Keep Gut Bacteria Healthy
The most critical part of preventing dysbiosis—an imbalance between good and bad bacteria in the gut — is maintaining a healthy diet. High-fat, high-sugar diets can rapidly cause dysbiosis and lead to a leaky gut, which will set the stage for a life of chronic inflammation and poor health. (For a detailed discussion on inflammation and its role in many diseases, see my newsletter.) Fiber is also critical, especially vegetable fiber.
Other important guidelines:
• Avoid regular use of antacids and medications that lowers stomach acid, especially if you are older. If you are having problems with digestion and reflux, take either a capsule of betadine HCL or use a teaspoon of organic vinegar mixed with 4 ounces of water with each meal.
• If you take an antibiotic or are being treated with chemotherapy/radiation, take two capsules of probiotics twice a day during the treatment, and then one capsule three times a week thereafter. As a maintenance dose, take two capsules a week.
• Avoid constipation by taking magnesium supplements daily. Sustained-release magnesium malate softens the stool without causing diarrhea. Chronic constipation is commonly associated with dysbiosis.
• Drink plenty of purified water and white tea. Flavonoids in the tea have been shown to protect the good bacteria in the gut.
• Avoid the excessive use of antibacterial soaps.
• Take at least 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 and 300 mg of DHA daily.What should a good probiotic contain? The answer is not entirely clear, as much more research needs to be done on determining the exact role of each of the probiotic organisms. We do, however, know that certain organisms improve people’s health and are anti-inflammatory. To get the best results the probiotic should contain 5 billion of each type of organism listed:
• Lactobacillus paracasei
• Lactobacillus rhamnosus
• Lactobacillus acidophilus
• Bifidobacterium lactis
• Other species of bifidobacterium
One of the best formulated probiotics is a product called Theralac.
Also of importance are prebiotics, which are the foods eaten by the bacteria. Several have been isolated, such as fructooligosaccharides, which feed the bifidobacteria species.
These probiotic bacteria are especially important as they secrete antimicrobial compounds that prevent the harmful forms of bacteria, such as Clostridium difficile, from overgrowing.
A specially formulated mix of probiotic fiber, called TruFiber, makes an excellent food for the beneficial bacteria, especially lactobacillus and bifidobacteria.