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Healthy Bacteria and Your Digestive Tract

By Matthew Kays, D.C · September 12th, 2007 · The Road to Wellness
Human bodies are living ecosystems of roughly 70 trillion cells. As in any dynamic and interdependent system, certain roles and processes rely on others for the proper function of the organism as a whole.

In the case of probiotics in your alimentary tract (digestive system), the desired outcome is a healthier and more resilient version of you. Interestingly enough, the number of bacteria we need in our bodies to support our own cells actually outnumber our cells by a factor of 10!

Probiotics are groups of living organisms that benefit their hosts (that's you). Since they're living creatures that rely upon specific conditions to thrive, we must eat the right foods to promote their well-being. Substances we ingest to encourage the probiotics' living environment are termed prebiotics.

When antibiotics and other drugs, stress, excess alcohol, sugars and other toxins are present, these beneficial microorganisms are killed off. As this ecology of microbes in our gut becomes imbalanced, we fail to receive their support.

It's a symbiotic relationship. We provide them with a home and food while they help us receive nutrition, protect and maintain the lining of our digestive system and even defend us against invaders.

As is the case with many of our patients, the average American displays a spectrum of problems and red flags signaling that a degenerative problem is in progress. Symptoms range from food intolerances, weak immune systems, acid reflux, skin issues and inflammatory disorders to diseases like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), GERD and even certain cancers.

To compound the situation, today we consume nearly 1 million times less bacteria than our ancestors. In a society where conventional farming practices deprive us of these much-needed components to health, nutrition experts look at the foods and environments our ancestors thrived in for guidance.

Based on the research currently available and knowledge of our Paleolithic past, you might want to add the following strains of bacteria to your supplementation: Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus casei, Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus salivarius. These are healthy bacteria that, like the bacteria in yogurt, aren't digested -- they make their home in your digestive tract. These are available in capsule form from local health food stores.

I also suggest that our patients eat most of their carbohydrates in the form of fresh organic fruits and vegetables. This way, you're getting not only the best forms of fibers, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and enzymes for your cells but also the preferred nutrients and optimal pH inducing substances that our bacteria friends want and need.

MATTHEW KAYS is a wellness-oriented holistic chiropractor in Montgomery serving people who are interested in developing higher degrees of health and well-being. Contact him: www.advchiro.us.


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