Probiotic supplements vs fermented foods.
Probiotic supplements definitely have their place and may be more convenient than preparing cultured veggies or even making kefir. But due to the fact that they go through the process of being manufactured sometimes in semi industrial settings, the organisms may or may not deliver to you the optimal levels of beneficial bacteria to match and achieve your health goals. They even may not still be alive. If you do go this route do the research and find a brand that has very high quality control.
A good time to have a high quality brand of probiotic is when you go travelling, especially in third world countries where access to resources is more limited than here in the west. We think the optimal situation is when you make these foods yourself in your own kitchen. Also you can buy them but make sure you get them from a reputable source in their raw form. It is definitely a good idea to avoid most commercial brands of kefir, pickles or sauerkraut due to dubious additives, non traditional pickling techniques and of course pasteurisation.
If you do or are aspiring to make your own ferments and use some of the strategies we are presenting, which is perhaps one of the reasons for you reading this blog, you are ensuring that A lot of the good guys will be there on your gastrointestinal wall. If you have not experimented already, hopefully by the time you are done reading this you will be inspired to take action and get those Kilner jars you have had gathering dust in the cupboard for years out and into use. All this can be done for a fraction of what it would cost you to take that amount of probiotics in supplement form.
- The journey of our microscopic friends
Once probiotics reach your intestine they begin to proliferate more rapidly they replicate by binary fission and experience exponential growth approximately every 20 minutes. The villi that make up our gut walls provide a very large surface area for micro organisms to colonise. When the gut becomes compromised due to stress, lack of sleep and pharmaceuticals et cetera carcinogenic bacteria can become more prominent than necessary.
We go from a state of them being kept at bay by the friendly bacteria to a state where the pathogens are running the show, as is the case with systemic candida infections. This is a very bad scenario, as these pathogens also grow at a very quick rate, especially if our diet and lifestyle is such that we are continually and consistently feeding them.
The by products of their feeding frenzy are very toxic and can cause major damage to our gut wall (leaky gut) as this situation continues we start to feel the effects of it physically, in the forms of things like indigestion, bloating and also diarrhea. This is a point at which it is probably a good idea to start introducing probiotics. as mentioned above probiotics and pathogens have the capacity to proliferate very quickly at an exponential rate.
The incredible design of our universe is such that nature ( the way things are designed to be) always has solutions to any possible deviation from its blueprint. over aeons of time probiotics have developed methods to pre-empt, reduce or eliminate pathogenic colonisation and growth in our gut: there are three avenues through which these methods come into play, they are:
- Competitive exclusion
This works by a process of competition for adhesion to the sites of colonisation on the gastrointestinal wall but also via a competition for nutrients. This is one of the reasons why colonising the gut with friendly bacteria works better as a preventitive measure against disease. Probiotics are very adroit (skillful) and efficient at winning in their battle for access to the adhesion sites on the gastrointestinal wall.
- Lactic acid production
This is a strategy employed to immediately (as mentioned before) change the ph chemistry of the gut so that it is other than hospitable for these pathogens to live. Essentially it makes the gut more acidic. Sound like it is contradictive to what you may have read out there on the internet or in other books? Think again. for example did you know? That certain pathogens for example e-coli or salmonella actually thrive in a more alkaline environment? Also did you know that stress induces our gut to be overly alkaline? Also fatigue can be disastrous to our immune system as it too causes over alkalinity in our gut,
- Immunological enhancement and regulation
Probiotics activate macrophage activity in our immune system by creating chemical signals called cytokines as a way of setting up lines of communication with immune cells. For example they can tell the macrophages ( the part of our immune system whose role is to engulf and subsequently digest pathogens and cellular debris) specific locations in the gut where there is a lot of pathogenic activity.