PROBIOTICS: Man's Best Friends! Supplements For Immune System and Digestive Health
It is said that eighty percent of our immune cells are located in the gut. This makes sense when you consider that most of the harmful pathogens that routinely enter the body do so through the digestive system. Probiotics are therefore perhaps the most important single form of nutritional supplementation available today.
Probiotics Improve Digestive Health
Probiotic simply means "for life", and refers to the beneficial bacteria that normally make up the majority of the ecosystem living within our intestinal tract. This internal ecosystem, which is comprised of literally hundreds of trillions of microorganisms (over 400 different species), typically accounts for about four pounds of our body weight. The intimate relationship between our internal ecosystem and our external environment has a profound influence on our health and longevity. "Travelers diarrhea" is the natural consequence of our body trying to adapt to the introduction of foreign microorganisms into the intestinal tract.
Our intestinal flora population consists of permanent members (resident strains) and some that are just passing through (transient strains). Resident strains are the primary colonizers whose sheer numbers keep the pathogenic strains from taking over by competing for space on the intestinal surface. Other strains produce enzymes that normalize cholesterol metabolism, manufacture stress fighting B vitamins, maintain the pH or the lining of the intestinal tract, and help digest nutrients from food. We need both the resident and transient beneficial flora as well as some pathogenic species, all of which normally coexist in a symbiotic relationship.
If probiotics means "for life", guess what antibiotic means!
Unfortunately, antibiotics do not generally target only the pathogenic species, but take out much of the beneficial flora as well. The result can be an imbalance of intestinal flora that can lead to a myriad of health problems, ranging from depression or skin problems to food allergies or leaky gut syndrome. Many pharmaceutical drugs can have a dramatic impact on the balance of power in the gut, as can other factors like drinking chlorinated water, sodas or other carbonated beverages, excessive stress or a diet high in refined sugars and preservatives.
Sources of Probiotics
Fermented foods like kefir or yogurt (not commercially prepared - it is full of sugar and contains very little beneficial flora) are good sources of probiotics, but the easiest way to get large numbers of the right strains of flora is through a dietary supplement approach.
We were designed by our creator to eat fresh foods from soil that is rich in nutrients and probiotics. In our wisdom we eat foods grown in nutrient depleted soils that are picked before they are ripened, gassed or irradiated, canned or frozen and transported from across the globe. Then we cook them until there is little nutritional value left, much less beneficial microorganisms. It is no wonder that our bodies are left with an enzyme deficit and a malfunctioning digestive system, which leads inevitably to compromised immune function.
Can Probiotics Help Relieve Depression and Allergies?
There is a huge (largely ignored) connection between digestive health, immune function and mental health. We were designed to derive energy from food by converting nutrients into fuel through a highly efficient process that takes place in a healthy digestive tract. The very foundation of our immune health is found in the health of the intestinal lining and the presence in sufficient numbers of beneficial microorganisms. B vitamins, which are essential to maintaining energy levels and normal brain chemistry, are manufactured in the gut by beneficial bacteria. So it is not uncommon to find that a person with malabsorption suffers from depression, anxiety and a host of other health issues.
Most food allergies can be traced back to the the mucosal surfaces of the digestive tract. Disturbances of the intestinal flora can cause an environment that favors an overgrowth of harmful microorganisms, resulting in malabsorption and chronic inflammation. Left unchecked, these imbalances can set the stage for many types of autoimmune diseases. Inadequate digestive enzyme levels complicate the problem by allowing partially digested food to accumulate in the colon, providing a growing medium for the wrong kinds of bacteria. This is why so much of the Burgstiner Wellness Protocol is aimed at normalizing the physiology of the digestive system.
Digestive enzymes are critical to breaking down foods to the point where we can use them for fuel. They also play a crucial housekeeping role, cleaning up cellular debris left behind by the billions of cells that die and are replaced in our bodies every day. They are often used to counteract the inflammatory responses typical of autoimmune diseases. Enzymes are literally the sparks of life, and their declining levels over the decades of life accelerate the aging process.
Our health is dependent on many factors, but the three most important ones are the integrity of the immune system, our ability to absorb nutrients and our ability to download toxins. Logos Nutritionals has developed a small but potent line of cutting edge supplements that are designed to address these critical areas, one of which is Essential Flora . Each of our all natural, synergy based formulas stand on their own merit, but together they form the foundation of a comprehensive wellness protocol and a powerful deterrent to chronic illness.