By Dr. Bonnie Wick
Probiotics have been around for a long time. Ever since it was discovered that we have a micro biome and that antibiotics killed them, we’ve been trying to replace them one way or the other. For many years, people have supplemented with acidophilus or yogurt. As discoveries expanded and we found so many more strains than originally thought, we’ve added other strains as supplements to assist intestinal repair. We’ve also found yogurt sources to be deficient or just not what they claimed, plus they often add refined sugar. Other fermented foods are great and seem to be well-tolerated unless someone has an over-growth of candida, which apparently love fermented foods also.
Is it good to take a probiotic? All the time? Short answers – yes and no. We have trillions of cells in our body that are not human. Most of our immune system is regulated in the gut, as well as a lot of our neurotransmitters once thought to be only in the brain. As we use antibiotics, medications, GM foods and many chemicals from our toxic lifestyles, our intestinal lining is damaged by micro tears that cause disruption in the micro biome or intestinal flora. Our natural flora becomes unbalanced from all the damage which leads to dysfunction. The damage to the gut lining affects the whole body as resulting inflammation and leakage of proteins brings about responses from other systems and deficiencies in immune and nervous system function. This can look like anything from food allergies to GERD, colitis, Crohn’s, irritable bowel syndrome, autoimmune diseases, and even brain diseases can come from an imbalanced intestinal tract.
With all that damage, it becomes evident that we should replace those microflora that have been killed off. But which ones? How much? Basically, we should use species that do help produce other species in addition to its own. Otherwise, if we take one species for a long period of time, we get a different imbalance. That makes it important to use different combinations and different brands so we can help the body balance out easier, but we take them periodically, not all the time. We can also eat fermented foods and use products that encourage healing of the gut lining, which can result in the body producing more of the right species to balance out our microbiome. Organic bone broth has also been shown to be an excellent gut healing food. Best case is, after antibiotics, add in a variety of probiotics, one a day, and eat a helping of fermented foods once a day, if your body tolerates it, and add in some good organic bone broth. Also, you can take some herbs or supplements to help heal the gut lining and take a supplement such as ION BIOME which helps protect the lining from chemicals, as well as encourages the production of normal flora.
Another way that has been shown to increase healing of the gut is fasting. Intermittent fasting, or also called “time restricted eating”, gives the body a period of rest from food and brings healing into play. In the time restriction, you eat only during your eating window of anywhere from 2-8 hours. In this method, you fast from about 6 or 7 pm for about 14 to 18 hours. Another option is to do a water fast for 24 hours 1-2 days a week. There are different types of fasts you can do that will benefit your body in the long run, but that’s for another blog.
Between proper use of probiotics, fermented foods, supportive supplements, avoiding toxic chemicals, and fasting, we can help heal the gut and balance the sensitive microbiome that is us.