What the H$%* are they and why do we need them? I’m going to give you my own dumbed-down skinny on what they are and exactly how they can help us get healthier.
First, every organism on the planet is covered in microbes (those pesky little bacteria that live on our skin, in our guts, on our counters —etc). Its normal! We are supposed to be surrounded by all these little parasites exactly like we are surrounded by our leachy teenagers and our snot blowing kids —It’s natural and part of the whole life experience. We were all designed to have “healthy” bacteria to help us coexist in nature and that is totally cool. Good Ole Mother Nature designed it that way and I’m convinced that she knew what she was doing!
Here are just a few of the healthy benefits that we get from these bacteria living on, around, and within us.
1. They produce enzymes that kill bad bacteria (Eek -like the stomach flu)
2. They produce substances that give the lining of the gut energy
3. They boost immunity by giving us mucin (a component of mucous/snot) to help stomp out bad bacteria
4. They down-regulate inflammation and free-radicals like crazy cousin Joe (see previous free radical post)
5. They reduce the risk of allergy
These are all functions that the normal gut bacteria are designed to do for the human body.
These guys have so many more important functions but I fear boring you with the science of it all. There’s a reference at the end of the post for all you science nerds like me!
Here’s the version that I dumbed down for my own little mind to digest!
1. Our food supply has drastically changed since World War II—we are now using more corn and grain to feed our livestock. We also used the leftover nitrogen from bomb making to fertilize our crops after the war.
2. The US became much more industrialized after WWII and we started adding a lot of chemicals to improve the shelf life of foods
3. This has gradually destroyed the lining of our gut (which I will better explain in another post)
4. We now harbor bacteria in our GI tract that we aren’t use to having. They are dysbiotic instead of symbiotic.
5. Because we no longer harbor these “Good Bacteria” in our gut —we have increased inflammation and autoimmunity.
6. The inflammation –now has to settle somewhere in our body if we don’t supply it with good antioxidants as a defense mechanism.
7. We are consuming foods that are no longer nutrient dense. Even if we are eating healthy, our guts don’t have the correct bacteria to absorb the nutrients anymore.
So—-A first start at cleaning up The Gut– Probiotics
These are supplements with the good bacteria strains that have been killed off by our modern diet. They do exactly what they are designed to do–help prevent disease, help absorb nutrients from food, help keep digestion regular etc. These bad boys recolonize our Gut with the Good Bacteria.
So here is the final scoop–
If you eat a perfect diet of organic fruits, veggies, grass-fed meats and consume no processed foods—you might not need to take probiotics
But, if you are like the rest of us—you need these little buggers back in your gut to make and keep you healthy!
Here are the strains you want to look for in buying a probiotic
The Big 7!!!
1. Lactobacillus Acidophillus
2. Lactobacillus Ramnosus
3. Lactobacillus Plantarum
4. Lactobacillus Casei
5. Bifidobacterium Longum
6. Bifidobacterium Breve
7. Saccharomyces boulardii
Probiotics can be found at your local drugstore or you can buy them HERE from Amazon
I’ll post more on benefits and the different digestive benefits of each strain –however this is your dirty little outline guide to refer to!
It seems to be a great idea to mix different brands of probiotic and then rotate them as well so I have added some of my new favorites to the list!
1. Garden of Life Primal Defense Ultra Ultimate Probiotics Formula
2. Advance Orthomolecular Research Advanced Series Probiotic 3
3. Ultimate Flora
4. VSL #3
You can easily purchase these thru Amazon by clicking HERE
For more information: see “Probiotics: Why You Need Them and How to Choose Them” by Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN