I’m sure you’ve heard of PRO-biotics before.
If not, probiotics are bacteria naturally found in your gut in a good supply if you’re healthy. After taking antibiotics or if your digestive system needs a little extra help, you may take probiotics in supplement or food form. These bacteria that help your digestive system uptake and transport nutrients; synthesize vitamins K, B12 and biotin; enhance your immune function; and help with intestinal transit. You absolutely need them there.
Probiotic foods are fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, and pickles. The bacteria in probiotics supplements and foods help keep things working and moving in your intestines.
Your intestines naturally also have a small amount of “bad” bacteria as well. But the “good guys” keep them in check. That is: if everything is healthy.
But, what in the heck is a PRE-biotic???
If you find that you are constantly needing to take probiotics to stay well, chances are what you really need are PRE-biotics.
When you take antibiotics (which wipe out a lot of the intestinal flora – good and bad), the clostridium difficile, candida, and other potentially harmful intestinal flora have a chance to multiply. When they overgrow without the good bacteria there to keep everything in check, inflammation happens.
These bacteria are “bad” because when their populations explodes, they start releasing toxins that make you sick. These toxins can start deteriorating the cells that comprise the lining of your intestine. And thus, the beginning stages of ulcerative colitis, leaky gut, Crohn’s and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
To combat this, your MD gives you more antibiotics, but I’m sure you can see the logic in this. The underlying condition worsens!
If your house is on fire, you call the fire department, but after they put out the fire, you don’t call them back to rebuild your house. You’ll have nothing left!
Now you need the construction crew.
I would take probiotics for at least 2 weeks after using antibiotics.
After that, the probiotics should be self-sustaining. If not, you need more PRE-biotics.
Prebiotics are food for the probiotics. With a good amount of prebiotics, and a low-sugar diet, your bacteria flora will stay in check all by itself.
Examples of prebiotics:
- Pectin (apple skins and citrus fruits)
- Beta-Glucans (oats, rye, and barley)
- Arabinose (beans, peas)
- Inulin (garlic, onion, chicory)
Prebiotics, or soluble fiber, helps keep the mucosal lining, well, mucous-y. The mucous is where the intestinal bacteria hang out. So a good mucousal lining helps support a healthy gut.
Insoluble fiber, like those found in whole grains and vegetables, helps with intestinal health by providing bulk for the stool. But without the mucous and good bacteria cultures, even an impressively formed poo will not pass.