Since my last posting about probiotics I have been doing more research about gut health and healing the body. In doing so I have learned that though antibiotics have decreased the death rate from bacterial infections, they have created a whole new line of low grade long-lasting diseases that are just as deadly, like cancer and diabetes. Don’t get me wrong, if I were faced with death or taking an antibiotic, I would choose the antibiotic.
But the frequency of taking an antibiotic for every little cold, every little fever, is not okay. If doctors could give an antibiotic that was very specific for the bug making you sick things might be different, but usually that’s not the case. And giving antibiotics to children age three or younger is especially concerning, because the antibiotics wipe out budding, growing bacterial microbiomes in the gut that may not ever recover and can effect a child’s health for decades.
No one likes being sick, but being “under the weather” is our body’s immune system going to work. We tend to get impatient with a fever that lingers, a sinus infection, or a sore throat, but for the body to heal it takes time. The bottom line is that we need to be patient….maybe that’s why a sick person is called a “patient”?
What is the answer to better health?
The more I research I do, the more I am finding that when we interfere with the body’s healing process, the more damage we will cause. Let the body heal. When you are sick, you need to rest. There are life and death situations where medicine is needed, but avoid them as much as possible.
I have also been finding that what we eat is a major factor in setting us up for good health or bad health. Our bodies are supposed to be able to heal themselves if they have all the right building blocks available.
Our digestive system has trillions of bacteria in it. In fact, some say we are more of a bacterial host than we are human. And our health is in many ways determined by the types of bacteria that are dominant in our gut, and the microbes that thrive are the ones that we feed. This reminded me of the old Cherokee story about the two wolves…
So if we feed the right bugs and not the wrong bugs in our gut, we will have better health?
In my studies I came across a Dr. Rangan Chatterjee, MD, who is the host of BBC’s Doctor in the House, and wanted to share what I learned from him. He talks about the foods we eat and how they affect our health. He talks about prebiotics. Prebiotics are different than probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria and we eat them in cultured foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi–or take them in a supplement. Prebiotics are food for the bacteria. Prebiotics are in foods like carrots, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes.
Dr. Rangan Chatterjee suggests getting a rainbow of these “prebiotics” every day. He suggests having a chart on your fridge to remind you what to eat and keep track of it. The following is a checklist I found that demonstrates what he’s talking about…
One last thing about probiotics….
In math when you have a positive and a negative, what happens? They cancel each other out, right? Be very aware that probiotics and antibiotics work against each other. You cannot take them at the same time. Good rule of thumb is to give two hours after taking an antibiotic before taking a probiotic so that it is not destroyed by the antibiotic. But if you DO have to take an antibiotic, make sure you also are getting a probiotic for sure.
Antibiotics kill bacteria. Did you know that foods that are processed have antibiotics in them? Preservatives are antibiotics, they are extending the life of the food by killing off bacteria, and we eat them every day! This blew me away. So not only should we stay away from antibioitics when we’re sick unless they are absolutely necessary, but we should be very careful about what foods we put in our bodies that have preservatives because they have antibiotics in disguise.
If you want to read an interesting abstract about more health related benefits of probiotics, here’s a link to the American Academy of Oral Systemic Health’s July newsletter.
Enough said. I wish you the happy and healthy lives by making good choices regarding what you put in your body.
Links to recommended probiotics: