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Probiotics, The Mini Miracle

Aug 17, 2007
Okay, I realise it's not the type of subject you might discuss around the dinner table but how much do you know about bacteria? Not a lot I'll bet. I didn't either until recently.

I always thought they were dirty nasty things you didn't want. After all I was always reading anti-bacterial this and that or receiving antibiotics for bacterial infections. I just hadn't realised there were two types - the good ones (probiotics) and the bad ones (pathogens). Now I know better.

You see when I suffered mercury poisoning because of the dental amalgams my immune system was compromised. That led to digestive problems amongst other things and subsequent ill health. Fortunately, I discovered the source before things got really bad.

Part of the recovery process involved the use of probiotics . Those are the good friendly bacteria you really want colonising inside you. Yes, I did say colonising.

Bacteria cover every available square inch of your intestinal tract. Whether you like the idea or not, a battle is continually raging from your mouth to your anus between the good and bad bacteria.

If you are healthy the probiotics will never allow the pathogens to colonise but as we are constantly exposed to billions and billions of potentially harmful microorganisms on a daily basis that's rarely the case.

Unfortunately, as we age the levels of beneficial bacteria decline dramatically and other reasons for their decline are

Changes in the acid/alkaline balance of the bowels
Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDS)
Chlorine in drinking water
Radiation and Chemotherapy
Meat, Chicken and Dairy loaded with antibiotics (unless organic)
Diets high in meats and fats
Constipation
Cigarettes
Alcohol
Stress
Antibiotic herbs
Medicinal antibiotics
Additives
Pesticides
Fertilisers

You'll notice I mentioned 'antibiotics' a few times there and that's because antibiotics kill off ALL bacteria, both good and bad. If you are ever given a course of antibiotics by your doctor you absolutely must take some probiotics to restore the good bacteria.

Probiotics comes from the Greek "for life" and is the science of using living bacteria to prevent or treat clinical disorders. However, not all beneficial bacteria are created equal and unless you get the recognised super strains together with their food source you'll be wasting your money.

You see bacteria have a voracious appetite and have their favourite foods. If they don't have their own they'll go in search of another food source and will fight. It's a question of survival of the strongest and you don't want beneficial bacteria fighting each other instead of concentrating on the pathogenic ones.

There are many probiotic formulas in your supermarkets but you need to check them carefully. Many only contain a few strains of healthy bacteria and that's not a good thing.

Yogurt containing probiotics is popular but often it only contains acidophilus. Also, many yogurts are pasteurised AFTER they've had the bacteria culture added (to increase the shelf life) and that totally destroys any benefit.

When you choose a probiotic you need to make sure the beneficial bacteria is 'live' so it continues to colonise. Often formulas will state it contains a certain amount of live organisms at the "time of manufacture". The problem with that is the levels in most formulas start to die off immediately and heat and moisture speed up the process. That's why it's usually recommended probiotics be kept in a cool, dry place such as the refrigerator.

According to the renowned Bacteriologist, Professor Ilya Mechnikov "death begins in the colon", and it is the good bacteria's role to ensure it stays healthy.

Bacteria are the first line of defence of the immune system. If you want to maintain your good health a proper balance of bacteria in the intestinal tract is essential.

In a healthy colon there are between 100 billion and 100 trillion beneficial bacteria per millilitre and these consume the harmful bacteria. Worryingly the typical American could have a beneficial bacteria count as low as four or five per millilitre. That's quite a difference and has much to do with poor diet.

Beneficial bacteria are responsible for

providing essential enzymes to make nutrients available to the body
cleaning up cholesterol
manufacturing B vitamins
cleaning out the lower bowels of encrusted matter
destroying bad bacteria
eliminating toxins from the body

Amazingly, if you spread your intestinal tract out flat it would cover half a tennis court and many researchers believe many chronic degenerative diseases are caused by the lack of friendly bacteria inside it.

If there are not enough probiotic bacteria to produce the enzymes (responsible for every metabolic process in your body) you'll have problems.

There's power in numbers and when probiotics reign supreme you get

Enhanced Immunity
Protection against Food Poisoning
Protection against Stomach Ulcers
Lowered Cholesterol
Inhibition of Cancer
Improvement in the health and appearance of the Skin
Protection against Candida and harmful vaginal Yeast Infections
Protection against harmful Bacteria, Fungi and Viruses
Prevention and correction of Constipation, Diarrhoea, Ileitis, Colitis, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
Better Nutrition from improved Absorption
Improved generation of important B Vitamins

Good reasons to start taking probiotics today wouldn't you agree?
About the Author
For information on the World's First Probiotic Super Food certified Organic to Food Grade Standards seewww.probioticsforhealth.com
Jean Shaw is the author of I'm Not Naughty - I'm Autistic and Autism, Amalgam and Me www.jeanshaw.com
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