Probiotics: Can they help YOU
regain digestive health?


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Many people have been asking if food supplement products called 'probiotics' really can help you regain digestive health. In this article - first prepared as a response to an online forum question - we try to looks at the facts and fallacies about probiotics, and discuss just why YOU might be one of the people who could benefit from trying them!

First let me say that I use probiotic support regularly. It has brought back a great degree of normality and regularity to my system that for many years no treatment, or advice from GP’s or Specialists had any impact upon.

As the Nobel laureate Ilya Mechnikov stated: “Death begins in the colon” and an important secret to good health lies in the friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract.

So do not be misled by those people making facetious, and ill-informed comments about ‘probiotics’ when they evidently know nothing them – and/or have muddled them up with other supposed ‘healthy food supplements’.

Don’t be misled...

Also watch out for those heavily marketed products that may ‘bandy about’ the ‘added value’ (to them!!) concept of ‘probiotic’ ingredients in their products – without much ‘reality’ behind the claims. You really do need to look critically at the product ingredients - as many of the probiotic-drink products are little more than ‘drinking yoghurt’ with very little (if anything) in the way of true probiotic value! Indeed a (August 2006) newspaper report confirmed that this is the case: From "The Guardian", 2006

The problem with this kind of thing is that people who have tried not-inexpensive ‘mini-yoghurt-drinks’, or perhaps sent for costly but poor quality supplements on-line, and feel they have had no positive results in terms of improvements to their digestion can come to believe that probiotics don’t work...Yet they will never have had a chance to try a REAL probiotic product, that could really help them

Don’t get confused by other ‘fads’...

By way of brief clarification ‘stanols’ or ‘sterols’ – which are plant-based derivatives that have been accredited with helping to reduce cholesterol levels - are NOT probiotics. These ingredients are often used in supposedly ‘cholesterol’ lowering drink products, which will not assist in your quest for improving your digestive problems. (More about cholesterol will be added onsite soon).

Also...anti-biotics are NOT probiotics. This may seem obvious – but the similar root of both words does confuse people. Indeed for many people it may have been a course of anti-biotics that destroyed the balance of bacteria in their gut upsetting their system in the first place – as anti-biotics do not discriminate between good and bad bacteria...they just kill them all! You obviously need to ensure that you do what you can to re-populate your digestive system with ‘good bacteria’ after using anti-biotics – so this is one time that taking a probiotic supplement can be very important.

Probiotics should also not be confused with 'Pre-biotics' - which are non-digestible carbohydrates which it is said encourage the growth of 'friendly bacteria' in the bowel. A good probiotic product will include approriate sources of nutrition to encourage 'good bacteris' to establish themselves within a damaged intestinal environment (see our recommendation at the bottoem of the page!)

Probiotics – the ‘goodies’

True pro-biotics contain natural beneficial bacteria that should be found in an adequate proportion in the human gut (a minimum of around 10-15% of the many billions of bacteria in the 'gut' should be of the 'friendly varieties') to ensure that food is digested properly. Although it is impossible to ensure that no ‘bad bacteria’ are also manifest in the gut – the bacterial balance should be such that those bacteria that help to complete the digestive process effectively are in strong enough colonies to complete their task – and probiotics can help to ensure this is the case. Most importantly, the family of Lactobacilli bacteria are recognized as essential inhabitants of a healthy human digestive system.

This bacterial family (which has 13 different strains) create lactic acid as they reproduce in the gut. Lactic acid producing lactobacilli bacteria consequently alter the pH (that is they make it a more acid environment) of the large intestine, making it inhospitable to undesirable bacteria, molds, mold spores and yeast, particularly Candida (yes yeast problems can be persistent due to digestive imbalance- and probiotics can sometimes help enormously). Bacteria which putrefy/rot food residues, which are potentially detrimental to good health and increase the production of foul wind(!), are also inhibited by acidic conditions in the colon.

Many folks, these days, have mal-functioning digestive systems for a variety of reasons. Our typical 'Western' daily lives, our personal and eating habits can all impact negatively on the ‘good bacteria’ in our gut.

Here are the most common warning signs of a bacterial imbalance, if you suffer one or more of these problems it is quite likely that taking a probiotic supplement could help you get your ‘system’ back on the right track:

  • Allergies and food sensitivities
  • Difficulty losing weight, sugar/carbohydrate craving
  • Frequent fatigue, poor concentration
  • Frequent constipation or diarrhoea
  • Faulty digestion, acid reflux and other gut disorders
  • Sleeping poorly, night sweats
  • Painful joint inflammation, stiffness
  • Bad breath, gum disease and dental problems
  • Frequent colds, flu or infections
  • Chronic yeast problems
  • Acne, eczema skin and foot fungus
  • Extreme menstrual or menopausal symptoms

    Just a quick look down this list will, no doubt, reveal numerous problems that you, or members of your family might be experiencing TODAY. These can often be problems that people struggle with literally for years! And all down to impaired digestion and an imbalanced gut-flora - which taking effective probiotics could quickly make a huge difference to.

