The Benefits of Probiotics
The human body is made up of an estimated 100 trillion bacterial cells from at least 500 species, not including viruses and fungi. These bacterias (probiotics) are referred to as "friendly" bacteria and are responsible for several important biological functions. Some of these functions include assisting with digestion, keeping other harmful bacteria at bay and stimulating the immune system.
Researchers are hopeful that probiotics hold the answer to the growing number of cases of antibiotic resistance and abuse. This has caused consumers to search for other natural alternatives to treating various health conditions.
Certain studies have proven the many health benefits of probiotics such as the prevention or control of:
- Food and skin allergies in children
- Bacterial vagniosis
- Premature labor in pregnant women
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Recurrent ear and bladder infections
- Chronic diarrhea
Although it's received little recognition by Western medical professionals, the health benefits of probiotics have been known for at least 100 years.
Probiotics are defined as "live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host." Unfortunately, most of the food and supplements being marketed as probiotics contain little to no health value, according to researchers.
There are two reasons for their ineffectiveness. First, they are present in too small a quantity to offer any health benefits. Secondly, many of the probiotics haven't undergone proper clinical testing. Despite this evidence, companies continue to make claims that their products are effective and consumers continue to believe them.
Experts agree that the absence of bacteria in the intestines is unhealthy. This was apparent in the experiment of laboratory animals that were raised to be germ-free and were frequently sick, exhibited grossly underdeveloped immune systems and vulnerable intestinal tracts.
To date, one of the most significant benefits of probiotics is its ability to prevent eczema in babies with an inherited tendency to develop allergies.
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
It's great news that the benefits of probiotics are being fully explored, and sought out as an alternative to the antibiotics humans are increasingly becoming resistant to.
Although I am not a big fan of nutritional supplementation the way it is currently practiced by most natural medicine clinicians, I have found probiotics (beneficial bacteria) to be an exception.
It is the ONLY supplement I recommend for ALL new patients (unless of course they are already on one). I don't believe that they need to stay on it the rest of their lives, but one to three months are usually beneficial until they are able to get their diet improved.
Total health begins in the gut so if your GI tract is not in optimal health, then your overall health will be compromised.
I have also learned the value of fermented foods that are loaded with good bacteria. They give the body similar benefits as consuming a whole bottle of good bacteria, but at a fraction of the cost. One of the best ways and least expensive to achieve this would be to obtain raw milk and convert it to kefir. Kefir is very easy to make. All you have to do is put one half packet of the kefir start granules in a quart of raw milk at room temperature and leave it out over night. By the time you wake up in the morning you will likely have kefir. If it hasn't obtained the consistency of yogurt you might want to set out a bit longer and then store it in the fridge.
The quart of kefir has far more active bacteria than you can possibly purchase in any probiotics supplement and it is very economically as you can reuse the kefir from the original quart of milk about ten times before you need to start a new culture pack so one starter package of kefir granules can convert about 50 gallons of milk to kefir.
Kefir is one of the secrets of health of the long aged eastern Europeans and I can guarantee you that they did not use store purchased pasteurized milk to make their kefir. Don't even think of using pasteurized milk as you really don't want to consume that at all.
"11 Ways Probiotics Works for You"
- Maintains an ideal good to bad ratio by making the environment hostile to undesirable bacteria*
- Supports production of B vitamins, especially folic acid and biotin, and vitamin K*
- Promotes mineral absorption*
- Supports protein and carbohydrate digestion via probiotic enzymes*
- Aids in metabolism and the breakdown of toxins*
- Maintains appropriate bowel transit time*
- Promotes optimal fungal and viral levels in the body*
- Supports immune system function by removing toxins*
- Produces lactic acid for support of digestive processes and colonic pH balance*
- Sustains suitable serum lipid and blood pressure levels*
Supports normal inflammatory response*
Pregnancy and Lactation:
Mothers who received probiotics during pregnancy and lactation improved their anti-inflammatory transforming growth TGF in their milk.
In addition, it was shown that the risk of developing eczema during the infants first two years was significantly reduced compared with the placebo group.
Researchers concluded that maternal allergies were a positive risk for eczema in the infant. In addition infants who appeared to benefit the most from maternal probiotics supplementation were those whose cord blood Immunoglobulin E (IgE) concentration was elevated.
Remission of Ulcerative Colitis
In this clinical trial, 77 percent of those treated with a probiotic bacteria mixture experienced relief of their mild to moderate ulcerative colitis.
Of the 34 patients treated, 26 demonstrated improvement in their condition, with most of those experiencing a complete remission. Only three patients found their condition worsened after the treatment.
How Does it Work?
The mixture of eight lactic acid bacterial species is believed to work by:
- Reducing the number of "bad" bacteria
- Reducing the amount of inflammation
- Increasing the mucus layer in the gut
- Increasing the amount of anti-inflammatory molecules in the intestine
Add More LIFE to Your Years
If you're like most people, you really want to live life with passion ... to feel at the height of health all the time, so you can accomplish more of what you want in life.
Probiotics can help you do just that!
The term probiotics comes from the Greek, "for life". (So now you probably understand what the word "antibiotics" really means.)
