Probiotics have become an exciting frontier in health and wellness. Most people only think about probiotic supplements in a bottle, but today we're talking about foods that have probiotics in them. These probiotic foods have billions more probiotics than supplements. I think supplements are very good, but so often they are killed by stomach acid and never make it all the way to the parts of the body where they can do the job. Probiotic foods are different. They have a protective halo around them that speeds them to various parts of the body quickly because they're attached to food. We researched and found that one spoonful of cultured vegetables has more probiotics than a whole supplement bottle. And this, my friends, is far less expensive, works better, and will teach you so much about food and how it can work like medicine. I reach for these foods every day when I have symptoms that crop up that I need help with. These could be symptoms such as a headache, sinus pressure, seasonal allergies, virus, anxiety, hormonal imbalances, high blood pressure, diabetes, or even adrenal fatigue. These foods work like medicine and help me through the daunting struggles of my everyday life. I see these cultured foods fermenting on my counter and I feel a swell of emotion that I found them and they keep me well. Like friends that call to me and say, "We’re here to help you. Please eat us." These living microbes in a jar have been placed right within your reach.
Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.” And I have seen this to be true. As we think about our health and future it can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. There is help for us all.
How Do Probiotics Keep Us Healthy?
Doctors Prescribing Probiotics
Imagine that you go to the doctor and instead of handing you a prescription, he gives you a probiotic recommendation that will help your illness. Then he tells you that this probiotic has an 86% success rate in several randomized placebo studies and there are no side effects.
This is actually starting to happen with many open-minded health providers and it’s exciting to see probiotics make their way into the health care system. This is what I’ve been teaching for years, but I have found that probiotic foods are much stronger than probiotic supplements. So, how do probiotics keep us healthy?
When you have a healthy amount of good bacteria in your gut, they crowd out pathogens that are looking to multiply into large numbers. When you have lots of good bacteria, the harmful bacteria diminish and clear the space for the healthier strains of bacteria. They protect the mucosal lining, or barrier, that keeps out viruses and pathogens. These good bacteria protect us from harmful bacteria that would otherwise make us sick. It is really a strong army inside of us that fights on our behalf every day.
Probiotic Foods For Different Ailments
This is a list of ailments that have been proven to respond well to the consumption of probiotics.
Click on each of the words to read more about each ailment and the probiotic solution or see the subjects below at the bottom of the page.
One of the first things I noticed when we started drinking kefir was the help my husband received with eliminating his acid reflux. It was quite surprising to me since he popped antacids like they were candy. But fast forward sixteen years and I've had so many, many people tell me they've gotten off their prescription drugs for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and every one of them told me kefir was what accomplished the task.
A man named John came up to me after one of my classes and said, “I take a glass of kefir every day before I go to work—without fail. I don’t sweeten it. I just drink it straight. I wanted to thank you because it allowed me to get off all my medication for acid reflux. I feel like a new man after years of struggle with this.” Then he smiled, shook my hand, and said, “Kefir is powerful medicine for acid reflux, and you should tell everybody who will listen.” I am heeding those words because I have heard time and time again how much kefir helps people who are struggling with acid reflux.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter malfunctions, allowing the contents of the stomach to flow up into the esophagus. Some speculate that an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the stomach causes undigested food to ferment. In turn, this fermentation causes gas to build up, eventually forcing the contents of the stomach up into the esophagus. This is what creates the symptoms of burning and pain commonly associated with acid reflux. Inflammation is one of the main culprits of GERD. Excess acid in the esophagus causes inflammation resulting in pain and irritation of the esophageal lining.
It was early 2002 and my sixteen-year-old daughter climbed out of bed and stumbled into the kitchen. "How do you feel this morning?" I asked. Her response broke me. "I never feel good any more mom. I feel bad all the time. My stomach hurts after everything I eat." What had happened to my daughter that caused her to become allergic to the foods she would eat? What was causing all the pain in her gut? Doctors couldn't help me except to suggest the removal of her gallbladder, hoping this would help. I was in pain because she was in pain, and I was on a mission to help her. I had just started making cultured foods the previous year and found that these foods helped with her digestion. That morning I called someone who had sold me coconut oil and was, in my opinion, a health expert. What happened next changed not only the course of Maci's gut but my whole life as well. I told this person I was making cultured foods, which she also believed in, and she said something to me that I will never forget. "You should feed your daughter a cultured food at every meal since it helps with digestion, and see if it makes a difference." So I did.
