Minding the Microbiome: The Bacteria Solution
More and more research indicates that our gut, our respiratory tract, our reproductive tract and our skin are home to millions of healthy bacteria that protect our body and provide the first line of our immune defense. For years, natural medicine has talked about the importance of fermented foods, the bacteria in yogurt, the need for probiotics when no one would listen. Now all ears are tuned to the idea of positive bacteria as the answer to many autoimmune disorders and symptoms that refuse to resolve. No longer do physicians hand out antibiotics over and over indiscriminantly.
The solution for many sufferers of asthma, chronic bronchitis, eczema, psoriasis, MRSA, colitis, C-Diff and even infertility, is bacteria. By focusing on restoring the normal environment of the body, the healthiest bacteria can flourish which increases our inherent immunity. Every infection that is bacterial in origin can be traced back to a weakness in the host. This is what makes hospitals one of the most frequent places where bacterial infections are contracted. Hospital-acquired infections are what drive up the statistics regarding infection deaths and are easily spread through a population of recovering patients already struggling with immune challenges.
The Inner World
The first step is to prevent bacterial loss. Here are just a few of the ways in which we decimate our natural protective bacteria:
- Bathing in very hot water which kills bacteria.
- Applying antibacterial soaps, skin care products and surfactants.
- Multiple use of antibiotics, steroids and other pharmaceuticals.
- Change in the normal pH of body tissues.
- Physical and Emotional Stress.
- Diets that are poor in nutritional density or high in artificial ingredients.
- Chronic inflammation or allergies.
This can happen more easily than you would think. Let's look at your bacteria ...
Every external tissue is covered in beneficial bacteria. This includes the nasal passages and sinuses, the mouth, throat and bronchial passages, the entire digestive system from mouth to anus, the lungs, the urinary tract and reproductive passages. These bacteria secrete protective fluids and biochemicals that create a barrier to disease-creating pathogens. Gaps in this protective barrier then allow infections to begin.
In addition research is showing us that these beneficial bacteria from the gut can send factors to the brain, which stimulate signals to make new brain cells. Gut dysbiosis (a term for the imbalance of bacteria and gut pathogens) may therefore be behind brain and neurological disorders.
Some Thoughts from our Colonic Hydrotherapist
"Bacteria may not be something that you think is a good thing, but trust me it is...
The truth is, we are practically walking petri dishes, rife with bacterial colonies from our skin to the deepest recesses of our guts. There are 10 times more bacterial cells in your body than human cells. Over the past few years there has been intense interest into the role of intestinal flora and its broad reaching effects on human health and disease. We still do not fully understand this relationship, but worldwide investigative interest is producing an information explosion in the field. Maybe we will soon come to understand fully why so many historical physicians believed that good health started in the gut.
You might think it obvious that these bacteria receive nutrition, protection, and a stable living environment from our gut, but you may not realize that there are symbiotic benefits that we derive from them. For one thing, bacteria produce chemicals that help us harness energy and nutrients from our food. In addition to this, intestinal bacteria appear to keep our immune systems healthy. Several studies suggest that microbes regulate the population and density of intestinal immune cells by aiding in the development of gut-associated lymphoid tissues that mediate a variety of immune functions. But not all of the normal flora in our digestive tract are beneficial. We do host some that are parasitic and pathogenic (capable of causing disease). These "negative" bacteria will tend to become more active and proliferate when the natural balance between species of bacteria become compromised. Some examples of things that have been shown to have a negative impact on human intestinal flora are antibiotics, diet, immuno-suppression, inflammation and stress.
Gastrointestinal complaints are one of the most common categories of health complaints in the United States. The majority of prescription and over the counter products only provide symptomatic relief and seldom address the root cause of the GI imbalance that causes symptoms. Overuse and misuse of these products can lead to an increase in problems as well as a viscous cycle of dependency.
So whether you are experiencing a specific problem in your GI or just want to increase the health and wellness of your whole body, our Gut Flora Restoration plan is designed to restore balance from the inside out." - Kate Leighton, Conscious Body Colonic Hydrotherapist
The Outer World
The entire skin of our body contains just as much protective bacteria as the inside of our body tissues. It is a living, breathing microbiome passed down to us from our mothers and shaped by our existence throughout our lives. It is exclusively ours and needs to be treated with care. Shampoos, skin cleansers, exfoliants, antibacterial soaps all take their toll on this living envelope. The mistake we have made is thinking we are supposed to remain separated from the microbial world. As we have bathed ourselves in cleanliness and sterility, we are creating exactly that. Sterility. Cleanliness needs to be the maintenance of our healthy microbiome.
This explains many of the skin's irritations, infections and chronic conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, seborrhea, impetigo, vitiligo, Tinea and even ulcers. The skin is a reflection of the gut and the gut is a reflection of the skin. So treating the skin requires treating the gut.
We provide therapies, cleanses, medicinals and diets that help to restore the normal and healthy microbiome to the skin.
So what to do?
Bring back the bacteria ...
So what to do? Bring back your bacterial envelope with our Gut Flora Restoration Plan. It isn't a permanent solution to simply take probiotics because it does nothing for the bacteria to flourish, nor for you to continue making your own natural bacteria. An essential part of your immunity is for you to have your own distinct, individual bacteria. That isn't something that can be reproduced, nor imitated with supplemental probiotics.
Begin with a healthy terrain. Your microbiome or terrain is just that, the equivalent of dirt for plants. In order for beneficial bacteria to grow and flourish there has to be a supportive biome.
Protocol to restore the terrain: 4-6 weeks
On the weekends take 3 Gut Flora Complex tablets twice a day. If you have had a recent bout of yeast or infection, add 2 Garlic Forte tablets twice daily.
On weekdays take 1 teaspoon twice daily of Slippery Elm powder, 1 Vitanox tablet 3 times daily and 1 ProSynbiotic capsule 3 times daily.
For 10 days take 4 Wormwood tablets spread out through the day. Cease for 10 days and then repeat for another 10 days.
Every day suck on 1 Digest tablet 5-15 minutes before eating each meal until it tastes bitter and then swallow with a little water. This helps to normalize stomach acid production (if you have a history of ulcers, substitute HiPep for Digest).
Temporary Probiotic Support: 4-6 weeks
Once you have restored the terrain, we recommend raising your probiotic levels with our high grade HLC High Potency probiotic. As with any high grade bacterial product, it should be refrigerated and 1-2 per day can make a huge difference in bowel function, digestive balance and candida symptoms. Along with this we recommend 1-4 Lact-Enz per day which helps the appendix begin to create more of your own, individual probiotic flora.
Feed the Bacteria
Feeding your natural bacteria is an ongoing, long-term process. Begin with Slippery Elm Powder. This is a great prebiotic to feed your bacteria and keep your body's bacterial envelope complete. Include prebiotic and probiotic foods including:
- Raw vegetables such as garlic, leeks, asparagus, Jerusalem artichoke, onions and dandelion greens
- Raw fruit such as bananas and berries.
- Organic plain yogurt, kefir and soft cheeses.
- Legumes, lentils and beans.
- Fermented foods such as red wine, sauerkraut, miso and sour pickles.