“Stunning research reveals gut bug balance causing everything from diabetes to colon cancer!” –Glenn S. Rothfeld from his new book, The Atlas of Natural Cures
The science of the human body’s essential and symbiotic relationship with bacteria and other microbes is continually growing. Over the last decade, scientific evidence has begun to create a landscape of connections to healing options for specific conditions. This has been on the radar of naturopathic and functional medicine practitioners for decades, and now some Western M.D.’s are coming to the party, and that’s a good thing! They—and the interested general public–are at last learning that our gut bacteria have a lot more influence than simply helping with bowel movements and tummy troubles.
“Where is all this science going?” “What are we learning that we can apply?” The curious among us want to know.
An area of keen interest for us at Lotus Blossom Clinic involves the identification of specific bacterial strains as they affect—both support and help to heal–the functions of our bodies. We are learning, along with other medical practitioners who follow the current research, to use these new bacterial tools to help our patients.
“The term dysbiosis, used by holistic and integrative practitioners to refer to gut imbalance, of course, actually means “wrong living”. No doubt our struggles today stem from a lack of connection to the natural world. It is, in this way, poetic justice that we would only be able to heal our guts, right our relationship to the microbial world through food—nature’s gift, bounty, and language.” – Kelly Brogan, M.D.
CAN BAD BACTERIA CAUSE COLON CANCER?
Dr. Rothfeld, in his 2016-published book “The Atlas of Natural Cures” provides insights into research which has found evidence that:
- An imbalance of two bacteria in the gut is at least partially responsible for overweight vs. normal weight conditions. Two studies found that Firmicutes bacteria are very efficient at extracting calories out of food and depositing them into fat. Obese people had about 20% MORE of this bacteria. And conversely, they had 90% LESS of the bacteria called Bacteroidetes found more prominently in normal weight subjects.
- Belly bug balance is linked to diabetes risk in a study from China in 2012. This balance is highly impacted by the use of antibiotics (and eating commercially-fed and antibiotic-injected animal protein).
- UCLA researchers found a link between gut bugs and how we THINK and FEEL! In 4 weeks, the brains of women taking probiotic supplements showed measurable changes.
- Bad bacteria contributing to the creation of colon cancer. According to a recent study published in the journal Genome Medicine, keeping enough healthy bacteria in your gut may be a powerful secret to preventing colon cancer. In this study, the researchers found that colon cancer patients had a lot MORE bacteria in their stools, and that included quite a few harmful pathogens. The main bad bug identified was Providencia, which has been proven to damage the lining of the intestine. Providencia (and other harmful bacteria) damage the gut lining over the years, and eventually turn healthy cells into cancerous cells. In Dr. Rothfeld’s book, he also discusses lifestyle issues and changes also involved. There are ways to prevent and reverse this cancer with foods and other lifestyle changes.
COME ALONG FOR THE BACTERIAL FOOD TOUR!
In this balance of this article, we’re going to introduce you to two the many probiotic strains and their effects, as validated by research. These are the two most common bacteria which hopefully appear in the greatest volume in your gut! And we’ve provided references to learn even more specifics (see “Resources” at the bottom of this article). The next time you experience or have a friend or relative suffering certain conditions, you’ll know solutions are often found in rebalancing your gut tactically, using specific bacteria to become your BF’s (Best Friends).
Tour Stop #1: Bifidobacterium bifidum
In the modern world with many more toxins than we had 100 years ago, wouldn’t we ALL like to know how to tell if we have enough of the right bacterial strains, and how to acquire more of that certain bacteria, which has literally evolved to detoxify us? For example, there are bacteria that help rid our bodies of the chemicals found in clothes we get back from the average dry cleaner! It’s typically found in abundance in Mother’s Milk (so it can seed the infant’s developing immune system), and it’s called Bifidobacterium bifidum. It’s actually one of the most abundant bacteria in the large intestines of healthy humans.
Where to Find/Acquire Bifidobactrium bifidum
A broad-spectrum probiotic may have this key probiotic bacteria. But read the labels—and make sure you have good, live strains. If it’s been sitting out on a truck in the heat for days, many of these critters are probably dead.
