Most people associate bacteria with disease. We have been told through numerous marketing campaigns that bacteria is bad and we need to kill it: eliminate it from our environments and destroy the little beasties that colonize our bodies. Did you know that “biotic” is from the Greek word that refers to life? So probiotic means favorable to life. Just for fun, take the word antibiotic, which literally means against life. Take a minute to ponder that if you need to.
Yes, some bacteria is bad, but most is good. I was told at a natural health seminar once, that there are 100 trillion cells that make up the human body, but only 10 trillion of those are your own cells; the other 90 trillion are microorganisms like bacteria and yeast that live in your body, mainly your digestive tract. This comes to about 3-4 pounds of friendly microbes. (And you will not lose weight by killing them so don’t even try!) Bacteria and yeast are a natural part of a healthy internal ecosystem. When good bacteria is present in your gut, it coats your intestinal lining and inhibits the ability of bad bacteria to adhere to the mucosa. Some friendly bacteria even produce chemicals that are deadly to other harmful forms of bacteria. Studies have shown that some beneficial bacteria boost your immune system by stimulating B lymphocytes and activating macrophages.
Bacteria and yeast keep each other in check and live happily in your internal ecosystem until the balance of one or the other gets skewed. With the prevalent use of antibiotics in America and the fact that we sanitize our tap water with chlorine, most people are lacking the protective benefits of their natural flora and have a chronic, internal candida (yeast) overgrowth. Without a healthy probiotic population in your gut, your body is no longer able to properly absorb and utilize various nutrients from your food, specifically vitamins D and K, magnesium, zinc, essential fatty acids, and calcium. Improperly absorbed calcium turns into unhealthy deposits in your soft tissues and arteries. If you take a calcium supplement but have poor gut flora, you are likely increasing your chances of developing arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which is one of the main contributing factors to heart disease.
Many people haven’t even heard of Vitamin K and don’t understand its importance. It aids in the absorption and utilization of Vitamin D and also plays an important role in blood clotting, insulin release and, consequently, glucose regulation. I believe vitamin deficiency, including Vitamin K, is an unacknowledged underlying contributor to many of the chronic illnesses plaguing America today; however, I do not recommend running out and buying a vitamin K supplement. Anytime you take a supplement in its singular form, you are robbing your body of a complimentary supplement. Vitamins and minerals compete with each other once they enter the body. Too much of one substance can deplete the amount of other substances. This is why I recommend a daily whole-food vitamin like Young Living’s Master Formula that I discussed last week. It contains a balance of nutrients that complement each other and work synergistically to promote proper digestion and assimilation of the nutrients it provides. The best way to ensure proper absorption of the nutrients you take in is by addressing your gut flora first.
You can do many things to boost your internal environment and help the good bacteria flourish. I always recommend taking a good, broad-spectrum probiotic like Young Living’s Life 5 first to lay down a foundational layer of healthy bacteria.* Then I recommend making a concerted effort every day to increase your intake of fermented foods. These foods include unpasteurized buttermilk and cheese, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, tempeh, umeboshi, and Greek or unsweetened yogurt. Always read your ingredient list when you buy any of these products. You want to avoid any that have added sugars or artificial sweeteners. This will help maintain a healthy environment in your gut and support the benefits of Life 5 supplementation. I also recommend alternating supplementation, one month on, one month off, to ensure you do not experience bacterial overgrowth. Let’s talk about Life 5 a little more in-depth.
According to Young Living’s website, Life 5™ is a high-potency probiotic, representing the culmination of years of extensive research. Life 5 builds and restores core intestinal health by providing five clinically proven probiotic strains including two advanced super strains to enhance intestinal health, sustain energy and improve immunity. Life 5 contains 10 billion active cultures and improves colonization up to 10 times. I recommend taking Life 5 at night before bed on an empty stomach to lessen the amount of time it spends in your stomach. Most probiotics are very sensitive to the low pH of stomach acid. Why do I recommend Life 5? Let’s look at each component of Life 5 individually and talk about their benefits.
Calcuim carbonate is the same calcium molecule that is used in various antacids. Because acidic conditions are harmful to most probiotics, Life 5 comes in a delayed release capsule to ensure transit through the stomach where it will dissolve in the small intestine. Calcium carbonate neutralizes the environment when the capsule dissolves and creates hospitable conditions for the probiotics to adhere to the mucosa of the gut. The probiotics are then able to assist in the absorption and utilization of the calcium contained in the calcium carbonate molecule.
