For too long, it was believed that bacteria were something to be killed. There was an all-out war on the little critters that live in our guts, urinary and genital areas. Drugs were created to eliminate bacteria in the intestines with no thought given to “good” or “bad.” Today, research shows that bacteria can treat and, in some cases, prevent illnesses.
These bacteria called Probiotics (from pro and biota, meaning “for life”), can be of great benefit to just about any disease, syndrome, infection or anything else for that matter:
- Digestive disorders caused by infection or anti-biotic associated diarrhea
- Irritable bowel syndrome & ulcerative colitis
- Allergic disorders like eczema and allergic rhinitis
- Colic in infants (wait.. is anyone reading this?? Holy Cow!!)
- Crohn’s disease
- H. pylori – a.k.a. stomach ulcers
- Recurrent bladder cancer
- Tooth decay, periodontal disease and other oral health problems
Are you getting the drift?? These probiotics are easily available and not that expensive and are truly incredible for our immune systems!!
So, what’s the problem? Why isn’t everyone taking them? The main reason we get at our clinic is because there is a lot of misinformation regarding these little critters. There are naysayers that say you don’t need them, that you can get enough good bacteria from your food. To that we say: “Bupkes” or “Bull Hockey!”
PLEASE!! Before you decide not to take a probiotic, look at the source that is telling you you don’t need them! It is usually either a health care provider or a site hosted by a drug company. The reason: if you can take a simple probiotic supplement and prevent or heal from the above list of potentially life-threatening diseases you wouldn’t need a drug…right?
And, before you take the easy way out and say, “I’ll just eat yogurt,” think again!
- Yogurt only contains a few strains of probiotics.
- Yogurt doesn’t have therapeutic level of CFU’s (colony forming units)
- Yogurt doesn’t have a delivery mechanism. Most encapsulated probiotic supplements are in capsule form and designed to withstand the harsh environment of the stomach acids.
Don’t get us wrong: quality yogurt (those with no sugar and no artificial sugars, preservatives or colors) can be part of a healthy diet, but they are not enough.
Fermented foods are also great sources of probiotics that will help with gut health. A diet that contains fermented foods and quality yogurt is essential as part of the whole good bacteria matrix for the gut.
What About PRE-biotics?
There are 1000 different species of bacteria in the stomach, small intestine and colon and these guys need to eat. Keeping a thriving microbiome is a full-time job. They need to be fed all the time and bagels just won’t cut it!
PRE-biotics are those foods that actually feed the PRO-biotics!!
List of PRE-biotics foods:
- Onions, garlic & leeks
- Leafy greens (not lettuce!)
- Jerusalem Artichokes (if you can figure out how to cook these, please tell me!)
- Dandelion greens
You must eat some of these every day to feed all those beautiful bacteria that are in there protecting you from all kinds of evil stuff! The “friendly bacteria” will die and you will bloat if you eat a crappy diet. Period.
I used to tell people, on their first visit, to stop wheat. Some of my patients would call or send an email saying they felt like they were “going to die” when they stopped eating wheat. Well, that was because the ONLY PRE-biotic they were eating came from the wheat!! (I do not recommend eating wheat, but we’ll save that for another Blog).
Which Probiotics Do We Recommend?
We have two companies that we have had continued success. There are many different probiotic companies and many have great products, but these are the ones we like the best:
- Probiotics are necessary for optimal health.
- Eating yogurt does not provide enough strains of good bacteria.
- You must take a probiotic supplement everyday.
- PRE-biotics foods have to be eaten to feed the PRO-biota in your gut.