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when ingested in sufficient numbers, replenish the microflora in your intestinal tract and thereby perform a number of health-enhancing functions.* The word "probiotic" was introduced in 1965 to describe these growth promoting factors.
Historically, people used fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut both as food preservatives to limit spoilage, and for good health.
In ancient Indian society, it was commonplace (and still is) to consume a before-dinner yogurt drink called a lassi and at the end of the meal, a small serving of curd. These traditions were based on the principle of using sour milk as a probiotic delivery system to the body.
The Bulgarians are noted both for their longevity and their high consumption of fermented milk and kefir.
Since the 1970s, farmers have been using probiotics to improve: disease resistance and reproduction in their farm animals, milk yield, and egg production.
The World's Smartest Immune Booster
Increased understanding of bacterial effects on the GI and immune system has led to increased credibility and research in the use of probiotics over the past thirty years. Today the science of probiotics is a rapidly growing field, generating a great deal of interest, both from physicians and consumers.
I've heard it said that "death begins in the colon." On the contrary, I'd rather say "life begins in the colon." Maintaining great colonic health is akin to maintaining improved overall health.*
Some of the statistics about your colon read like a "Ripley's Believe It or Not". Did you know that ... ?
- There are 500 species of bacteria living inside you.
- One hundred trillion bacteria live inside you -- more than the number of cells you have in your entire body.
- The weight of these bacteria is about two to three pounds.
- Some of these bacteria are referred to as "good" and some as "bad". The ideal balance between them is 85% good and 15% bad.
This ratio between the "good" bacteria and the "bad" bacteria is critical to your optimal health.* What sorts of things influence the ratio between good and bad bacteria? Diet, geographic location, age, stress, illnesses, and medications.
The term used to reference good floral balance is eubiosis, formed from the prefix eu- meaning "good, well, true" combined with the suffix -biosis meaning "life". On the contrary, dysbiosis references an unbalanced situation, coming from the prefix dys- which means "impaired, difficult, bad".
Before you were born, your GI tract was sterile. The moment you were born, colonization of bacteria began in your gut. The first bacteria to settle in were the immune-building ones from breast milk, increasing your level of health and favoring your survival.
In a sense, we spend the rest of our lives "trashing" it with bad stuff -- like poor dietary choices and other lifestyle choices. Or sometimes our environment does it for us.
Yet gut flora, the microorganisms living in your gut, continually and dynamically affect your immune system.*
Helpful bacteria prevent the growth of undesirable ones by competing for both nutrition and attachment sites in the tissues of the colon.
Where Have All the Bacteria Gone?
It seems that in our collective zeal to rid ourselves of disease and every trace of bacteria in our food supply and everywhere else, we may have outdone ourselves. As a whole, we are less exposed to bacteria now than in the past -both "bad" and "good" bacteria.
Foods that are presently being labeled as health-promoting foods contain good bacteria. Think cultured foods like yogurt, cheese, and sauerkraut.
But due to strict food safety regulations, less bacteria (bad or good) survive the manufacturing process. Many products are pasteurized or sterilized at the end of the production process, destroying bacteria.
While this may be helpful in disease prevention, it also means we get less health-enhancing bacteria.
Since helpful bacteria are increasingly absent in our food, it becomes even more important to include supplementation with probiotics to give our GI tract and our entire immune system an extra "edge" -- to maximize the effects of a healthy diet.*
Multi-Probiotic 4000 100 cap
Each Multi-Probiotic 4000 capsule, provided by Douglas Laboratories, contains over four billion beneficial organisms, including representatives of both the lactobacillus and bifidobacterium genera,mixed in a base of prebiotic fructooligosaccharide.
Oral supplements of live, beneficial intestinal microorganisms for nutritional health and well-being are known as probiotics. Probiotic dietary lactobacilliolonize the intestinal tract, depending on the specific bacterium-to-host affinity. Bacteria are continually in competition for colonization space. The original bacterial colonies have an advantage over transient bacteria. Nevertheless, the composition of the intestinal microflora is dynamic and constantly changing
If harmful microorganisms proliferate, the equilibrium is disturbed, and it becomes difficult even for indigenous bacteria to maintain their necessary territory to colonize the intestine.Antibiotics tend to kill off both beneficial and harmful bacteria and thus may also disturb the normal, healthy balance of intestinal microorganisms.
When potent probiotic supplements, such as Multi-Probiotic 4000, are supplied regularly, chances are greatly increased for establishing and maintaining a healthy population of beneficial intestinal microorganisms. Once established, a normal intestinal microflora rich in lactobacilli creates acidic conditions that are unfavorable for the settlement of pathogenic microorganisms
Each Multi-Probiotic 4000 capsule contains over 4billion (4000 x 1 million) organisms in thefollowing potencies:
Lactobacillus. acidophilus (DDS-1™) 1.15 Billion,L. Rhamnosus 1.15 Billion,L. Rhamnosus (Type B, Bifidus) 775 Million,Bifidobacterium lactis 275 Million,Bifidobacterium longum 275 Million,B. Bifidum 275 Million,Streptococcus thermophilus 150 Million.
In a base of FOS (fructooligosaccharides), special carbohydrates, enzymes and ulmus fulva.