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Monthly Newsletter January, 2012

This month's newsletter deals with a subject that many have either never heard about or if you have heard how important it may be for good health, are still confused about, and that subject is Probiotics! The proper use of probiotics on a regular basis could be one of the most important things you ever do for your general health and could be the ultimate solutions for many chronic health issues. There are many chronic and acute conditions that can respond favorably to the use of probiotic supplements and by instituting a gut healthy diet rich in prebiotic foods. I will explain the terms probiotic and prebiotic below to eliminate any misunderstandings about these terms.

Probiotics

An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms representing more than 500 different species inhabit every normal, healthy bowel. These microorganisms (or microflora) generally don't make us sick; most are helpful. Bacteria in the gut fulfill a host of useful functions for humans, including

  • (1) digestion of unutilized energy substrates
  • (2) stimulating cell growth
  • (3) repressing the growth of harmful microorganisms
  • (4) training the immune system to respond only to pathogens
  • (5) defending against some diseases.

Bacteria make up most of the flora in the colon and up to 60% of the dry mass of feces. Somewhere between 300 and 1000 different species live in the gut, with most estimates at about 500. However, it is widely believed that 99% of the bacteria come from about 30 or 40 species.

The best case for probiotic therapy has been in the treatment of diarrhea. Some digestive disease specialists are recommending probiotics for disorders that frustrate conventional medicine, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Since the mid- 1990s, clinical studies have established that probiotic therapy can help treat several gastrointestinal ills, delay the development of allergies in children, and treat and prevent vaginal and urinary infections in women.

Prebiotics

Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics. Prebiotic is a kind of an odd term, fairly recently coined to refer to food components that support the growth of certain kinds of bacteria in the Gut.

Fermented foods are the best sources of prebiotic foods. The bacteria in your gut have to eat too and they just love these foods. Eating the foods listed below will make the healthy bacteria in your gut very happy.

Prebiotic Foods:
  • Kimchi (fermented Asian cabbage) Miso (fermented Soy) Tempeh (Soy) Sauerkraut
  • Kefir (fermented milk product) Natto (fermented soy beans) Kombucha Pickles (no sugar)
  • Chicory root Artichokes Garlic Legumes Greens Barley Oats
  • Pickled vegetables Yogurt (plain, no sugar) Natural Greek yogurt is best Red Wine

So now that you know what the terms Probiotic & Prebiotic mean, let's talk about some of the wonderful things a healthy Gut can mean to you. From this point on in our newsletter when we use the term "Gut" we are talking primarily about the small and large intestine. In case you didn't know, the absorption of your food does not happen in the stomach, it happens in the small intestine. The job of the stomach is to prepare the food eaten for absorption in the gut.

It is my belief that 80% to 90% of all illnesses start in the Gut!

Prebiotic foods and probiotic supplements can be extremely helpful in treating the following conditions. This is by no means a comprehensive list but it does include conditions that most people are familiar with.

    • Treatment of diarrhea, especially following treatment with certain antibiotics.
    • Prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections.
    • Treat irritable bowel syndrome.
    • Prevent and treat eczema in children.
    • Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections.
    • Prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu.
    • Treatment of allergies.

I would like to take some time here to discuss how probiotics can be extremely helpful to the allergy patient. For most people, allergies start in the gut. Years of poor diet, too much sugar, prescription drugs, and multiple doses of antibiotics can team up to damage the intestinal lining and alter normal gut flora. This situation allows food particles that should not pass through the intestinal wall to pass into the bloodstream. The body reacts to this by triggering its immune response. For many folks this means autoimmune disease. For millions of others it means allergies.

When I treat patients with autoimmune diseases or allergies I use a 3 prong approach. First, I have them take a digestive enzyme to assist them in breaking down their meals and getting the food ready for proper assimilation in the gut. Secondly, I have the patient eat foods that are good prebiotic foods (listed above), and remove dairy and gluten from their diet. The last step is to prescribe a quality probiotic supplement to rebuild the normal bacterial flora in the gut.

Many of these patients are simply amazed at the tremendous improvement in their health by taking these 3 simple steps.

Please keep in mind that if you have been taking multiple prescription or over- the-counter drugs, have taken several doses of antibiotics, or have a diet that is too high in processed foods you may be in desperate need of rebuilding the normal bacteria in your colon with probiotic therapy. If your symptoms or health problems are related to this imbalance of bacteria in your gut (known as Dysbiosis) then another drug prescribed by your physician will not help. The only treatment for Dysbiosis is rebuilding your gut flora with proper diet and supplementation with quality probiotics.

As I end this newsletter about Probiotic Therapy let me add some important information about what probiotic products you should consider taking. Unfortunately quality probiotics are not easy to manufacture and although there are many probiotic brands on the market, many of these are very lacking in potency. The key to a good product is one that contains 20 billion or more micro- organisms per capsule and is guaranteed to have stated potency until expiration date. I have 2 brands in my office that I know are quality and work well. One is ProSynbiotic by Standard Process Labs and the other is BioDoph-7 Plus from Biotics Research Corporation.

Inferior probiotic supplements WILL NOT WORK ! So if you have tried using probiotics with little or no success this is in all likelihood why probiotic therapy failed for you. My best advice is to contact a health care professional that is familiar with probiotics and have him or her recommend a product that you can trust. If you are reading this newsletter and live locally then just drop by my office and I can provide you with the above mentioned brands. Then you will know you are taking a quality probiotic supplement and not wasting your money.

Should you have questions about the topic discussed above please e-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call me at 386-956-1668. I am here to help. You can also visit my website at www.drstephenhayman.com. You will find earlier newsletters archived there to help you continue to educate yourself about healthy living.

Vital Life Solutions 820 W. New York Ave. DeLand, FL. 32720

I am currently accepting new patients for nutritional assessment and dietary coaching.

Have a Healthy Day!

Dr. Stephen W. Hayman