HOWARU® Rhamnosus is a specifically selected immune-modulating probiotic strain believed to enhance the body’s natural immune response, especially in children and the elderly. Lactobacillus rhamnosus is a probiotic bacterium that helps eliminate and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the intestines. It is also believed to be of considerable assistance with the immune system, particularly in combating intestinal and urinary tract pathogens. L. rhamnosus attaches to the lining of the intestines, and encourages the growth of helpful organisms that aid in digestion. (HOWARU)
Lactobacillus acidophilus is one of the most well known probiotics, as it is the one most commonly added to yogurt formulations. It is a naturally occurring bacterium in and on the human body. L. acidophilus converts lactose to lactase, competes with harmful bacteria for nutrients, and produces as a byproduct some helpful antibacterial substances that promote a healthy environment for the GI tract. (Probiotics.org)
HOWARU® Bifido is actually the trademark name for Bifidobacterium animalis subspecies lactis HN019. That is a mouthful, I know. What you need to know is this probiotic strain helps modulate intestinal microflora and improve transit time of food through the intestines. It likes to inhabit the colon and does most of its beneficial work there. A 2007 study conducted in cooperation with the Groupe Danone, Dannon’s parent company, took 274 adult subjects diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to study the effects of B. animalis on their symptoms. Over the first 2–3 week period, the subject’s stool samples and symptoms were recorded. The subjects were then asked to consume two servings of fermented milk twice a day. B. animalis was in the fermented milk. The results suggested some beneficial effect on discomfort and bloating in constipation-predominant IBS. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17635382)
Lactoferrin is a protein found in cow milk and human milk. Colostrum, the first milk produced after a baby is born, contains high levels of lactoferrin, about seven times the amount found in milk produced later on. Lactoferrin helps regulate the absorption of iron in the intestine and delivery of iron to the cells. It also seems to protect against bacterial infection, possibly by preventing the growth of bacteria by depriving them of essential nutrients or by killing bacteria by destroying their cell walls. The lactoferrin contained in mother’s milk is credited with helping to protect breast-fed infants against bacterial infections. In addition to bacterial infections, lactoferrin seems to be active against infections caused by some viruses and fungi. Lactoferrin also seems to be involved with regulation of bone marrow function (myelopoiesis), and it seems to be able to boost the body’s defense (immune) system. (WebMD)
Streptococcus Thermophilus is a powerful probiotic strain that has well researched health benefits. This probiotic is often found in the colon and has many digestive, immunity & many other researched health benefits. S. thermophilus is used for culturing cheese as well as yogurt. This probiotic strain also produces lactase, which helps people digest milk more efficiently. Lastly, probiotic Streptococcus thermophilus also produces antibiotic chemicals to prevent infections of the GI tract and can help prevent ulcers. (Probiotics.org)
Among the most ferocious warriors in this army of advantageous microbes is bifidobacterium bifidum, which inhabits the colon and vagina. Its job is to maintain the micro-flora balance within the intestines, control the increase of detrimental bacteria, bolster the immune system, and aid in the digestive process. Research is currently ongoing to clarify the role of bifidobacterium bifidum in treating certain health conditions. Current research has also shown that bifidobacterium bifidum might be useful in managing allergic reactions. When researchers gave mice an oral dose of this probiotic to test its effect on the production of immunoglobulin E, they discovered that there was a strong suppressive action. They concluded that bifidobacterium bifidum could be a great weapon in controlling diseases caused by allergic response. (Ohno Hiroshi, Tsunemine Satoru, Isa Yasuhiro, Shimakawa Masaki, Yamamuru Hideki. Oral Administration Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1 Suppresses Total and Antigen Specific Immunoglobulin E Production in Mice. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 28(8)pp.1462-1466 20050801)
The benefits of re-establishing your body’s healthy flora cannot be over looked when addressing your core health needs. Join me next week when I will discuss the benefits of antioxidants.
*As with any probiotic, if you have had recent gastric surgery or a history of surgical shortening of your intestine/colon, please consult your physician before taking a probitotic
**Our team of oilers, called Anointing Nations, made the resolution this year to commit to educating our team daily. “YL – It’s a Lifestyle” is a daily post that will be on our private Facebook group. I was asked to write weekly for this, so every Wednesday, I will focus on the YL Lifestyle and share how I live it daily with my family. If you would like to know how to get Young Living products, please message me or follow this link to my website for more information
***All the statements, comments and photos on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All medical evaluations and decisions should be made by a licensed professional.