Rec­om­men­da­tions from Eat Dirt author Josh Axe, DC

Amazing Wellness - - CONTENTS - By Vera Tweed

Pro­bi­otics and Pre­bi­otics Rec­om­men­da­tions from Eat Dirt author Josh Axe, DC.


many as 70 mil­lion Amer­i­cans suf­fer from di­ges­tive dis­eases, and many oth­ers have symp­toms that may stem from an un­healthy gut, from joint pain, bad moods, and skin prob­lems to fre­quent colds and u, bac­te­rial in­fec­tions, au­toim­mune dis­eases, or sim­ply bloat­ing af­ter meals. In many cases, it’s dif­fi­cult to con­nect in­di­ca­tions with the di­ges­tive sys­tem. Nev­er­the­less, that’s where up to 80 per­cent of the im­mune sys­tem lives.

Why is the gut so pow­er­ful? It isn’t the gut it­self but rather, the mi­cro­biome. If you’ve heard about it a zil­lion times but are still mysti ed, not to worry. Josh Axe, DC, a Nashville, Tenn.-based doc­tor of nat­u­ral medicine and author of Eat Dirt, has a sim­ple ex­pla­na­tion: “e mi­cro­biome re­ally op­er­ates like an or­gan, only it’s not made of tis­sue in your body—it’s made up of tril­lions of micro­organ­isms.”

Just as your stom­ach knows to se­crete di­ges­tive juices when you eat, the mi­cro­biome, lo­cated in the in­testines, has its own in­tel­li­gence. “It’s sort of your own body’s ecosys­tem

of mi­crobes that have dif­fer­ent func­tions, keep­ing your body in bal­ance,” says Axe. Some mi­crobes—aka pro­bi­otics or friendly bac­te­ria—help ab­sorb or pro­duce vi­ta­mins while oth­ers elim­i­nate pathogens or sup­port health in other ways.


“Most peo­ple are se­verely de cient in pro­bi­otics,” says Axe. ey’re killed off by an­tibi­otics in med­i­ca­tions, meat and poul­try raised on fac­tory farms, and hand san­i­tiz­ers; pes­ti­cides in food and bev­er­ages; uoride and chlo­rine in drink­ing wa­ter; and other tox­ins. We all need to eat probiotic-rich, fer­mented foods, he says, and take sup­ple­ments.

Pro­bi­otics come in dif­fer­ent species (the rst part of the name of each one) and strains, and we need a va­ri­ety. Like other liv­ing or­gan­isms, they need food—in the form of pre­bi­otics. To keep track of these terms, “pre” comes be­fore “pro,” and probiotic or­gan­isms must eat pre­bi­otics be­fore they can sur­vive.


Al­though there are many species, says Axe, in na­ture and in sup­ple­ments, pro­bi­otics come from two main sources:

: Found on plant foods that have not been ra­di­ated or ster­il­ized. For ex­am­ple, if we ate lo­cally-grown, or­ganic car­rots and just washed them gen­tly, rather than scrub­bing off the top layer, we would in­gest these or­gan­isms, as our an­ces­tors did. In sup­ple­ments, the bacil­lus species is soil-based. Soil-based pro­bi­otics pass through the gut, elim­i­nat­ing harm­ful or­gan­isms, but don’t take up res­i­dence, so we need an on­go­ing sup­ply. ey are more re­silient to stom­ach acid than other types. Most other species, in­clud­ing lac­to­bacil­lus and bi dobac­terium, are found in fer­mented foods.

One other type, the sac­cha­romyces species, comes from yeast. To re­store and main­tain a healthy bal­ance, which helps the body heal it­self and stay in good shape, Axe rec­om­mends get­ting a va­ri­ety of all three types.


For health main­te­nance: Take 50 bil­lion colony form­ing units (CFUs) daily of a sup­ple­ment with a com­bi­na­tion of species, with or with­out food. Some prod­ucts also in­clude pre­bi­otic

bers, such as aca­cia gum, FOS (fruc­tooligosac­cha­rides), or in­ulin. Re­frig­er­ated prod­ucts should be kept in the fridge, and shelf-sta­ble ones may last longer if re­frig­er­ated. Al­ways eat foods that are rich in pro­bi­otics and pre­bi­otics.

If you’re tak­ing an­tibi­otics, take pro­bi­otics sev­eral times daily, at least 2 hours apart from an­tibi­otics. Aim for 100 to 500 bil­lion CFUs per day.

If you su er from food or chem­i­cal sen­si­tiv­i­ties, start with a prod­uct that con­tains only soil-based or­gan­isms (bacil­lus species), as these are less likely to trig­ger a re­ac­tion.

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