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 Integrative Medicine: Probiotics: The Friendly Bacteria 
 

If it is too slow (as in atonic or spastic constipation) this too causes changes in their function.

  • The type of diet you eat is a major influence on bacterial health.

    They are healthier on a diet rich in complex carbohydrates (vegetables, whole grains, pulses) and low in animal fats, fatty meat and sugars. They also love cultured dairy products (especially ‘live’ yogurt and cottage cheese).15

    So not surprisingly the diet which is good for you is also ideal for them!

  • They are also influenced to a major extent by the degree of infection by yeasts and bacteria to which ‘their’ territory (your bowels) are subjected.

  • And they are severely upset by certain drugs especially antibiotics (penicillin will kill a friendly bacteria just as efficiently as it will kill a disease-causing bacteria).16

    Steroids (hormonal drugs such as cortisone, ACTH, prednisilone and ‘the Pill’) also cause great damage to the bowel flora.

    How can they regain health and efficiency once damaged?
    By dealing with any of the factors listed above which you can, especially your diet and by stress reduction, and by supplementing with good quality freeze-dried bacteria.

    How can you be sure of the quality of supplemental friendly bacteria?
    There are many undesirable products on the market, and it is only by insisting on the best that these can be eliminated.

    • For example we have seen what the main inhabitants of the intestines are, and which transient bacteria are most helpful to them and these are the ones which should be supplemented (bifido, acidophilus and bulgaricus).

    • Some products carry ‘cocktails’ of bacteria which should not be together in a container and which are only minutely a part of the total flora picture, such as Bacillus laterosporus and Streptococcus faecium. These should be avoided.

    • Even cocktails of the best friendly bacteria should not be found in the same container since they are destined to inhabit different regions of the digestive tract and will damage each other if confined together.

    The way products are made is very important:

    • When being separated from the ‘soup’ (supernatent) in which they are cultured some manufacturers spin the bacteria (in a centrifuge). This damages the delicate chains of bacteria, something which does not happen when a slower (and therefore more expensive) filtration process is used. This information should be on the container.

    • Similar damage can occur if the bacteria are encapsulated or tableted, which means they are best found as a powder in a dark glass (never plastic) container.

    • Viable cultures of strains of the particular bacteria you want, which are capable of re-colonising the intestines need as a rule to be refrigerated after the opening of their container and should be taken away from meal times so avoiding the extreme acidity of the stomach when it has food in it.

    • All good products should carry guarantee of numbers of viable colonising bacteria up to a specific expiry date.

    • If you look for such information on the container of friendly bacteria you will find that very few meet all the requirements listed. One manufacturer which does guarantee ALL the above is Natren of California and these are recommended.

    When to Use Probiotic Products:

      Under professional guidance if their are chronic bowel problems or on-going infections such as Candidiasis.
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     About The Author
    Leon Chaitow ND, DO, MROA practicing naturopath, osteopath, and acupuncturist in the United Kingdom, with over forty years clinical experience, Chaitow is Editor-in-Chief, of the ...more
     
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