Let's talk "probiotics." I heard another natural health professional giving a talk last night and she outlined the importance of probiotics for gut health. She went on to state that in supplement form, probiotics will only last in the system for 48 hours. When I heard all of these "metrics" or assumptions stated as fact, it made me cringe. Why you may ask? Because it gives people a distorted view and idea of what really transpires in the body. Do I have all of the answers? Not necessarily, but I have observed microbes first-hand in the blood under a microscope and those observations tell a much different story than we are told about microbes and our microbiome overall.
So let's go ahead and break these narratives down a bit.
* Are supplemental probiotics necessary for gut health? In my practice, you will never hear me recommending a probiotic supplement to anyone. Why? From what I have learned, most of them do not make it past the stomach acid and into the gut. I have heard that spore types are supposed to be able to, but again, is this the proper root cause intervention or recommendation for gastrointestinal stress or the apparent experience of an imbalance in one's overall health? In my eyes, no, it is not. Why do I feel that way? Because many in the natural health field, and health field in general, are looking at it from an assumption that we have to obtain all of our microbes from the external environment...basically, that we are devoid of making them and thus, must replenish ourselves via external means only. This is a completely flawed assumption. Every body has precursors to microbes within it at all times. They are often referred to as protids, somatids, and microzymas. I've seen them under my microscope [within everyone's blood] as little flickering, moving organisms. Through a process called pleomorphism, these microbial precursors are triggered (most likely by frequency data) to "morph" or grow into the appropriate microbe that is needed in the body at any given moment in order to assist in the clean-up, breakdown, and all other types of roles that are needed, even as a fungus/yeast, in the body. These microbes can then morph back into any of the other microbes as well as back to the precursor version too. So, what is really going to assist more...1) Making shifts in one's environment and habits that are triggering these pleomorphic changes in the first place [due to tissue damage, poisoning, and the like]? Or 2) Adding in more probiotics that may not necessarily be the appropriate ones that are needed for the clean-up/breakdown of one's body as well as other [conversion, absorption, production, etc.] roles that may be needed? In addition to this, your body is already on it before you even noticed anything, so adding in more unnecessary, specific strain probiotics may act as more work for the body to do in that moment, like clean up and making certain accommodations for those new microbes, if they make it past the stomach acid, that is. I'm sure that you can see where the actual root issue is here when laid out that way and thus, which would be the better option to resolve the issue...and that would be to remove what is causing the tissue damage, the toxic waste/build up, as well as to make sure that the body is getting the proper nutrients [via whole foods] that it requires in order to maintain a healthy terrain. Will I sometimes suggest a brand of probiotic to a client if they ask about one because they would prefer to take one? Sure, that is ultimately their choice, but I usually remind them about "getting these microbes" (if they feel or believe that is necessary to do, aren't sensitive to these foods, and it may assist in a pinch) through fermented foods as well as eating a whole foods diet in general for overall gut health, while also being aware of other basic health foundations, like electromagnetic field awareness, and so on, which will all decrease the likelihood of symptomology in the gut and all throughout the body and since the damage will decrease, the symptoms will resolve.
* Do supplemental probiotics only last 48 hours in the body? I don't know...some may not even last 5 minutes I'm not even sure how they would scientifically measure or verify that statement so I wouldn't use that timeframe as an indicator or benchmark for anything, or hold yourself to that type of narrative or standard. I threw a lot of these linear standards and/or supposed "metrics" out the window years ago. Our bodies are a finely tuned instrument...we simply have to re-tune it on occasion and this is mainly due to the narratives and/or beliefs that we hold about various concepts and thus, ourselves. In turn, we believe those concepts are true and as a result, those then create our reality or our perception of any experience. Bringing the body into balance (which often involves reframing our perceptions) doesn't have to be as complicated or costly as these industries have led you to believe. Ultimately, you are the healing tool.
What is at the root of a perceived microbe "imbalance" then?
Well, the first issue is that one is seeing it from an angle of the microbiome being imbalanced if one is having digestive issues. Many want to focus on the "amount" of microbes (pointing to the program that more must be better, no matter what the more consists of), but they all do so from a place of lack...a belief that you are lacking these other microbes in order to keep everything in check, as well as skipping over the fact that our entire environment is a microbiome. We are merely a microcosm of the macrocosm. As a result, we are never not exposed to microbes since they are at the root of all life.
Furthermore, many people still operate under the assumption of having both "good" and "bad" bacteria and the same goes for yeast/fungus. This is highly flawed. Do these organisms produce toxic waste by-products? They can, yes, but inherently, they all have a function within the body, which is to benefit the body, and these toxic by-products will be excreted via the normal detoxification pathways. As such, these are not things that we need to kill off with antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, etc. (even so-called natural ones) because they are each doing what they need to do in their role and in turn, do not cause disease or "infections," but are merely cleaning up and breaking down tissue at the site of damage and often, areas where detox is occurring. As a result, they get a bad name for being in the right place at the right time and then take the blame as the cause of it all. At the root of the "issue" is likely a toxin of some sort, even if it is a mental, emotional, and/or a traumatic toxin coming to the surface to be processed and resolved by the body.
Many, even in the natural health field, have a perception that the body is inherently flawed so, in turn, they push the narrative that support must go above and beyond and as such, we "have to do more or go out of our way to buy a ton of products," when that isn't necessarily the case. Sometimes, the easiest solution is to stop poisoning ourselves and allow our body to come back into alignment naturally without adding in more and more toxic assaults.
So why do I feel the need to address this?
If it assists people in doing so, then that is my goal. There are a couple of other points that I will go over in the next week or so as well that were distorted and are commonly accepted as the "norm" too. It is my goal as a naturopathic doctor/professional in the field to expand everyone's knowledge beyond these accepted "norms" and concepts of wellness.
So, in having said that, please question any professional that you are working with when something seems nearly impossible for you to verify or doesn't quite sit well with you. Don't keep yourself restricted to tight linear thinking either, and never allow anyone to make you/your body appear flawed, either through these certain metrics, standards, and/or DNA and other bloodwork testing of any kind. Asking yourself, "Who says," is also beneficial to break out of these types of flawed, assumed, etc. narratives and/or agendas.
In the meantime, take care everyone!!
Dr. Andrea Bird, BCND, CHHP