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  • Writer's pictureDr. Bonnie Verhunce

Why Probiotics? - 11/12/2021

What are Probiotics?

The World Health Organization's (WHO) 2001 definition of probiotics is "live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host". Following this definition, a working group convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and WHO in May 2002 issued the “Guidelines for the Evaluation of Probiotics in Food”. Probiotics must be alive when administered.

Probiotics have received renewed attention in the 21st century from product manufacturers, research studies and consumers. The history of probiotics can be traced to the first use of cheese and fermented products, that were well known to the Greeks and Romans who recommended their consumption. The fermentation of dairy foods represents one of the oldest techniques for food preservation.

The original modern hypothesis of the positive role played by certain bacteria, was first intro-duced by Russian scientist and Nobel laureate Elie Metchnikoff. In 1907 he suggested that it would be possible to modify the gut flora and to replace harmful microbes with useful microbes. Metchnikoff had also observed that certain rural populations in Europe, for example in Bulgaria and the Russian steppes, who lived largely on milk fermented by lacticacid bacteria were exceptionally long lived. Based on these observations, Metchnikoff proposed that consumption of fermented milk would "seed" the intestine with harmless lactic acid bacteria and decrease the intestinal pH and that this would suppress the growth of proteolytic (harmful) bacteria. Metchnikoff himself introduced sour milk into his diet fermented with the bacteria he called "Bulgarian Bacillus" and believed his health benefited. Friends in Paris soon followed his example and physicians began prescribing the sour milk diet for their patients.

Fermented Foods:

Some fermented products containing lactic acid bacteria include: pickled vegetables, tempeh, a traditional soy product from Indonesia, miso a Japanese seasoning, buttermilk, kimchi, a Korean cuisine staple made from salted and fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, yogurt, and soy sauce.

Tablets, capsules, powders and sachets containing the bacteria in freeze-dried form are also available, but these probiotics taken orally can be destroyed by the acidic conditions of the stomach.

Balance is Best:

Healthcare professionals estimate that close to 75 percent of our body's immunity mechanism is located in the intestinal area. The immune cells located their share and space with a group of more than four hundred species of micro-organisms. A healthy immune system as well as digestion health requires all these micro-organisms to stay in balance with one another. There are helpful bacteria that protect us from illness and promote overall health as well as bad ones that can cause disease or health issues.

The micro-organisms that live in our digestive organs are also known as ‘flora’. Flora is a biological defensive barrier of friendly bacteria that lines our intestines.

There are many factors that can cause damage to the all-natural flora, such as periods of extended illness, the use of anti-biotics plus various other prescription drugs, in addition to a greater problem in our modern society, which is poor diet. Processed and packaged foods, as well as junk foods, are fast and easy ways to consume meals that are not nutritious nor beneficial to our bodies. As well, many processed foods lack probiotics due to processing, distribution factors and shelf life.

Balance of your spine is also essential for good health, an active body and a properly functioning nervous system. Watch your diet, exercise and see your chiropractor regularly. Staying healthy now will pay off during your ‘golden years’ to keep you active and energized!

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