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Archive for the ‘Probiotics’ Category

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We live in a society where people are very afraid of germs. Hand sanitizer dispensers are popping up everywhere. Many moms carry anti-bacterial wipes in their purses so they may save their little ones from  touching germs that might harm them. More and more people are on the war path at home constantly disinfecting all surfaces in order to get rid of any germs that may cause illness to them or their family.

Are you one of these germ warriors? If you are, what I tell you next might give you chills.

ImageGerms, or microbes, are everywhere. In fact they are almost impossible to escape. They are on our skin, in our nails in fact in every crevice of our body. And yes even inside us. They exist in our respiratory, urinary and digestive tracts. In fact in a healthy person they out number our own human cells 10 to 1.  But wait… don’t go grab that anti-bacterial wipe!

We need these little guys.  We have a symbiotic relationship with good microbes.  We need them as much as they need us. In fact they perform many important metabolic duties, digestive processes, immune support functions, detoxification and more. These little guys have a purpose and without this great number of beneficial microbes our health declines. It even appears that the microbes living on our skin could play a role in warding off infections.  We often refer to these beneficial microbes as “probiotics” meaning “for life.” Which is fitting because of their extreme importance to our well being. So, where do these little guys come from?

Our first natural inoculation of probiotics come at birth. A woman’s micro organism profile of her vaginal tract mirrors that of her intestinal tract. So when we travel through the birth canal we attain the micro biota that we will often carry throughout our lives. Our mothers milk and colostrum should also contain a healthy microbial profile as well as nutrients that serve as a food source to help these good guys flourish and  colonize the lining of the babies digestive tract. This is essentially the start of our immune system.  An ideal microbial profile would have a mixture of beneficial, neutral and pathogenic microbes. With a healthy inner environment the beneficial microbes would do well keeping the pathogenic microbes from proliferating and causing problems. Unfortunately many of us do not have this ideal microbial profile or a good inner environment for the probiotics to flourish.  Why?

The first thing that often goes wrong is a mothers microbial profile is often bad to start with so the baby often doesn’t receive all the beneficial microbes he should and a baby born by cesarean wouldn’t receive any from his mother at birth at all.  The second problem is many babies are bottle fed, losing that second inoculation from their mother milk.  Third, even if a child is fortunate enough to start out with a healthy microbial profile, in our modern times our probiotics are often permanently altered or damaged from stress, refined carbohydrates and sugars, overuse of contraceptives, antibiotics and pharmaceuticals.  Even chlorinated tap water damages our probiotics.  The destruction of these beneficials allows yeast and fungi to dominate our inner environment. This growth weakens our immune system and intestinal function and increases our risk of disease.

Having a poor microbial profile can affect our digestion, our immune function, and our weight. It even has possible links to asthma.

So how do we get these good microbes back?

We need to create an environment that they will thrive in and repopulate our inner selves.

ImageHow to Restore Your Probiota

1) Change the Environment and starve the bad microbes.   Refined foods, sugars and starchy carbohydrates quickly break down into sugars in the body. These are the preferred food for opportunistic microbes. As mentioned before excess sugars can even damage the beneficial guys. So stop eating all sugars (all sweeteners), refined foods and starchy carbohydrates (bread, potatoes & rice) This will starve the opportunistic microbes forcing them to leave and create an environment where the probiotics can thrive. Eventually when you have balanced your microbial profile you can add in healthy carbohydrates(whole sprouted or sourdough breads, whole grains, potatoes, brown rice, oats) but in moderation.  Also eat raw greens and vegetables each day as this provides good food for the good guys to thrive on.

2) Repopulate the Beneficial Microbes   Eat probiotic super foods everyday. Some of the most popular cultured foods are cultured vegetables( live sauerkraut or kimchi), organic yogurt, and organic kefir. Having several 1/2 cup servings a day can have miraculous results on your health.

Most of our ancestors used these methods to preserve foods before refrigeration and thrived on them. Please note: commercially prepared cultured foods have a weak microbial profile and often have added sweeteners that damage them and feed the yeasts and fungi. When buying commercially cultured foods look for brands with live cultures and buy the plain adding your own fruit, whole stevia, nuts etc. to flavor. Better yet learn to culture your own foods.  They are fun and easy to prepare and are cheaper and more therapeutic compared to their commercial counterparts.  When taking a probiotic supplement we recommend Bio Kult or Prescript Assist as they contain native strains that readily populate the gut. Most supplemental probiotics contain only transitional forms which help mostly while you are taking them but not as much after you have finished.

3)  Love your good germs as you love yourself   Now that you are feeling so much better with a full army of beneficial microbes populating your gut and working to take care of you. Love them back and take care of them too. How?  1) Eat a nutrient rich diet of whole foods. 2) Eat only healthy whole starchy carbohydrates (whole sprouted or sourdough breads, whole grains, potatoes, brown rice, oats) and eat these in  moderation.  3) Extremely reduce or eliminate refined and processed foods that damage these little guys and feed bad microbes. 4) Avoid Chlorinated drinking water. Chlorine is a strong anti-microbial that will damage your probiota. If you only have access to chlorinated tap water, please invest in a water filtration or purification system.

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