What if the key to your digestive issues could be solved with diet and probiotics?
I believe most people are in need of probiotic support on a daily basis. In fact, it is the number one most recommended supplement in my practice Thanks to prescription antibiotics, high carbohydrate and sugar-filled diets, fluoridated tap water, and high levels of stress, the good bacteria in our guts are being killed off, and our bodies can’t replace them at the rate required for optimal health.
When you take prescription antibiotics, or when your diet is too high in sugar, processed foods and grains your probiotic levels can be killed off and levels become in adequate, leading to an over-abundance of “bad” bacteria growth. This imbalance of the gut homeostasis can in turn cause:
- Fungal infections
- Recurrent bacterial infections
- Increased allergy reactions
I believe the BEST approach to a healthy gut and immune system health is a two pronged approach:
1. Eliminate foods and toxins that feed “bad” bacteria:
- Prescription antibiotics
- Excessive sugar intake
- Drinking tap water (chlorine and fluoride)
- GMO foods
- Eating too many whole grains (plus gluten)
- Emotional stress
- Exposure to toxins and pesticides
When antibiotics first became widely used in the early half of the 20th century, they were hailed as a miracle cure. Many common infections which used to have a high mortality rate, such as pneumonia or infections from wounds or surgery, suddenly become very treatable, to the point where many people no longer even saw them as extremely serious. However, as time progressed and the market became flooded with antibiotic drugs, overuse of them in both medicine and in the meat production industry led to overexposure. This overexposure, in turn, led to serious problems like the rise of resistant bugs and damage to the gastro-intestinal system. Fortunately, the use of probiotics on a regular basis, and especially during and after a course of antibiotic therapy, can greatly reduce the unwanted side effects that these medications can bring with them and help the patient recover from their infection more quickly. Let’s look at the ways in which probiotics can help.
2. Supplement with Probiotics to:
Restore Healthy Gut Flora
The human gut is highly and naturally populated with healthy, probiotic bacteria. These bacteria help with digestion, strengthen the immune system and keep unhealthy bacteria and yeast in check. Antibiotics, however, do not discriminate between these healthy bacteria and the unhealthy bacteria it is trying to destroy. The result is that a course of antibiotics can destroy healthy probiotic bacteria and upset this balance. Use of probiotics, however, has been proven to be able to restore this balance and avoid many of the problems associated with antibiotic use.
Prevent diarrhea and other digestive problems
One common complaint among patients on antibiotics – especially if the course of antibiotics is a long one or if the dosage is high – is nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and similar digestive problems. Using probiotics, however, can restore healthy flora in the gut and this in turn supports good digestive health and makes it less likely that diarrhea or other gastric problems will occur. This can seriously improve the comfort levels for patients trying to recover from an infection and prevent other problems like dehydration or electrolyte imbalances that diarrhea can cause.
Heal and Prevent resistant Bacterial Infections
Most people are aware that one of the biggest problems with overuse of antibiotics is the rise of drug-resistant strains of bacteria that are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to treat. Curiously, the use of probiotics can even help with this problem. In one study, hospital patients taking probiotics reduced their chances of acquiring resistant bacteria by an astounding 70 percent.
In short, for patients who are having to undergo antibiotic therapy, a corresponding round of probiotics is pretty high on the “must do” list. These probiotics will restore the balance of gut in the flora, prevent digestive problems and resistant infections and generally make the recovery process easier for the patient.
Get Allergy Relief
New research suggests that Probiotics can alter the body’s immune response to grass pollen – – a common cause of seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever. The landmark study published in Clinical and Experimental Allergy suggests that in the future, “good” bacteria, or Probiotics, may potentially offer a treatment option to the estimated 35.9 million people in the U.S. who have allergies.
Which Probiotic Supplement is Right for You?
While many companies sell probiotics, my belief is that the majority of products don’t live up to their marketing hype. That’s because most probiotic supplements can be destroyed by stomach acid before they even get to the digestive tract. We can’t be misled by products that claim to have billions upon billions of active cells per dose, when the reality is they deliver far fewer.
How to Pick a Probiotic Supplement
It’s important to note that there are different types of strains of probiotics. The health effects experienced by one probiotic may be completely different from the health benefits seen from another probiotic. Certain strains of probiotics support a healthy immune system while others are great for improving digestion.
That’s why it’s important to pick the right probiotic for your needs. It’s also wise to consume a wide range of probiotics in your food or supplements so that you’re covered. The more, the merrier.
- Soil-Based Organisms and Shelf-Stable: Make sure your probiotic supplement has soil-based probiotics and is shelf-stable, meaning it doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
- High CFU Count: Choose a probiotic brand that has a higher number of probiotics, from at least 20 billion up to 50 billion per serving or dose.
- Strain Diversity: Select a probiotic supplement that has five or more probiotic strains.
- Survivability: Look for strains of Bacillus coagulans, Saccharomyces boulardii, Bacillus subtilis, and other cultures or formulas that have hardy probiotics that can make it to the gut and are able to colonize.
- Prebiotics: To support the growth of probiotics once they get into your system, it is essential that prebiotics are also included in the formula or daily in your diet.
Just remember, I said improved gut health and immunity is a TWO pronged approach. Simply taking probiotics without ever changing poor eating habits may marginally improve your symptoms, but will not likely help you to achieve a healthy gut bacterial balance. If you need help sorting out your diet or assistance with digestive or other health problems, reach out to me and let’s get you on the road to better health.
Dr. Hoch (pronounced Hoke), is a 1988 Graduate of Peotone High School and a 1990 Graduate of Joliet Junior College. She Received both her B.S. in Human Biology (1991) and her Doctorate of Chiropractic (D.C.) (1993) from The National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, IL. She also received her graduate and post-graduate certifications in Acupuncture from NCC. This article is copyrighted and may not be copied or duplicated in any manner including printed or electronic media, regardless of whether for a fee or gratis without prior written permission of Dr. Hoch.