Heal & Improve your Stomach Naturally with Probiotics

by Pankaj Kotak, M.Sc., N.D.


One of the main reasons for gastric problems would be imbalances in the intestinal microflora. When bad microorganisms outnumber the beneficial ones in the intestine, dysbiosis happens. If dysbiosis persists, it results in gastrointestinal disease which can undermine the general health. The stomach health can be naturally & easily improved by the addition of probiotics or beneficial bacteria in the diet.

Billions of microorganisms, good and bad, live in the intestine. Typically, the friendly and pathogenic (harmful) bacteria balance each other, resulting in good gastrointestinal (G.I.) health. However, if the person consumes a high carbohydrate diet consisting of fast food such as bread, biscuits, candy, chocolates, pastries, baked foods, soft drinks, ice cream and pasta; it will promote the overgrowth of yeast, fungi and bad bacteria which can result in damage to the gut lining, absorption of toxic by-products and impaired absorption of nutrients (1)

Cause of imbalance in the intestinal microflora are:

  • Repeated use of broad spectrum antibiotics (2),steroids and oral contraceptives
  • Stress, Anxiety and Depression (3)
  • Intestinal infection
  • Poor diet (high in processed food containing sugar, artificial additives & trans fats)
  • Drinking of Chlorinated water. Chlorine also kills the good bacteria in the stomach.

Symptoms of intestinal imbalance

  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Gas, bloating, flatulence
  • Fatigue
  • Low sugar
  • Food allergies
  • Bad breath and body odor
  • Indigestion

Chronic gastrointestinal problems can lead to serious G.I. diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn's Disease and Colon cancer. It also weakens the immune system which causes autoimmune diseases such as Arthritis and Lupus.

For natural healing of the stomach and to improve the digestive health, beneficial bacteria can be replenished by:

  • Adding fermented dairy products such as Yogurt, kefir or butter milk to the diet. Consuming these products alone on empty stomach will destroy the beneficial bacteria because the bacteria cannot survive the stomach acid. Therefore, it is better to eat them with meals and preferably towards the end of the meal.
  • Taking a Probiotic supplement

Antibiotics kill all microorganisms, good and bad, in the intestine. Therefore, Probiotics or fermented dairy products are generally recommended afterwards to replenish the intestine with friendly bacteria.

Most commonly found strains of friendly bacteria are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, B longum, L casei, and Lactobacillus GG.

Replenishing good bacteria through the diet or a Probiotic supplement provides numerous health benefits such as:

  • Improved digestion, nutrient absorption and better gut lining
  • Production of B vitamins in the intestine
  • Protection from pathogenic microorganisms such as the H. Pylori that causes acidity (4)
  • Enhanced immune system (5)
  • Protection from chronic degenerative diseases such as colon cancer (5)

References:

  1. Hunnisett A., et al. Gut fermentation (or the "autobrewery" syndrome): a new clinical test with initial observations and discussion of Clinical and Biochemical implications. Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine. 1990;1:33-8.
  2. Barza M., et al. Effect of broad-spectrum parenteral antibiotics on "colonization resistance" of intestinal microflora of humans. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. May 1987;31(5):723-727.
  3. Catanzaro JA., et al. Microbial Ecology and Dysbiosis in Human Medicine. Alternative Medicine Review 1997;2(3):202-209.
  4. Hamilton-Miller JMT. The role of probiotics in the treatment and prevention of Helicobacter pylori infection. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents. October 2003;22(4):360-366.
  5. Sanders ME. Considerations for Use of Probiotic Bacteria to Modulate Human Health. The Journal of Nutrition. 2000;130:384S-390S.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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