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Probiotics - The Mini Health Miracle

Jean Shaw© - All Rights reserved

Okay, I realise it's not the type of subject you might discuss around the dinner table but how much do you know about bacteria? Not a lot I'll bet. I didn't either until recently.

I always thought they were dirty nasty things you didn't want and hadn't realised there were two types - the good ones (probiotics) and the bad ones (pathogens). Now I know better.

You see I suffered mercury poisoning because of the dental amalgams in my teeth. That compromised my immune system leading to digestive problems and subsequent ill health. Fortunately, I discovered the source before things got really bad.

Part of the recovery process involved the use of probiotics . Those are the good friendly bacteria you really want colonising inside you. Yes, I did say colonising.

Bacteria cover every available square inch of your intestinal tract. Whether you like the idea or not, a battle is continually raging from your mouth to your anus between the good and bad bacteria.

If you are healthy the probiotics will never allow the pathogens to colonise but as we are constantly exposed to billions and billions of potentially harmful microorganisms on a daily basis that's rarely the case.

Unfortunately, as we age the levels of beneficial bacteria decline dramatically and other reasons for their decline are

• Changes in the acid/alkaline balance of the bowels
• Non –steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDS)
• Chlorine in drinking water
• Radiation and Chemotherapy
• Meat, Chicken and Dairy loaded with antibiotics (unless organic)
• Diets high in meats and fats
• Constipation
• Cigarettes
• Alcohol
• Stress
• Antibiotic herbs
• Medicinal antibiotics
• Additives
• Pesticides
• Fertilisers

You'll notice I mentioned 'antibiotics' a few times there and that's because antibiotics kill off ALL bacteria, both good and bad. If ever you are given a course of antibiotics by your doctor you absolutely must take some probiotics to restore the good bacteria.

Probiotics comes from the Greek "for life" and is the science of using living bacteria to prevent or treat clinical disorders. However, not all beneficial bacteria are created equal and unless you get the recognised super strains together with their food source you'll be wasting your money.

You see bacteria have a voracious appetite and have their favourite foods. If they don't have their own they'll go in search of another food source and will fight. It's a question of survival of the strongest and you don't want beneficial bacteria fighting each other instead of concentrating on the pathogenic bacteria.

You will find many probiotic products in your supermarkets only contain a few strains of healthy bacteria and that's not a good thing.

Yogurt containing probiotics is popular with many but often it only contains Acidophilus. However, many yogurts are pasteurised AFTER they've had the bacteria culture added (to increase shelf life) which totally destroys any benefit.

When you choose a probiotic you need to make sure the beneficial bacteria is 'live' so it continues to colonise. Often formulas will state it contains a certain amount of live organisms at the "time of manufacture". The problem with that is the levels in most formulas start to die off immediately and heat and moisture speed up the process. That's why it's usually recommended probiotics be kept in a cool, dry place – i.e. the refrigerator.

According to the renowned Bacteriologist, Professor Ilya Mechnikov "death begins in the colon", and it is the good bacteria's role to ensure it stays healthy.

Bacteria are the first line of defence of the immune system. A proper balance of bacteria in the intestinal tract is vital for maintaining good health.

In a healthy colon there are between 100 billion and 100 trillion beneficial bacteria per millilitre and these consume the harmful bacteria. Worryingly the typical American could have a beneficial bacteria count as low as four or five per millilitre. That's quite a difference and has much to do with poor diet.

Beneficial bacteria are responsible for

• providing essential enzymes to make nutrients available to the body
• cleaning up cholesterol
• manufacturing B vitamins
• cleaning out the lower bowels of encrusted matter
• destroying bad bacteria
• eliminating toxins from the body

If you spread your intestinal tract out flat it would cover half a tennis court and many researchers believe many chronic degenerative diseases are caused by the lack of friendly bacteria inside it.

If there are not enough probiotic bacteria to produce the enzymes (responsible for every metabolic process in your body) you'll have problems.

There's power in numbers and when probiotics reign supreme you get

• Enhanced Immunity
• Protection against Food Poisoning
• Protection against Stomach Ulcers
• Lowered Cholesterol
• Inhibition of Cancer
• Improvement in the health and appearance of the Skin
• Protection against Candida and harmful vaginal Yeast Infections
• Protection against harmful Bacteria, Fungi and Viruses
• Prevention and correction of Constipation, Diarrhoea, Ileitis, Colitis, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
• Better Nutrition from improved Absorption
• Improved generation of important B Vitamins

Good reasons to start taking probiotics today wouldn't you agree?