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The Friendly Bacteria (Probiotics)
Inquirer ^ | Margarita De Pano

Posted on 01/19/2005 12:37:43 AM PST by nickcarraway

JERRY Completano finally decided to undergo chemotherapy in August 2003. By then, his chronically high uric acid levels had spun off into what doctors called the nephrotic syndrome, a pre-cancerous condition that targets the kidneys. The chemical effects were swift. Jerry lost his appetite, lost weight, and felt increasingly weak. His hair started to fall. He was often constipated. And every day, for four agonizing hours, he would sit through debilitating headaches that, despite the painkillers, would only get worse with time.

Desperate, he followed the advice of a friend to take food supplements that were being tested for commercial use. One supplement, a powder said to be rich in beneficial microorganisms, came from the research laboratories of Eco-Logic Ventures Inc., a company dealing with the development and use of microbial formulations for humans, agriculture, aquaculture, and livestock.

The concoction reduced the side effects of the chemicals by at least 50 percent. “After a few days, I noticed that the headaches had become tolerable,” Jerry says. “I could eat normally, and my bowel movement stabilized.” He stopped undergoing chemotherapy in December. A year later, he’s still taking the supplement, and attests to a “dramatic” reduction in his uric acid and cholesterol levels.

Increased recognition of beneficial bacteria, or probiotics (as opposed to antibiotics, which kill all bacteria), as a way to regulate body chemistry and improve well-being came shortly after people realized the harmful effects of chemicals and artificially synthesized nutrients. As processed foods gained a bad reputation and organic products found their way to the list of several famous diets, the idea that bacteria can aid in the natural processing of food and the regulation of body functions surfaced as well.

Angelito Abaoag, microbiologist at Eco-Logic Ventures, says the term “probiotic” refers to friendly bacteria that inhabit the intestinal tract. Among others, they promote higher absorption of nutrients, better metabolism of carbohydrates and calcium, and a more efficient synthesis of vitamins. They also eliminate intestinal microorganisms that cause infections and disease.

Some of the more commonly known probiotics include Lactobacillus (such as those found in milk like Yakult) and Bifidobacterium (mixed with a number of infant formulas). Probiotics may be found in fermented milk, cultured buttermilk and sour cream, cheeses produced by the coagulation of curd and the expression of whey, different kinds of sushi, beers and ales, sourdough, and several pickled dishes—foods which many Filipinos don’t eat on a regular basis, and each of which contains only one or two of several beneficial microorganisms.

“Every day, billions of probiotics perform numerous functions critical to good health,” says Abaoag. Good bacteria and a healthy diet work best together, he adds. Probiotic bacteria thrive on complex carbohydrates and a low sugar, low fat diet. On the other hand, the benefits of organic products would be limited if there were no probiotics to aid in digestion. “Without them, the body won’t be able to absorb many of the nutrients or metabolize much of the energy found in these kinds of food.”

Apart from aiding in metabolism and digestion, probiotics have manifested the ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, reduce cholesterol levels, and strengthen a person’s endurance against stress. Rene Garrucho, president of Eco-Logic Ventures, says that a number of studies conducted in universities abroad support this claim. “Even our own research suggests this. We’ve given probiotics to people with cancer, arthritis, diabetes. The results can be quite dramatic.” He cites the case of a personal friend stricken with cancer. “She’s undergoing chemotherapy and doesn’t feel the least bit weak. She still goes to work and has a full head of hair.”

Another case would be Gerry Papa, 44, who used to be afflicted with sero-negative arthritis. A consequence of a defective immune system, the arthritis was so painful that Gerry limped and couldn’t even wear shoes. “I tried everything from steroids to Chinese medicine,” he says, “but none of them worked.”

Without discontinuing his medication, he started taking probiotics. “The pain and swelling went down in just three days. After a month I could already play basketball.”

