, there's another testing that can be done. You can do an organic acids test to look and see if there’s specific issues with gut bacteria. And then they can give you specific recommendations based on some of the testing that's out there. You know, they can do a stool testing as well, to see what strains may be missing for that particular person if you're not getting the result from a good broad spectrum probiotic. 

And then, you know, monitoring and testing to make sure that you're getting the results that you want. Although it can be expensive to redo like an OATS test, the organic acids test or the stool testing. But if you're not getting the results, looking at retesting in three or four months' time be able to assess where the patient is at. So a big proponent of following up and monitoring and not just giving them something and assuming that it's actually going to be working. Especially if they're not getting pregnant or not getting the result that they want.

Andrew: Yeah. Can I ask, when you're looking at fermented foods like kimchi, notwithstanding that there is billions of Asians eating kimchi, or at least hundreds of millions, and this is quite safe for the populous that normally eats this. What about the risk with infectious agents like for instance listeria with... now it's normally, you know, we call them buffet foods and the preserve meats and things like that.

Stacey: I really think it has to do with the source. So if you're making them yourself or know of a good reputable source that you're purchasing them from, from your health food shop or wherever you're getting them. I personally clinically and I can only speak in that realm, is that I haven't seen it be a problem. 

The problem that I do see is that some people's system just can't tolerate it. Because they just, you know, either they aren't used to it, their gut health isn't to the point where they can tolerate even a little bit of probiotics much less prebiotics as well. 

So I haven't seen that side of things, Andrew, from a clinical point of view for it to be a problem but, you know, I certainly can't speak on the global scale of how that is impacting people. But from any type of thing with listeria, you've got to look at the source. Where you're getting it from? Has it been sitting there for a while? Is it something that...the thing with those buffets...well try not to eat at buffets really, because it's a little bit scary with the food sitting outside that long.

Andrew: Yes. Well I've never heard it associated with fermented foods. I've heard it with things like, you know, things left out. And I think, salmonella for instance, it’s not listeria, but salmonella is associated highly with eggs and we've seen outbreaks in Australia with that.

Stacey: Right. I would imagine with fermented foods, and I'm no expert by any means, but I would imagine with fermented food that it has their own defence mechanisms against things like that based on everything that's going at the microscopic level of how things are dividing and multiplying and growing. But again that would be a great question for a fermentation specialist.

Andrew: Yeah. Well, I just think it's really interesting. I would think a lot of, not most, but a lot of pregnant women in Australia would say I'm not going to have sashimi for instance. Or sushi, and yet, you know, it's a traditional Japanese dish. Notwithstanding that there may be preparation issues from sitting too long on a grocery store shelf. 

As I mentioned eggs with salmonella before, but again I don't think eggs have been listed as a high risk food for pregnant women. 

Stacey: No. And again we're probably talking about population there too, right? So if you've grown up on those types of foods, the body has probably created some type of mechanism against, you know, the [inaudible] that is present, fighting against that, right? If your population that's, you know, majority of the food that you're eating, your body would usually accommodate to that environment. So an environment where those aren't the same types of foods that you're eating, that could be more of an issue, I guess, looking at it from a logical point of view. 

But from the standpoint of, you know, understanding...you know, sometimes women who are pregnant are afraid to eat anything. They just don't know what to eat because they're told not to eat vegetables and salads and things like that because of the risk of listeria and so sometimes that listeria can become a bit of a hysteria. 

Andrew: Well, it is actually quite a rare disease but it can be devastating for the infant, yeah. So I think from memory it was like deli meats. I think there was pre-prepared, even plant foods there, pre-prepared things. I remember like, what do you call it, coleslaw? Your buffet meals and...

Stacey: Even things like soft serve ice creams. 

Andrew: Right. Soft cheeses. Soft cheeses was the other one, is that right? 

Stacey: Right. Soft cheeses, exactly.  

Andrew: Yep. 

Stacey: Those types of things, yes. 

Andrew: So they’re the issues not the fermented foods? 

Stacey: Correct. Again that I've seen. 

