“Death begins in the colon” ~ Bacteriologist Ilya Mechnikov.

Probiotics are the good bacteria that serve the function of ensuring that our colon stays healthy, and are one of the most powerful additions to your diet for superior health.

Bacteria are the first line of defense of the immune system. A proper balance of bacteria in the intestinal tract is vital for maintaining good health. In a healthy colon there are between 100 billion and 100 trillion beneficial bacteria per milliliter and these consume the harmful bacteria.

The typical American has a beneficial bacteria count as low as four or five per milliliter. That’s a HUGE deficiency and is often related to a nutritionally unbalanced diet.

Probiotics serve many functions, including:

• providing essential enzymes to make nutrients available to the body
• removing cholesterol
• manufacturing B vitamins in the body
• cleaning out the lower bowels of impacted fecal matter
• destroying bad bacteria
• eliminating toxins from the body

Our levels of beneficial bacteria decline dramatically as we age, but also decline for many other common reasons:

~ Pharmaceutical antibiotics (the worst, most people need at least 60-90 days of probiotics to replenish what one week of antibiotics destroy)

~ Off-balance acid/alkaline in the bowels due to acidic foods like animals, wheat and refined carbs.

~ Anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil

~ Chlorine exposure in drinking water

~ Meat, Chicken and Dairy loaded with antibiotics (this is in addition to the extreme acid-forming properties of these items)

~ Acidic diets high in meats and fats

~ Constipation

~ Cigarettes

~ Alcohol

~ Stress

~ Herbs that have natural antibiotic effects (yes, even herbs kill the good guys, like oregano essential oil for example)

~ Food Additives

~ Pesticides

Many people believe yogurt is a good source of probiotics, thanks to advertising. But unfortunately most commercial yogurts only contain Acidophilus, and yogurts are pasteurized AFTER the bacteria is added, which literally destroys all of the beneficial bacteria.

When you choose a probiotic you need to make sure the beneficial bacteria is live so it continues to colonize after it’s been in your system. Also, it is important to note that some probiotics target specific issues in the body. There are particular probiotics for dental health, some for leaky gut, some targeting candida, some for crohn’s disease and yet others for weight issues. Some of my favorite brands are: Dr. Ohirra’s for generalized powerful use (the professional formula), VSL#3 for digestive issues, and Flora Balance powder by O’Donnell formulas for use on cleanses and detoxes, and also to use for raw yogurts and cheeses.