Foods: Yogurt may have it. (Note: higher quality is needed than found in the popular Greek Yogurt). Also carrying this friendly, pro-life bacteria are: kefir, miso and tempeh. More hosts of it include cultured vegetables (e.g. sauerkraut and pickles), microalgae (we carry spirulina at the clinic store). And last but not least, one of my personal favorite foods is host to these bacteria: I love to eat my dark chocolate, which is much more powerful in its “raw cacao” form. Not only that, but it has certain fibers which make it a favorite food for friendly bacteria. Yep, we carry both the raw powder and raw chocolates at the clinic.
Tour Stop #2: Lactobacillus acidophilus
Ponder for a moment with me. Who do YOU know with these symptoms or conditions?
- Leaky Gut
- Lactose Intolerance
- Bone Loss
- Occasional Diarrhea
- General Digestive Discomfort
- Vaginal Health & Urinary Problems
- Malabsorption of Minerals: One example of this is a lack of magnesium which is often/usually involved with people suffering from muscle cramps, heart conditions, and fibromyalgia.
Your BF (Bacterial Friend) for these conditions is: Lactobacillus acidophilus. Many scientists think this is the most important strain of the Lacto species, and it colonizes most densely in the small intestine where it helps maintain the integrity of the intestinal wall. It also makes lactic acid (needed to break down lactose and foods), ensures proper nutrient absorption (again via the acid) in our digestive tract including increasing our absorption of vital minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. And it’s protective: Lactobacillus acidophilus discourages many unwanted microorganisms.
Where to Find/Acquire Lactobacillus acidophilus
Well, of course, any self-respecting, broad-spectrum probiotic pill should have this, and in fact you can easily find these bacteria in higher concentrations in capsules than in a food. That can be especially useful in acute conditions and during and after taking antibiotics. You can also find lactobacillus acidophilus in our favorite fermented tea (Kombucha), and in yogurt (be sure it’s organic and has active cultures and not too much sugar, especially no high fructose corn syrup. We prefer goat yogurt and kefir). Kefir, miso and tempeh all contain this friendly probiotic as well.
ANOTHER PLUG FOR KOMBUCHA:
Kombucha, the ancient Chinese fermented tea, has 4- 5 friendly, unique probiotic bacteria and yeast varieties which are known to aid in radiant health and long life. Kombucha has several unusual bacterial strains which help with everything from cancer to detoxing and weight loss.
Many people love kombucha as an energizer, thought to be a result of the B-12 and iron which are made readily available to the body. It increases oxygen absorption and feeds the body’s tissues, thereby providing the energy kick. Read more about the benefits of Kombucha in this article (see reference below): Kombucha: Benefits Including Gut Health, Immunity, Cancer-Fighter, and even helps with Weight Loss
Caution: Some people may not do well with Kombucha. It has caffeine, which could be problematic for certain conditions. If there is a history of candida problems, that could also be a contra-indicator for kombucha.
WHAT TO DO NEXT:
We are here to help you traverse this wild world of Bacteria and other microbes! You may need a stool test to help determine your gut balance. Of course, the references below can be an aid to discovering answers for yourself. Keep in mind that when using bacteria to help reverse conditions, you need quality products you can trust. We’ve done our research, and we carry highly-respected Metagenics probiotic capsules and medical foods. We also carry 90 Billion Probiotic Starter Cultures…and we’ll help you determine a good probiotic food and drink regimen! Call us when we can be of assistance.
Sources for this article:
- The Atlas of Natural Cures, Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
- Copyright 2016 by NewMarket Health, LLC, Baltimore , MD
- 3 Scientific Game Changers That Will Transform Medicine, by Kelly Brogan, M.D.
- Probiotic Species and Strains: What are the Differences? By Dr. David Williams
- Kombucha: Benefits Including Gut Health, Immunity, Cancer-Fighter, and even helps with Weight Loss — By Cat Ebeling & Mike Geary, co-authors of the best-sellers: The Fat Burning Kitchen & The Top 101 Foods that Fight Aging
- Environmental Science and Technology Journal, Breastfed Infants Metabolize Perchlorate http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es2042806
Wishing you the Best Gut Balance,
Dr. David and Deb Martín and Staff
Serving the Greater Fort Myers area, including Cape Coral, Estero, Lehigh, Bonita Springs & Naples