Probiotics: The Little Critters That Make The World Go ‘Round
In the age of modern medicine, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t taken antibiotics. And while they are indispensable to the advancement of health, the over prescription and long term use of antibiotic therapy presents with potentially harmful side effects in the body.
As super bugs become more prevalent, modern medicine is striving to keep up. In our own bodies, prolonged use of an antibiotic is notorious for killing both the bad bacteria and the good microbes, damaging the ecosystem of your gut.
What do those little good guys do while floating around in your intestines? According to a 2005 study in FEMS Microbiology Ecology the good bacteria hanging out in our bodies do the following:
- They are our digestive tract’s soldiers, preventing foreign substances (pathogens, toxins, allergens) from coming through, thereby lowering infection and illness risks;
- They help digest food by processing it and producing new molecules (vitamins, enzymes, fatty acids, etc.);
- They help develop the immune system and intestinal lining, ensuring better protection.
If your body doesn’t have enough time to re-flourish its gut population before the next round of antibiotics, it becomes vulnerable to “bad” bacteria take over, which can lead to illness, infections, and digestive issues. Studies say 70% of the immune system’s cells are found in the intestinal tract. If it is out of balance, you’re left wide open to invasion.
And the microbiom extends further than just the gut. For example…we’ve all been there: After taking antibiotics for a UTI, you develop a yeast infection the next freaking week. It’s not just really bad luck. The vagina has its own good bacteria that need to flourish in order to create a homeostatic environment. Research even shows that good bacteria in the vagina play a role in implantation success. Assisted Reproductive tools cultured with good bacteria during embryo transfers were shown to increase implantation success rates.
So what can you do to flush the gut and vagina with good bacteria?
- Add a good quality probiotic to your morning routine
- Add at lease one fermented food to your daily diet
Good Quality ProBiotics:
Probiotics are microorganism introduced into the body for their beneficial qualities. You can find probiotics at any Whole Foods or natural food store around the country. I really love Bio K+. They make high quality, live probiotics that come in little cups for easy “shooting” in the morning- it gives a new meaning to taking shots. Bio K+ does it right. They publish clinical studies that are peer reviewed in highly recognized scientific journals, so you can trust that your body is getting a bang for its buck.
Fermented foods have made a comeback in recent years. The fermentation process encourages bacteria to flourish. Eating fermented foods transfer the good critters to your gut. Some examples of fermented foods are:
- Kefir (fermented milk product similar to yogurt- I like granola and kefir as a morning breakfast choice)
- Kombucha (my favorite is the Gingerade by GT)
- Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage, good on burgers)
- Kimchi (traditional fermented Korean dish)
- Yogurt (I recommend goat or sheep milk, grass fed, and organic for the highest benefit, if you can find it.)
Fuel your microbiom with these foods and find a good quality probiotic. And remember: Happy microbes make for a happy host. Go! And replenish your internal ecosystem.
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