KEY 3: Re-establish Healthy Bacterial Balance
These days we are constantly bombarded by commercial messages urging us to fight germs and rid ourselves of bacteria. But in the right places and amounts, bacteria are actually very valuable to our health and wellness. These beneficial bacteria, also called probiotics, are found mostly in our digestive tract. They actually colonize our system just days after birth, especially when we are breastfed.
The maintenance and protection of our healthy bacteria through proper nutrition and, if necessary, supplementation, is very important to good health. Under normal circumstances, friendly bacteria found in our digestive system live with us in symbiotic harmony, but factors such as poor diet and medications such as birth control pills, antibiotics and corticosteroids, can upset this balance and lead to a host of difficulties.
We now know these live microorganisms are cancer-protective, immune-enhancing, and anti-inflammatory. Other documented benefits of probiotics include:
1. Relief of digestive system upset – all types of digestive symptoms including diarrhea, adverse reactions to antibiotic therapy, constipation and food poisoning can be relieved by probiotics.
2. Fat storage – research completed at the Department of Genomic Sciences at the University of Washington found increased fat storage in rats that lacked probiotics. The correct balance of intestinal flora seems to limit fat storage by repressing the expression of a protein called fasting-induced adipocyte factor (FIAF).
3. Hormonal balance – bacteria in the digestive tract play a hugely important role in the breakdown of excess estrogen. If you are taking the birth control pill, be sure to use a probiotic supplement regularly.
4. Vitamin production and nutrient absorption – probiotics improve digestive function and assist with the synthesis of a number of vitamins including vitamins K, B12, B5 and biotin.
5. Prevention of yeast infections – if you are a woman with recurrent yeast infections, the bacterial balance in your large intestine is likely compromised. Probiotics can prevent infections and yeast overgrowth by blocking harmful bacteria from attaching to intestinal walls and by helping to maintain the appropriate intestinal pH.
6. Bad breath – eating plain organic yogurt or taking probiotic supplements for six weeks or more can help fight certain chemicals in the mouth that contribute to bad breath and gingivitis.
7. Inflammation control – probiotics are proven to be beneficial for relieving symptoms of inflammation including arthritis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
8. Allergy relief – allergy-based symptoms such as eczema, seasonal allergies, asthma and hives have been found to improve with probiotic supplements. Supplementation during pregnancy and breastfeeding may also prevent these types of symptoms in infants.
9. Prevention of colds and flu – daycare- and school-age children who take supplements of acidophilus and bifidus are sick less often. What a plus! When they do come down with diarrhea, colds or flus, the duration of their symptoms is shorter.
Supplementing the diet with beneficial bacteria also stimulates immunity in adults by increasing the activity of cells that consume invading organisms and by increasing the production of white blood cells and cytokines, which are produced by immune cells to boost our infection-fighting capability. These probiotic effects strengthen our resistance to bacterial and viral infections and also alleviate allergy symptoms. Even those suffering from autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis may benefit from the use of probiotics. We have a few different probiotic options at Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique. To shop online click here.
Read Key 2 on Digestive Health Here.