The Healing Power of Probiotics - Paula Owens, MS

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The Healing Power of Probiotics

The Healing Power of Probiotics - Paula Owens, MS Holistic Nutritionist and Functional Health Practitioner

Probiotics, healthy intestinal flora and a healthy microbiome are essential for your health and well-being, your weight, digestion, immunity, brain function, behavior, mood and metabolism.

The number and the type of bacteria in our bodies have a powerful and profound impact on brain chemistry, digestion, immune function, metabolism, hormone balance, our weight, and overall mental, emotional and physical health and well-being. Besides its role in digestion, the microbiome also helps us process thought and emotion—so much so that it is often referred to as “the second brain.”

Culprits that destroy healthy flora and disrupt the microbiome

Antibiotic overuse

• Low stomach acid, hypochlorhydria

• Non-organic foods, pesticides, herbicides, GMOs, glyphosate

• NSAIDs, Tylenol, OTC drugs, prescription drugs, recreational drugs, oral contraceptives

• Mental, psychological and emotional stress

• Diabetes, insulin resistance, pre-diabetes

• Antibacterial soaps, wipes and gels

• Tap water, unfiltered water

• Toxic chemicals, hormone-disrupting chemicals

Heavy metal toxicity

• Any surgical procedure

• Inflammatory GI disorders including leaky gut, irritable bowel disease, Crohn’s and colitis

• Electro-pollution, nnEMFs, EMR, WiFi, 5G

• Underlying infections, C. diff, dysbiosis, hidden dental infections, mycotoxins

• Nutritionally-void diets, gluten

“Electromagnetic radiation and EMFs interfere with your biology and affect your microbiome, turning what might otherwise be beneficial microbes pathogenic.” –Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD

A low, insufficient population of healthy flora can lead to an inability to absorb nutrients, trigger Candida overgrowth, hair loss, gas and bloating, digestive problems, diarrhea, constipation, food sensitivities, eczema, acne and other skin condition, memory problems, anxiety, depression, and increase risk of serious health problems and complications.

Antibiotics destroy the friendly bacteria in our intestinal tracts. Matter of fact, just one course of antibiotics can permanently alter gut flora. Exposure to low levels of antibiotics in the diet (such as those used in agriculture) alter the gut microbiota and may be associated with obesity. Remember, you eat what the animal ate, and has been injected with. Antibiotic overuse causes leaky gut and gut dysbiosis, which naturally weakens the immune system since approximately 80% of the immune system resides in the gut.

Fungal, bacterial, parasite and yeast infections, Candida overgrowth and sinus infections are all common side effects of a weakened immune system that can result from overuse of antibiotics. Changes in gut bacteria have also been linked to obesity, skin problems, anxiety, depression, mood disorders, autoimmune disorders, and weight loss resistance. Excessive and inappropriate use of antibiotics has led to antibiotic-resistant bugs that can cause serious consequences and changes to the microflora.

Should you take a Probiotic? Maintaining a proper balance of healthy gut flora is crucial for optimal health, which can be achieved by taking a high quality probiotic. Probiotics are necessary for gut rebuilding (fermented foods alone do not have the aggressive strains necessary to recolonize the gut). The word probiotic is derived from the Greek meaning “for life.” Probiotics are live, beneficial, healthy bacteria that help us in many ways and even influence our mental, emotional and physical health by improving nutrition, lowering inflammation, metabolizing nutrients, and protecting against disease. 

If you experience or have a history of . . . anxiety, depression, mood disorders, bloating, gas, ADHD, autism, yeast infections, Candida overgrowth, skin problems (acne, eczema, rosacea, toe nail fungus), hair loss, dandruff, antibiotic use, oral contraceptives, OTC and prescription drug use, heavy alcohol use, eating restaurant food, processed foods, wheat, corn, soy, sugar, factory-farmed dairy products and animal protein, high stress lifestyle, pregnant or breast feeding, food poisoning, constipation, diarrhea, weak immunity, recent surgery or hospitalization, autoimmune disease and more, a high-quality probiotic would be highly beneficial for you.

