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PROBIOTICS – COWBOYS OR CROOKS?

Should everybody take a daily dose of good bacteria and if you do, many other questions come to mind. There are so many on the market. Which strain should I use? Do I always need the same strain? Is a 20 strain better than a 4 strain? Or should it be a massive dose of a single strain? Should it be kept in the fridge? How do I know the organisms are alive?

WHAT IS A PROBIOTIC?

Bio means life. Thus pro-biotic means in favour of life. That also explains antibiotic!
Probiotic is the collective name given to all the millions of good bacteria in the gut and their function is to keep the bad guys under control.
However, if there are too many good guys, they destroy all the bad ones and then you do not need the good ones either!!! In fact, this is when the good guys become the villains!
Does that make sense? It only makes sense if you realise that, as with everything else in life, you should keep the balance.
Long before man stuck his finger into everything, nature took care of this problem.

WHAT IS A PREBIOTIC?

Most probiotics on the market also contains a prebiotic. It is indicated as FOS on the labels.
A prebiotic supplies the food for a probiotic. Therefore, a prebiotic keeps the probiotic alive and helps it to multiply. This is where nature comes in. Probiotics are everywhere – in the dust, in the soil, on your computer, your shopping trolley, your steering wheel, baby’s dummy, etc…etc…
The natural probiotics are fruit and veggies. BUT!!! Only when untreated and sun ripened with no pesticides. You understand man’s finger?
Nature also has a backup plan. In the digestive system, a mucus is produced which also acts as a prebiotic. However, during stress conditions the production of the mucus decreases. The body has more important things to concentrate on – it has to get you through the fight or flight situation safely. The only problem being that this state of fight or flight never stops!
The other maintenance plan of nature, is the appendix. This apparently useless little tube is actually the green house for probiotics. It acts as a reservoir for the good bacteria. They multiply and are released into the digestive system.

WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF PROBIOTICS?

To try and make sense of all this, we need to look at the function of these bacteria and how important they are.
Science is only starting to realise how many different strains of bacteria are in the body and the numerous functions they fulfill.
Here are some: a bacteria found in dust is responsible for the production of vitamin K2 and this is linked to a strong bone structure. Probiotics and B-vitamins combine to produce digestive enzymes. The latter is a subject by itself. Probiotics are also responsible for converting some vitamins to the useable form, for instance folic acid to folate. The immune system crumbles without probiotics! When this happens, the immune system either fails to protect you from intruders or attack your own system. This is called an auto-immune response.  Some bacteria activates certain parts of the immune system while others have to keep intruders out. Probiotics are very important in the prevention and control of allergies. Eczema and asthma are directly linked to a lack of probiotics.
In my e-book I will go into more detail concerning the role of probiotics in the body and the immune system.

SHOULD EVERYBODY TAKE A PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT?

In my opinion, no. Not everybody on a daily basis. When you had to use antibiotic, you follow up with daily dose for a month. During abnormal stressful situations, you should also take a probiotic. We are all exposed to stress but the body adapts to your personal circumstances.
A probiotic quickly puts an end to a tummy bug and a double dose is fine.
The maintenance of what you have, is more important.
We can compare it to making money – it is senseless to work yourself to a standstill to make extra money but you keep on spending more than what you make. You should save some of what you have. Yet, there will come times when you have to earn a bit extra.
To maintain your probiotics you should include probiotics into your diet. Fresh fruit – three per day works wonders. Green salad, carrot and or beetroot salad are also good choices. One of the best probiotics is Baobab powder. Make a salad dressing containing it or add to a smoothie.
Very important – stop disinfecting your house and your body!! Use ordinary soap for washing dishes, floors and your skin! Your personal surroundings are full of your own good bacteria. When you go shopping you share everybody else`s and you disinfect those areas. Wash your hands when you get home.
The main thing to always keep in mind: balance,balance, balance.

Until next week
Petro Beauvais