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Probiotics

Probiotics literally means “pro-life” and antibiotic means “anti-life”. Doctors use the term probiotic to encompass the trillions of bacteria (flora) and beneficial yeast that colonize our intestines. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract has a delicate balance of beneficial and harmful microbes doing the dance every day. When this coexistence gets out of whack in favor of the bad guys, disease will flourish.

The beneficial bacteria in our GI tract are responsible for:

  • Digestion
  • Vitamin synthesis
  • Detoxification of chemicals
  • Immune support
  • GI permeability (keeping unwanted particles out of the body while letting beneficial ones in)

Poor nutrition from grain (especially gluten containing grains), dairy, and sugar wreak havoc on the gut and can allow the bad bacteria and fungi to flourish. Antibiotics, steroids, fluoride, and chlorine inflict major GI damage.

Also, genetically modified foods will surely alter our GI flora as the FrankenDNA from GMO will change the DNA of healthy gut flora.

Another nasty player is the pesticide Round Up. The active ingredient glyphosate damages gut bacteria. This is proven to lead to

How to maintain a healthy gut

Lastly, if you do not have proper digestion with adequate amounts of stomach acid and digestive enzymes, disease will begin.

Our ancestors ate bacteria in the form of dirt every day. They didn’t pull a carrot and scrub it clean. You can imagine Paleo people had very dirty hands, which would actually boost the immune system.

The health benefits of probiotics have been recognized for thousand of years. Our ancestors may not have known about the tiny bacteria themselves, but they knew the healing properties of fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and yogurt. One bite of these items has billions of good bacteria and  I recommend eating kraut or kimchi weekly. Kombucha tea would also be an excellent source of probiotics. Dairy is best left for the baby cows.

Why does a cardiologist care about this issue?

Well, cardiovascular disease starts from inflammation and a major source of inflammation is the gut. Heal the gut and heal the heart. A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found those patients randomized to probiotics vs. placebo increased there HDL from 50 to 62. Probiotics may also reduce blood pressure.

In addition, probiotics:

  • Aid in food digestion and may reduce reflux symptoms
  • Enhance the synthesis of B vitamins and improve calcium absorption
  • Improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis
  • (In women) Promote vaginal and urinary health
  • Support your overall immune function
  • May inhibit antibiotic associated diarrhea
  • May prevent Traveler’s diarrhea

Probiotics

are best consumed on an empty stomach so I recommend dosing when you first wake up and 30 minutes before dinner or even at bedtime. It is good to take a variety of probiotics as there are hundreds of different strains that make up a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Overdosing is very unlikely if not impossible. Side effects are mostly limited to loose stools.

When our ancestors wanted a carrot, they would pull one out of the ground and eat. In present day, our store bought vegetables are washed before we buy them and then scrubbed at home to get off any remnants of dirt. I am not opposed to the cleaning of our food due to toxic soil, air, and water, but this is all the more reason to consume probiotics on a daily basis. In addition, our hands used to be dirty from the soil and our hunter-gatherer lives. Not any longer, you can’t walk five feet without running into hand sanitizer which effectively removes all good probiotics along with giving you an extra dose of chemicals. Could the diseases afflicting our children and the recurrent infections we all seem to get be due to our sterilized society?

Until next time, The Cause is the Cure.

© 2019 Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC | Wolfson Integrative Cardiology | All Rights Reserved.10585 N Tatum Blvd, Suite D-135 Paradise Valley, AZ 85253