Dr.Karol, MD

The doctor with alternative solutions

The Health Benefits of Probiotics

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The upcoming topic on The Natural Health Show is probiotics, so I appropriately chose this as the subject for today’s blog.
Once upon a time in the early 20th century in Russia lived a man by the name of Professor Metchnikoff  (a nobel laureate by the way). He observed that certain human populations in the steppes of Russia had great longevity so he decided to observe what was different in their lifestyle. The only thing that was obvious is that these peoples consumed a lot of fermented milk products such as kefir and sour milk. He started to research the subject at the Pasteur Institute of Paris and concluded that what is responsible for the longevity factor in sour milk are certain beneficial bacteria that he called Probiotics.
There are two main types. These are Lactic Acid Bacteria (commonly know as Lactobacillus) and Bifidobacteria. These bacteria break down lactic acid in the gut and make the environment more acidic. This lowering of pH does not allow “bad” bacteria to flourish. These “bad” bacteria break down protein from our diet and as a byproduct release toxic substances such as ammonia. It is now thought that these toxic substances are not only bad for gut health (contributing to conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome) but may also be absorbed into the blood stream and be deleterious to all organs in our body. They cause inflammation, cell damage, and free radical formation. And what do we know from modern western medicine? We know for a fact that these inflammatory processes damage cells and thus accelerate the aging process as well as cause mutations to the DNA of cells, increasing the risk of cancer formation.
The good bacteria are also responsible for the production of certain vitamins, the most important among them being vitamin K. This vitamin is crucial in the normal coagulation of blood. Thus, when the good bacteria are killed off (for example by prolonged anti-biotic intake) the level of Vitamin K in our body drops. This can lead to excessively prolonged bleeding time when the body is exposed to trauma. Such trauma can manifest as easy bruising, bleeding into joints, blood in stool, as well as prolonged and sometimes dangerous menstrual bleeding. Thus it is crucial to keep the population of good bacteria in the bowel at an optimal level. This can be achieved by either drinking lots of fermented milk products or by supplementing with probiotics.
So my message for today is this: Probiotics protect our bodies by limiting inflammation, cell damage and free radical formation.  In short, they slow down the aging process and support a prolonged healthy life.  Our Russian scientist was right.  Probiotics are pro-life.

Author: Dr. Karol, MD

Alternative medicine expert, educator, medical health advisor and author. Recognized as a health expert who is highly knowledgeable in conventional medicine, supplementation, botanical medicine, clinical nutrition and diet and exercise programs. Karol graduated with a B.Sc. with distinction from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. Following this Karol completed a doctor of medicine degree as well as the medical post-graduation internship in Europe. Karol started his media career by hosting the radio Radical Remedies portion of The Natural Health Show. The Natural Health Show brings together a collection of health experts to discuss natural health solutions in a way that’s easy to understand. Karol also speaks on health matters and the potential of healthy ingredients on video blogs and at health tradeshows. He currently works closely with and represents some of Canada’s leading health product companies. Karol is currently the Medical Director of Vitarock.com, an online store for all things healthy. Here Karol reviews the products considered by Vitarock to ensure they meet the company’s four core pillars; to be pure, green, safe and fair. He also interacts directly with Vitarock’s online shoppers, being available by phone to provide a free medical consultation and to recommend the best possible products. He is also a senior advisor for dicentra, one of Canada’s leading regulatory and scientific consulting firms. Karol reviews science and compiles reports for Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help companies bring new and exciting products and ingredients to market. His overall philosophy is that as a society we should implement a more personal approach to our existing medical system showing more empathy, personal attention, as well as emotional and psychological support to individuals in need of help. He also believes in the value of integrating modern Western medical practice with natural remedies, exercise, time spent with nature, and a healthy diet rich in super foods.

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