The research just keeps coming in – study after study, showing the enormous effect on our health of good, bad, and missing gut bacteria. The strains of good (‘friendly’) bacteria are known as probiotics and the bad strains as pathogens.
Probiotics mostly implanted at birth
Probiotics are found mostly in fermented foods, but the important strains are first implanted in our digestive system during childbirth and by our mother’s breast milk. From that point on they continually divide and reproduce themselves, ideally for life. However some strains are often destroyed by antibiotics, or certain food preservatives.
All our food needs to be converted to a liquid for absorption
Probiotics are essential for proper nutrition. You may not realise it, but all the food we eat needs to be converted into liquid before it can seep through our intestine walls (by osmosis) into our blood stream. It’s a miracle of complexity and if it doesn’t work properly we suffer and become unwell through malnutrition, no matter how healthy our diet. Converting our food into liquid is the role of probiotics. We have trillions of these friendly bacteria (weighing about a kilogram) living along the 7 metre length of our small intestine, in our 1.5 metre long, large intestine, also in our saliva.
Different strains of probiotics for different foods
There are about 30 principal strains of probiotics and each strain has a role to play in the pre-digestion of various types of food i.e. dairy, wheat, eggs, nuts, etc. in other words, converting them into a liquid. If one or more of these probiotic strains are lacking, two problems occur. Firstly, important nutrients are not absorbed into the bloodstream, and secondly, harmful chemical reactions can be caused, such as food allergies, leaky gut, IBS, gas and acid reflux, to name just a few.
Peanut allergy cured in Australia
Sometimes these reactions are fatal. You may have read or heard about a recent breakthrough by Australian researchers where a common and dangerous peanut allergy was cured in 82% of 28 child sufferers. This breakthrough came about by introducing into their diet peanut oil mixed with the peanut digesting probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus (one of the 9 strains in our Health House Probiotic Multi 9). This was a double blind test and afterwards, 27 out of the 28 control children, who were given a placebo instead of the probiotic still had their peanut allergy. Four years later the probiotic children could still eat peanuts without any allergic reaction.
Just the beginning?
I was happy to hear about this success. The more I research nutrition, the more I realise how essential it must be to restore missing probiotic strains to overcome food allergies. I feel this success is just the beginning. Professor Mimi Tang, the group leader of the Australian Researchers agrees. She says, "This is a major step forward in identifying an effective treatment to address the food allergy problem in Western societies."
Numerous other health disorders are due to missing probiotics
It’s not only food allergies that can be overcome by restoring missing probiotics. Numerous other health conditions including mental disorders are strongly linked with missing probiotics. Some of the more common conditions are gum disease, tooth decay, diarrhoea, constipation, obesity, acid reflux, bowel diseases, diabetes type 2, vaginal disorders, digestive disorders, bloating, anxiety, depression, skin disorders, chronic fatigue, artery disease, a weak immune system, all kinds of infections including overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria and fungi (pathogens) such as candida.
The important role of your appendix
Our body stores backup strains of probiotics in our appendix, and provided we still have our appendix, various strains can be recolonised should they become entirely wiped out by an antibiotic. However, if we’ve had our appendix removed, or we failed to obtain the probiotics we needed during birth, breast feeding and exposure to ‘dirt’ during infancy, it’s very difficult to recolonise our gut with missing strains of probiotics. This is because our stomach acid kills them before they can enter our small intestine. Some hardy lactobacillus found in yoghurt can survive, but most strains will not.
Probiotic supplements must protect the probiotic bacteria against stomach acid
Therefore it will be necessary to take a high quality, multi-strain probiotic supplement. It should have an effective method of keeping the delicate living probiotics alive, and conveying them safely through the dangerous stomach acid (pH 2 to 3) into the safe alkaline environment (pH 7 to 9) of our small intestine.
A typical probiotic. We have trillions
of these in our gut – more than the
number of cells in our entire body.