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Protect Yourself – Digestive health for Building the Immune System
By Tammera J. Karr, MSHN, CNC, CNW, CNH 2009©
|As the weather changes to fall and children go back to school, all of us become more susceptible to the “bug’s” floating around. Door knobs, desk tops, counters, computer keyboards, steering wheels…..Potential disease carrying surfaces are everywhere. We can hardly bath in Purel®, and not everyone has those handy wipes always on their person. The safety and efficacy of flu vaccines are in question; so just how do we keep ourselves healthy? It all boils down to your immune system and the health of your digestive tract.
The Immune System comprises all structures and processes that are involved in defeating the attempts of environmental forces to overrun, destroy or gain control of any part of the body. Specifically it comprises anatomic barriers, such as the skin and mucous membranes, which physically block the entry of antigens into the body, physiologic barriers (body temperature and acidity) that inhibit the growth of or kill detrimental microorganisms and the various organs and cells of the immune system itself. The overall coordination of the immune system takes place in the Hypothalamus and Pineal Gland.
When the digestive tract becomes compromised by poor eating habits, stress, chemicals, environmental toxins, and heavy metals; the health of the entire body is imperil. Our immune system protects us from not only viruses, bacteria, and yeasts but also from naturally occurring mutant cells that can form into cancers.
Also known as: Beneficial Digestive Tract Bacteria; and Beneficial Intestinal Bacteria:
Beneficial microorganisms are small organisms that are beneficial to human health and are too small to be visible to the naked eye. An imbalance in the ratio between beneficial microorganisms and detrimental microorganisms in the body is known as dysbiosis. Probiotics comprise approximately 90% of digestive tract bacteria in healthy persons.
Probiotics in the colon can lower total serum cholesterol levels, causing remissions for ulcerative colitis, help to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs), produce hydrogen peroxide (which is utilized by the body to “extinguish” neutralized antigen/antibody complexes). In the colon, probiotics ferment insoluble fiber, starch and undigested carbohydrates. The short-chain saturated fatty acids produced by this fermentation are the principal source of energy for the epithelial cells of the colon. In addition probiotics manufacture vitamins that not only help with energy and nerve function but are necessary for brain health: Biotin, Choline, Folic Acid, Inositol, PABA (Para Aminobenzoic Acid), Vitamin B2, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin K.
Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are considered a soluble fiber and a pre-biotic that support the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestinal tract while inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. FOS provide nourishment to most types of Beneficial Bacteria (because beneficial bacteria are living organisms they require nutrition like any living organism) – note that FOS is NOT a source of nourishment for toxic bacteria.
Pharmaceutical antibiotics destroy the body’s beneficial bacteria – as a side effect of their primary purpose of killing detrimental bacteria. Long-term usage (e.g. more than one month) of grapefruit seed extract, large amounts of raw garlic, goldenseal, and pasteurized foods have been found to destroy the body’s endogenous probiotics in the digestive tract.
Ideally, retailers of beneficial bacteria products should store their product under refrigeration (beneficial bacteria die at a much faster rate when they are not refrigerated). A recent survey conducted by the National Nutritional Foods Association (USA) found that 50% of beneficial bacteria supplements in retail stores contained significantly fewer viable beneficial bacteria than claimed on the label. Freeze-dried (lypholized) beneficial bacteria supplements, usually in the form of powder have a longer shelf life than non-freeze-dried products.
So wash your hands, eat your natural and organic foods and take your probiotics – safe for all ages!
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