Why do we need Probiotics?

Many people are becoming aware for the need for probiotics. Pro-biotics are the opposite of antibiotics. Whereas anti-biotics kill bacteria, Pro-biotics replenish the good bacteria in your body.

90 + years ago, Nobel laureate Elie Metchnikoff, PhD, a Russian bacteriologist found the link between human longevity and the necessity of maintaining a healthy balance between beneficial and pathological microorganisms (good guys vs bad guys) residing within the human gut. Dr. Metchnikoff believed that human beings could live to the age of 150 years if they kept the organisms within their intestines in a state of balance.

The good bacteria in the intestinal tract is an integral part of our immune system. These bacteria in the gut are essential for the intestinal tract to function properly. They synthesize the B-complex vitamins, crowd out yeast and parasites, help regulate blood cholesterol levels, and produce antibiotic compounds.

In today’s world it is hard to keep the good bacteria in our body balanced. We have good bacteria in every opening of our body and on our skin. These bacteria are located in areas that invaders such as bad bacteria, fungus and viruses (bad guys) can enter our body. These good guys are there to protect us against the bad guys. Things that can destroy our good guys are:

    antibiotic use
    too much alcohol
    eating foods impregnated with pesticides, herbicides, antibiotic residues, and hormonal pollutants
    the over consumption of sugars and other refined carbohydrates
    the distress of too much stress
    the lack of nutrition from living fresh foods grown in nutrient-rich soil
    chlorinated water

Pro-biotics are the beneficial bacteria that we take to help replenish the good bacteria. They promote healthy structure and function. They are the good guys that help us keep the bad guys out.

Thank goodness we have anti-biotics, some of us would not be around without them. Unfortunately they are way over used resulting in the evolution of resistant strains of bacteria. Every time we take an Anti-biotic we kill off a lot of our good guys. This allows the bad guys to move in and set up house. Many people are familiar with the diarrhea and yeast infections that develop after a round of antibiotics. Now let’s add the chlorine in our water. Chlorine is in the water to kill bacteria. We also have antibiotics in our milk, and mass produced poultry and beef. Let’s not forget Montezuma’s revenge is an invasion of the digestive tract with bad bacteria.

All of these assaults to our good guys are hard to keep up with. This is why so many people are reaching for over the counter Pro-biotics. Unfortunately, like most things, there are good and bad products. First, most of the over the counter products are very low dose products. I use a product that is about 30 billion bacteria per capsule. Given our intestinal tract has over 60 trillion organisms we need to replenish with enough to make a difference. Second, the other problem we find is that many Pro-biotics are in powdered form or capsules that open in the stomach. The pH of your stomach acid is around 2 (unless you are on acid blockers which destroy your digestion). One of the jobs of your stomach acid is to kill bacteria that come in with your food. These powders or capsules that open in the stomach don’t make it to the intestinal tract because the stomach acid kills them. Some products have enteric coatings, which help to get the bacteria past the stomach acid, but most of these are acrylics and I don’t want plastics in my patients. I use a product that has a patented alginate coating (from algae) on it that will not open until it meets the neutral pH of the small intestine. This way I know my patients are getting a good dose of good bacteria.