Maci had a cultured food with each of her meals and within a month her stomach stopped hurting. Within three months her food allergies started evaporating, and a year later she could eat anything she desired. She was no longer allergic to the mass of foods she had been allergic to. It felt like someone had casually handed me the keys to the kingdom of food allergies. I am so glad I heeded that casual advice because it changed everything for me. I began telling my friends about this miraculous method of healing food allergies and fixing their guts, and they began to heal too. Before I knew it, people were coming to me in droves and my life began to change dramatically. I started researching everywhere trying to find evidence of what I was witnessing and no evidence was to be found. Since this message of eating cultured foods at every meal was given to me to help my daughter, I decided I would share it with anybody who needed help.
I had no research and no proof besides the lives I was helping and witnessing - until now.
I have had seasonal allergies since I was twelve or thirteen years old. For months in the springtime, I locked myself inside the house and turned to drugs and steroids that harmed my immune system. This seemed to be what everybody did and I did the same because I had nowhere else to look.
After I discovered the power that cultured foods held for me, I went on a search-and-destroy mission to fix and heal these springtime allergies that made me feel like the world was coming to an end. It took me seven or eight years to work with my body to understand what was actually happening. The process of healing was a long one because there was much to learn and I continue to do so.
When your body has a reaction to pollen, your body sees pollen as a foreign invader and then overreacts by sending out inflammatory substances to compensate. Allergic symptoms are often nothing more than the body’s reaction to stress. The cells in our bodies have previously learned how to successfully cope with whatever stresses we presently have. It is already built into our genes, chromosomes, and DNA.
I have learned a lot about my immune system's response to pollen. My research in this area is ongoing and has me constantly amazed at how our bodies talk and communicate with us. When my adrenal glands are overworked and exhausted by the stress of life, I've discovered ways to support them and then I begin to heal.
Emotions are my best friends. They help me not only understand my present state but also how my body is doing. Researchers are discovering that an imbalance in your gut can cause mental symptoms. They call the gut the second brain, and boy are they right. I have witnessed firsthand those with ADD, anxiety, depression, and despair turn completely around when they fixed the microbes in their gut.
90% of the body’s total serotonin is produced in the digestive tract. Only 5% of serotonin is produced in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which influences many aspects of your behavior such as mood, appetite, and pain sensation. The right amount of serotonin in the brain produces a calm and happy feeling.
Link Between Gut Bacteria And Mental Health
Researchers have established a compelling link between gut bacteria and mental health. They’re still trying to figure out the extent to which the human micro population that is established in early childhood can be transformed. In a study led by John Cryan, a neuroscientist in Ireland, anxious mice dosed with the probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus rhamnosus showed lower levels of anxiety, decreased stress hormones, and even an increase in brain receptors for a neurotransmitter that’s vital in curbing worry, anxiety, and fear. I have witnessed this for myself in others, and I know this to be true.
My life feels dramatically different than it did a few years ago, and I cannot wait for each and every day; but I did not always feel that way. Fourteen years ago I was living in despair and I started chasing hope like there was no tomorrow. Desperate to find help for my body and help for my family, I was a woman on a mission to find hope any way possible; and then life turned around dramatically. I trained myself to find the things that would make me feel good physically and this website is the result of that journey. I don't just feel good, I feel fantastic most of the time and I am loving it. I never felt like this in my twenties or thirties and I think it is the only way to live. The best way I can describe it is passion, joy, and wellness. It makes every day magical. I have a lot of energy and feel like I have enough to carry out my mission on this earth, and that includes helping each and every one of you.
