The human body is one species with 37 trillion cells and encoded with 23,000 human genes. However within us lives our microbiome system which consists of up to 1500 different species with 100 trillion cellsand more than 3 million non human genes. There are actually good bacteria and bad bacteria. A good bacteria is classified as a probiotic which derives from the greek word meaning "for life". Examples of good bacteria are Lactobacilli Bifidobacteria and Saccharomyces. The benefits of these are strain specific as you will see below.
Even a bad bacteria like Ecoli and Strep can be beneficial in the right amount. Who would have thought that? It is all in the balance.
20 years ago in the clinic the only type of probiotic available was called Lactobacillus Acidophilus but now we have a fridge full of various brands and strains for different conditions. There is more and more research coming out all the time. It is very exciting.
Everyone has a unique microbiome and variations in this microbiome occur over both long and short periods. It is said that even before we are born we have started our gut microbiome in our mother's uterus.
So things that influence the human microbiome are:
- Medicines - antibiotics, PPI
- Fungal infections
- Exposure to germs
- Excess cleaning and soaps
We all have bacteria but if we have the wrong infections or the wrong amount of bacteria this is when symptoms start. As practitioners now we see more cases of Blastocystic Hominis, Dientamoeba Fragilis, Giardia, Helicobactor Pylori, Fungal overgrowth, Hook worm and Pin worm, Cryptosporidium for examples.
Looking at Parasites alone - the reason for more parasite incidence now are:
- Globilization of food supply
- Increased international travel
- Culinary habits
- Improved diagnostic tools
- Increased dogs and cats
As Louis Pasteur said
" The pathogen is nothing. The terrain is everything"
So the trick is to have the best diet and not have sugars and processed foods that feed the bad flora of your gut. Eat things which do not feed the wrong type of bacteria and use prebiotics, probiotics and antiparasitic herbs to optimize your own individual gut lining. Some clients are choosing to get their micobiome assessed with faecal testing. This can be very useful in all sorts of conditions from autism, chronic fatigue, depression, fibromyalgia, food allergies, ADHD, aspergers syndrome, Learning disorders, behavioural disorders to IBS. We are happy to advise you and organise testing if you think it would help to further improve your health.
80 percent of our immune cells are in the gut. The job of the gut cells is to uptake nutrients such as carbodydrates, amino acids, fats, water and electrolytes. The gut cells are also a protective layer that stop microbes from entering, if the tight junctions of the gut cells begin to widen then this is termed as 'leaky gut' and this is not a good thing.
It has been found that using probiotics can cause these gut junctions to tighten.
Lactobacillus Acidophillis when I graduated, was the only probiotic on the market for health purposes and it is still used widely in many probiotics. Antibiotics kill Lactobacillus Acidophilius and so this probiotic is commonly prescibed to rebalance the probiotics after an antibiotic prescription. It helps prevent thrush and treat thrush. Like many of the probiotics it can normalise bowel motions. It is found in yogurt, making yogurt an excellent dairy product that is absorbed easily.
This is the best documented probiotic strain. It has been used world wide with no adverse reactions, and has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of upper respiratory infections. It is fantastic for the immune system in general and has been found to help in skin conditions and is also safe to use in pregnancy.
This is a gram positive bacteria, they are found naturally in the colon, mouth and vaginal mucosa. It is one of the main bacteria in the colon of mammals. Some still call it Lactobacillus bifidus and this is how it is written in some products. It has a range of health benefits but mostly in regulating the colon and inhibiting excess unwanted pathogens. It can help conversion of food substances into active molecules that can then be absorbed through the gut lining for nutrition.
This is not a bacteria but a tropical strain of yeast. It was first isolated from lychee and mangosteen fruit. Here at the clinic we use it for diarrhoea. It is amazing for the prevention and treatment of overseas stomach bugs. However we never advise it if a client has constipation. It is surprising that even though it is a form of yeast it is medicinal for things such as thrush, bacteria overgrowth in the intestines, hives and ulcerative colitis.
This is an amazing probiotic. It is found naturally in cultured vegetables and in human saliva. We find it most effective in cases of inflammation. This can be any inflammation but there has been lots of use of this type of probiotic for crohns, irritable bowel syndrome and colitis. In the future with more research into this probiotic One of our new products is using their for gut repair from gluten damage and sensitivity. I think we will hear a lot about Plantarum being used in other conditions too.
This would only be used medicinally in the right dosage if the microbiome tests showed undetected ECOLi An undetected Ecoli in the gut can cause exhaustion. There is evidence it is beneficial in cases of crohns and ulcerative coloitis. Medicines that can signicifantly effect ecoli are anti pyretics and analgesics( eg Paracetamol). Also eating fructo - oligosaccharide may also suppress ecoli growth. Ecoli can have an important role in absorption of essential amino acids( tyrosine, phenylalanine, tryptophan),
Folic Acid and Co Q 10.
Do not be scared of what lives in our gut but embrace these species for they keep us alive and well everyday. Please discuss the right medicines for your healthy gut microbiome. If you want to have a faecel screening please ask one of our naturopaths.
Your Terrain is Everything!!!
" Clinical use of probiotics should focus on matching the probiotic strain and dosage to the condition for which it has shown benefit in clinical trials" Quote by Matthew Ciorba MD