The Natural Way

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Not the ones which go scattering when you turn the light on at home, but the ones who have real estate inside your gastro-intestinal tract. Good ones, like good neighbors, add health and well being to our lives. Others can cause us belly aches, ulcers and much more.

There are probably thousands of different families of these microorganisms living inside us and many more that visit and move on, kind of itinerant workers. Both have important impact on our life span and quality of life. Medicine and science have long known the beneficial qualities of some of these bugs. Medical doctors recommend acidophilus supplements after a large dose of antibiotics. Acidophilus is only one of the many beneficial bugs we must have to live well.

Some of the most important are Lactobacilli Acidophilus, Lactobacilli rhamnosus, Lactobacilli bulgaricus, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifodobacterium bifidum and Bifodobacterium faecium - big words for such little fellas. In 1950 three specific effects by these guys were discovered: elimination of cancer causing toxins; reduction of bad enzymes which lead to cancer; and tumor suppression.

Though these good bugs live in our gastro-intestinal tract, the benefits aren't just limited to the gut. For instance, cholesterol in the blood drops, calcium is absorbed better, food poisoning is reduced or prevented and yeast populations reduced overall. Other benefits include the elimination of food allergies and bowel irritability.

These good guys love to live in our systems and as they reproduce, their colonies push out other organisms living in the area - like what we have done to deer and wildlife as people have grown in population. The good guys also eat up the food sources the bad guys would otherwise dine on and the good guys leave behind what the bad guys would call pollution, which makes life unbearable for them. Mind you, this is all good for us.

These supplements are called probiotics. Most often they are freeze-dried so they don't have to be refrigerated, unlike the old-fashioned products of 20 years ago. These little guys have a lot to offer, far beyond what their size would suggest.

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