It is not just the food I am eating that makes me feel this way, but this is where it all started. I started to feel better physically, and then I connected to my mind and soul in a way I had never connected before. My life's purpose started unfolding before my eyes, and if you could see me writing this blog you would see the emotion that I feel and how very grateful I am to have found the answers that changed my life.
Let me explain to you some of the things that I believe changed my inner world, and as a consequence changed my mental state, my body, and my spirit.
When I first started with cultured foods almost two decades ago, one of the first things I noticed was the relief of joint pain in my knee. This was in the very beginning of drinking and making kefir every day. If I quit drinking kefir, it only took about three to four days before the pain would return, so I kept drinking my kefir! Kefir wasn't the only cultured food that helped me with pain in my joints - kombucha and cultured veggies have helped me too. I have gotten many emails sharing similar stories and research is helping us understand the power of microbes in the gut. New evidence has come forth showing that those with different forms of arthritis have different bugs in their gut that cause inflammation and autoimmune disease.1 So here is what I've learned and I hope it will shed some light on what's really going on in the body when it flares up with joint pain or arthritis.
Your body is host to trillions of microbes. This microbiome can influence your health in a powerful way. In fact, Hippocrates stated, "All disease begins in the gut," and more and more we are finding this to be true. Microbes are most often protective, guarding against pathogens and inflammation, but strong evidence suggests that disruptions in the microbial ecosystem may cause or contribute to many chronic diseases by interacting with your immune system. This includes inflammation in the joints and even different types of arthritis.
If you have an inflammatory type of arthritis, changing your diet and consuming cultured foods loaded with probiotics might be very important for you. Consuming lots of beneficial bacteria appears to have an impact on inflammation, reducing common biomarkers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein.
One of the first friends I ever told about cultured foods had a little boy with asthma. Making and drinking a kefir smoothie every day allowed him to get off his asthma inhaler and live a normal life. I was quite surprised and thrilled that it worked so rapidly. I heard about another similar success story when I ran into a lady at the health food store who had come to one of my classes. She told me that her husband had gotten off his inhaler, after fifteen years of using it, just by adding kefir and cultured veggies to his diet.
Another woman emailed me and told me the juice from cultured veggies stopped an asthma attack dead in its tracks. One afternoon she found herself having an asthma attack from a wind storm and had no inhaler to help her. Luckily, she had a cooler in her car with a jar of cultured veggies. She swigged the juice down as best she could since her airways were closing; and lo and behold, it worked!
In the American Journal of Epidemiology, they tied asthma to the consumption of antibiotics. This study found that when doctors give young children antibiotics, their risk of developing asthma before the age of six increases by 50 percent! In another study, researchers in the U.K., led by allergist Adnan Custovic, analyzed data from more than 1,000 children from birth until the age of 11. They looked at their medical records to determine how often doctors gave them antibiotics and how often they ended up with asthma. “We noted significantly higher risk of physician-confirmed wheezing after antibiotic prescription,” they wrote. There was a 70 percent increased risk for any kind of asthma case after the use of antibiotics. This speaks to the connection between healthy gut bacteria and the occurrence of asthma.
One study showed the anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects of kefir in a mouse asthma model.2 Kefir significantly suppressed an induced airway hyper-responsiveness (AHR) to inhaled methacholine.(Methacholine is used as a test to determine whether you may have asthma. It is a cholinergic drug that causes wheezing and shortness of breath.) Kefir significantly inhibited the increase in the total inflammatory cell count induced, and the distressed lung returned to normal. Kefir showed anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects in this study and may be used as a new therapeutic potential for the treatment of allergic bronchial asthma.
I've personally seen several friends whose autistic children experienced healing from eating probiotic foods and it was quite moving. I have a wonderful story from reader Rebecca Willis on my Lives Touched page that would warm your heart and make you understand the power of these powerful microbes to help with autism. (check out the story) I never understood why it worked so effectively, but years later more research studies have confirmed what I was witnessing.