    Indeed - it is now acknowledged that long-term imbalance of bacteria in the colon, and bowel environments 'polluted' with putrefying, improperly digested foods, can provide a scenario where SERIOUS health problems can become manifest. This includes stomach, and colon cancers. So starting NOW to improve your 'digestive health' by using a good probiotic product, especially if you already experience any of the problems listed above, could be more important than ever.

    So what can cause an imbalance
    in your digestive system?

    There are many stresses and factors that can kill your 'friendly bacteria' every day. Here is a summary of some of the commonest good-bacteria-KILLERS:

    - Antibiotics (indiscriminate bacteria KILLERS!)
    - Birth control pills
    - Steroidal & hormonal drugs
    - Fluoride (naturally found in tea...but also added to toothpase and sometimes even to drinking water!)
    - Chlorine (another nasty chemical also added to water to kill bacteria...that kills your friendly-bacteria too!)
    - Coffee/Tea (may 'pick you up' - but can 'put down' good bacteria!)
    - Carbonated drinks
    - Synthetic vitamins (a problem with manufactured vitamin supplements!)
    - Radiation (may come from many sources around the home - including TV's and mobile phones)
    - Stress (More info about stress onsite soon)
    - Preservatives (added to most processed foods)
    - Additives (colorings; flavorings; and many other chemicals that are commonly incorporated in processed foods)
    - Pesticides (residues in most vegetables and fruit - UNLESS you go ORGANIC!!!)
    - Fertilizers (Again - choose only ORGANIC fruit and veg to avoid these!)

    I have seen it suggested by the ill-informed that if your parents made it to over 75 years you most likely will do too, without recourse to things like probiotics. This might possibly be true if you are for instance one of the 8% in the UK that does consume a healthy diet. BUT the fact is that most folks who are over 75 today were growing up in a time when many of the factors listed above had no bearing on their life, their diet, their digestions...and the state of their natural ‘bacterial digestive’ activity.

    Due to the many negative aspects of 'modern-life' and 'Western-diet' - it is now FAR LESS Likely that YOU will remain fit and healthy to a ‘ripe old age’ if you do not ensure that your digestive system is kept as healthy as possible. This will NOT happen by accident – you have to choose to take some action. First by cleaning up your diet, reducing your exposure to ‘risk factors’ and your intake of ‘killer’ foods and drinks (see above) and by actively supporting your ‘damaged’ system by taking probiotics.

    Probiotics - What to look for in a good supplement...

    However, you would be correct to worry about whether or not the ‘probiotics’ you may see advertised, actually do contain an effective measure of useful 'live bacterial' content. Many, if not most products on the market may be of little use due to having the wrong bacteria, or maybe dead-bacteria, or possibly too-few bacteria...to have ANY real impact.

    A single dose of probiotic supplement should have a MINIMUM of 10,000,000 live bacteria - experts say. It is also clear that these bacteria should be from one or more of the Lactobacillus family - which are just about the only 'friendly-bacteria' tough enough to make it into the large intestine where they need to be!

    So, you should choose to use a probiotic product that has a guarantee of containing an appropriate range and number of live bacteria. The reproduction ability of the bacteria in the gut is the single most important factor in a probiotic product. This will only be possible if the pro-biotic you take has both the right bacteria, and live strains at that. The probiotic should ideally incorporate nutrition for the bacteria too, so that the chances of your new ‘digestive support’ system thriving is increased. As your impaired gut may well not have the foods that Lactobacillus need to thrive - good probiotics will incorporate a nutrition source (that will be both good for your friendly bacteria and for you!)

    The bacteria must be in their natural state and alive so that once they arrive in the gut they can multiply and produce the necessary numbers to maintain a healthy intestinal flora, even though you will no doubt still kill-off many of them daily. This is why regularly taking probiotic supplements will help to 'top-up' your friendly bacteria numbers - and increase the chance of your digestive-system continuing to work effectively.

    The only way to ensure that the bacteria are in a natural organic state and have not been tampered with or altered in any way, we recommend that the probiotics you use should be 'certified organic'. This should be clearly stated on the label - and normally the logo of official endorsement of genuine organic quality should be on the label too. If it is not - you probably CANNOT TRUST the brand's claims.

