Doctor's Note

Be sure to also see Breast Cancer Survival and Lignan Intake if you missed it. For another video on what our friendly flora can do, check out Gut Flora & Obesity. The sulforaphane story I refer to in this video can be found in The Best Detox.

Note that the bladder infection study I reference is open access, and can be downloaded by clicking on the link in the Sources Cited section, above.

Please also check out my associated blog posts for some more context: Breast Cancer Survival & SoyHealth Food Store Advice: Often Worthless or WorstHow to Enhance Mineral AbsorptionBoosting Gut Flora Without ProbioticsTreating an Enlarged Prostate With DietFlax Seeds for Prostate CancerFlax & Breast Cancer PreventionTreating Breast Pain with Flax Seeds; and How Probiotics Affect Mental Health.

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please also see yesterday’s video if you missed it. For another video on what our friendly flora can do, check out Gut Flora & Obesity. The sulforaphane story I refer to in this video can be found in The Best Detox. And for those craving more, there are hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects. Note that the bladder infection study I reference is open access and can be downloaded by clicking on the link above in the Sources Cited section.

  • Thea

    I’m hoping that one of the videos coming up tells us how to create/support those gut bacteria. If I remember correctly, in other posts on other videos, you didn’t seem all that impressed with “probiotics”.

    • Raw or cooked in water Garlic, onions, ginger, ground flax seeds, cinnamon

  • ghulstyle

    thank you Dr Greger for another insightful video, i truly enjoy all of you videos on nutrition and they are so accessible too.
    Is there anything comparable like your site in regards to other lifestyle factors for prevent disease and healthy living eg anything on stress reduction or exercise etc?

    • Alexandra Georgiadis

      Hi! I think a great resource might be Dr. Dean Ornish’s program “The Ornish Spectrum”. There is a lot of very useful information. Once on the home page, if you scroll over the “proven program” section you’ll see a link for stress management. I hope you find this useful! Here is the link:

  • SillySallySue

    Great video, as usual! For some great probiotic tips and insight, Dr. Greger previously referred us to the advice of one of his medical mentors, Dr. Michael Klaper. Here’s the link:

    • Thea

      SillySallySue: Great link!! Thanks for posting it.

  • chewy

    so is flaxseed a good thing to add to my vegan low fat diet(mcdougall plan) to prevent colon polyps and other bowel diseases?there is a history of colon cancer in my family-my cousin,uncle,grndmother died of it but they were all carnivores eating meat ,dairy. i have been vegan for 20 years(i am 44) and very conscientious of my vegan diet-no sugar,flour at all. just vegetables,beans,fruit ,brown rice,air popped popcorn and plain unsalted brown rice cakes.2Tablespoons of ground flaxseed

    • Yes ground flax seeds daily will help you they make the enditheliums including the inside lining of the gi tract more slippery and flexible. They improve bowel movements and supply a vegetable source of Omega3. Read the associated blog posts for encouragement. Everyone needs 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds daily or 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds twice a day.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please also check out my associated blog post, Breast Cancer Survival and Soy!

  • Becky

    I just read this about Flax- what do you think?

  • stacy

    I was diagnosed with dysbiosis (specifically Klebsiella and low beneficial bacteria) and colitis, so would a probiotic be beneficial or not? If so, what are good ones to use and for how long?

    Also what is the consensus on Digestive enzymes?  I was diagnosed with pancreatic/gallbladder insufficiency (basically, I dont make adequate enzymes), so would a digestive enzyme help or hurt?  If it is recommended, which type is best (animal-based, plant-based, fungal-based…and what brand? Fungal kind of gives me the heebie-jeebies, lol)

    How do i fix these issues naturally?  It seems like all doctors (even holistic ones) want to do is dole out loads of supplements!

  • Carl

    If I have had the right side of my bowel removed will this effect my ability to break down, transpose and absorb these nutrients?

    •  Sorry to hear about the loss of part of your colon. Although it will effect your ability to handle some fiber most of the nutrition absorption comes before the large intestine in the small intestine which we have evolved to be much larger then our closest relatives the great apes. It is estimated that we get only 10% of our caloric needs from bacteriologic breakdown of fiber in our large intestine. You fortunately didn’t lose all your colon. It would be nice to have good studies on populations that have had GI surgery but few exist and none relative to your situation. I would follow the best diets to avoid further loss of body parts not only in the gastrointestinal tract but other organ systems as well. Best wishes.

  • daisy

    is 2Tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily a good amount?

    • Yes Two tablespoons of ground flax seeds daily provides 4000mg Omega3.

  • Mary

    Can you lead me to the video…How to get and maintain good gut flora?

  • xena

    I am 6 weeks pregnant and take a spoonful of flaxseeds everyday to help with bowel movements. Now I just read somewhere that they can be harmful for pregnant women. Is that true?

    • Flaxseeds are not harmful. Flax seeds will improve labor, make it easier, less painful and faster. I don’t have any clinical studies, (but now Michael will.) One tablespoon provides about 2000mg Omega3 and everyone needs at least two tablespoons daily to survive this world. More than two tablespoons ground flax seeds twice daily may help someone birth sooner rather than later.

  • Genghis Pesante

    Why flax seed makes me feel sleepy?

    • They could make you feel relaxed so you can sleep easier. But I take ground flax seeds to go out to work to have energy and increase metabolism.

  • Damien

    Out of interest, do we actually break down many of the flax seeds we eat or do they simply pass through into our stool? Or are the lignan precursors able to move out of the seeds themselves?

    • You need to consume ground flax as the whole seeds will pass straight through. Best is to buy whole (golden) flax seeds and grind them yourself (this ensuring the delicate fats don’t go rancid).

      I make mine in a high powered blender but I’ve read that coffee grinders work to. A pestle and mortar also works well but you’ll arm will get tired ;-)

      Best to make in a large batch and store in a opaque container in the fridge or freezer and consume 1-2 tablespoons a day.

  • John Tiffany

    With the fecal stream constantly moving
    down, at what to microscopic bacteria must seem a breakneck pace, how
    do at least some of our little friends manage o avoid being swept
    completely out of our bodies?

  • JohnRHarker

    The folks that promote the SDC diet do not allow flax because of the lignans. Can you help us figure out what is best. Thanks.

  • JohnRHarker

    Correction to my previous post The SCD diet. The research is found at :
    Any help you could give to better guild us on the gut flora and gut diseases would be helpful.