Our gut microbiomes—those 3-5 pound communities of bacteria and other bugs that live in our intestines—have recently been under siege by modern diets high in sugar and low in fiber, antibiotics and other drugs, and environmental toxins. But even when diets were much healthier and environments far cleaner, traditional cuisines included probiotic foods that bolstered gut health.
Sauerkrauts, pickles, yogurt, kefir, miso, and many other fermented/cultured foods supplied our ancestors with healthy microflora (probiotics) at 10-20 billion live and healthy organisms daily.
Indeed, our bodies evolved to live in a healthy, symbiotic relationship with microbes. These helpful bugs that we call probiotics have been with us since time immemorial, protecting and enhancing our resilience and resistance by competing for space inside our bodies with any harmful pathogens to which we might become exposed, thus preventing them from becoming established and proliferating.
Revered physicians throughout history have stressed the importance of the digestive tract to health, such as Paracelsus in the 16th century who said, “The most important things in life take place between the beginning and end of the digestive tract.”
According to medical doctor and renowned scientist Russell Jaffe, antibiotics and lack of awareness as to their detrimental effects are just one aspect of a larger picture of “sterilization or over-sterilization of our food supply,” which includes the elimination of probiotic-rich foods (modern-day equivalents are a sorry substitute).
This “sterilization” has deprived us of, or at least weakened, one of our staunchest allies in the struggle for health. And scientists are only beginning to understand all of the ways in which a thriving probiotic population has protected and assisted us all these years.
Lactase containing probiotics substantially improve our ability to consume lactose (milk sugar). Our immune systems are supported by probiotics that increase mucin and antibody production and stimulate the production and activity of immune cells. Enzymes in probiotics degrade potential mutagens, thus protecting us against cancer and other mutations. Various probiotics detoxify a vast array of substances, while others reduce high cholesterol. Probiotics enhance hormone metabolism, reducing pathogenic estrogens and enhancing healthy estrogens in the body. And the list goes on.
For the same kind of probiotic support that traditional cultures enjoyed, we suggest taking 10 billion probiotic organisms daily from our mixed formula Beyond Health’s Probiotic Formula, which provides 5 billion probiotic organisms daily from 10 different active, viable and live probiotic strains. If traveling, under stress, or recovering from a disease, we suggest 20 billion daily.
The individual strains in our formula were chosen for their biological activity—their ability to digest toxins, enhance digestion, protect the body, etc.—and also for their stability, so that they can pass actively into the small and large intestines, grow where appropriate in the GI tract, and nurture other organisms where that is desirable.
Our formula’s stability also allows for long-term storage. The organisms are free-dried and lyophilized to put them in suspended animation. At 20 degrees F or below, in a year there is barely a 5% loss of potency. Refrigerated, the formula can be stored for 6 months with about a 10% loss. Even at room temperature, in a month there will be only a barely detectable loss of potency up to a maximum of 5% loss.
Strains selected for our formula have been shown to inhibit the growth of H. pylori in the stomach and to inhibit E coli, clostridia difficile, candida albicans and other candida species. The formula enhances pH balance throughout the GI tract, mineral uptake, and fermentation of carbohydrates to reduce the build-up of lactose and other saccharides. In clinical outcome studies, these strains have been associated with reductions in acne, psoriasis, eczema, allergic migraine headaches, gout risk, rheumatoid arthritis discomfort, cystitis, colitis, irritable bowel and cancer risk.
- Information for this article was taken from Russell Jaffe, MD, PhD. Restoring Digestive Competence with Probiotics. Health Studies Collegium, February 2004.
- Quoted by Assefa S. Intestinal Microbiome and Metal Toxicity. Current Opinion on Toxicology. February 2020: 19: 21-27.