What is gut flora and how important is it?
Our intestines contain a virtual forest of organisms that aide digestion, participate in immune protection and even manufacture many vitamins within our body. Yes, our body can manufacture certain vitamins! Isn’t that wonderful! In particular, our friendly bacteria produce B vitamins, which are so vital in this day and age to help us deal with stress.
Many of you have heard of these friendly bacteria in our intestines, called, Probiotics. These include Acidophilus and Bifidus, to name just two, but there are many, many strains. The friendly bacteria, probiotics, that are so valuable, are killed off by many things in our current culture, such as antibiotics, chlorinated water, oral contraceptives and even stress, among many other things.
Broad spectrum antibiotics particularly kill off the bacteria that control cholesterol levels, so much so that antibiotic-treated animals have higher blood cholesterol levels. What a problem this is today! What a chain reaction this creates to cause other health problems and further medication use.
What concerns and frustrates me most about antibiotics is their indiscriminate use and over-use. Thank goodness we have them; they are invaluable at times, but how often? I can see them being used with a surgery, with a tooth extraction, or with a severe acute infection. I personally have only had antibiotics twice in the past 36 years and I feel that these could have been prevented if I knew more about natural health at 15 and if I had taken better care of myself prior to ten years ago, so I didn’t have to have a tooth pulled at that time. I can vouch that my youngest children who still live with me have NEVER had an antibiotic and they are 12 and 14 years old now.
Did you know that 60% of our immune system is contained within our intestines? That’s right. And in my opinion and observations, taking an antibiotic bypasses and weakens our immune system. Taking probiotics after antibiotics is vital. The quality of the probiotic is critical. Even in my office when I supplement a person a probiotic, I have three different high-quality types in my office and not everyone needs the same kind. So, even with the best products, they are not ideal for everyone all the time.
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Sherry Yale, D.C. of TLC Holistic Wellness, 31580 Schoolcraft Rd., Livonia, MI 48150. Call: 734-664-0339