Flu Season :: Probiotics
Flu Season: Probiotics
With cold and flu season in full swing, I would like to take some time to share with you some thoughts on our immune system, what it does and how to protect it. The best kind of flu is the one you can prevent! This installment deals exclusively with the gut flora and probiotics.
The “GUT” Feeling:
Health starts in the gut. Hippocrates said it in 400 B.C. and modern science has proven it. All immune dysfunction can be connected back to the dysbiosis (or dysfunction) of the gut and the gastro-intestinal system. This includes conditions such as autoimmune disease, allergies, eczema and skin conditions, arthritis, etc. In addition, all inflammatory conditions are directly related to the health of the gut. Everything from weight control, depression and mood disorders, to chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes all have roots in the belly.
Clearly, the importance of gut health cannot be overstated. So lets look at some of the causes of dysfunction and what we can do about it!
Did you know that antibiotics are only used to treat bacterial attack and have no effect against viruses that cause cold and flu!? Not only do antibiotics not treat virus infection, they also establish or increase the chronicity of many types of other infections (i.e. sinus or urinary). Furthermore, alongside bad bacteria, antibiotics destroy a large percentage of the good bacteria (flora) that is responsible for your immune system.
What’s a Flora?
The health of the gut is dependent on 100 trillion cells of beneficial bacteria that reside there. Considering there are 10 trillion cells that make up the human body, its clear the bacteria are the ones running the show! The diversity and health of this bacteria is responsible for the health of our immune system (70% of which is in the gut).
What’s a Probiotic?
Probiotics are the best weapon against a damaged micriobiome or gut system. These are oral supplements that can be taken in order to restore the happy place of the gut flora. For a probiotic supplement to be useful, however, it must meet the acid test (literally):
It must be an organism that naturally exists in the gut already (or the body may see it as an invader and boot it out)
It must be supplemented in higher concentration than what already exists in the gut (so it can boost its numbers and take care of business)
It must be able to survive the harsh environment of the stomach acid and upper digestive tract (or it will burn up never to be seen again)
It should naturally occur in our environment and be stable in both the gut and environment (should be evolved alongside us)
Are all Probiotics created equal?
No. Most probiotics on the market, including the pricey ones at your favorite Whole Foods are not effective in the least. Although very good in theory, most probiotics do not meet the acid test (see above). If a probiotic cannot survive the journey to the gut, it obviously cannot help. Unfortunately, most of the probiotics on the market are of the same variety (Lactobacillus sp. And bifidobacter sp.) and do not meet any of the above criteria; they do not survive the trip, cannot be given in the appropriate number to make a difference, do not exist in the outside environment and is not stable outside the body.
So where do I Get that?
Spore probiotics have existed in Europe for decades and are finally available by prescription in the U.S. by a company called Mega Sporebiotic. These are the probiotics I have been using myself and in my acupuncture practice since I first discovered them at a Florida State Oriental Medicine Association conference.
Why I love them:
They contain no fillers, binders or flow agents.
They are GMO Free
They contain no dairy, soy, corn, wheat, gluten, salt, sugar, artificial flavors or colors
Although I strongly believe probiotics can be beneficial to all (and I often prescribe these to 90% of my patients) they have been shown to be specifically helpful in the following ways:
Immune modulation to reduce allergies and asthma
Immune stimulation of peripheral T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes to fight colds, flu and infection
Decrease in frequency of urinary tract infections
Effective treatment for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrown (SIBO)
Diminished duration of diarrhea in children 3 to 36 months of age
Reduced incidence of IBS diarrhea
Improvement in pain scale in Rheumatoid arthritis patients
Reduced inflammation associate with Crohn’s Disease,, IBS, Ulcerative Colitis
Improved growth of natural Gut Flora
Improved digestion of food and thus improved nutrient absorption
Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
Reduction of cholesterol
Detoxification of the intestinal tract
And much more….
So What’s the Point?
The single most important factor in the function of our immune system is the health of the Gut. The belly holds 70% of our immunity and is home to trillions of happy ninjas (aka good bacteria that makes up our flora). Unfortunately, due to antibiotic use, over the counter medication, poor nutrition and stress, these guys are always under stress and simply cannot cope, causing dysbiosis. This lack of harmony is the root cause of all sorts of problems, immune issues, inflammation and disease. But there’s a way out!
There are many things we can do to help; one of them is the use of good quality probiotics. Consider probiotics as a supplement of ninja warriors to help the good bacteria on the ground. Giving the good guys a boost helps restore order, control inflammation, fight off disease and keep you going strong.
For more information on these probiotics or a FREE consultation on how acupuncture, nutrition and supplements can help you, call MonkeyMind Wellness, Inc. at 561.507.0261.
For more information about Mega Sporebiotic, check out this great webinar available on their website: http://www.gomegaspore.com/webinar-2
Live Well. Be Well.