Why Everyone Should Be Taking and Eating Probiotics

Lifestyle, Nutrition Advice
MCL-01318-1

Article by Dr Mercola.

The more I study health, the more I have come to appreciate how crucially important the bacteria in your gut are to your health. The website Green Med Info has assembled an amazing list of more than 200 studies, which together explore more than 170 diseases which can be helped or treated with probiotics.

The conditions include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Atopic Dermatitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Allergic Rhinitis
  • And even the common cold!

According to just one of the many studies linked on the site:

“The ability of the gut microbiota and oral probiotics to influence systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, glycemic control, tissue lipid content and even mood itself, may have important implications …”

Eating sugar actually nourishes the bad or pathogenic bacteria yeast and fungi in your gut, which may actually harm you more than its impact on insulin resistance.  One of the major results of eating a healthy diet is that you cause your beneficial gut bacteria to flourish, and they secondarily perform the real “magic” of restoring your health. You may have noticed that probiotics are now featuring in articles relating to all sorts of health problems, including obesity,diabetesdepression and heart disease.

As explained by Russian neurologist Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a woman’s gut flora can also influence the health of her child, and if your child’s gut flora is compromised from birth, he may be at an increased risk of vaccine damage. In fact, this imbalanced gut flora may be the primary factor that contributes to children having an adverse reaction to a vaccine! Fortunately, you can easily screen for this imbalance and if it is found, all immunizations should be avoided until it is corrected with strategies that are comprehensively described in Dr. McBride’s book, Gut and Psychology Syndromewhich is in my opinion essential reading for all parents and parent-to-be. The  simple and inexpensive screening she suggests  could prevent a lifetime of suffering…

All in all, the research into probiotics indicates that supplementing with probiotics is probably more important than taking a multi-vitamin and its true importance for your health is likely right up there with vitamin D.

Your Inner Ecosystem Influences Countless Aspects of Your Health

Your body contains about 100 trillion bacteria — more than 10 times the number of cells you have in your entire body. It’s now quite clear that the type and quantity of micro-organisms in your gut interact with your body in ways that can either prevent or encourage the development of many diseases.  The ideal ratio between the bacteria in your gut is 85 percent “good” and 15 percent “bad.” Maintaining this optimal ratio is essential for good health, as probiotics (healthy bacteria) has over 30 beneficial pharmacological actions that we know of, including:

Anti-bacterial Anti-allergenic Anti-viral Immunomodulatory
Anti-infective Antioxidant Antiproliferative Apoptopic (cellular self-destruction)
Antidepressive Antifungal Cardioprotective Gastroprotective
Radio- and chemo protective Upregulates glutathione and certain glycoproteins that help regulate immune responses, including interleukin-4, interleukin-10, and interleukin-12 Downregulates interleukin-6 (a cytokine involved in chronic inflammation and age-related diseases) Inhibits tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha inhibitor, NF-kappaB, epidermal growth factor receptor, and more

 

Probiotics are also essential for optimal digestion of food and absorption of nutrients, and they help your body produce vitamins, absorb minerals and aid in the elimination of toxins. Green Med Info lists over 200 studies linking probiotics to more than 170 different diseases and health problems. Here’s just a sampling of the ailments that your gut flora can affect:

Celiac disease, leaky gut  and irritable bowel syndrome Mood, psychological health, and behavior Epstein-Barr virus Chronic fatigue syndrome
Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome,  and diabetes Common cold, influenza, and pneumonia High cholesterol and hypertension Acne
Eczema and atopic dermatitis Liver diseases, such as cirrhosis and cancer Herpes Food- and wheat allergies

How Do You Know Your Gut is Out of Whack?

It’s important to realize that your gut bacteria are very vulnerable to lifestyle- and environmental factors, such as:

Sugar / fructose Refined grains Processed foods Antibiotics (including antibiotics given to livestock for food production)
Chlorinated and fluoridated water Antibacterial soaps etc Agricultural chemicals and pesticides Pollution

 

All of these factors throw your gut flora out of balance, and, as you can see, many of these factors are pervasive and can be difficult to avoid. However, it’s not impossible. Simply altering your diet to avoid processed foods and focusing on whole (ideally locally grown organic) foods will make a big dent! That change alone will dramatically reduce the amount of sugar and fructose you consume, as well as automatically limit your exposure to antibiotics and agricultural chemicals.

How can you tell whether your health is already starting to suffer from a lack of healthy bacteria in your digestive system?  The following symptoms are all signs that unhealthy bacteria have taken over too much real estate in your gut, and that you probably need to add some healthy probiotics to your diet:

Gas and bloating Constipation or diarrhea Fatigue
Nausea Headaches Sugar cravings, and cravings for refined carb foods

Remember: Your Gut, Brain and Primary Immune Defense are All Connected…

Two additional signs that your gut flora may be adversely impacted are depression and lowered immunity. Both of these are actually common-sense side effects of poor gut health, but they’re usually completely overlooked…Most people, including many physicians, do not realize that 80 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive system, making a healthy gut a major focal point if you want to maintain optimal health.

Furthermore, your gut is quite literally your second brain, as it originates from the same type of tissue as your brain! During fetal development, one part turns into your central nervous system, while the other develops into your enteric nervous system. These two systems are connected via the vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen. Hence your gut and your brain work in tandem, each influencing the other. And this is why your intestinal health can have such a profound influence on your mental health, and vice versa.