One study on autism that really made an impact on me was done by food microbiologist Glenn Gibson at the University of Reading. It is referred to by some people as “the trial that was so successful, it failed.” 1 The study was done with 40 autistic children all between the ages of 4 and 13 years. Each child was randomly placed in one of two groups. For three weeks, one group was given a probiotic supplement with the species Lactobacillus plantarum which is abundant in cultured vegetables. The other children were given a placebo. After three weeks, the researchers planned to switch what each group was receiving, supplement or placebo. However, the parents of the children taking the probiotic saw such positive results that they knew which group they were in and refused to switch to the placebo. They saw too many improvements, in not only digestive health but also mental and behavioral health, that they said it was heartbreaking to have to stop their child from taking the probiotic. The children were calmer and had a greater ability to listen and concentrate. The trial had such a large dropout rate that it was discontinued.
Our bodies house trillions of bacteria. If we feed them properly, they will keep our immune system running strong. These bacteria digest foods that are indigestible to us, such as fiber, and they make this food into vitamins and compounds that we need but can't make for ourselves. But what are you feeding your microbes? They multiply and do their job based on how you take care of them; and when you do it properly, they make you shine in ways like never before. It's a partnership and we need to pay attention to what our trillions of bacteria do each and every day. This large microbiome will change with disease and many experts are now linking autoimmune diseases to this shift in the gut.
What is autoimmune disease?
With more than 80 different types of autoimmune disease, they're difficult to understand; but basically, the immune system finds proteins and tries to destroy them as if they were harmful foreign invaders. The immune system is quite an interesting system. It will go after a pathogen, such as a virus, and create inflammation to clear that pathogen from the body. However, an autoimmune disease causes the immune system to continue attacking these proteins and keeps us at an elevated state of inflammation.
In 2010, I had just started my blog and Facebook page, and the second person to post on my page was a man named Chris asking me How to Make Kombucha. He was a friend of my older kids and what I didn't know at the time was Chris had just been diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He was young and had a new family and needed help. Fast forward many years later and Chris is seven years cancer free. He undertook chemotherapy but also added tons of cultured foods to his diet, and now is my web manager and the person most responsible for the way my site looks, runs, and a million other things. Years later, I discovered just how important it was that Chris added cultured probiotic foods to his diet.
Gut Microbes Repair The Gut After Chemo
Along with cancer often comes the use of chemotherapy, which brings with it a host of other problems. There has been some research done on the connection between the gut and chemo. In one clinical study, researchers gave a group of mice an injection of chemotherapy that would, pound for pound, kill most adult human beings. Why? According to Jian-Guo Geng, associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, “All tumors from different tissues and organs can be killed by high doses of chemotherapy and radiation, but the current challenge for treating the later-staged metastasized cancer is that you actually kill the [patient] before you kill the tumor.” So the goal was to test a recently discovered biological mechanism that focuses on preserving the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract—a mechanism that helped mice live through this lethal dose of chemotherapy.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
I developed CTS in the late '90s when we first got internet and I was on the computer all the time. It was painful and I also wasn't very healthy, but I did go looking for an alternative to surgery and found one. I discovered I was lacking in vitamin B6 and there were many studies on how this can treat CTS. I started taking 100 milligrams of B6 supplements and much to my surprise my carpal tunnel syndrome went away.
Approximately 260,000 carpal tunnel surgeries are performed yearly, but the good news is many doctors are now telling patients to add vitamin B6 to their diets, along with wrist splints and anti-inflammatories. There are some doctors who are divided on this, but some authorities are saying that around 90 percent of CTS cases can be eliminated by B6 supplementation. B6 worked for me so I am now a believer, but since that day I have learned a lot more that I want to share with you. Inflammation in the body and a lack of B6 can be at the root of CTS. Supplementing with vitamin B6 can get the job done, but you have to be careful not to take too much. Some studies involving lab animals found that excess B6 can harm the central nervous system. I also discovered that many people have trouble absorbing B vitamins, and having lots of healthy bacteria is crucial in helping you synthesize all of your B vitamins.