Abaoag says, however, that probiotics do not “cure” infections or diseases. “When you say ‘cure,’ it means there’s a direct action. It doesn’t work that way. Rather, it indirectly aids healing by regulating your system and making it more efficient in what it does. Because of probiotics, your body is able to best utilize whatever treatment or diet that’s recommended by your doctor. You have a better absorbing capacity.”

“We do not ask patients to stop conventional medical treatments because we’re not doctors,” says Garrucho. “We just tell them to take probiotics as an add-on. It’s a food supplement that also makes people more resistant to a number of harmful elements.”

Eco-Logic Ventures Inc. is working to make human probiotics commercially available precisely because natural sources are difficult to come by. On the other hand, cheap processed foods are available in almost any market or grocery store shelf. “Processed foods do not contain probiotics,” says Abaoag, “since the heating process kills the bacteria.”

By late January to early February, probiotics in powder and capsule form should be on the shelves as well, distributed by BioNutraLife Products Inc., a subcorporation of Eco-Logic Ventures. Garrucho says that they’ll mount a campaign to advertise the benefits of these microorganisms and to distribute affordable packages to everyone, particularly to people in poor communities.

“Nowadays, the cost of healthy and organic foods is higher than the cost of processed foods,” he says. “It’s difficult to be healthy when you don’t have the money. With affordable probiotics, we would like to change that eventually.”

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: bacteria; fermented; food; health; healthcare; milk; yogurt

1 posted on 01/19/2005 12:37:44 AM PST by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Thanks for the interesting article.
ProBiotics are wonderful. I started taking them two years ago while taking anti-biotics after a root canal.
The beneficial effects are amazing.
ProBiotics are inexpensive (under $15 per month) and available at any good health food store.

2 posted on 01/19/2005 12:43:47 AM PST by PJBlogger (BEWARE HILLARY AND HER HINO)
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To: PJBlogger
(under $15 per month)

Really? The Natren product line is considerably more expensive. What $15 brand works for you? I'd love to use these more often but they're just too darned expensive.

3 posted on 01/19/2005 1:02:35 AM PST by Musket
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To: nickcarraway

I have a digestive system that is screwed up enough that I am disabled and limited in my ability to function in any fashion. My gastroentorologist reccommended probiotics because of the success other patients of his had experienced. He admitted he knew nothing about them. I was able to get in contact with a nutrionist who got me on them. The nutrionist had had similar problems plus rheumatory arthritis. The probiotics enabled him to get control of the digestive problems and seem to have helped with the arthritis too. I was fortunate to have a doctor and nutrionist that worked together

4 posted on 01/19/2005 1:13:52 AM PST by jeffie77
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To: Musket; jeffie77; PJBlogger; nickcarraway
When I was 9, I had some sort of stomach problem. I would throw up every morning before school. If I was stressed or panicky I vomited. It was awful, it really was.
When I went to my doctor, She (dr)she just said that I was probably making myself throw up to get out of school.

Well, my dad did some research and came to the conclusion that I might have a bacterial problem in my stomach. So I tried a supplement. The supplement was acidophiles which is the bacteria you get from yogurt.

Surprisingly, It worked, it really really did. And my problem was cured.
5 posted on 01/19/2005 1:47:43 AM PST by LauraleeBraswell ("Hi, I'm Richard Gere and I'm speaking for the entire world. -Richard Gere)
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To: nickcarraway

Anyone who has ever taken antibiotics will benefit from taking probiotics. Anyone who has taken a lot of antibiotics will really benefit from probiotics.

Taking them has helped clear up a number of health problems for me. I've had two MD's tell me to stay on them. I especially don't want to be without probiotics during a course of antibiotic treatment.

I'm glad to see the word is getting out.

6 posted on 01/19/2005 1:57:23 AM PST by GretchenM (It remains to be seen what God will do through a person who gives Him all the glory.)
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To: nickcarraway
Angelito Abaoag

Try saying that name three times fast. :^P

Gotta love Tagalog. Malang kita, baby.

