From the Desk of Dr. Len
Dr. Len Lopez – Wednesday, June 07, 2017
Probiotics support the ratio of ‘good’ to ‘bad’ bacteria in our digestive system. More than 50% of your immune system is found in your gut. So, if your digestive system always seems irritated and you struggle with bloating, gas, heartburn, GERD, irritable bowel, colitis or Crohn’s there is a pretty good chance your immune system is not doing as good as it could be.
That’s only one of the benefits of probiotics and a healthy functioning digestive system. Did you also know that most of your thyroid hormones are converted from the inactive form of T-4 into the active form of T-3? That conversion process isn’t that efficient when your tummy is in disarray, associated to an over-growth of the bad bacteria.
I’m sure some of you have heard about a neurotransmitter called serotonin. If you take an anti-depressant or anxiety medication you are familiar with serotonin, and how that little brain messenger helps you relax and calm down. But if your tummy is inflamed, which is where most of your serotonin is produced, you’re probably not producing as much as you should.
Fyi…serotonin is the precursor to melatonin, a powerful antioxidants and neurotransmitter to help our body sleep, as well as, repair and rebuild. So, if you’re not making serotonin, or are taking any of the SSRI medications, there’s a pretty good chance you’re not making enough melatonin either.
What’s the Importance of Good Bacteria
Your digestive system is lined with over a trillion bacteria cells. What the bacteria does is essentially digest your food and then ‘poop’ it out. The bacteria that poops out (excretes) stuff that is beneficial and supports our digestive system is termed, ‘good’ bacteria. The other 5% or so, of the bacteria poops out toxins that are harmful to the digestive environment and are called ‘bad’ bacteria.
The problem has to do with the ratio of good to bad bacteria. The good bacteria keep the bad bacteria in check. Probiotics help restore that good balance. It’s antibiotics, birth control pills, steroid hormones to name a few that kill off the good bacteria and allow the overgrowth of the bad bacteria that leads to other problems like yeast and fungus overgrowth, candida, urinary tract infections and possible parasites.
We know drugs contribute to the over-growth problem, but so too does passing along undigested and putrefied food that irritates and inflames your gut. All this rotting and undigested food helps feed the bad bacteria and over-growth in your GI tract.
So, if you don’t clean up your gut – you’ll probably stay in this vicious cycle of digestive problems, cravings, hormonal issues, weight gain and blood sugar imbalances.
A good probiotic will increase the number of good bacteria in your gut. I like a probiotic that has several different strains of bacteria, preferably the strains that help both the large and small intestine. Aside from a probiotic, you want to eat yogurt, which has a lot of live-cultured bacteria. I would refrain as much as possible from the yogurts with all the added fruits and sugars. You can also eat kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, and miso soup, which are all know to provide probiotic help to your gut.
Probiotics are NOT the same as Enzymes. They do two completely different things to support a healthy functioning digestive system. If you do struggle with digestive issues that haven’t cleared-up you should also look at food combining, along with a 2-week elimination diet as well. Click to Test Your Digestive Function!
Lastly, when you were born, the environment of your digestive system was fairly pristine. As a new born, we supported that environment, and transferred a lot of those immunoglobulins when we breast-fed. It’s that continual havoc we’ve thrown onto ourselves with our dietary and lifestyle choices that turn that pristine environment into a calamity of inflammation.
That’s why I am a big proponent of taking a daily probiotic or at least drink some raw milk on occasion.