It seems people are talking a lot about *probiotics . If you haven’t yet heard the term, probiotics are good bacteria and yeast that live in our digestive system. Scientists have discovered that our gut is 80% of our immune system and that our immune system contains trillions of good bacteria and yeast—also known as probiotics. Those of us with Chronic Lyme Disease know the importance of eating and taking probiotics, especially when taking antibiotics.
In case you don’t know, Kombucha is a fermented, sweet tea that was brought to the United States from Asia in the 1980’s when President Reagan developed cancer. At least according to legend, that’s how it came to the US. And when I say legend, I mean ‘the Internet.’ When I first tasted it, I wasn’t impressed. It has a tart, vinegar-like taste. Actually, it’s easy to over-ferment and turn it into vinegar.
While I was on high-dose antibiotics for Chronic Lyme, I suddenly loved the taste and somehow couldn’t get enough. At the same time, I continually forgot to take my high-dose, high-end, expensive, probiotic capsules. Surprisingly, I didn’t have any adverse symptoms that taking antibiotics can cause – mainly diarrhea. Occasionally, I would remember to take my capsules.
If you don’t have time for making fermented foods, Vita Living is a great place to find doctor-recommended brands of probiotic capsules:
I knew taking antibiotics could kill all the good bacteria in the gut and cause something called “c. diff.” I didn’t know much else about c. diff until a good friend developed it after a course of high-dose antibiotics for Chronic Lyme. If you’ve never heard of it, c. diff is short for Clostridium difficile—pronounced ‘klos trid ee um ~ diff uh seel.’ It’s a nasty infection that occurs when the good bacteria and good yeast in our guts are wiped out. This typically happens during or after a course of antibiotics. It can also be deadly!
I recently heard c. diff is said to be contagious. This didn’t make sense to me since it’s something we usually live with symbiotically until we purposely kill off the good bacteria.
According to NHS Choices,”C. difficile does not usually affect healthy children and adults. This is because the bacteria normally present in the healthy bowel keep it under control.” Sounds simple to me. This means that, contrary to popular rumors, c. diff is not “contagious.” It would only be “contagious” if:
a. we didn’t already have that bacteria in our guts
b. our good bacteria and good yeast were wiped out
C.diff can live in our guts harmoniously until we kill off or deplete the good bacteria and yeasts, then the bad bacteria have a chance to take over. When my friend told me this happened to her, I felt lucky it hadn’t happened to me, especially since I kept forgetting to take my probiotic capsules. My friend also told me her Naturopath prescribed something called sachromyces boulardii (also known as s. boulardii) to help combat the C. diff.
I did my homework and learned that s. boulardii is the yeast that combats and keeps C. diff in check. WHAT a surprise to find that Kombucha is full of s. boulardii! In fact, G.T.’s Kombucha lists that it contains two billion s. bourlardi in their 16 oz. bottle! No wonder I was so lucky! I was drinking about 32 to 64 ounces of Kombucha per day. I just couldn’t get enough!
But wait – there’s more!
I purchased a wonderful, informative, politically incorrect book – Nourishing Traditions. I had already learned much of the information contained in it – like the fact that humans are made to eat REAL food rather than processed, man-made Frankenfoods. I already knew that saturated fats, eggs WITH the yolk, raw milk, etc. are actually healthy food choices.
What I didn’t know, and had never thought about, is the fact that we are supposed to be eating fermented foods. Fermented foods contain good bacteria and good yeasts – known as PROBIOTICS. Capsules are a good backup, but we should be eating our probiotics in fermented foods. I felt a light bulb go off (as it has so many times along my food-learning path) while reading about this in Nourishing Traditions. When canning became popular, we lost a venue that kept bacteria in our guts. Antibiotics probably become vastly popular around the same time. Eating fermented foods on a daily basis is a great way to keep the gut populated – foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, milk kefir, water kefir and fermented vegetables in general. Aside from salt, it wasn’t all that long ago that fermenting was our main way to preserve food.
We have at least 500 different bacteria in our guts and a probiotic capsule contains, at most, a few different strains. I had to ask myself, if I’ve taken antibiotics that kill all the good bacteria, how do I put back those 500 different bacteria? And how do I put them back in both high quantity and high quality? Even yogurt only contains about five transient (meaning they need to be replaced daily) bacteria strains and some commercial yogurts don’t contain any. It turns out we have transient bacteria (that stay only for a short time) and we have bacteria that can colonize the gut.
According to Cultures for Health, “The beneficial bacteria found in yogurt helps keep the digestive tract clean and provide food for the friendly bacteria found in a healthy gut. They are called transient because they pass through the digestive tract. The bacteria in water and milk kefir, on the other hand, can actually colonize the intestinal tract.”
Our bodies have an estimated 100 trillion bacteria. It seems if we take a capsule containing only a couple different strains and only a total of 15 billion, and without actually doing the math, it would take about a gazillion capsules to recolonize those 100 trillion bacteria.
If we want to keep our gut colonized, we need to be eating/drinking fermented foods on a daily basis. Taking antibiotics causes the good bacteria to also die off which makes it even more important to replace those that are lost.
When I started drinking milk kefir, it was just like Kombucha – I couldn’t get enough. I now drink 4 to 8 ounces each day of milk kefir and in the summer drink at least 32 ounces of kombucha.
Nourishingplot.com reported in an article: “Dr. Mercola sent his sauerkraut off to a lab and reported the finding of probiotics saying, ‘We had it analyzed. We found in a 4-6 ounce serving of the fermented vegetables there were literally ten trillion bacteria.’ ”
PLEASE NOTE: I am not a doctor and none of my statements have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. None of my statements or anything on this site is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease nor replace guidance from a medical professional. Before eating/drinking fermented food, PLEASE get clearance from your doctor.
PLEASE do NOT eat any foods that don’t taste right!!!
One of my favorite books is Nourishing Traditions. This is my affiliate link:
Sauerkraut Test Divulges Shocking Probiotic Count,Becky Plotner, nourishingplot.com
Causes of Clostridium difficile infection, NHS Choices, nhs.uk
Probiotics: One of The Most Important Supplements You Can Take, Dr. Mercola
The Case for Healthy Bowels: The Vital Connection Between Your Gut and Your Health, Dr. Mercola