How to Get the Most Out of Your Probiotics
By Health Researcher: Sue Visser
We tend to regard probiotics as something we take as a medicine after using antibiotics. Probiotics are not part of our normal diet apart from yoghurt. Not everybody eats dairy products and vegans battle to find vegetable-based probiotics.
What did you do with your probiotics today? Most people will respond by saying they eat yoghurt. After taking antibiotics they buy expensive supplements to compensate for a wipe out of the gut flora. But very few people know that probiotics are live bacteria that live in the gut and make up over 80% of the immune system. They survive by consuming yeast and other microbes.
The other extreme with “immune boosting” is to take excessive amounts of natural substances like echinachea, goldenseal, oregano oil and propolis that do just the opposite! They behave like powerful antibiotics and wipe out the bacteria that function as the largest part of the immune system. Even copious amounts of garlic or cloves will affect your probiotic population.
An overgrowth of the benign yeast known as candida albicans usually indicates that there are not enough probiotics in the system. On the other hand, diets that starve out the candida yeasts tend to deprive the beneficial bacteria that feed off them and this affects your immunity. Probiotics neutralize toxins, remove heavy metals and create vitamins but they need candida as part of their food chain.
Probiotics work day and night to maintain immunity, to improve digestion, wipe out pathogens and keep us free of diseases. How often are we told to take probiotic supplements? Even then, there is a slim chance that the live bacterial strains will reach their destination safely. Ideally we need to eat more food that contains live bacterial strains and promotes probiotic activity on a constant basis. There are three major groups of probiotic strains:
1: Lactic acid does not mean dairy-based.
Lactic acid can be derived from fermented milk or from vegetables like cabbage. The lactobacillus strains are a group of bacteria that produce lactic acid. It is a strong sterilizing compound. It suppresses harmful micro organisms breaks down and ferments organic matter such as lignin and cellulose. They also produce antibacterial compounds that are known as bacteriocins that attack pathogenic bacteria.
Lactobacilli and bifido bacteria help to inhibit E.coli or Clostridium perfringens, salmonella or the rota virus that cause diarrhoea and gut infections. They assist in bulking the stool and help to speed up the elimination of toxic waste in the bowel. They help in digestion in general, by balancing pH and improving the uptake of minerals, especially calcium. They help us digest lactose (milk sugar) They make vitamins for example, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 B12, A, D and K, and also essential fatty acids. They produce hydrogen peroxide at safe levels. They also keep cholesterol and triglyceride levels in check, and break down excessive hormone levels to control oestrogen dominance.
2 Phototropic bacteria
Rhodopseudomonas palustris live on carbon dioxide and are similar to blue-green algae. They support the activities of lactic acid and yeast based microbes by consuming toxins and pollutants like carbon dioxide, ammonia, methane and hydrogen-sulphide. They give off oxygen, amino acids, antioxidants and vitamin A. Bacillus subtilis, another vegetable – based probiotic is derived from fermented straw or grass. It can be used in the treatment of gut and urinary tract diseases such as Rotavirus and Shigella and it is also used to stimulate the immune system as it does not harm probiotic activity.
3 Beneficial yeasts do not cause candidiasis
Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Streptococcus thermophilus are strains of the brewer’s yeast family. They provide protein, B vitamins and chromium that help to improve insulin sensitivity. Candidiasis is an infection from a different species of yeast and needs to be controlled by the combined action of beneficial yeast and other probiotic strains.
Liquid-based bacterial strains that keep on growing!
*Over 25 years ago EM (effective microbes) research in Japan was undertaken to combine the three major groups of probiotic strains and explore their properties. They demonstrated the synergistic effect: more from less! They formulated their selection from microbes in nature that interact with each other to balance the environment. It is not about the amount of each microbe you need but more the variety of strains.
Microbes grow by themselves so the latest trend is to provide a larger selection that will then take care of establishing a healthy population of beneficial bacteria. All we need is a liquid concentration that provides the species and they will grow on food, molasses, yoghurt or even a glass of water at room temperature. The TMA (total microbial action) of *PROBIOTIC-15 liquid concentrate doubled within a few days when a teaspoon of it was left in a glass of water at room temperature.
How to harness the effects of probiotics
Fermented foods such as yoghurt, maas, kefir, kinchi pickles and sauerkraut also provide a constant supply of these little miracle workers. Here are some simple ways to establish a healthy supply of probiotics in your system.
1 If you tolerate dairy products, add probiotic supplements to your yoghurt or fermented milk known as amasi or maas. Leave them to grow at room temperature for a day or two. This increases their efficacy.
2 Use liquid probiotic strains that contain all the groups and include them in food or water. These new multi-strain products are fermented on a vegetable base.
3 Make your own sauerkraut. It provides lactobacillus plantarum. 1 kg of shredded cabbage is mixed with 15ml salt left to stand in the sun for a few hours. It is then tightly packed into two 500ml containers and sealed with cling wrap and a tight fitting lid. After 2-3 weeks it is ready to eat. Keep the containers in a bucket as some of the liquid oozes out during the process.
4 Kimchi is a fermented pickle and is made in the same way as sauerkraut. Substitute half the cabbage with a mixture of sliced carrots, red and yellow peppers, turnips, onions and a little garlic or extra chilli if desired.
5 Vegans can add kimchi or sauerkraut to salads, mashed potato or vegetables, mixed with egg free mayonnaise.
6 If you make your own juices out of herbs, fruit and vegetables then add a few tablespoons of sauerkraut to the mixture.
*Efficient Microbes: www.saem.co.za