Bacteria are our worse enemies…or our best friends?

It’s not really news.  In fact, many of you probably take a probiotic, eat some yogurt or kefir, or use fermented foods in your diet because you know that ‘good bacteria’ is great for the digestion and immune system.  Maybe you have seen the benefits in your or your child’s own life and health or hope to.

Healthy microbes are an essential part of a healthy immune system, as much of our immune tissue resides in our digestive tract.  This is so that we can identify the things that may do us harm right when it enters our body and gut, before it makes it to the blood stream.  Which means that the more fortified our gut is, the healthier our immune system can be.  And these healthy microbes can be derived from many different sources other than or in addition to supplemental probiotics such as:

  • Fermented foods like kimchee, tempeh, miso, or sauerkraut
  • Dairy products with live cultures such as yogurt, raw milk, or kefir
  • Organic produce (when we don’t kill off all of the critters with chemicals, the good ones live too)
  • Dirt (really, you don’t have to be so afraid of it)
  • Fructo-oligosaccharides or ‘Prebiotic’ foods (garlic, onions, asparagus, burdock, dandelion, jicama)

The more common way of increasing the population of healthy microbes in our gut is with supplemental probiotics.  However, these are not made equal.  Many probiotic products on and at the market are not viable or are derived from sources that may worse some people’s food intolerances or digestive issues.  If you are taking probiotics and are not noticing changes in the issues you are attempting to treat, it may not be that ‘probiotics don’t work’; it may just be the one you are using.

Healthy microbes are one particular arena where quality really matters. You need to take the right one, that is actually viable, and in addition to a ‘living’ diet. Otherwise it’s just expensive s*^t.  And if you think this is just wacky naturopathic rhetoric, check out this article: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/story/2012-07-13/body-bugs-microbes/56255904/1

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