Ounce of Prevention | A Healthy gut : Healthy you
An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms from hundreds of different species live in the bowels of every normal healthy person. These germs are absolutely essential to optimal health. Most of them are friendly and promote wellness, while only a few are normally harmful to humans. It is estimated that in your body, there are 10 bacteria for every human cell. This enormous body of bacteria that call your body home is called your microbiome.
Science has discovered that these different germs form a complex and delicate eco-system in our bodies. In simple terms, the good germs keep the bad germs in check, and normally, they all live together in harmony. There is evidence to suggest that the really bad germs (pathogens) create problems, often as a result of man's interference with nature e.g., excessive use of antibiotics, leading to an imbalance. On the other hand, good germs called probiotics have been used to improve both digestive and general health and treat some disease.
Probiotics are natural, live germs that are beneficial to your health.The Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species are the most well known types of probiotics, but many others exist. They are often referred to as friendly or good bacteria. Probiotics are commonly consumed in some raw foods or fermented foods like yogurt, miso, tempeh, or as dietary supplements.
The current medical view of stomach ulcers and gastritis are that they are often caused by an infection with a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) living in the stomach. This is the basis for the modern use of potent antibiotics to treat ulcers.
Instead, I use probiotics as a natural non-toxic way to restore the balance to the digestive tract. This is very effective in correcting common digestive problems like heartburn, indigestion and even peptic ulcer disease. Probiotics control the H Pylori bacteria while facilitating the healing of the damaged stomach lining.
Other digestive-system disorders that benefit from probiotic treatment include: infectious diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticular disease and inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. The probiotic bacteria actually produce substances that nourish and heal the cells lining the walls of the intestines. They produce vitamins: B12 and vitamin K and other natural healing substances.
Probiotics for Immune Support
From the mouth to the anus, 80 per cent of the body's immune system cells surround the digestive tract. The trillions of bacteria in the gut have a profound influence on the immune system.
For example, a fungus called Candida is a germ commonly found in the digestive tract and genitals of healthy women and men. Usually, it causes no problem, but the same germ can overgrow and overwhelm the immune system and cause bad allergic reactions and disease. Healthy probiotic bacteria can be used to prevent and treat Candida infections and promote healthy immune function.
Probiotics for the Kidneys
The kidney's main role is to excrete waste substances from the body. When the kidney malfunctions, these waste materials accumulate, leading to toxicity and life-threatening illness. Researchers have found special strains of probiotics that help in the elimination of waste and promote healthy kidney function. These probiotic bacteria break down substances like urea and thus assist the kidneys.
In 2008, researchers from Boston University found that a probiotic bacteria called Oxalobacter could reduce the risk of developing kidney stones by 70 per cent. Approximately 80 per cent of all kidney stones are made of the compound calcium oxalate, which the Oxalobacter organism can breakdown.
Probiotics for mental health
Much is being said about the gut-brain connection. Research has even indicated that probiotics can promote good mental health.
They help reduce inflammation in brain cells and manufacture a variety of substances like vitamin B12, methyl folate, GABA and neurotropic factors that benefit brain health.
Functional medicine psychiatrists have reported that probiotic use has benefitted patients with a variety of mental problems including obsessive-compulsive disorders, anxiety and depression.
Combine Probiotics & Prebiotics
Taking note of the widespread fermentation practices in many traditional cultures, it seems that this dietary wisdom served to encourage probiotic consumption and promote optimal nutrient assimilation
Regularly eating fermented foods containing probiotic bacteria like yogurt, miso and tempeh, is a good starting point. However, even greater benefits may be had from taking a probiotic supplement. The most useful probiotics supplements contain Acidophilus/Lactobacillus and Bifidus bacteria.
However, probiotic supplements work best when combined with prebiotics (substances that promote the growth of the bacteria). Prebiotics are plant-based substances, including certain fibres and a few special sugars like fructooligosaccharideÂ, found in fruits, legumes, and whole grains, as well as in nutritional supplements.The aloe vera plant contains a potent prebiotic called Acemannin, which nourishes the good intestinal bacteria.
I use a prebiotic/probiotic combination in a supplement called Flora Fibre. It contains healthy probiotic bacteria plus prebiotic fibre. It can be combined with an aloe vera prebiotic drink called Herbal Aloe for optimal results. This is a great way to maintain a healthy gut and a healthy body.