There are many discussions about probiotics these days. So much, in fact, that even Centrum has a probiotic, too. And if Centrum is on the bandwagon, there must be something to it, right? It’s no longer ‘tree hugger’ material hype that the health food nuts are wackadoo on.
If that’s the case, then where does one start? Can good bacteria only be put into the body through a supplement or does our body create it? It’s not an essential nutrient, on the lists of the RDA’s. Yet.
Have you ever heard a healthy gut is a healthy body? It’s true, our immune system starts in our gut. Our B vitamins are produced in our gut. You (should) process out 4 pounds of solid waste a day. With that goes your bacteria, both good and bad. So where do we get more? We can stat with insoluble fiber. By eating raw fruits and veggies, an enzyme called cellulase breaks down the insoluble fiber to create good bacteria. You notice I didn’t say whole grains? That’s because not every body can break down gluten, a protein that is in certain grains (wheat, oat, spelt, kamut, barley, rye). Ever notice how bloated and maybe even tired you may get after eating these foods? It’s because our bodies are working too hard to digest them. It doesn’t have the equipment to digest. Why make it harder on the body to digest a food it cannot. Raw fruits and veggies have enough enzymes in them to digest themselves. Having a problem with the raw stuff? You may just need a plant-based digestive enzyme to supply the cellulase or you might just need some good bacteria to get the flow flowing. You have hundreds of villi in your intestine that move the food stuffs through your gut. If they get spakeled down due to poor eating habits, nothing is flowing and nothing is flushing out. You have the ‘dark side of the force’ growing exponentially in the food fermenting in your gut. add some good bacteria in there to spread some light and get the ‘force’ flowing – out that is. What are other food options I have to get good bacteria in my system? Buttermilk, sauerkraut (naturally fermented), and kombucha tea are a few. Yogurt really doesn’t have enough bacteria to make a difference in your system. Plus, what do you do if you are dairy intolerant?
Does that mean there are different sources/types of probiotics I can take in supplement form? Yes it does. You have your choice of pill, capsule, powder, liquid, chewable, dairy and non dairy based. I do recommend purchasing your probiotic at your local health food store or wellness practitioner. There is a huge difference between an OTC probiotic from a chain vs an OTC from a health food store, vs a probiotic from a practitioner. The latter 2, in my opinion have a more reliable product that will supply your body with the right amounts vs a chain. There are also different strengths and strains depending on your health issue. The answer is somewhere between 2 and 50 billion depending on your health. Maintenance is 2 billion. That means your general health is good, strong immune system, no skin issues, 2-3 bowel movements a day. From there, things vary. Acne, rosacea, GERD, IBS, constipation, autoimmune issues, psoriasis, B complex deficiencies, continued rounds of antibiotics, ear infections, candida. Probiotics can and do alleviate and in some instances, eliminate the problem.
Are probiotics a cure all? I don’t know that anything is. There is enough evidence in clinical research to provide you with either side of the coin for against them? Yes. In my opinion, with today’s lifestyle of fast food, stress, lack of exercise, and minimal amounts of fresh foods in our lives, I believe that taking a probiotic will help your immune system and your body.
Adrienne Falcone Godsell is a personal natural food chef and nutrition coach based in Tampa, Fl. Her passion is food. Her mission is to help anyone on whatever path they are on in their health journey in life. You may find her on FB at Best of Both Worlds.