The Healing Power of Probiotics

Health Benefits of Probiotics

—Improved digestion, better nutrient absorption and gut mobility
—Probiotics have a positive impact on tight junction integrity of the GI mucosal lining in preventing intestinal permeability aka leaky gut.
—Promote regularity of bowel function and helpful for constipation and diarrhea
Restore healthy flora and lessen the side effects after a bout of antibiotics (one of the most over-prescribed Rx drugs). Antibiotics deplete your body of essential nutrients, disrupt normal gut flora, and can cause behavioral changes (increasing risk for depression and anxiety).
— Probiotics may help reduce negative thinking, and provide therapeutic strategies for anxiety, depression, mood and mental disorders. A study published in the journal Gastroenterology found that probiotics help improves symptoms of depression and increases quality of life in patients with IBS.
—Gastrointestinal health is linked with brain health. Probiotics improve mood, relieve anxiety, and are crucial for healthy brain function playing a powerful role in cognitive health and even the prevention of depression, autism, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
—Probiotics have an anti-inflammatory effect
Play a role in normalizing and lowering cholesterol and triglycerides.
Less belly fat and encourage greater weight loss and a healthier metabolism. Research has found that obese people have different bacteria in their intestines than people of normal weight.
—Fight infectious diseases and biotoxin illnesses
—Prevent production and absorption of toxins that are produced from bacterial, fungus, Candida and yeast overgrowth
Prevent against vaginal and urinary tract infections.
Immune system support to balance and stimulate immune function. Approximately 80% of the immune system is located in the gut. If your gut is overloaded with bad bacteria, there’s a good chance your immune system isn’t functioning optimally.
Saccharomyces boulardii is a non-pathogenic viable yeast probiotic that has many therapeutic uses. Clinical and therapeutic uses for Saccharomyces Boulardii: Digestive problems, diarrhea, irritable bowel, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, UTIs, chronic Candida, yeast and fungal overgrowth, H. pylori, sinus infections, lactose intolerance, Blastocystis hominis (parasite), Lyme disease, canker sores, hives, acne, fever blisters, low secretory IgA, high cholesterol, and aids in blocking the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, downregulating inflammation, and provides protection from antibiotic side effects.
Reduces risk of hospital infections after surgery.
Support healthy skin and hair. Helpful for eczema, hives, psoriasis, rashes and acne. In a study with 300 patients, 80% of those with acne experienced drastic improvement when they supplemented with probiotics. One study found that teenagers ingesting probiotics saw improvement in their blemishes after only 2 weeks. Infants on probiotics are 50% less likely to develop eczema. Adolescents who take a daily probiotic supplement reduce the risk of eczema by 59 percent!
Addresses GI dysfunction (helpful for diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, IBS, leaky gut, Crohn’s and other inflammatory gut problems and conditions).
Encourages production of digestive enzymes, vitamin K, B12 and other important B vitamins.
GI problems and dysbiosis is very common in children with autism. There’s evidence that autistic children lack certain beneficial bacteria in their gut. Symptoms are triggered by compositional and structural shifts of microbes and associated metabolites, but symptoms are relieved with probiotics.
Probiotics boost cognitive function and may improve cognition in Alzheimer’s patients
Probiotics improves enzymatic activity of the gut by producing several enzymes.
According to research reported in the journal Gut Pathogens, supplementing with probiotics reduce symptoms of anxiety, lessen stress, and are beneficial for autoimmune diseases. An unbalanced microbiota in the gut is a contributing trigger in all autoimmune disorders.
Pregnancy. Probiotics are critical, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding to ensure that baby will get a good dose of beneficial bacteria, which can boost immunity, neurological function, reduce risk of ear infection and illness in the first few years. Taken during the first trimester of pregnancy, probiotics help women lose weight after giving birth. Probiotics taken during and after pregnancy reduce the incidence of life-long allergies, asthma and atopic eczema in offspring.
Supports cardiovascular health
Consuming processed foods, GMOs, pesticides, factory-farmed non-organic meats and dairy products and restaurant foods destroy healthy flora, making probiotics highly beneficial.
—Stronger immunity. Reduce your chance of catching a cold, coming down with the flu, viral infections, and lessen the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections.
Probiotics have a role in treating fatty liver disease (NAFLD), helpful for liver stagnation, and reduce toxic load on the liver.
Healthy aging! There is a growing awareness that the microbial balance in the colon becomes increasingly perturbed with aging and therefore increases the risk of certain diseases. Probiotics are particularly beneficial for the elderly populations, especially in terms of protection against infections and also in the prevention of several age-related diseases. Probiotics may restore a healthy microbiota and control oxidation and inflammatory processes, which can be beneficial in improving immune function, reducing the risk of infections, and nervous system impairments in older adults.
Athletes and all those exposed to oxidative stress may benefit from probiotics as a way to naturally increase antioxidant levels and neutralize the effects of reactive oxygen species. 

Spore-based Probiotics

Spore-based probiotics are soil-based microorganisms that are formed from spores and found in dirt and vegetation. Unlike most traditional probiotics such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, spore-based probiotics derived from Bacillus species are delivered as dormant spores. Spore-based strains have the intrinsic ability to produce multiple enzymes, secretory proteins, antimicrobial compounds, vitamins, and carotenoids.

Spore-forming bacteria such as Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus coagulans, and Bacillus clausii help with symptoms associated with leaky gut and reduce an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria within the intestines, which can often be the root cause of GI distress and digestive pathologies. Other strains of probiotics such as Bifidus Infantis, Bifidus Lactis, and Lactobacillus Plantarum are specifically helpful for inflammatory bowel disorders as well.

In additional to traditional probiotic strains, spore-forming, soil-based probiotic supplements promote healthy digestion and bowel regularity, stimulate balance in the gut, encourage a healthy immune function, and support balanced inflammatory processes. They’re shelf-stable, do not require refrigeration, and can resist gastric hydrochloric acid, pancreatic enzymes, and bile.

Probiotic-rich foods are foods that are naturally fermented and unpasteurized such as natto, whole fat organic grass-fed yogurt, kefir, fermented coconut water and sauerkraut. There are also foods that do not contain bacteria, but aid in the growth of good bacteria. These are known as prebiotics and can be obtained by eating garlic, onions, leeks, artichokes, chlorella, dandelion greens, and dark green vegetables.

One of the best ways to optimize the microbiome and increase micronutrient diversity is by including a variety of nutrient-dense colorful plants, vegetables and greens in your diet (most people tend to eat the same foods day after day after day). The more you vary your plants and veggies, the better your microbiome.

Most people benefit from supplementing with a quality probiotic on a daily basis as part of their supplement regimen. The most common strains in probiotic supplements are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, however there are over 35 species of Bifidobacteria and 125 species of Lactobacilli making up the majority of gut microflora found in the large bowel or colon.
All probiotics are not created equal. They are also necessary for gut rebuilding (fermented foods alone don’t have the aggressive strains necessary to recolonize the gut). Opt for high-quality probiotics only. Always check the list of ingredients and the expiration date as some retailers keep expired products on their shelves.

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