This also helps explain the link between neurological disorders (including ADHD and autism) and gastrointestinal dysfunction. For example, gluten intolerance is frequently a feature of autism, and many autistic children will improve when following a strict gluten-free diet.

However, even more importantly, establishing normal gut flora within the first 20 days or so of life plays a crucial role in appropriate maturation of your baby’s immune system.

Babies who develop abnormal gut flora are left with compromised immune systems, and this may be a crucial factor when it comes to vaccine-induced damage. As Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride explained in a recent interview, vaccinations were originally developed for children with healthy immune systems, and children with abnormal gut flora and therefore compromised immunity are not suitable candidates for our current vaccine schedule as they’re more prone to being harmed. To learn more about this, please see this previous article. Another detail that helps explain how abnormal gut flora can impact your neurological status is that certain probiotics also appear to play a role in detoxing harmful chemicals.

How to Optimize Your Gut Flora

The best way to ensure optimal gut flora is to regularly consume traditionally fermented foods. Healthy options include:

Lassi (an Indian yogurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner) Various pickled fermentations of cabbage sauerkraut,, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash, and carrots Tempeh
Fermented raw milk such as kefir or yogurt, but NOT commercial versions, which typically do not have live cultures and are loaded with sugars that feed pathogenic bacteria Natto (fermented soy) Kim chee

Just make sure to steer clear of pasteurized versions, as pasteurization will destroy many of the naturally occurring probiotics. For example, most of the “probiotic” yogurts you find in every grocery store these days are NOT good choices. Since they’re pasteurized, they will be associated with all of the problems of pasteurized milk products instead. They also typically contain added sugars, high fructose corn syrup, dyes, or artificial sweeteners; all of which will only worsen your health.

An added boon of traditionally fermented foods is that some of them are also excellent sources of vitamin K2, which is important for preventing arterial plaque buildup and heart disease. Cheese curd is an excellent source of both probiotics and vitamin K2. You can also obtain all the K2 you’ll need (about 200 micrograms) by eating 15 grams, or half an ounce, of natto daily.

That said, I realize that a lot of people do not enjoy the taste of fermented foods. In this case, taking a probiotic supplement is definitely advised. While I do not generally advocate taking a lot of supplements, a high quality probiotic is an exception. I recommend looking for a probiotic supplement that fulfills the following criteria, to ensure quality and efficacy:

  • The bacteria strains in the product must be able to survive your stomach acid and bile, so that they reach your intestines alive in adequate numbers.
  • The bacteria strains must have health-promoting features.
  • The probiotic activity must be guaranteed throughout the entire production process, storage period and shelf life of the product.

Through my years of clinical practice, I’ve found that no single probiotic supplement works for everyone. However, more people seem to respond favorably to Lactobacillus sporogenes than any other probiotic, so when in doubt, that’s a great place to start.

A note from Jess:

If you live in Australia,  I am a great fan of Bioceutical and Metagenics Probiotic Brands.

Comments

JESS' PICKS

whowhatwear

Who What Wear

shuk

SHUK, North Bondi

stylerunner

Style Runner

GUIDES

The Healthy Life

$34.95
DOWNLOAD NOW

JSHealth Vegan Meal Plan

$16.95
DOWNLOAD NOW

JSHealth Travel Plan

$14.95
DOWNLOAD NOW

THE CLEANEST GUT

$16.96
DOWNLOAD NOW

14 Day Slim Down Plan - 2 weeks to a leaner you!

$19.95
DOWNLOAD NOW

The JSHealth Shopping List - Stock up on these foods for a healthier household

$9.95
DOWNLOAD NOW

Nutrition 101 - A step by step nutrition guide to optimal health

$9.95
DOWNLOAD NOW

Emotional Eating Guide - Learn how to rebuild your relationship with food and your body

$9.95
DOWNLOAD NOW

The Clean Life - An Expert Guide To Health From The Inside Out

$29.95
DOWNLOAD NOW

Restart Plan - Cleanse your system in 2 - 4 weeks & reveal a slimmer, healthier you

$14.95
DOWNLOAD NOW

REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR TO

TESTIMONIALS

Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My  copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time.  My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.

With kindest regards Samantha

I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.

When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.

I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.

@maddy_walters

Hey Jessica!
I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again

- Jacinta

I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!

@mariashealthytaste

Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.

– Sophie

Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!

@freed_from_foodie

I am a yoga teacher in Johannesburg and am thrilled to have bought your book today. I love making healthy, nutritious food for my family, friends and fellow yogis! Thank you for this book and your inspiration (had to share a pic of my book on my recipe stand in the kitchen).

– Helene

I bought your beautiful book during the week and told my bestie to go out and buy it also! I love love love it. It is the book I would give to my younger self if I could (I am 41 years old). Everything is just so sensible and informative and is definitely a book all teenagers should have. This should be a text book for girls becoming teens. I will love going back and re-reading it many many times and can't wait to make more of the recipes. Thank you Jess - you are an incredibly inspiring woman and you should feel so proud

Michelle Curtis

My fiancé bought your book and we have cooked some of your meals. Amazing! I love your outlook on a healthy lifestyle and your hints and tips with preparing tasty meals are fantastic. Thanks for reviving us to live a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies wedding ready.

@jungle1978

Top