It just makes sense to me that if they eat healthfully and again know where the source is, of the food that's coming from, and that it hasn't been sitting out in the back of some kitchen somewhere before they served it, it's just gonna be less likely to cause an issue.

Andrew: Yeah. So I think practitioners if they're going to be recommending certain changes to dietary foods in pregnancy, they just need to be aware of the level of competence or knowledge of healthy eating, of the patient. 

Stacey: Right. Exactly. And really encourage them, and this should be common sense with, again, the majority of practitioners. Encourage them to prepare their own foods and make sure that they can monitor what they're doing and how long the food has been out, all that kind of stuff . And eating fresh as much as possible. 

Andrew: So Stacey just in wrapping up, And I allude to a comment you made before about probiotics were used to allay some of the side effects of antibiotic therapy and so they were given with antibiotics. And my issue I guess with taking probiotics is they may be useful, if you take enough certainly. Some are going to get through. But they're very often killed. So you've got to get into this kill - replace, kill - replace, scenario which the compliance is diabolical with patients. 

Other than that though, there is the utility of saccharomyces boulardiiCan you take our listeners through what's the relevance of that, what's the uses of saccharomyces boulardii and, you know, the research with regards to safety with fertility and indeed with pregnancy? 

Stacey: Sure. With saccharomyces boulardii how I utilise it in the clinic would be someone who has a significant issue with what's called leaky gut. Which is now becoming a more commonly used term in medicine as well. That someone who has significant issues...because if all you're doing is giving them probiotics, some of the studies has shown that the lasting effects of probiotics is two weeks. So you take probiotics for two weeks and then if you take probiotics for a couple of days, and if you do a measurement of gut health in two weeks, then those probiotics are not necessarily going to be there. 

So, it's, you know, you're not just wanting to continue to replace replace, you also wanna do and support some repair of the gut. The tight junctions that potentially are affected, or the damage from increased inflammation over time. So sacharomyces boulardii improving the levels of secretory IgA helps in the repair of the gut. So, you're utilising that prior to the administration of probiotics. If someone has significant gut health issues when dealing with fertility issues but really making an extremely important point to explain to the patients why you're doing this. Because if you're not making the connection of how their gut health is going to improve their overall cellular health and that can impact hormone levels. Those are who think you’re just trying to sell them another thing.

So really having to educate and make that connection between why the gut is important for their fertility. And then utilising saccharomyces boulardii and along with a good probiotic after, you know, introducing that for a little bit of time, then adding probiotics. And sometimes I'll even do a cleanse prior to adding the SB into the scenario as well. 

And again, it really depends on the patient that's sitting in front of you. How involved they are and what they tolerate. So I’ve put patients on the SB and they have not been able to tolerate it at all. And so we go backward, not necessarily backwards, we take a step back and look and see what should we be doing now, let's do a general clean-out, let's decrease inflammation utilising some herbals. And marshmallow's great to kind of to soothe the gut as well. And then reintroducing these things. 

But again educating the patient with number one about how these things are associated and how that's going to improve their fertility. Because even though probiotics are very much out there in the public domain now and people understand it, or at least know what they are. But they still don't understand the connection of how that's going to improve their fertility or overall health or whatever they’re shooting for.

Andrew: Yeah. I remember looking at saccharomyces boulardii and there was...I couldn't find any direct research of saccharomyces boulardii in pregnancy. There was a couple of studies that says, but it appears to be safe. There was one that said look, we just don't know so you shouldn't take it. 

But I note that there’s been millions and millions of doses sold. Some at least of those would have been taken by pregnant women, but I cannot find an adverse outcome from taking saccharomyces boulardii and pregnancy...during pregnancy. 

I’d like to pick up on a point you made there about marshmallow, a beautiful herb. I point out to our listeners we are not talking about the lolly! We are talking about the herb. And the glycetract tastes a hell of a lot better than the fluid extract, the alcohol fluid extract, I can tell you. 

Stacey: Absolutely. Absolutely. 

Andrew: Do you ever use the herb itself, the dried herb? I've never actually found it but...

