The Probiotic Obsession
| Gene Ridley
In some areas, soil is consumed as a dietary supplement because many soils contain organisms that colonize in the human gut. They provide our system with much needed lactobacteria, a bacterial aid for normal digestive function.
Our obsession with probiotics has produced a $20 plus billion market. It has become a market commodity fostering strong competition, cost-cutting manufacturing techniques – and for the consumer, much misconception. But let’s not forget about nature and the fact that the organisms that are included in the substance we call probiotic come from nature. Probiotic simply means to promote life. Probiotics have been with us throughout human history as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and in general, fermented foods. In all cultures, fermented foods have been an essential part of the diet.
Findings prove that non-human cells outnumber human cells in the body, on average of 10 or 12 to 1
In some areas, soil is consumed as a dietary supplement because many soils contain organisms that colonize in the human gut. They provide our system with much needed lactobacteria, a bacterial aid for normal digestive function. When lactobacteria is absent, disease conditions and discomfort occur in the gut. Lactobacteria are integral to maintaining proper pH necessary to digest foodstuffs, and efficiently extract minerals and vitamins from the food eaten. We can’t have a healthy existence – and possibly any existence – without them. Since the publishing of the Human Microbiome Project study much has been learned about the human microflora. Findings prove that non-human cells outnumber human cells in the body, on average of 10 or 12 to 1. The project’s findings estimate that 100 trillion organisms reside in the body. This relationship between microorganisms and hosts exist throughout the animal kingdom.
Most Common Probiotics
Among organisms that live in the gut are two strains of Lactobacteria: Lactobacillus Acidopholus and Lactobacillus Bifidus. These organisms compete with yeast and other fungal organisms in our bodies for nutrients. An overabundance of yeast and fungi in the gut can lead to disease. Yeast and fungus are heartier than bacteria. By keeping levels of Lactobaccillus bacteria sufficient and healthy, they help limit the growth of yeast and fungal organisms.
8 Hot Probiotic Use Tips
Given the necessity and importance of probiotics, the following are a few tips on using both packaged probiotics and natural probiotics to help ensure proper colonization of the gut:
With packaged probiotics, it’s best to take them on an empty stomach so they won’t be digested by gastric juices. By taking only the probiotic with some water less stomach acid is triggered and produced. Speaking of water - there's a lot of buzz about alkaline water and whether or not it's beneficial. So, let's keep it simple and basic: Water is a bi-polar substance and is found naturally at a pH level of 7, which is in the middle of the pH scale. Water helps the body to balance its own pH more efficiently by providing the negative or positive ion as the body requires. For further reading on the benefits and considerations of alkalized water check out this Huffington Post article, “Alkaline Water: Beneficial or Bogus?”, by John Berardi
Don't be squeamish about eating dirt or dirt based organisms. Dirt is still a good source of organisms that colonize the gut.
With naturally occurring probiotics – such as fermented foods, its best to eat them weekly or a couple times a week depending on the need. If gut trouble persists, we recommend seeking professional advice.
If you’re using both sources of probiotics, eat the naturally occurring probiotic bi-weekly and supplement periodically with packaged products.
Vinegar and pickle juice are good sources to promote bacterial health. Vinegar is a popular digestive aid. A tablespoon can be taken daily around mealtimes. It can also be taken in cases of flatulence or acid reflux and feelings of gasiness.
When purchasing packaged products, make sure that both acidopholus and bifida are included in the proper ratio. The quantity of bifida should outnumber acidopholus two to one.
Take Lactobacillus acidopholus if you’re experiencing upper G.I. tract gas and belching. Take Lactobacillus bifida If you are experiencing lower G.I. tract gas or flatulence.
Consumption of certain drugs, especially antibiotics, alcohol, extremely salty foods, and foods high in acidity or low in pH, can negatively affect our microflora. If you get diarrhea or other stomach upsets after eating or taking medications, you would be wise to take a probiotic.
Prebiotics: New on the Scene
Finally, there’s much buzz about prebiotics. Prebiotics are substances that promote the life and health of probiotic organisms. Prebiotics are simply food for probiotics. Prebiotics include soluble fibers such as inulin and oligiopolysacharrides. Herbal Solutions has several products that support gut health by boosting overall immune system function and reducing the overload of yeast and fungal micro-organisms that compete with good bacteria in the gut: Superbug Assassin Cough Eliminator Immune System Optimizer Immune Enhancer Cellular Regeneration
Smart Review makes some recommendations for choosing the most viable commercially available probiotic (link):
THE RIGHT STRAIN MATTERS
We don’t recommend taking patented or engineered probiotics, such as products using the infantis, 35624 strain. We agree with the Metawellness.com article and recommend the Align brand probiotic strain. Such organisms don’t live in the gut and can limit the diversity of microflora in the gut.
Further reading on Inulin:
Mercola.com explains the ins and outs of inulin as an aid to improving gut health. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/03/07/inulin-health-benefits.aspx
Also checkout a recent A2ndOpinion.com article on the importance of salt. Be Salty… Naturally Boost Immune System