Tag Archives: probiotics

Killing Good Bacteria with the Bad

Do the probiotics I take replace the good bacteria wiped out by antibiotics?

Do the probiotics I take replace the good bacteria wiped out by antibiotics?

I’m pretty tired of that perky Jamie Lee Curtis and her “Activia” ads on television. Yeah, I’ll admit it, maybe I’m just jealous that she looks so damned good at her age, while I feel my own looks sliding into oblivion as the years slide by.

But I’ll admit she delivers an important message in those yogurt ads—good bacteria promote digestive health. And I’ve learned they do much more.

A riveting article by Michael Specter titled “Germs are Us” in the October 12 (2012) New Yorker magazine addresses this question: “Bacteria make us sick. Do they also keep us alive?”

Specter reports that “…the destruction of bacteria may contribute to Crohn’s disease, obesity, asthma, and many other chronic illnesses.”

As if I didn’t have enough to worry about with threatening bacteria like Borrelia burgdorferi and Babesia microti roving my body and making me sick, I’m quite concerned that antibiotic treatment is killing too many good guys among the tens of thousands of bacteria species in my body. Continue reading

Boost Your Health with this Superfood: Kefir

I let my kefir sit long enough to get creamy, but sourness does increase with time.

I let my kefir sit long enough to get creamy; sourness increases with time.

I’d never heard of kefir until my wise and wonderful acupuncturist encouraged me to try it as part of my recovery regimen for Lyme disease. Explaining that the fermented drink has many benefits and would boost my struggling immune system, he pressed a small packet of the starter culture into my hand to take with me.

I read up on this ancient superfood, and discovered its rich history over many centuries. Legend has it that long ago, shepherds in the Caucausus Mountains discovered that milk they carried in leather pouches fermented into tasty kefir as they rambled with their sheep.

Another story says that kefir was a gift to Orthodox Christians in the region from Mohammed, who warned them it would lost its miraculous health benefits if they shared it. People held it close, but kefir inevitably began to spread as its value came to light.

The people of the Caucausus are famous for being long-lived; maybe I could enjoy some of the same benefits. Kefir is loaded with vitamins, calcium, and fiber along with health-promoting bacteria. The National Kefir Association says this drink typically contains three times the probiotics of yogurt.

Studies show that kefir can “stimulate the immune system, enhance lactose digestion, and inhibit tumors, fungi and pathogens— including the bacteria that cause most ulcers.” Who knows, maybe research will show kefir goes after the lyme bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, too.

Continue reading