Your gut if full of bacteria – or at least it should be….in fact, over 1000 different bacterial speciesa probiotic bacteria have been identified (and that’s just the good guys)!  In 1974, Sperti started utilizing the term probiotic to identify “Organisms and substances that have a beneficial effect on the host animal by contributing to its intestinal microbial balance”.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probiotic) And the concept has developed from there.

  • Why do we need bacteria?
  • How do we loose what we need?
  • How do we replenish it effectively without wasting money?

These are good questions to ask and as usual – there are a variety of answers….

What do we need all these bacteria?  Well, historically for 3 basic reasons:

  • 1) metabolizing our food
  • 2) creating nutrients we need
  • 3) protecting our immune system – 90% is in the gut

However, a number of new observations have come to light.  It looks like they may also play a part in:

  • antimicrobial activity
  • regulating cholesterols
  • providing amines
  • immune regulatory
  • anti-inflammatory properties
  • anti-allergy effects (suppressing IgE and IgG & increasing IgA immune cells)
  • anti-oxidant
  • glucose regulation

An imbalance in these different types of gut bacterias (breached gut integrity) can cause a wide variety of diseases:

  • cancer
  • inflammatory diseases of the gut
  • inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Crohn’s
  • diarrhea
  • depression
  • ulcerative colitis
  • diabetes I & II
  • obesity
  • allergic responses
  • lactose intolerance,
  • etc

How do we loose what we need:

  • 1) taking anti-biotics
  • 2) taking birth control pills
  • 3) increasing the acidity/decreasing the pH in the intestinal tract
  • 4) poor fiber levels
  • 5) toxicity:  metal, POPs, PCBs, etc.
  • 6) too much sugar in the diet
  • 7) every bowel movement should be about 50% bacteria – which means they have to thrive and replenish and therefore require the proper foods to do so

How do we  replenish the probiotics in our systems:

  • 1) Foods:  fermented foods such as yogurt and soy yogurtprobiotic foods
  • 2) Supplements:
    • Probiotics:  various supplements from Health food stores and MLMs provide probiotics BUT they are not all made equally.  For instance, is the count they are providing of only a few species or a broad number of species
      • can the probiotics survive the hydrochloric acid of the stomach- most can’t
      • are the probiotics then all dumped into the duodenum  – most are
      • what is the delivery mechanism that drops what kinds to what areas in the intestinal tract
    • Prebiotics:  the various types of fibers we can get in food; shakes; etc
    • Transfer factors: basically retrains the immune system in the gut – which is intimately connected with the probiotics (click here for more info)

Not all probiotics survive in the Duodenum…different types are required through the intestinal tract.  Qivana (click here for more info), has a patented product that delivers different types of probiotics to different areas in the intestines.  This is very good.

The study of probiotics has been around for a few decades but has made recent surges in attention due to research development in fields like:

  • genomics
  • metabolomics
  • nutrigenomics
  • proteomics
  • transcriptomics

My bet, is that we will find down the road, that these trillions of bacteria in our gut, all with their own DNA, have an impact on our DNA…but we haven’t got that far yet….

Be responsible, do your research, find a good health practitioner.  Here’s to your health!

For more information, contact: Dr Holly at holly@choicesunlimited.ca

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References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23306189

http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/update0905c.shtml

http://www.gutpathogens.com/content/4/1/15