Although people in Europe, Asia, and Africa have a long history of supporting the friendly bacteria in their bodies with yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchee, and other naturally cultured foods, Americans have tended to perceive all bacteria as “bad.” Television commercials support this perception, depicting “dangerous” bacteria and gnarly germs being washed down the drain. Fortunately, however, many Americans are beginning to face the fact that they must have good gut bacteria to stay healthy. They are eating yogurt and taking probiotics—a supplement of good bacteria even more powerful than yogurt.
Not only are bacteria “good,” they are an important building block of a healthy body. In fact, there are more friendly health-building bacteria cells in your body than human tissue cells. Nature has designed our bodies to be healthy when we have large quantities of many different kinds—over 500 to be exact—of good bacteria. It’s one of the facts of life—we cannot digest our food, support our immune systems, and fight off bad viruses, parasites, and bacteria without good gut bacteria. Unfortunately, much of that friendly flora is being destroyed by the modern lifestyle of chlorinated water, high-sugar diets, antibiotics, antacids, and too many stress chemicals. Ultimately, this will cause a health-compromising preponderance of bad gut bacteria. Thankfully, there are probiotics—a friendly bacteria supplement.
WHY WE NEED PROBIOTICS
Lactobacillus acidophilus is only one kind of good bacteria. It mainly lives in the small intestine. Because more than 70% of the immune-producing cells in your body are in the lining of your small intestine, it’s important to have enough Lactobacilli strains to protect that lining. Bifidobacteria primarily live in the large intestine. Bifidobacteria helps reduce bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and other bowel problems. Experts recommend taking 15 or more strains of good bacteria that include both Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria.
FRIENDLY BACTERIA HELP:
- Eliminate harmful viruses, yeasts, and bacteria
- Reduce inflammation
- Promote good digestion, absorption, and elimination
- Prevent diarrhea, bloating, gas, and constipation
- Protect the mucosal lining of the intestines
- Support healthy immune function
- Increase resistance to infection
- Help keep skin healthy
- Assist in the production of vitamins in the body
- Help prevent children’s and traveler’s diarrhea
Because our bodies were designed to stay healthy when we have lots of good bacteria, we have problems when our good bacteria are destroyed. In the past, once the population of good bacteria was established in the intestines, usually by the age of two, it lasted a lifetime. Now, the following factors exist that kill off our friendly bacteria:
- Chlorinated tap water
- Birth control pills and other hormones
- Radiation and chemotherapy
- Sugary, low-fiber foods, and sodas
This is a big problem. Once the good bacteria population is destroyed, it may take up to three months for it to regrow. In some people, it never seems to reestablish itself completely. This can be a dangerous time because bad bacteria and yeasts may grow out of control without the good bacteria around to keep them in check. You may want to consider adding a daily probiotic if you take medications, drink sodas or tap water, eat sugary foods, or if you are under a lot of stress.
WHAT CAN GO WRONG WITHOUT GOOD BACTERIA?
Think of friendly bacteria in your body like keeping oil in your car. If you run out of oil, your engine burns up. You can keep replacing the engine, but it’s not an engine problem. It’s an oil problem. Keeping enough friendly bacteria in your body keeps it running smoothly. If you don’t have a normal, healthy colony of friendly bacteria, you could be at risk for:
- Candida yeast infections, including thrush
- A damaged intestinal lining (Leaky Gut)
- Immune problems and allergies
- Infant immune and digestive development
- Hospital infections
- Diarrhea and constipation
- Ulcers caused by H. pylori
- Food allergies
- Skin problems, including acne, eczema, and psoriasis
ARE PROBIOTICS GOOD FOR CHILDREN?
Natural good bacteria are necessary for normal immune development and proper digestion in children.
Many of the factors that reduce the levels of good bacteria in adults are the same for children: Antibiotics, chlorinated water, sugary foods and sodas. There are some factors of modern life, however, that are reducing the normal populations of good bacteria in children:
- Caesarian section (because the vaginal canal inoculates the baby with good flora and gets the population growth started)
- Formula feeding
- Antibacterial soaps and cleansers
- Staying indoors with not enough time in nature
HOW TO TAKE PROBIOTICS
Researchers say that taking a formula with many strains, like iFlora Multi-Probiotic Formula from Sedona Labs, is more helpful than a formula with fewer strains. Look for a probiotic with many kinds of good bacteria, not just one or two. Other suggestions to improve your repopulation efforts include:
- Taking probiotics with a small amount of food
- Taking probiotics during medication and at least three months afterwards
- Taking a maintenance dosage of 15-30 billion cells daily. Take 30 billion cells or more during illnesses, while on medication, and afterwards. (Probiotics are measured in cells not milligrams.)
- Understanding that probiotics have no contraindications with medications or medical conditions.
- Refrigerate if necessary as directed by the label. iFlora probiotics do not have to be refrigerated.
- Look for products that survive the acid and bile in the stomach, like iFlora Multi-Probiotic Formula.
To keep your health from being flushed away by the multitude of unfriendly factors, adding a multi-strain probiotic to your daily regime will help keep the balance of friendly flora in your gut’s favor.
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