By Steven Horne, RH (AHG) & Kimberly Balas, ND
Most of us associate bacteria with disease. We think
bacteria as something to be eliminated and destroyed. This
has created an almost obsessive use of disinfectants in our
culture. But, not all bacteria are bad. It is the action of bacteria, for example, that allows milk to be fermented to
create cheese, yogurt and kiefer. Bacteria also create other fermented foods such as sauerkraut and tofu. Another benefit
of bacteria is that they break down minerals in the soil and
make them available to the roots of plants. So, plants need
bacteria to be healthy.
Our "roots," that is, the place where we absorb water and
nutrients, are in our intestinal tract, and bacteria play an
important role there too. In fact, there are about three to
four pounds of friendly microorganisms living in the
testinal tract, most of them bacteria. A proper balance of
these microbes is essential to health because we live in
a symbiotic relationship with microorganisms. Many strains
of bacteria are actually part of our body's natural ecosystem.
They serve to help protect the body against unfriendly
There are many different species of beneficial bacteria inhabiting our intestines. Many belong to the genus Lactobacillus. These include L acidophilus, one of the first strain
sold as a supplement.
Another genus containing species of
friendly bacteria is Bifidobacterium, sometimes referred
as bifidophilus. A third major group belong to the Streptcoccus genus.
Bacillus coagulans is a strain of friendly probiotic that is naturally heat-stable. It can also more readily withstand the stomach's acidic environment, thereby better providing targeted support to the intestine and maintaining balance in the microbiome.
There are many others.
The good bacteria inhabiting the intestines are called
friendly flora or probiotics. Biotic is from a Greek word
that refers to life. So probiotic means favorable to life. This
in contrast to the word antibiotic, which literally means
Antibiotics weaken the immune system because they destroy the friendly flora.
These friendly flora are actually part
of the immune system. Friendly bacteria enhance the immune system in several ways. First of all, they form a sort of living "blanket" that coats the intestinal tract and inhibits other species of microorganisms from "gaining a foot-hold" on the intestinal mucosa. They compete with other
microbes for food, which also holds down the growth of
Friendly bacteria even produce chemicals that are deadly
to harmful forms of bacteria, so they act as natural antibiotic agents against harmful bacteria. Another benefit of
friendly bacteria is that they have a stimulating effect on the
body's immune system. For instance, animal studies showed
that S. thermophilus and bulgaricus increased proliferation of lymphocytes, stimulated B lymphocytes and activated macrophages.
A well-known benefit of friendly flora is their ability to
keep yeast, such as candida albicans, and harmful bacteria,
such as E. coli, in check. When antibiotics, chemotherapy,
Chlorine or other chemicals or drugs destroy the friendly
flora, yeast multiply out of control. Yeast secrete a toxin
that weakens the intestinal membranes and reduces the immune response. Probiotics are the antidote to this problem,
helping to restore a healthy intestinal microflora.
Probiotics also help overall colon health. They reduce the
risk of inflammatory bowel disorders such as colitis,
Crohn's disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. They also reduce the
risk of colon cancer. They should be used as part of a natural
treatment plan for these diseases.
Healthy intestinal microflora improve the body's ability
to digest fats and proteins.
Probiotics synthesize certain vitamins the body needs, including B1, B2, B6, B12, folic
acid and biotin. The synthesis of B12 by probiotics is particularly important for vegetarians who are not getting this
vitamin in their diets.
The friendly flora also help detoxify certain poisons in the
digestive tract. For instance, they help break down ammonia, cholesterol and excess hormones.
The anthraquinone glycosides in stimulant laxative herbs
like cascara sagrada and senna are activated by the intestinal
microflora. In fact, these herbs are much less effective if the
intestinal microflora is out of balance. Probiotics by themselves help to overcome constipation, too.
Finally, about 70% of the energy requirements of the intestinal mucosa come from fatty acids produced as a byproduct of bacterial fermentation. This means that the intestinal
microflora actually helps feed the intestinal lining demonstrating how vital this synergistic relationship is to health.
In fact, a healthy intestinal microflora is such an important part of total health, that some health researchers feel
it should be considered as an independent body system. The intestinal microflora is a highly adaptable system, as it
changes constantly, adapting itself to one's diet and environment. It is easy to see why a balanced intestinal microflora is
such an important factor in a healthy body.
When looking for a probiotic product look for one that
contains several strains of bacteria such as acidophilus, bifidophilus, etc. Make certain that the product is stored in the
refrigerator, as the bacteria are living organisms and will die
quickly when stored a room temperatures (Except for Probiotic Eleven which does not need to be kept refrigerated).
How to take probiotics
Probiotics can be taken orally or used in
enemas or douches for yeast infection. They may be sprinkled in the diaper for thrush-related diaper rash. The best
product for general use is Probiotic Eleven.
highly from Bifidophilus (Probiotic Power for Kids).
For general use take 1 to 2 capsules before meals on an empty stomach. These products
work best when taken first thing in the morning about one
hour before breakfast-
Even better, empty 3-5 capsules into
a cup of room temperature water, dissolve, and inject rectally using a bulb syringe.
This implants the bacteria right
where they are needed.
when traveling abroad because they help to prevent traveler's diarrhea. When traveling, double or triple the amount
normally consumed, and take them with meals, plus, take 1
additional capsule with any in-between meal snack.
Properties: Antifungal, Detoxifying and laxative (general)
Systems Affected: Immune System, Large Intestines (Colon)
Liver and Pancreas Head
Abdominal Pain, Anorexia, Antibiotics (side
Cancer (natural therapy
for), Celiac Disease, Chemical poisoning, Cold Sores,
Colitis, Constipation (adults), Contagious Diseases,
Cradle Cap, Crohn's Disease. Cystic Fibrosis, Cystitis
Diaper Rash, Diarrhea, Digestion (poor), Dysentery,
Enteritis, Epstein Barr Virus
Fibromyalgia Syndrome, Fungal Infections
Gas and Bloating,
Inflammatory Bowel Disorders, Itching Ears
Leaky Gut Syndrome, Leucorrhea, Lupus
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
1. Our very existence is dependent upon the body's ability to utilize minerals because
: If food is not digesting properly, it creates waste that builds up downstream in the colon... an open door to toxicity & diseases!
: "Friendly gut bacteria play a crucial role in preventing diseases, from cancer to obesity".