A common theme throughout my practice of Biological Dentistry is the importance of establishing and maintaining a healthy body balance. This simply means encouraging a lifestyle that continues to support rather than undermine the basic needs of our bodies.
Probiotics, which can be found in conventional foods and dietary supplements, are “friendly bacteria” that are key components to this balancing act. They are vital in providing the proper development of the immune system, to protect against agents that could cause disease, and the digestion and absorption of food and nutrients.
The World Health Organization, calls probiotics “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit to the host.” There are many beneficial bacteria that can be contained in a good probiotic, but two are preeminent.
L. acidophilus resides primarily in the small intestine. It produces a number of powerful antimicrobial compounds that can inhibit the growth and toxin producing capabilities of 23 known disease-causing pathogens (including sampylobacter, listeria, and staphylococci).
Bifidobacteria is mainly found in the large intestines. It provides the body with protection against chronic degenerative diseases. It also consumes old fecal matter and has the ability to protect against the formation of liver, colon, and mammary gland tumors.
A good probiotic formulation will usually contain fructooligosaccharides (FOS) which help promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. For some friendly bacteria, such as the Bifidus, FOS can increase their effectiveness a factor of 1,000 times or more.
Normally, for general purposes the suggested usage for probiotics is one capsule daily with a meal or as directed by your physician.
Although each person’s balance of bacteria varies, the interaction between a person and the microorganisms in their body can be crucial to the person’s health and well-being.
This bacterial balance can be thrown off in two major ways:
By antibiotics. The problem is that antibiotics indiscriminately destroy both good and bad bacteria. By destroying good bacteria, they allow virulent, mutant strains of harmful microorganisms to emerge and run rampant inside the body.
Antibiotics are the #1 culprit in the overgrowth of harmful pathogens in the gastrointestinal tract (a condition called dysbiosis). Some people use probiotics to try to offset side effects from antibiotics like gas, cramping, or diarrhea.
By “unfriendly” microorganisms. Unfriendly microorganisms such as disease-causing bacteria, yeasts, fungi, and parasites can upset your body balance. Many researchers now believe that declining levels of friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract may actually mark the onset of chronic, degenerative disease and a suppressed immune system.