I get hundreds of emails about the subject of Candida, and a lot of them are asking me why so many health care practitioners don't recommend the consumption of fermented foods if you have Candida. Most physicians and well-meaning practitioners only know of fermented foods made with vinegars rather than the cultured or fermented foods that I teach people to make. The ones made with vinegars should not be eaten when you have Candida. They are a completely different food than the ones I recommend because these foods don’t have probiotics in them. Probiotic foods are the key to finally bringing Candida into balance; but as they do, it can often seem that you are getting worse instead of better.
We need small amounts of the yeast Candida
Candida is a yeast/fungal organism that lives naturally within the human body. We need small amounts of the yeast Candida since it can digest things like heavy metals that our regular digestive system cannot handle. It is normally found in the body in low levels but an overproduction of this yeast can cause many problems, including the fungal infection known as Candidiasis. Candida can spread as a fungus does throughout the intestines and sinuses. Candida penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body, which can cause a myriad of problems.
Don't avoid cultured foods
A lot of people avoid cultured foods—especially kombucha—when they have an overgrowth of Candida, believing that these foods actually make the condition worse. Saccharomyces boulardii (S. boulardii), a probiotic yeast abundant in kombucha, is able to effectively compete with and displace harmful yeast strains such as Candida.1 It also produces anti-fungal substances such as capric, caprylic, and caproic acids. This probiotic yeast will discourage pathogenic yeasts in its environment. In the case of kombucha, it is important to drink the first-fermented kombucha (and not the ones that have been second-fermented with fruit juice) to ensure that all the sugars are gone and the kombucha is properly fermented. Cultured foods can aid in the treatment of Candida overgrowth as long as they are made properly in order to remove the sugars and allow the probiotics to grow and become strong.
Over the last decade, more and more research has shown that having more good bacteria in your gut does in fact appear to improve the body's immune response. That, in turn, helps the body be better prepared to fight off certain infections, including the common cold and even COVID-19. (check out the link) Consuming prebiotics and probiotic foods regularly can lower your chances of getting a cold. If you do catch a cold, they may help reduce the severity of your symptoms and shorten how long they last.
Seventy percent of your body’s immune cells live in your gut
About seventy to eighty percent of your body’s immune cells live in your gut or intestine. This is roughly 100 trillion immune cells that make up your gut microbiome and play a big role in the strength of your immune system. The local immune system of the gut has two main functions: to protect against infections and to protect against the uptake of and/or harmful immune response to food antigens.
Having a healthy, diverse gut microbiome makes it difficult for illness-causing bacteria and viruses to take hold. If you have a weak, sparsely populated microbiome with a shortage of “good” bacteria, it can leave you open to illnesses — like colds and the flu.
The intestinal immune system contains more antibody-producing cells than the rest of the body put together. 1 The fluids that come from the digestive system (such as mucus and saliva) are as rich as breast milk in both health-supporting and disease-preventing factors. 2 Our immune systems make antibodies that fight bacteria, viruses, and toxins. One of the most common antibodies, called secretory IgA (immunoglobulin A), is found in mucous membranes lining the nose, windpipe, and lungs. IgA acts as the body’s warning and security system. When IgA levels are adequate, these antibodies can prevent cold and flu viruses from entering the body through the nasal mucous and respiratory tract. Having enough IgA is extremely important because these special antibodies go after both viral and bacterial invaders in your upper respiratory tract, deactivating them and allowing the immune system to destroy them. Having enough IgA can prevent a cold or flu from getting a foothold in your respiratory tract because once a virus infects cells it can replicate and wreak havoc.
Colitis, Crohn's, Ulcers
Our digestive system forms one of the barriers between the outside world and our internal structures. Elie Metchnikoff won a Nobel Prize in 1908 for identifying a link between the digestive system and the immune system. His work demonstrates that by manipulating our intestinal microbiome with friendly bacteria we can enhance our health and boost our immune system's healing power.
Jordan Rubin, founder of Garden Of Life, had serious and debilitating Crohn's disease. In his book, "The Raw Truth," he said he drank several quarts of kefir a day and took other probiotic foods and supplements to heal from this dreaded disease.