    Organic certification will give you confidence that the bacteria were produced using non-chemical production methods. You would also be advised to choose probiotics that harvest their bacteria from organic vegetable sources. I would certainly think twice about using some products that actually incorporate bacteria derived from ‘animal faecal matter’!!! (No, really, many current products do use this cheap source of bacteria...we say..."Yuk!")

    Using a probiotic supplement with live strains of the whole family of Lactobacilli bacteria – and taking this regularly to support and replace the bacteria you kill-off due to the wide range of toxic chemicals present in our diets today is the only way you can rebuild an effective digestive system.

    Once things are getting back to normal - a daily maintenance dose of probiotics is all that most people need. Although it is true that on the face of it - organic, quality probiotics are not cheap, for those (like me) who have experienced the benefits that probiotic products provide it becomes an insignificant cost for a big health pay-off...(In fact a cost that compares with 'less than half-a-pint of beer' or 'four cigarettes' is really NOTHING to pay for significantly improved digestive health!).

    Probiotics - A small cost for BIG HEALTH GAINS!!

    There may be a lucky few folks in the UK and US (for instance) who have such healthy diets (stats say 8% (UK))– they do not require much additional support – but for MOST of us (especially if we consume a typical Western diet with its many chemical hazards) we need to know we are using probiotic products that will provide the following benefits, all of which research has shown that the family of Lactobacilli bacteria can do:

  • Reduce cholesterol in the blood.
  • Increase nutrient assimilation, including calcium.
  • Reduce high blood pressure.
  • Assist in the elimination of ailments such as colon irritation,constipation, diarrhoea and acne.
  • Retard yeast infections.
  • Strengthen the immune system.
  • Manufacture and assimilate B complex vitamins (including niacin, biotin, folic acid, riboflavin and B12).
  • Help digest proteins, carbohydrates and fats properly.
  • Produce natural anti-bacterial agents (strengthening your system against the bad-bacteria!).
  • Produce cancer or tumour suppressing compounds.
  • Control the pH or acidity-alkaline levels in the intestines.
  • Reduce numbers of unhealthy bacteria in the intestinal tract.
  • Detoxify poisonous materials in the diet.
  • Detoxify hazardous chemicals added to foods, such as nitrates.

    Finding THE BEST PROBIOTIC Product

    We have only discovered ONE product that truly fulfils all the requirements of an optimal probiotic product. It is the product that I use every day – and after the years of digestive problems leading to test after hospital test, including internal cameras and biopsies...this is the only product that has actually helped to bring my system back into near normal balance! (after only a couple of months)

    My wife and I are extremely pleased to recommend, and provide testimonials for 'In-Liven' - the latest, and most advanced development of a probiotic product emanating from over 20 years of research and development by one of the World's most devoted experts in supplementary nutrition - Czerral Wheeler. Although Czerral has acquired his reputation for developing several excellent and effective products over the last 2 decades - In-Liven, the unique, proprietary, flagship product of the MiVitality brand - and the World's first and only CERTIFIED ORGANIC probiotic supplement containing the WHOLE family of live Lactobacillus bacteria (all 13 strains)- is his latest, and far-and-away BEST evolution of the world's pre-eminent probiotic product.

    Just to clarify - 'In-Liven' genuinely deserves its appellation of 'probiotic superfood'. As probiotics go - this is the only product on the market that contains 26 LIVING certified organic wholefoods, PLUS the whole range of 13 live Lactobacillus strains. The wholefoods are pre-digested by the bacteria making them hugely beneficial and easily absorbed. The probiotics 'recipe' also incorporates everything the live 'friendly-bacteria' need to re-establish themselves effectively and thrive within your system. This product also provides an AMAZING 40,000,000 per gram - so a single portion of 5gm would provide 200,000,000 live bacteria - FAR MORE than any 'off the shelf' sugar-laden drinking-yogurt type product! Some 20 TIMES MORE than experts suggest should be the minimum provided! Other probiotics just cannot compete!)

    You can read comprehensive information about MiVitality In-Liven under the Health Care section, as well as many other Certified Organic products here at www.SaferAlternative.com, and you can also place an order online.

    So Probiotics and probiotic products do work...BUT you HAVE to use a good one! As far as we are concerned - having looked at many, many products - In-Liven is the ONLY product that has the credentials to be classed as a probiotic superfood - and is the only product that we can say from personal experience DEFINITELY works!

    If you have any questions about probiotics - why not write us via our contact page today?



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