When we start a business, organize a club, or even go to war we always want strategic alliances. As it turns out, our bodies are no different. And when our body is defending us from harmful bacteria, our immune system heavily relies one critical alliance.
Our bodies have formed a mutual defense pact with colonies of helpful bacteria (probiotics). But why would bacteria ever want to help protect our bodies from invasion?
Probiotics Fight Invaders To Protect Their Turf (Our Body)
Invading bacteria, fungi and other nasty creatures can crowd out probiotic bacteria. If the bad bacteria win, the probiotic bacteria have no home. Therefore it’s in the probiotics’ interest to fight off bad bacteria and protect their turf.
What Percent of Our Immune System Depends on Probiotics?
As quoted from the book “Probiotics – Protection Against Infection” pg 37, By Casey Adams, Ph.D.
“The human body can house more than 32 billion beneficial and harmful bacteria and funguses…When beneficial bacteria are in the majority, they constitute up to 70-80% of the body’s immune response. This takes place both in an isolated manner and in conjunction with the rest of the immune system.”
I know…I almost fell out of my chair when I first read that. It is crazy important to keep these little guys happy and fighting for you!
What is the Difference Between Probiotics and Antibiotics?
In many we use probiotics and antibiotics in similar ways…they are used to fight and kill bad bacteria. But there is a crucial difference between probiotics and antibiotics.
Antibiotics are exteremely effective for killing many bacterial infections. Clearly, the invention of antibiotics is one of the great triumphs of 20th century medicine. But over time bacteria become resistant to one form of antibiotics. Then, another form of antibiotics has to be made. And with overuse of antibiotics, they will lose their effectiveness.
Probiotics on the other had, evolved extremely sophisticated strategies to defend against invading bacteria. And unlike antibiotics, bacteria can’t evolve resistance to probiotics because probiotics are always changing their tactics. Additionally, probiotics can fight off viruses and fungal infections, which antibiotics aren’t designed to do.
And while I am not against antibiotics, we have to carefully consider their use. Antibiotics wipe out both beneficial bacterial colonies and harmful bacteria. And if our body is out of balance bad bacteria will grow back faster than probiotic bacteria, thus leading to a weaker immune system in the long term.
How to Support The Good Bacteria In Your Body
Thankfully, supporting your probiotic colonies is very simple. Many things used to support the digestive health of your body, can also be used to support your probiotic immune system. All of the following support the growth of probiotics in your gut*:
- consuming probiotic supplements (preferably refridgerated)
- consuming cultured vegetables (non-pasturized)
- consuming kefir (not pasturized after culturing)
- add chlorophyll to your water (promotes an oxygen rich environment in your gut)
- consume raw apple cider vinegar (unfiltered is best)
- not consuming acidifying foods (eg. sugar, corn syrup, etc.)
*based on information from “The Body Ecology Diet”, by Donna Gates
Are There Any Side Effects of Probiotics?
Yes…there are probiotics side effects. But the side effects of probiotics are a bit different in nature that the side effects of many prescription medications. The side effects of probiotics are actually part of the cleansing process.
For example, if you have diarrhea after consuming probiotics, this diarrhea likely comes from your body trying to expel the dead bacteria from your gut. In my personal experience, if you continue to consume the probiotics, *stay hydrated* and press on, the side effects will generally subside.
Alternatively, another cause of the side effects from probiotics is that you have consumed too many probiotics, too quickly. Interestingly, the “too much” threshold will vary from person to person.
Since the threshold varies from person to person, be sure to slowly ramp up the consumption of probiotics over time.
Here is a list of common probiotic side effects:
But remember, if you look at these side effects, most of them are related to the detoxification pathways of your body, or those pathways getting backed up.
Conclusions and Takeaways
So to wrap it up let’s list the most important points of this article:
- 70-80% of your immune system is based on the abundance of probiotic colonies in your body.
- Probiotics will always work, while bacteria can evolve resistance to antibiotics.
- You can support the probiotic colonies in your body by eating unpasturized, cultured foods & probiotics.
- Probiotics do have side effects, but they are generally mild and part of your body bringing itself back into balance.
Now this post has armed you (and the probiotics in your body) to fight off bacterial, viral and fungal invaders!