The Power of Probiotics
Lecture by Dr. Joseph Mercola
Dr. Joseph Mercola: Hi. This is Doctor Mercola. I’ve got some important information about basic human physiology that I think will be helpful for you and your family to take better control of your health. One of the- most people don’t realize that we can ten trillion cells in our body and I know that it sounds like a lot but the important point to consider is that we have sixty trillion bacteria in our intestine. And really one of the keys to staying healthy is to make sure that you optimize the ratio of the good bacteria to the bad bacteria and yeast in your intestine because if you don’t you are really increasing your risk for developing many chronic degenerative diseases. So, let’s talk about some of the things that you can do.
One of the ones is that you want to stay away from sugars and processed foods and foods that break down quickly to sugars because what that will do is serve as fertilizer for the bad bacteria and the yeast and once those get out of control it becomes very difficult to reverse that. So, conversely you want to replace those sugars and highly processed foods with more vegetable fibers and water soluble fibers because those are fertilizer for the good bacteria and that will help to optimize it.
The reason you want more good bacteria than bad is somewhat obvious. These good bacteria- actually, they’re waste products. They produce waste products that are very important for our own nutrition. It’s sort of a symbiotic relationship. They produce things like Vitamin K2, which has an amazing influence on our health and bone density, and a variety of other elements that are really essential for optimizing our health. So that is key.
So, adjusting your food, making sure your diet is optimized. One of the other things you can do is make sure you have plenty intake of fermented foods. Fermented foods are common in many traditional cultures, things like kim chi and sour kraut and natto. However, most of us are not going to be consuming these regularly, so many people rely on things like yogurt.
I want to tell you that commercial yogurts are something that you typically want to avoid for a number of reasons. The primary one, of course, is that they’re- this would also be true for kefir, but the primary one is that they’re made from pasteurized milk. And if you know from reading my site, you really do want to avoid pasteurized milk for a wide variety of reasons. But, additionally, they will put things like high fructose corn syrups and other sweeteners to make it more palatable. So, yes, there may be some good bacteria in there and many of them had good bacteria but they’re all dead, so no live cultures. So it’s really providing questionable value at best if you’re consuming a commercial yogurt or kefir. If you want to make them yourself, that’s a whole different story. So that is an element that is really not going to be a useful strategy for most of you.
So, what is the other practical option? Well, the simple one and the one that I recommend for myself, my family members and all the patients I’ve seen and we continue to see in our clinic is a high quality probiotic. And what do I mean by high quality? Well, let me give you some characteristics of a company that produces a high quality probiotic so that you’ll be able to make a wise selection when you’re at the health food store or you’re online choosing this. One of the key things are to make sure- and this is not only true for probiotics but it’s true for all your supplements, make sure that your supplements do not have magnesium stearate or titanium dioxide.
Magnesium stearate is a flow agent. It’s used to help the materials go into the capsule and the tablet, but has no benefit for you. In fact, it’s a huge disadvantage because it will actually promote the growth of a biofilm in your intestine and this biofilm forms a layer between the food and the supplementation your taking in your intestine, it actually limits absorption, so it will cause lots of problems for you. So, no magnesium stearate, no titanium dioxide. That is one key thing.
The second is that you want to make sure that you have a high potency probiotic. Certainly most companies that produce products that are under five billion strains per dose are going to be relatively ineffective. So, you want a high potency one; that is really going to be important. Another one is to make sure that your company is doing objective testing, and that is that they are certified that the amount of bacteria in that particular product is the same we’re seeing on the label and that the strains are the same. Because you would be surprised and shocked that many probiotics not only do not have the amount of organisms that are stated on the label, but they’re the wrong organisms. So there’s a lot of fraud in this industry and you have to be really careful. So those are some of the key components.
Now, I’ve treated tens of thousands of patients in our clinic in Chicago and we have lots of experience with probiotics. I’ve gone through at least a dozen different brands over the years. And, as a result of this experience, I’ve realize that there’s really no perfect strain for everyone. So, another important principle is to recognize that if one product that you are taking is not working, then try another one. Because it’s really extraordinary that there’s this wide arrange of response to that.
But these general principles are typically helpful and because of my experience I’ve been able to put together and work with a company to produce one of the highest quality supplements, of probiotic supplements, that I am aware of and let me tell you why I think it’s one of the highest quality. First is the number of organisms. They have sixty-six billion organisms per capsule, and this is a multi strain capsule. There are a number of different organisms, you can read on this page, that are in there that provide this wide range and increases dramatically the likelihood that you’re going to respond favorably to this. Interestingly, the company that we selected follows a practice that I am very fond of which is under promising and over delivering. So even though they say there are sixty-six billion strains in each capsule, they’re lying, because when they do their test they actually have fifty to seventy percent more. So that sixty-six billion is actually closer to a hundred billion and you are actually getting far more than the label says, which is a very good component. Part of the reason they’re able to do this is they pay very careful and close attention to the way that they process this. When they purchase their actual strains from the different companies, they make sure it’s all refrigerated and stored refrigerated and it’s refrigerated throughout the entire process. So it’s a really important component and is one of the reasons why they’re able to provide such a high potency strength. So that is very key and, of course, there’s no magnesium stearate or titanium dioxide in it. It’s got some of the best strains I know of, specifically ones like lactobacillus, which if you struggle with yeast or anaerobic bacteria will help change your body’s terrain and a whole variety of other good organisms for different reasons.
So, hopefully this is useful information because good probiotic supplementation is really one of the three crucial supplements that I recommend everyone take because, as I said, it’s something I take every day and my family members take. So, hopefully these guidelines will help you select a high quality probiotic product that will continue to provide amazing health benefits for you and your family.