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Do you take probiotics and has it made a difference of any kind? If so, how?
Thu. Jun 21, 8:34am
I'm pretty sure they have
I take MegaFlora, which has 14 strains of probiotics. I get it at Whole Foods. I have eczema, and I am fairly certain it has been helping in a noticeable way. I am about 6 weeks into taking the probiotic pills. I started taking the pills after reading this article in Wired Magazine:
"Probiotics (pills containing bacteria) have resulted in complete elimination of eczema in 80 percent of the people we've treated," says Dr. Joseph E. Pizzorno Jr., a practicing physician and former member of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. Pizzorno says he's used probiotics to treat irritable bowel disease, acne and even premenstrual syndrome. "It's unusual for me to see a patient with a chronic disease that doesn't respond to probiotics."
Clinical trial data on probiotics is incomplete, but there are many indications that hacking the body's bacteria is beneficial.
In sheer numbers, bacterial cells in the body outnumber our own by a factor of 10, with 50 trillion bacteria living in the digestive system alone, where they've remained largely unstudied until the last decade. As scientists learn more about them, they're beginning to chart the complex symbiosis between the tiny bugs and our health.
"The microbes that live in the human body are quite ancient," says NYU Medical Center microbiologist Dr. Martin Blaser, a pioneer in gut microbe research. "They've been selected (through evolution) because they help us."
And it now appears that our daily antibacterial regimens are disrupting a balance that once protected humans from health problems, especially allergies and malfunctioning immune responses.
"After the Second World War, when our lifestyles changed dramatically, allergies increased. Autoimmune diseases like diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease are increasing," says Kaarina Kukkonen, a University of Helsinki allergy expert. "The theory behind (what causes) the diseases is the same: Lacking bacterial stimulation in our environments may cause this increase. I think this is the tip of the iceberg."
In a recent study, Kukkonen and her colleagues gave a probiotic containing four strains of gut bacteria to 461 infants labeled as high risk for developing allergic disorders. After two years, the children were 25 percent less likely than those given a placebo to develop eczema, a type of allergic skin inflammation. The study was published in the January issue of Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Microbial exposures early in life, scientists believe, cause mild inflammation that calibrates the body's responses to other pathogens and contaminants later in life. Without exposure as infants, researchers say, people can end up with unbalanced immune systems.
"Many of the most difficult problems in medicine today are chronic inflammatory diseases," says Blaser. "These include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, atherosclerosis, eczema and multiple sclerosis. One possibility is that they're autoimmune or genetic diseases. The other possibility is that they are physiological responses to changes in microbiota."
Blaser's specialty is Helicobacter pylori, a strain once common in every human stomach but now rare in the West. Its disappearance may have benefits: H. pylori-related inflammation is associated with peptic ulcers and some stomach cancers. However, H. pylori also reduces acid reflux, which in turn is associated with asthma and esophageal cancers.
H. pylori's decline, says Blaser, correlates with a rapid rise in those afflictions. H. pylori deficiency may also contribute to obesity, he says, because the bacteria help regulate production of two hormones, ghrelin and leptin, that affect metabolism and appetite.
Low levels of Bacteroidetes have also been linked to obesity. Studies indicate that bacterial imbalances are associated with irritable bowel syndrome, post-surgical infections and type 1 diabetes.
The health-food movement has moved ahead with probiotics without regard for clinical trial results. Women commonly use supplements like acidophilus to treat yeast infections. Other probiotics are making their way into products such as Kashi Vive cereal "to help you care for your digestive system" and Dannon's Activia yogurt, which in its first year boasted more than $100 million in sales. But scientists say over-the-counter probiotics are of inconsistent quality.
Pizzorno, for example, buys his probiotics from companies that sell directly to doctors. Consumer probiotics don't always contain medically recognized bacterial strains, he said, and often the bacteria they contain are dead.
"Most of the companies don't have any research ongoing at all," says Stig Bengmark, a University of London hepatologist. "They buy cheap bacteria from yogurt companies and say it's good, but it's never proven."
