Time to Reculture the Bowel

535.pic.1Proper levels of good bacteria promote intestinal health, good immune function, and support overall health.

Excess bacteria, or the presence of harmful bacteria, yeast, or “parasites” such as amoebas and protozoas, can cause “leaky gut,” systemic inflammation, and a wide range of clinical problems.

Intestinal flora can become imbalanced by poor diets, excess stress, immunosuppressive drugs, antibiotics, or exposure to contaminated food or water, all of which are common with today’s diets.

Therefore, as a rule, I reinstate the good bacteria by the use of probiotics (good bacteria and yeast) – and I am not talking about the ones in the supermarket or health food isles. We are talking the good stuff.

Indeed, harmful yeast, and other other ‘parasites’ can be eradicated with the combination of dietary change and/or natural medicines described later in this article.

I believe that it is essential to “re-culture” the bowel at least every 6 months.

So if you have had a ‘big’ Christmas and New Years/Australia Day celebration period, it is about time you got back on the ‘wagon’.

It is time to reculture the bowel.

If you are prone to digestive troubles or bowel problems, then this may have to be done more frequently.

As cows cannot digest grass without the appropriate bacteria in their rumen, we cannot digest our foods properly without the correct “good” bacteria.


So, what has Re-Culturing the Bowel Got to Do with My Back Pain?

Well quite a lot actually.

Two words; Leaky Gut.

I often talk about this to patients and they nod amorphously back at me.

Probably in the hope that I will shut up about a problem that sound more like a bowel prolapse than relating to their back and neck pains.

It is a complex issue and I will write a post on Leaky Gut in the next month or two. So without over simplifying the issue here goes…

The intestines are essentially a semi-permeable tube that are able to selectively absorb nutrients while preventing antigens and pathogens entering mucosal tissue and the bloodstream.

Playing a crucial role in regulating the permeability of the mucosal barrier are complex structures between the intestinal epithelial cells called tight junctions.

Also significant in maintaining the integrity of the intestinal lining are billions of microbes, known as the microflora, which inhabit the gastrointestinal tract (GIT).

Injury to either the tight junctions or the intestinal cells themselves results in intestinal hyper-permeability or “leaky gut”, which allows pathogens, their toxins, and potentially harmful food particles to indiscriminately cross the intestinal barrier and enter the circulation.

Once these substances have broken through the intestinal barrier, they interfere with cell and organ functions by triggering immune and inflammatory responses, as well as activating various cell signalling systems.

This is the mechanism by which intestinal hyper-permeability is implicated in the development of autoimmune, inflammatory and atopic diseases.

So – in real easy terms – if the faecal material (poo) in your gut (intestine) is seeping through the wall of your bowel like a soaker house this causes a massive amount of inflammation as your body tries to clean up the poo.

If your body is very inflamed any area of injury (back, neck, knees, shoulders etc.) becomes more inflamed – a little like pouring petrol on hot coals.


The Impact of Antibiotics.

We all really need to be very careful about the use (and misuse) of antibiotics.

Recent data suggests that antibiotics should only be used as a last resort and only for life threatening conditions – such is the concerns about ever increasing antibiotic resistance.

We really are verging on becoming defenceless to a number of different bacterias plaguing our hospitals (think golden staph’).

Also, your gastrointestinal system takes about a year to recover from one solid course of antibiotics.

So if you or your kids are having multiple courses of antibiotics, or you have had a solid dose of antibiotics and still feel crook you must consider re-cultruing the bowel.


If you are taking Antibiotics you MUST take Probiotics!

 Bowel re-culturing should occur during and after the use of Antibiotics to prevent a “super-infection” or development of “antibiotic resistant bacteria overgrowths”.

By the second day of a course of antiobiotics you would have killed all the “good” bacteria within your bowel. This bacteria needs to be replentished and therefore reculturing is necessary.

But remember, the probiotics used for re-culturing the bowel is different for post antibiotic therapy than other situations. And children will require a different blend of probiotics to adults – depending on the type of antibiotic therapy.

Please talk to me about this on your next consultation, or eConsultation as required.

Clinically, I would have to say that upwards of 90% of bowel upsets can be resolved by reculturing (in the absence of serious pathology). Patients that have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can have a significant improvement in their presentation by reculturing, although it is usually required more frequently.


Which Probiotics To Use?

The most efficient way of reculturing the gastro-intestinal system is to use a good probiotic product.

But it is important to use the right one.

The research and development of probiotics has literally exploded over recent years with new ranges of products being release all the time.

Therefore a probiotic we use for an arthritic is different from someone with dermatitis or eczema. The probiotics suitable for re-cculutring the bowel after antibiotics is quite different to that required for a child with learning difficulties. The specific probiotic for athletes is again different than the one required for irritable bowel syndrome.

Again, allow a little extra time on your next consultation and talk to me about one specific for your case.

As a generic point to start reading or pick up something that I, or the staff have prescribed go to: The Best Probiotics are listed here.

Note that these products are significantly stronger than you will get in health food stores.


Of particular note and worth a mention here is the new probiotic produced by BioCeuticals called: Ultra Biotic Joint Relief.

This is a proprietary blend of dairy-free, shelf-stable probiotics and glucosamine. It is definitely worth considering for those suffering from inflammatory joint disease or soft tissue injury, and those taking medicines which affect gut health.

Glucosamine is known to play a role in the formation of healthy connective tissue including articular cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and synovial fluid while emerging evidence suggest that probiotic bacteria can support the clinical effects of glucosamine.

Each capsule contains: Glucosamine sulfate-potassium chloride complex 675mg, equiv. to glucosamine sulfate 500mg. Lactobacillus acidophilus 2.5 billion CFU and Bifidobacterium bifidum 10 billion CFU.

I have a number of patients on it – and they are getting quite good results.

Worth a look.


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