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Shopping for the ultimate probiotic
It’s now common knowledge…..
You are not just made up of YOU cells, along for the ride, is a couple of trillion bacteria. In fact, from a numbers perspective, they’re in the majority.
They’re ALL OVER.
On your skin, your breasts, your bladder……..but the ones that are the focus of our attention, are the little guys living in our gut.
They’re not just along for the ride.
Bacteria hard at work
They DO STUFF.
- They help with digestion.
- They make things, that influence our body chemistry.
- They help with defences.
And when the “wrong” bacteria take up residence, it impacts our health.
So, if you’re health conscious, your gut bacteria are on your radar.
A healthy gut flora
Now there are three approaches to cultivating the “right” microflora.
- The first approach. Stop the killing. Ditch the soaps, preservatives and antibiotics.
- The second approach. Create an environment that makes bacteria happy aka. feed them foods they like. If you’re wondering they LOVE fibre.
- The third approach. Send in the good guys.
Now a common way to sending in the good guys, is to swallow a probiotic.
Probiotics are BIG BUSINESS…………
A trip to the “drug” store offers a dizzying array of options.
But……… truth be told, the options are actually quite limited. It’s a NUMBERS problem.
Gut diversity important
It is estimated that a healthy gut has up to a 1000 different species of bacteria. Unfortunately, a less healthy gut, usually has a lot less types of bacteria. Diversity is used to describe this phenomenon.
And it is the DIVERSITY, that is important.
The rainforest in your gut
Think of a rainforest versus a forest plantation.
Healthy ecosystems have lots and lots of species, all interacting. And each species MATTERS. Some more than others.
A healthy gut SHOULD be a rainforest…..
9 strains per capsule
It should have hundreds of different types of bacteria. But that premium brand probiotic at best, is supplying you with a couple of different strains of bacteria. And they all come from a similar source.
The majority of bacteria popped into probiotic products are bacteria associated with “milk”.
It’s all in their name – Lactobacillus. Lacto- this refers to lactose (the sugar found in milk) and bacillus, is a reference to the shape of the bacteria, they are rod shaped.
There are exceptions, there are probiotics based on soil based organisms on the market, but these are not in the majority.
There is another diversity “problem”…..
Billions of bacteria
The marketing will tell you, you’re getting 15 billion C.F.U. of a given bacteria, for example, Lactobaccillus acidophilus in the pill you’re swallowing. Assuming this is true, it often is NOT, being stuffed into a pill and left on the shelf for a year, is not exactly conducive to bacterial survival, the problems is……….
You’re getting 15 billion of the same dude !
Now, that’s NOT what happens in nature.
Just like no two humans are exactly alike, and this is what makes “us” interesting, bacteria in natural environments are not always carbon copies of each other.
Oh dear !
Swallowing a probiotic is not doing much to improve DIVERSITY !
So what can you do ?
The plant microbiome
Not sure if you’ve ever stopped to think about it, but just like us, plants have a microbiome.
A real microbiome……
We’re not talking about the bacteria that happen to be sitting on the surface. We’re talking about microbial life, LIVING in the inside of the plant.
Just like the human microbiome, the plant microbiome, does STUFF.
The plant microbiome
- Helps plants with nutrient uptake
- Produces helpful chemicals that impact plant chemistry
- Helps plants keep the bad guys out
Who is who, in the plant microbiome depends, on the type of plant, as well as the environment the plant is living in.
The plant microbiome is diverse
Healthy plants have lots of different organisms, living inside.
Some of the bacteria are really only relevant to plants, but some of the bacteria found living inside plants, also take up residence in HUMAN GUTS.
And…………plant microbiomes interact with our human microbiome.
Wash them away
Now, you may be thinking………………… but Mom told me to ALWAYS wash the fruits and vegetables before eating. So, aren’t they GONE !
You’re washing away the guys on the outside, not the residents on the inside.
And for the record……….. it’s probably a good idea to give the fruits and vegetables, you’re eating, a quick rinse.
You don’t want to have the trauma of finding half a caterpillar in your salad. And, you really don’t know who, or wha, might have been in contact with that surface, en route to your mouth.
When you eat a plant in a raw or fermented form, you’re eating their microbiome.
Now, the stomach is a tough neighbourhood, so the vast majority of these bacteria and things, are sizzled by the acid.
But a few get through…………
Where they can take up residence, and DO STUFF, for you.
The plant microbiome is Mother Nature’s probiotic !
Watch how you store your veggies – a dark cold fridge will not make your cabbage think it is under attack, something you want your cabbage to do.
For decades, man has been ahead in the wheat war, but we’re losing the gluten war, food intolerance is a growing problem. Why ?
Everytime you swallow your probiotic, you send billions of good bacteria into your gut, but these good guys don’t seem to stick around, they just pass through