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Can Probiotics Improve Your Health Problem?

posted on 26 February 2006 | posted in Health Articles


There is a lot of talk in advertising and the media about the need to ingest good bacteria to make us feel 'on top of the world'. Is there any truth in it? These tiny microflora in the gut of a human adult consists of more than 400 different species and more than 100,000 bacteria! The market for drinks containing these good bacteria has increased and there is no doubt that some people have noticed an improved digestive system as a result. But what else can probiotics do?

Probiotics have been found to be useful in many diverse conditions. As well as diarrhoea, they can help in controlling asthma, allergies and eczema they reduce a leaky gut (the cells of the intestines separate and allow the toxins of the bowel to leach out into the body. The liver then has extra work to do to detoxify the body and many problems can ensue). Also they help prevent inflammation in the colon. Supplementing pregnant women and then their infants as well for 6 months with a lactobacillus microbe showed to improve the chances of the infant getting asthma or eczema by 50% by the age of 2 years. ( Kalliomaki, M. Probiotics in primary prevention of atopic disease: a randomised placebo-controlled trial. Lancet. 2001;357;1076-79)

Diarrhoea or Constipation
These microflora prevent other microbes from colonising the gut and they can break down the toxins that are made by other bacteria. This is why a course of probiotics before travelling is a great idea. We suggest this to all our patients who are going to India or Asia, and together with some other tips, it works every time. See article http://www.turnaroundyourhealth.co.uk/symptomdetail.asp?symptomID=9

Inflammation of the Bowel
These probiotic microbes produce short-chain fatty acids that provide fuel for the epithelial (tissue) cells in the walls of the intestine.

Other Roles of Healthy Flora in the Gut
  • Because they produce digestive enzymes, they improve the digeestion and absorption of nutrients.


  • Microflora breaks down environmental and body toxins. For example they will convert mercury into less toxic forms


  • They compete for nutrients with potentially harmful invaders, thus making it a difficult environment for them to stay in.


  • They can produce natural antibiotics that kill pathogenic microbes and produce anti-cancer compounds like n-butyrate. They also stimulate the immune system by increasing antibody production.


  • The microflora converts food chemicals, for example lignans from flax seeds into anti-cancer enterolactones.


  • Microflora neutralise foods containing aromatic hydrocarbons from barbecued and charbroiled food. Also they neutralise aflatoxins, the toxic mould found on peanuts.


  • They make available some B vitamins, vitamin K, butyric acid and amino acids (building blocks for cell growth from protein).


  • Prebiotics
    Good foods that can provide good gut flora with nutrients are fibre-rich foods. The gut flora use these for their nourishment. These are foods that contain oligosaccharides that are found in:
    Onions, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, chicory and bananas.

    How can I Encourage a Good Healthy Flora in my Gut?

    The problem with the drinks that contain flora such as Actimel or Yakult, they are very high in sugar and this can be counterproductive in many cases. A really effective regime is to do the following:

    Start a 6-12 week course of a probiotic to restore your normal symbiosis or ecological balance in your body.

  • Take 5-10 billion organisms a day on an empty stomcah twice daily. We suggest first thing in the morning and last thing at night. If your digestion is very poor, then you can take more. Build up your dose gradually, as a sudden change in gut flora can cause bubbles and gas to begin with.


  • Look for a reputable brand that needs to be refrigerated. Some strains may offer good results but are not lasting as they do not colonise in the gut well. Go for Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosis or B. Bifidum. Some products contain no live flora because they are very susceptible to damage from heat, processing or improper storage.


  • We recommend the following as having worked well for us in clinic:

    Nature's Sunshine Bifidophilus (Milk Free)
    Nutriscene Bifido-acidophilus
    Nutriscene Acidophilus Supreme
    Myrrh Formula (helps dispel harmful bacteria in the gut)
    Marshmallow and Chamomile Combination (helps soothe and heal and inflamed gut)

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