As for probiotics, they are basically a way of restoring what many people lose in modern diets.

As the article points out, losses of intestinal flora can be very hazardous to your health.

Yet another good reason not to take antibiotics for each and every medical complaint. Sometimes alternatives are wiser choices.

7 posted on 01/19/2005 2:03:55 AM PST by Imal (Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle.)
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To: nickcarraway
Along with the foods mentioned in the article, Jogurt is a good supplement and definitely a lot cheaper than products in health food stores.
8 posted on 01/19/2005 2:05:27 AM PST by Sarajevo (Sarajevo is the beginning of 20th century history.)
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To: nickcarraway

Our family just started using an array of natural herbs/probiotics dor health issues along with accupuncture.

My high uric acid levels are down and my Dr says great so I don't take the phamacudical script he wanted me to take.

The compny we use is Metagenics.

Pain reliever herb capsules wonderful as I cannot take aleve,asprin ect due to past stomach bleeding.

The medical food I can't handle daily but 2x's a week works and it is supposed to even out my blood sugars and help with absorbing nutreints.

And the biggee MORE WATER!

I stopped eating proccessed foods a few years ago to heal ulcers and reoccuring colon infections.

9 posted on 01/19/2005 2:11:50 AM PST by oceanperch (2005 is going to be an Awesome Year, which way that will go only God knows)
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To: jeffie77
Maybe you have Celiac Sprue, a highly misdiagnosed and undiagnosed disease that will affect your digestative system and immune system.
10 posted on 01/19/2005 2:34:12 AM PST by Coldwater Creek ('We voted like we prayed")
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To: nickcarraway

What's amusing here is the "surprise, surprise" attitude.
Anyone who has had half a toe in the health-by-natural-means field has been aware of this stuff for eons.

Meanwhile the drug corporations despise anything unpatentable that works and they are not shy about seeing that it or it's reputation is destroyed by false spin or by buying out the small companies and squashing the stuff that works.

11 posted on 01/19/2005 2:53:35 AM PST by Spirited
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To: nickcarraway
I am more interested in the foods that contain the probiotics than in taking a pill that contains them. No sushi for me and I am highly allergic to beer. What beside yogurt are they talking about?
12 posted on 01/19/2005 3:08:56 AM PST by Ditter
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To: nickcarraway

I take Probiotics from time to time as needed and they have helped me get rid of IBS that I had suffered from for at least 10 years. I am a believer.

13 posted on 01/19/2005 4:04:25 AM PST by Naomi4
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To: Ditter; 4ConservativeJustices

Kefir may be better than yogurt. Set it in milk and it's ready in a day or two. However you have to filter out the kefir crystals to reuse them--moreover they make the elixer a tad gritty.

14 posted on 01/19/2005 4:05:22 AM PST by Ff--150 (It Works!)
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To: Ff--150

What is Kefir?

15 posted on 01/19/2005 4:12:39 AM PST by Ditter
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To: Ditter
Kefir ferments milk, or water, producing the friendly Lacto bacteria, or probiotics.

Can't stay on here too long, but a Google will help you research kefir.

Anyway, kefir forms a yogurt-like substance, which is stronger than yogurt tastewise. I have the crystals in a plastic container the co. sent me and it's real easy to extract that container. I let it set longer because I like to drink the whey and eat the curds.

16 posted on 01/19/2005 4:22:59 AM PST by Ff--150 (It Works!)
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To: Flying Circus


17 posted on 01/19/2005 12:46:47 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: Musket

Probiotics beads, by Natrol is a good one.
Probiotics contain many different kinds of bacteria in a form usable to the body.
The beads don't have to be refrigerated.
You must take Probiotics every single day, on an empty stomach for results.
While yogurt is a healthful food, it is not a substitute for Probiotics.

18 posted on 01/19/2005 4:09:39 PM PST by PJBlogger (BEWARE HILLARY AND HER HINO)
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19 posted on 01/19/2005 4:14:33 PM PST by jla
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