Integrative Health Blog

What's the Buzz About Probiotics?

Posted by admin on Wed, Oct 17, 2012

Jody Jung RN, CHC

So what’s all the buzz about probiotics these days? Good bugs,  bad bugs, what’s the beyond_organic_at_NIHAdifference?

How do we get more of the "good" bugs?  Well, let’s start by looking at where the “not so good ones” come from.

A healthy body has a nice balance of microbes in the gut, but certain circumstances can cause either:

-   an overgrowth of microbes that in a balanced system are harmless but out of balance they can cause dis-ease of the body

-   a decrease in the amount of good bugs decreases our  body's  ability to fight invading infectious organisms

Sadly, many of the common foods we eat and medications we use can be responsible for creating this imbalance.  Some of these include:

  • Antibiotic use
  • Birth control pills
  • NSAIDs (motrin, aleve, advil)
  • Stress
  • Poor diet

This imbalance can make your body pretty unhappy with many unpleasant symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Candida
  • Digestive problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloated feeling
  • Poor immune function

So, how can you get more of the good bugs, you might ask? Let’s explore that now! The good news is, as you bring on the good bugs, you’ll be making your insides strong, healthy and happy!  And while there are many things you may need to do to rebuild your gut if it has become compromised by bad bugs, re-colonizing with probiotics is crucial part of the recovery process!

Probiotics can be found either in supplement or food form

While there are many good probiotics available, store-bought, probiotics that come from a supplement supplier can come with their own challenges.  For example:

-   it can be difficult to keep the little bugs alive in a bottle and through out transportation to the end user (you!)

-   challenges can occur because the ‘bugs’ are in a dormant, inactive state until they reach our digestive system where they must become reanimated before leaving our system.

-   probiotic supplements oftentimes do not provide the “food” that probiotics like to eat, known as “pre-biotics”

Live Probiotics Aid the Digestive System

However, by eating and drinking probiotic rich foods, you not only get live flora living in their natural state, but they travel to our digestive system with all the food they need to eat, and tend to survive the digestive process in much higher numbers.  And of course, the more the better!  According to certain experts, eating probiotic foods can be up to 100 times more effective than taking supplements alone! So, I hope you see the vast benefit between supplementing vs. eating cultured foods!

So which foods contain probiotics?  Here are some options for probiotic-rich foods:

  • sauerkraut
  • kim chi
  • kombucha
  • yogurt
  • kefir
  • miso
  • natto
  • tempeh

Try to incorporate these into your diet to balance out the digestive system, you will notice a difference!

Jody Jung, RN, CHC, is a Registered Nurse and a Certified Health Coach.  She is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  By overcoming her own challenges with Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome and intestinal dysbiosis, Jody has become an expert in guiding her clients who are on a similar healing journey.  As a Mission Marketer for the Beyond Organic community, she’s dedicated to helping people find the very best foods in the world to aid them in achieving optimal health.

Topics: digestive health, probiotics