The Human body, just like all life on Earth, has evolved over time to live in a world of microbes. We get our first dose of microbes when we are born and pass through our mothers’ birth canal. Newborns continue their exposure through day-to-day activities like breast-feeding, handling by parents and grandparents, contact with pets and bed-sheets, and even outside air. These all contribute to an ever expanding microbiome. By late infancy our bodies support a complex microbial ecosystem-and the most complex aspect of that ecosystem is in the gut.
The digestive system, mainly the stomach and intestinal tract, can be thought of as an external organ. In essence, when food passes through the gut it is not technically inside the body until it is absorbed through the intestinal walls. The gut and the bacteria, specifically the type of bacteria that live in the gut, are critical to overall health. The digestive tract is the heartbeat of the immune system and will also determine what will and will not be absorbed by the body.
If the gut is populated with good bacteria one can expect a strong immune system and good health along with healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients. If the gut is populated with harmful microbes and bacteria one should expect poor health along with poor digestion and absorption of nutrients. Of course diet and lifestyle will determine which of the two exist.
Here is an analogy that might help. Think of the digestive tract as your lawn, whereas the green grass in the lawn is the probiotics which promote good health and the weeds are the bad bacteria and microbes which make for poor health. A lawn thick with healthy grass will make it very difficult for weeds to take hold. But take measures to kill the grass and the weeds will set in. You can feed your lawn to make it stronger as you can feed probiotics, prebiotics to make them flourish and become stronger. Additionally if you want to kill only the weeds in the gut and leave the healthy grass in place then fresh garlic must be considered as it kills harmful pathogens in the gut including yeast.
If there is one thing that is sure to kill everything in sight, including the lawn and the weeds, it’s antibiotics. Antibiotics kill everything in their path good and bad and leave the digestive tract in ruins. Not only do antibiotics leave the body somewhat weakened and defenseless against future attack, they also contribute directly to weight gain. This disruption associated with antibiotics changes the balance of microbes in the gut and the bodies’ metabolism and the manner in which we absorb nutrients. It can also allow yeast which is not killed by antibiotics to grow uncontrolled in the gut-all this can lead to cravings of food and other substances and weight gain. This condition can be especially problematic for women.
Beef, Pork and Poultry livestock producers have known this little secret for years. Give animals antibiotics and they will pack on the pounds both in water retention and body fat. It is for this reason that anyone wishing to lose or control weight needs to focus in on probiotic digestive health. The more favorable the bacteria in the gut, the easier it is to control and lose weight and reduce cravings.
Probiotics can be conveniently added to the diet through supplementation. The best supplements are those that contain live cultures with the most strains and are kept refrigerated.
Anyone who takes their diet seriously enough to take supplements such as a multi vitamin for example needs to strongly consider probiotics along with them. A good probiotic will help the body use that multivitamin that much better.
Written by DMK of Seven Grains