Clinical studies in mouse models 3 suggest that probiotics may help reduce flares and prevent complications of Crohn's or colitis such as pouchitis. More studies are needed, but using natural sources of prebiotics and probiotics such as kefir and cultured veggies are good choices to supply probiotics and prebiotics in natural foods choices.
In one study, 34 patients with mild to moderate ulcerative colitis who had not responded to conventional therapy underwent six weeks of treatment with a high-potency probiotic mixture containing eight strains of probiotics, many of which are also found in cultured foods: Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium infantis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Streptococcus thermophiles. The outcome was impressive: 77 percent of participants responded favorably to the probiotic treatment. And there were none of the adverse effects that often accompany conventional treatment.4,5
I've seen cultured vegetables, kombucha, and kefir help with so many gastrointestinal disorders, and I've even witnessed firsthand my son healing from an ulcer that was causing him severe pain every time he ate. Kombucha and kefir have been found to help the healing process with those who have ulcers. The special probiotic bacteria and yeasts in kombucha protect the lining of the gut by reducing the acids that damage the mucous membrane. It was found that this works as well as the prescription drug Prilosec in healing stomach ulcers.6 Cultured vegetables play a part in healing ulcers as well. Vitamin U, which is not actually a vitamin but a compound called S-methylmethionine, is abundant in cultured cabbage and its juices. It has been shown to successfully treat ulcerative colitis, acid reflux, and peptic ulcers.7,8 Kefir was something he consumed every morning, and with this trilogy combination, it helped him heal in about two months. In addition to adding the probiotic foods, he did eliminate any acidic foods that were aggravating his condition.
Dr. Jean Bousquet, professor of pulmonary medicine at Montpellier University in France, and who chaired The Global Alliance Against Chronic Respiratory Diseases, and his team studied a link between countries that consumed a lot of fermented krauts (such as South Korea and Germany) and saw they had lower death rates and cases of COVID-19. “Little attention has been given to the spread and severity of the virus, and regional differences in diet, but diet changes may be of great benefit,” said Dr. Jean Bousquet, advising people to include fermented vegetables in their breakfast.
“If the hypothesis is proved, COVID-19 will be the first infectious disease epidemic whose biological mechanisms are proved to be associated with a loss of nature. When modern life led to eating reduced amounts of fermented foods, the microbiome drastically changed, and this may have facilitated SARS-CoV-2 to spread or to be more severe,” writes the team.
How COVID-19 Enters The Body
The study, published in the journal Clinical and Translational Allergy, found that fermented cabbage helps decrease levels of ACE2 which is key to the virus replicating and finding entry into the body. ACE2, which stands for angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, is a protein that sits on the surface of many types of cells in the human body including the heart, gut, lungs, and inside the nose. This protein adheres to cells located on the surface of the lungs and begins to form pockets or little openings, in the organ. This is used by COVID-19 as an entry point into the body. SARS-CoV-2, (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 - the official name of the virus) with its spiky exterior, does have the ability to unlock the ACE2 receptor and gain entry into the lungs. This is how the virus begins by invading the lungs and making copies of itself.
Fermented Foods and ACE2
The exciting news is consuming probiotic fermented cabbage brings down the number of ACE2, making it much more difficult for the virus to enter the body.
I remember that day quite vividly. It was over fifteen years ago; it was February and bitter cold outside. I made myself a breakfast that I thought was healthy - high-fiber cereal and skim milk. Thirty minutes later a terrible feeling came over me, one that I recognized from having gestational diabetes with the pregnancy of my daughter. I had a blood sugar meter that I could test my blood sugar with, and when I saw the numbers my heart sank. I picked up the phone to call my brother-in-law, who was a medical physician. He very gently and kindly confirmed for me what I already knew. My blood sugar was too high and out of the normal range. These were diabetic numbers, but I already knew this. Devastated, I walked into the kitchen where my family was and burst into tears.
How could I have gone from running every day and racing through life to having diabetes and high blood pressure? And I was watching my extended family, one by one, deteriorate as well. It really broke me. I felt as though it was my fault and I could not find my way out of this situation. Having a four-pound preemie who was delivered prematurely in an effort to save my life just heaped more guilt upon me as I watched her struggle to grow and thrive. It was these experiences that changed my life. Changed everything, actually, and caused me to cry out from a deep place in my soul for help. Standing on the other side of these experiences, though, has caused me to be so thankful for the pain they caused.
