Raena Morgan: Ann Louise, probiotics seem to be the new frontier in health. Why is that?
Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman: Well probiotics are very important because they’re the good bacteria that-
RM: You hear a lot of buzz about these days, you know?
ALG: Well there is, and we have to differentiate between the pathogenic bacteria that’s out there and the good bacteria that you have innately in your system which helps you fight off all the bad guys. Now it’s almost like a balance of power, Raena, that’s the way that I look at it.
RM: Okay, interesting.
ALG: Your body needs about 85 percent of these beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, for life bacteria, and it can tolerate 15 percent of the pathogens. What I’m seeing when I do my testing with individuals is that they’ve got that ratio upside down.
ALG: Yeah, because what’s going on is that we’re killing our beneficial bacteria that help our immunity so profoundly because of the antibiotics that are in foods, secondhand antibiotics that are in foods because of the first source antibiotics that we’re taking for situations perhaps that are not necessary, including viral problems, and because we’re taking a lot of elements from the health food store-
RM: From the health food store?
ALG: -that are very antibacterial that not only get rid of some of our so-called pathogenic friends out there, but may also be wiping out the population of the good guys. So in that respected, we need to be careful when we’re supplementing with too much fiber that can actually strip the beneficial bacteria.
RM: Too much fiber?
ALG: Too much fiber for many people is not a good thing,-
ALG: -not unless you’re supplementing with a probiotic source. And if you’re taking a lot of colloidal silver, which in many respects is very helpful for people, but it can also kill the good bacteria, as well as barberry, a lovely herb that is very high in certain elements that again will wipe your population out, and interestingly enough oil of oregano, which I know is a darling these days, which I think is a marvelous anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, but it also has the ability to really decimate the population of the good guy bacteria. So probiotics help your body in terms of immunity. They’re very important in terms of the skin. They keep your gut nice and acidic, which is the way we want it to be so that germs don’t proliferate. And if you get a probiotic that has a certain proprietary strength it’s going to go after all of the super bugs out there, the e. coli, the salmonella, the h. pylori, the Methilcillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and it’ll do a disappearing act with those particular bacteria as well.
RM: Okay. You talk about endotoxins. How do they affect the GI tract? What are they?
ALG: What happens is if you have a deficit of the beneficial bacteria and you have an overgrowth of these super bugs, then these organic substances are going to be produced known as endotoxins that have the ability to produce illness from problems like eczema to even autoimmune problems like lupus.
RM: Oh, okay.
ALG: So we’ve got to make sure that the population of your beneficial bacteria is up to snuff, and what I find in that regard is that many people are deficient in the bifidobacterium.
RM: All right.
ALG: Again, I find this from my testing, because I’m a big believer in evidence-based nutrition, so I test everything from poop to saliva to urine to hair. Come to my office, I test you for everything, and then I look under the microscope.
RM: That’s good to know, yes.
ALG: Well that’s how I really know what’s going on. I don’t first look at the studies; I look at what’s going on in my people and then find the studies that collaborate what I see in real life.
RM: That’s how you do it, all right.
ALG: And what I see is that the bifidobacterium seems to be very deficient.
RM: What is the source of that?
ALG: Well the interesting thing is that would be found in a probiotic supplement, because I don’t think you’re getting enough in some of the foods that normally would’ve made that in your system. So that’s where a good probiotic where you’re not taking more than nine billion CFU’s at a time, because that can really over-stimulate the immune system, and I would suggest that not even more than 20 billion a day, and that’s very reasonable and that’s very airy on the side of caution, would be important because that can again over-stimulate the immune system, and that’s something that we don’t want. The body doesn’t recognize all of that as being native to itself, so that can stimulate a further autoimmune response. So less is more when it comes to probiotics,-
RM: All right.
ALG: -staggering your dosages, and I don’t think you can get the billions of colony forming units anymore in foods that you can get in a fermented source of a probiotic.
RM: Are there foods that we should avoid? Antibiotic-infused meats?
ALG: Antibiotic-infused meats, and then of course the dairy foods that are from the meat, and then I would also suggest a lot of sugar is certainly not healthy in terms of the immune system.
ALG: A lot of processed foods, a lot of sugar. What we do want, however, are foods that are natively fermented to assist your probiotic supplement. You’ll be getting millions of CFU’s hopefully in those, and that’s where homemade yogurt would be important, not the stuff you see in the stores anymore, but we’ve got to get back to getting out those yogurt makers,-
RM: I remember, yes.
ALG: -getting out homemade yogurt as we did back in the 70’s.
RM: That was good stuff.
ALG: It was. And the more sour the better, because that’s what you want. These are lactic acid bacteria, so they’re a little on the acidic side. A little bit of sour kraut would also be helpful.
ALG: Sour kraut is a good source, and even olives, interestingly enough. And then we want to feed those with a prebiotic source, and that’s where chicory root comes into play; that’s my favorite prebiotic.
RM: Is it?
ALG: As well as whey. So if you take a whey protein drink of undenatured, unheated whey, that’s also going to act as a prebiotic.
RM: Great information. Thank you so much.
ALG: You’re welcome.
Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman offers some information about the balance of bacteria that should be in your digestive system. Find out what healthy foods and herbs might be destroying your beneficial bacteria. Find out other healthy ways to get the balance of good bacteria back in your favor!
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