Got Probiotics?

Probiotic Chèvre made with Kefir

Probiotic Chèvre made with Kefir (Photo credit: luxomedia)

If you have ever taken just one round of antibiotics your gut flora has totally been destroyed. Replenishing gut flora is very important for optimal health.  Without good flora we become prone to all kinds of inflammatory diseases like asthma, Fibromyalgia, arthritis Crohn’s and more.  Sharing the importance of probiotics means a lot to me since our family suffered greatly with inflammatory problems and gastrointestinal issues.  When I met my husband he had diverticulitis, IBS, GERD, esophagitis and severe acid reflux.   Probiotics were part of the treatment I put him on to help him heal.

Below is a great excerpt from an article written by by Harvard Health Edu.

The word “probiotic” is a compound of two Greek words: “pro,” to signify promotion of and “biotic,” which means life. Their very definition is something that affirms life and health. That’s true even by modern standards: the World Health Organization defines a probiotic as any living microorganism that has a health benefit when ingested. Similarly, the USDA defines a probiotic as “any viable microbial dietary supplement that beneficially affects the host.”

A great way to get your daily dose of pro-biotics is by consuming organic kefir.  Click here for a great recipe on how to make your own kefir using coconuts.  You can also make your own kefir by purchasing grains.  For more info click here.
You can also eat fermented foods as they contain high quantities of vital pro-biotics.
If you prefer to use a supplement, I highly recommend Garden of Life’s Primal Defense Ultra Probiotic Formula which you can purchase on Vitacost with a $10 free coupon by clicking here.

In recent years, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that you can treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria. Northern Europeans consume a lot of these beneficial microorganisms, called probiotics (from pro and biota, meaning “for life”), because of their tradition of eating foods fermented with bacteria, such as yogurt. Probiotic-laced beverages are also big business in Japan.

Enthusiasm for such foods has lagged in the United States, but interest in probiotic supplements is on the rise. Some digestive disease specialists are recommending them for disorders that frustrate conventional medicine, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Since the mid-1990s, clinical studies have established that probiotic therapy can help treat several gastrointestinal ills, delay the development of allergies in children, and treat and prevent vaginal and urinary infections in women.

The best case for probiotic therapy has been in the treatment of diarrhea. Controlled trials have shown that Lactobacillus GG can shorten the course of infectious diarrhea in infants and children (but not adults). Although studies are limited and data are inconsistent, two large reviews, taken together, suggest that probiotics reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 60%, when compared with a placebo.

Probiotic therapy may also help people with Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Clinical trial results are mixed, but several small studies suggest that certain probiotics may help maintain remission of ulcerative colitis and prevent relapse of Crohn’s disease and the recurrence of pouchitis (a complication of surgery to treat ulcerative colitis). Because these disorders are so frustrating to treat, many people are giving probiotics a try before all the evidence is in for the particular strains they’re using. More research is needed to find out which strains work best for what conditions.

Below is a list of other healing benefits courtesy of The Huffington Post.

Digestive Health

Each of us has more than 1,000 different types of bacteria that live in our digestive tracts, helping us to break down food and absorb nutrients. But when we take antibiotics — medicine that is designed to kill destructive, illness-causing bacteria — the drugs can also kill the healthy intestinal flora that helps us digest. About 30 percent of the patients who take antibiotics report suffering from diarrhea or some other form of gastrointestinal distress, according to the recent JAMA study on probiotics and antibiotic-associated diarrhea. As a result, doctors commonly prescribe taking probiotics to “repopulate” the digestive tract with healthful bacteria. The study found that it was a viable solution for many.

But probiotics can also help with other types of digestive issues. Research has shown that probiotics can be helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS — a hard-to-treat condition that can have a range of intestinal symptoms, such as abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. In one study, female IBS patients experienced some alleviation of symptoms like abdominal pain and irregularity when they were given a supplement of the bacterial strain, Bifidobacterium infantis.

Even for those without an urgent problem, probiotics can help with overall digestive management. Challa argues in his book, Probiotics For Dummies, that good bacteria help “crowd out” bad bacteria. That’s because the intestine is lined with adherence sites where bacteria latches on. If the sites are populated with good-for-you microbes, there’s no place for a harmful bacterium to latch on.

Urinary Health

Probiotics make a nice complement to antibiotics among people who suffer from urinary tract infections, according to the research.

What’s more, there’s emerging evidence that regular probiotics can help prevent bad bacteria from invading the urinary tract by maintaining a population of healthy bacteria on the tract’s adherence sites.

Infections of the urinary tract are extremely common, especially in women. Most infections disappear with antibiotics, but about 30 to 40 percent might return, according to literature from the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Allergies

Allergy research is still preliminary, but at least one large, high quality study found a relationship between women taking probiotics during pregnancy and a 30 percent reduction in the instance of childhood eczema (an early sign of allergies) in their infants.

Researchers selected women who had a history of seasonal allergies — or whose partners had histories of allergies. The infants who received probiotics in-vitro also had 50 percent higher levels of tissue inflammation, which is thought to trigger the immune system and reduce allergy incidence.

Women’s Health

Just like the digestive tract, the vagina relies on a precarious balance of good and bad bacteria. When that balance is off, it can result in one of two very common, though thoroughly uncomfortable infections: bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. In fact, bacterial vaginosis can actually lead to a yeast infection.

Some small studies have found that L. acidophilius can help prevent infection, manage an already active one or support antibiotics as a treatment, though it’s worth noting that the probiotics were taken as vaginal suppositories, rather than orally in food.

Probiotics may also have a special role in maternal health, as pregnant women are particularly susceptible to vaginal infections. And bacterial vaginosis has been indicated as a contributing factor to pre-term labor, making probiotics a potential boon for fetal health.

Immunity

Surprisingly, one of the main functions of healthful bacteria is to stimulate immune response.

By eating probiotic-rich foods and maintaining good intestinal flora, a person can also help to maintain a healthy immune system.
And that has real world effects: for example, in one small study of students, those who were given a fermented dairy drink (instead of milk) displayed increased production from lymphocytes — a marker of immune response.

Obesity

In 2006, Stanford University researchers found that obese people had different gut bacteria than normal-weighted people — a first indication that gut flora plays a role in overall weight.

Some preliminary research shows that probiotics can help obese people who have received weight loss surgery to maintain weight loss. And in a study of post-partum women who were trying to lose abdomnial fat, the addition of lactobacillusand bifidobacterium capsules helped reduce waist circumference.

It’s still unclear how probiotics play a role in weight loss — and there is some controversy about how significant the probiotics-associated weight loss is.

But as long as the probiotics source is low-calorie and healthful, itself, it is an innocuous method to attempt.

Sources:
La Chica Organica’s Natural Medicine Class
http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/update0905c.shtml
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/15/probiotic-remedies_n_1507166.html

2 thoughts on “Got Probiotics?

  1. Hi La Chica Organica: Glad to know your husband’s health has improved greatly since taking a probiotic. It’s pretty amazing how taking a probiotic can treat colic, exposure to antibiotics, cholesterol problems, traveler’s diarrhea and constipation as easily and safely. I recently wrote a blog post about the best 10 reasons to take a multi-species probiotic that covers a number of health conditions. http://www.endomune.com/blog/2013/06/10-reasons-everyone-should-take-a-probiotic/

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