To more precisely hack the gut bacteria, Blaser calls for a Gut Genome Project, modeled after the Human Genome Project. It's a daunting task: The human genome, mapped to great fanfare but still dimly understood, contains a tenth of the genes believed to be in our gut bacteria. But though difficult, such research could prove vital.
"The world is very aware of the concept of global warming, which is a macro-ecological change," Blaser says. "I postulate that there are similar micro-ecological changes going on inside us."
Thursday, June 21, 2007, 9:06 AM
YES THEY WORK
My daughter is 7 years old. She has had a chronic cough since she was 9 months old. Her skin will break out as well. We've been to 15 doctors including ENTs, Pedicatric specialists, Endocrinologist, etc. She has had numerous x-rays, skin testing, allergy testing, asthma test, etc. She has had more cough medicine than any 80 year old has ever taken.
Several months ago, when i was willing to try anything, we went to a DO who specializes in chiropractic care and homeopathic medicine. He recommended three tests to us: blood screen on immunology, stool test for bacteria, parasites, digestion, and the third was a blood screen for allergies and sensitivities. Turns out EVERYTHING they tested for at the allergist was POSITIVE when they said it wasn't.
We are starting the probiotics today becuase of the specific parasites, allergies, enzymes, etc. Digestive enzymes are in her plan, too.
Here's the key: not all probiotics are the same! go see a homeopathic doc in your area to find out which one is the right one for you. You may end up taking them and it's not beneficial.
sorry for any typos--I am crying happily that we finally have an answer for my sweet girl.
Thursday, June 21, 2007, 9:24 AM
Why Probiotics are a good idea
Why Do We Need Probiotics?
Two of the most damaging substances to the delicate intestinal flora balance are chlorine and sodium fluoride, present in most treated city water, and thus also present in most beverages which one gets at restaurants. The drinking of alcoholic beverages also contributes to the destruction of the intestinal flora. Medical antibiotics, birth control pills and many other allopathic drugs cause damage to the intestinal flora and to the tissue in the intestinal wall.
Poor eating habits, chlorinated drinking water, stress and disease and the use of antibiotics in food production as well as in medical treatments can wreak havoc in the gastrointestinal tract by destroying good bacteria and allowing undesirable bacteria to multiply. When the ratio of good bacteria to bad is lowered, problems begin to arise such as excessive gas, bloating, constipation, intestinal toxicity and poor absorption of nutrients.
probiotics and the digestive system
While it's true that non-beneficial bacteria are naturally occurring in the intestinal tract, problems begin when their growth goes unchecked and probiotics play an especially important role in keeping in check the pathogenic bacteria that cause disease.
A good probiotic supplement will contain millions and millions of live bacteria to bolster and replenish levels of the health promoting good bugs in your digestive tract. Once there, these probiotic reinforcements join forces with the existing friendly bacteria to help inhibit the growth of more harmful microbes.
This, in turn, will help improve the digestion and absorption of your food and stimulate and support the immune system.
Here's a summary of what probiotics can do:
* Inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria that cause digestive stress
* Improve digestion of food and absorption of vitamins
* Stimulate the body’s natural defence mechanism - the immune system
* Help make vitamins needed by the body
Why are probiotics supplements necessary?
The answer is, that while it is true that certain foods - especially live yogurt, Japanese Miso, Tempeh and some cheeses have a probiotic action in the gut, you can never be sure what strain of bacteria you are eating or exactly how much is contained in these foods. And there is no way of knowing just how many of those replacement bacteria are going to survive and make it all the way through the acidic and bug-killing environment of the stomach to the colon.
There are other foods, such as bananas, garlic and onions, which can also help repopulate levels of the good bacteria in the intestine. But we do not yet know how many you need to eat for the best results and, you can only eat so much garlic in a day!
Thursday, June 21, 2007, 11:37 AM
9:24 poster here
The doc we saw for my daughter's coughing said NO FLUORIDE EVER. We have to have my daughter drink spring water at school and daycare--now we're all going fluoride free because of the things he told us.
Check out their website for great info.
Thursday, June 21, 2007, 12:56 PM
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