Do you know what a probiotic is?
Do you know the difference between good and bad bacteria?
The Importance of Bacteria
Rather than lecture on how bacteria work, I will say that there are 10 times as many bacteria living in our bodies than human cells. There are bacteria are in your intestines to help in food digestion and creating vitamins and using enzymes that our own bodies can’t physically produce.
Some illness caused by lack of good bacteria:
- Allergies and asthma
- Yeast infection
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis
- Lactose intolerance
Imbalance is caused by:
- Pharmaceutical drugs – especially antibiotics
- Crohn’s Disease
- Gastric bypass
- Inadequate fiber in the diet
When you take too many antibiotics, your good bacteria get destroyed and your bad bacteria overgrow and these result in an illness called c-difficile. Then you have to take another special and ridiculously expensive antibiotic to get rid of it. At the same time you take probiotics to repopulate your belly with good bacteria. C-difficile can be devastating! Luckily, you can get rid of it by changing the way you eat! Are you surprised? Even the things we think are environmental begin with our intake of food!
Supplementation of bacteria is advised by most nutritional authorities. You can get probiotics in food. Raw yogurt, miso and sour dough bread are the foods that come to mind. Fermenting food is a good way to get probiotics. Soaking and sprouting are the easiest way to ferment and would be a natural evolution to a healthier lifestyle. You can also supplement with different types of probiotics. Look for “live and active cultures.”
“[There is an]…invisible epidemic of insufficient probiotics. We’re not getting what we used to [through diet], and we’re destroying what’s there. As a result, the balance of our intestinal microbe population has changed, sometimes with disastrous effects on our immune system.” Gary Huffnagle, Professor of Internal Medicine and Microbiology at the University of Michigan Medical School.
Have you ever worried about your kids not getting enough nutrition when they had the flu? And has your doctor told you to feed them yogurt with live cultures? The yogurts out there don’t have enough live and active cultures to help that. Plus many of them are just flavored desserts! The combination of milk, mucus and sugar could do more harm than good; bacteria love sugar!
The use of probiotics as an everyday supplement is debated. They are live organisms and enhance digestion and nutrient absorption. In Brendan Brazier’s book “Thrive” he says, “By consuming probiotics on a weekly basis, your chance of infection- and therefore the need for antibiotics- is greatly reduced. Consistent probiotic use has shown to dramatically improve immune function.” He says that daily use is not necessary; a few times a week would be helpful.
There are several different supplements out there. They can be found on Amazon.com, at Whole Foods, and at your local health food shop. Some don’t have any animal products, dairy or gluten. The older you get the less good bacteria you produce; the supplement would provide that extra bit. It is also important that you look to see if the supplement you use needs to be refrigerated. Some require refrigeration after a certain date because of the live organisms.
“There is a solid theoretical basis for why probiotics should help prevent… and even reverse cancer. Probiotics produce short chain fatty acids in the colon, which acidify the environment. Lower colon pH is associated with lower incidence of colon cancer. Probiotic bacteria reduce the level of procarcinogenic enzymes….” Michael S Donaldson, Director of Research, Hallelujah Acres Foundation
The drugs we take, even with a prescription from a doctor, have profound effects on our body. It may make one thing better, but while it is doing that, it sometimes makes 10 things worse. That is why it is so important that we take responsibility for what we put into our bodies.
With the way that the medical, pharmaceutical industry, government and food industry works, it has come down to “shame on us” if we don’t take care of educating ourselves before we make decisions. Do you know how many people just do what they are told with blind trust or fear of reprisal? Do you know how many people are sent by their doctor to the nurse practitioner (who has no clue about their medical history) and take her prescription?
I know it is a lot to learn. Believe me; I understand that it takes a lot of time to figure it all out. That is why I am here. Let me help you sift through the truth and the hype.