Stacey: I've utilised it to make a decoction and try to make something that was actually useable for myself, and it's been quite an interesting... of this very sticky.. and it sticks to everything. So, I stick to the roasted marshmallows from that point of view away from tinctures or glycetracts, as you said. But it is a beautiful herb to utilise for gut and digestion as well.

Andrew: Oh Absolutely. Yes. So glycetract, listeners. 

And what other points with regards to probiotics in pregnancy? We've covered the diet, what about things like the importance of exercise? And, you know, I've seen this with regards to, I think it was exercise your bugs, or that exercise can affect your microbiota in a positive way.

Stacey: Absolutely. And, you know, again I'll move back to my Five Step Fertility Solution, because it's very straight forward. Number one is eating plan. Number two is removing toxins and, you know, that's a whole other talk about how chemicals and toxic exposure impacts our microbiota and also microbiome as well. And epigenetics, methylation pathway, on and on and on we could talk about that forever. 

Then it's supplementation, so we've covered that. And exercise is step number four along with stress management. Because both will... exercise is a form of stress management as long as it's balanced enough for that person. 

So absolutely there's been some great research showing the improvements of gut health with exercise and with stress management. So probiotics have been shown to improve where we talked about in pregnancy for decreasing risk of postpartum depression, potentially. You know, probiotics have been shown to help, certain strains, to help with anxiety depression. And certainly exercise, you know, helps with those symptoms as well too. 

So, from that point of view, you know, it just is such a good adjunct to the program to help support my Five Step Fertility Solution, but really, overall general health as well. You know, adding probiotics to support all those areas. You know, hormonal health, there's some studies about probiotics and hormone metabolism and how it assists with that in the gut.

 And then there is the microbiota all over the body. I mean there's a uterine microbiota which they thought, or at least they used to think, was sterile, and now they are a detecting that there's a uterine microbiota which may impact miscarriage, or in recurrent miscarriages.

Andrew: Wow.

Stacey: So much research going on.

Andrew: Oh, absolutely.

Stacey: About all the different areas of the body.

Andrew: Absolutely. Watch this space. 

Stacey, thank you so much for taking our listeners through the importance aspects of infertility with regards to microbiota and the potential use of certain probiotics and indeed diet. 

You know, I really do love...I love the way that you take people through the practical aspects but you concentrate on these basic tenets that we should all be doing before we look at...even consider a supplement and I really...I really respect you for that, it’s great.

Stacey: Thank you. And thank you so much for having me again and I look forward to our next talk.

Andrew: This is FX Medicine and I'm Andrew Whitfield-Cook.

Stacey Roberts
The BabyMaker Program
The Fertility Bible: Your Five Step Fertility Solution for Becoming Pregnant Naturally or with IVF

Research explored in this podcast

Arroyo R, Martin V, Maldonado A et al. Treatment of Infectious Mastitis during Lactation: Antibiotics versus Oral Administration of Lactobacilli Isolated from Breast Milk. Clin Infect Dis Jun 2010 15;50(12):1550-1558

Jimenez E, Fernandez L, Maldonado A et al. Oral Administration of Lactobacillus Strains Isolated from Breast Milk as an Alternative for the Treatment of Infectious Mastitis during Lactation. Appl Environ Microbiol 2008 Aug;74(15):4650-4655

Cullinane M, Amir L, Donath S et al. Determinants of mastitis in women in the CASTLE study: a cohort study. BMC Fam Pract 2015;16:181

Other podcasts with Stacey include:


The information provided on FX Medicine is for educational and informational purposes only. The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional advice or care. Please seek the advice of a qualified health care professional in the event something you have read here raises questions or concerns regarding your health.

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FX Medicine Podcast
FX Medicine is at the forefront of ensuring functional and integrative medicine gains the recognition it deserves and ultimately establishes itself as an integral part of standard medical practice. Hosted by Dr Adrian Lopresti, Dr Michelle Woolhouse, Dr Damian Kristof and Emma Sutherland, our podcasts are designed to promote research and evidence-based therapeutic practises, acting as a progressive force for change and improvement in patient health and wellbeing.