Fab Five, Part 1

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*** This article is from an email I sent to our customers a little while back, so Brock is just fine now.***
 
My youngest son hit his head this morning hard enough to send us to the emergency room. Sitting in the waiting room right now seems like the perfect place to start this email, since I’m surrounded by sick people.
 
Everyday I’m asked for recommendations, so I thought it might be helpful to write about a group of supplements that everyone should consider and why… we’ll call it the “Fab Five”. I’ll just cover 1 supplement every few days and keep it short. I’m not going to go into too much depth, so just email me if you have any questions.
 
Probiotics – a few trillion of our closest friends

These are the friendly bacteria that have been getting so much attention in yogurt commercials recently. Now I know digestion is not a very sexy topic, but it’s important… more important than most people know. Many Nutritionists and Naturopaths call the gut “Mom”, since it’s job is to take care of us. Others say that 70% of our immune function depends on a healthy gut.
 
It’s hard for most people, including me, to picture those tiny little things and why they matter. So let’s blow it up and compare it to another ecosystem. Let’s start with some sweet land. This land is located in the USA, on the ocean, next to a major river, with lots of fertile soil and beautiful weather year-round. It wouldn’t be long before people moved in by the thousands. Land would quickly be claimed, resources would get consumed and waste would be produced. In order for the our new city to thrive we’d need a high ratio of good people doing the work that needs to be done.

 

Probiotics photo by daspader

Just like that land, our gut is a perfect place for certain things to live (I realize that sounds a little creepy). This is a point worth repeating… Something IS going to live there and thrive! The folks fighting for our land we call the gut are bacteria (good and bad), yeasts and parasites. In all, there are over 500 different species typically found in our intestines, resulting in trillions of microorganisms.
 
This brings us to the first thing probiotics do for us. They consume space and resources so the bad guys can’t. A healthy ratio is considered 80/20 good to bad. What does that look like? That’s about 4 pounds of good bacteria in a healthy gut (about the size of a red brick).
 
Probiotics are also required for proper digestion. They help produce Vitamin K and specific B vitamins in the colon, like B-12 and biotin. Additionally, they break down toxins, stimulate the immune system, help in nutrient absorption and ferment dietary fiber into short chain fatty acids.
 
For woman, probiotics improve vaginal health by producing trace amounts of lactic acid which lowers the pH in the vaginal tract. They also inhibit the growth of yeast and harmful bacteria by crowding them out.
 
Why supplement? There are a number of factors that decrease the population of our beneficial bacteria. Antibiotics, both that we take and in the food we eat, environmental factors and lifestyle… just to name a few.
 
What to take? Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Bifidobacterium longum are the 3 strains to replace in high concentrations, but there are several other beneficial stains out there too. We recommend finding 2 or 3 good probiotic supplements and rotate them each time you empty a bottle. Probiotics are NOT created equal, so pick a brand and supplier that you trust.
 
Look for part 2 of the Fab Five next few days.
 
Oh… just leaving the hospital. The CAT scan came back normal and Brock is starting to act like himself. He even thanked the doc and high fived the nurse on the way out.

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Co-Founder of NutritionGeeks, retired USAPL drug-free powerlifter, volunteer youth wrestling coach, father of 3 amazing boys and interested in all things health

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