the term probiotics translates into “beneficial bacteria” whereas antibiotics means “against bacteria”. They do have a relationship. Probiotics in several strains, live inside our intestines and especially our colon (last portion of the large intestine). They serve several positive purposes: 1) providing protection for the delicate mucosa from pathenogenic or bad bacteria, fungus, yeast and virus from entering our blood stream 2) helping the body absorb nutrients and water 3) helping the body make vitamin B12 4) supporting the immune function, preventing candida, urinary tract infections, environmental allergies, food sensitivites and colds and flus of the digestive tract 5) replenishing and reproducing themselves under normal circumstances as they are living organisms, etc.
One little known fact is that the digestive tract is responsible for about 80% of our immune system, so our digestion is weak then so is our body’s ability to fend off pathogenic invaders and microbes. When we take broad-spectrum antibiotics, the birth control pill, drink alcohol, eat sugar, age and have digestive distress such as bouts of bloating, constipation and diarrhea, we risk losing this beneficial bacteria.
Overtime, without this beneficial culture, our digestion, immunity and ultimately the whole body suffers. There are many traditional foods that are properly fermented that help contribute to beneficial bacteria in our intestines, aiding digestion and supporting our immune system. These foods are best when made at home, from small organic companies and in the case of alcohol, made locally or from European monks.
fermented wheat: rejuvelac
fermented milk: yogurt, kefir, unpasteurized cheese (without rennet)
fermented vegetables: pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi (all made without vinegar)
fermented grains: Creemore Springs beer, Trappist beer (without additives- very difficult to find in the US and Canada)
fermented fungus (mushrooms): kombucha
fermented soy: miso (unpasteurized), tofu (without calcium carbonate or other additives), tempeh
fermented meat: sausages (without nitrates or sulphates)
fermented honey: Beowolf’s Mead (unpasteurized, without additives)
note: recipes for most of these foods can be found on-line so you can make them at home.
These foods are difficult to find especially when made properly because most foods are pasteurized or distilled these days. When food is heated and chemically altered, all beneficial bacteria is sacrificed for the sake of protecting us from harmful bacteria. This may seem like a good practice, and in some cases it is, but it also reduces the digestibility and nutrition of our foods.
Because it is difficult to get food with good culture/probiotics, we often have to resort to supplements. When choosing a supplement look for products that are either spore-based (meaning that there is a protective sheath over the bacteria and it isn’t in danger of being killed with heat) or refrigerated products with 10 billion live cells of lactobacillus Acidophillus and Bifidus. Generally I recommend Genestra/Seroyal, Udo’s or Natural Factors brands. Always keep them in the fridge, never in a warm or sunlit room. Take 3 capsules at night before bed for 1 month twice per year, and following antibiotic therapy, bouts of diarrhea, with constipation, yeast infection, urinary tract infection, STD, stomach flu and always while on the Birth Control Pill as hormonal contraception causes candida. Once your symtoms have disappeared, can also be a guideline for cessation, however it’s better to take them a little while longer than that.
There are correct dosages set aside for infants and babies who have been exposed to antibiotic therapy either at birth, in-utero or in first months of life.
xox dr millie lytle nd