Many studies are confirming the presence of altered gut flora in humans and animals with obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, and hypertension. Growing research suggests that people who are obese and resistant to insulin have microbes in their gut that are different from the microbes in healthy people.1 There is evidence that feeding probiotics and prebiotics to those with diabetes-related obesity and metabolic disorders can dramatically reduce insulin resistance, restore glucose sensitivity, and lower blood pressure and weight by altering their gut flora and encouraging the right kind of microbes to thrive and grow.2 This adds to a feeling of overall well-being. These conditions can be very draining and tax the body, so when you balance your gut, you liberate energy, lifting your mood and outlook on life.
Constipation, diarrhea, stomach upset, or pain when you eat is always a sign that your gut is struggling and needs your help. These symptoms can develop after you take antibiotics and they are always a sign that your gut is out of whack. Having cultured foods can greatly help bring balance to these symptoms. Many people have gotten off their medications for constipation after consuming kefir. One of the first people I met at one of my classes was a man in his late seventies who was on medication for chronic constipation for years. One week on kefir and he didn't need it anymore. One way kefir may help is by lowering the pH in the colon via short-chain fatty acids (butyric acid, propionic acid, and lactic acid). A lower pH or more acidic colon enhances movement.
Saccharomyces boulardii is a powerful probiotic that cannot be killed by antibiotics. When I discovered that S. boulardii was in kombucha and was helping a friend with acute diarrhea (when nothing else would), I did more and more research on this powerful probiotic only to find more benefits from making and consuming kombucha.
S. boulardii is one of the most thoroughly researched of all probiotic supplements.4 It is now used to treat Clostridium difficile (C. diff), acute diarrhea, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, some parasitic forms of diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal disorders.5 S. boulardii can also act as a decoy to harmful pathogens. It attracts and binds with the pathogens, keeping them from attaching to the intestinal wall and doing damage. Many people have expressed how much kombucha has helped them with chronic diarrhea. It seems to be the only thing that really works for them, and it's simply a delicious fermented tea - not a drug that can have side effects.
Eczema is a skin condition that causes itchy, red patches on different locations of the body and affects over 30 million people, especially children between the ages of one and five. The standard treatment is steroidal creams, corticosteroids, or antihistamines but this does not address the underlying cause of why it started in the first place. Scientists are finding that infants with a low intestinal microbial diversity during the first month of life are associated with atopic eczema.  At least 60% of the cases of eczema are found in children under five years of age, but more and more adults are having flareups. More evidence is pointing to the use of antibiotics and diets that harm the gut flora.
Eczema and Dermatitis
Eczema can also be called dermatitis and is caused by an overabundance of antibodies in the system called immunoglobulin (IgE). The production of IgE is the body's overreaction and attempt to protect itself. This is why eczema is considered an autoimmune condition which means that the body is basically harming itself.
Underlying causes can be multifaceted and you have to be a little bit of a detective to assess what's going on that has your skin erupting and causing distressing symptoms. Remember, disease is not the enemy. It's the warning sign and the body's cry for help.
Look at the Gut First
The first place to look is in your gut. Many people with eczema have allergic reactions to food. We often see that people with food allergies are missing important gut bacteria that have been killed by antibiotics. Keep reading . . .
Fibromyalgia is one of the fastest-growing disabling conditions, and it seems to affect mostly women. I see it cropping up everywhere. It is a chronic inflammatory condition that causes muscular and joint pain as well as extreme fatigue. It is debilitating and can ruin people’s lives. More and more evidence is pointing to an unhealthy gut in people suffering from fibromyalgia. One study found that those who have fibromyalgia also have leaky gut syndrome or IBS. Another study showed that 73 percent of patients with fibromyalgia reported gastrointestinal symptoms and that IBS was present in 30 to 70 percent of fibromyalgia patients.9
This would indicate that there is a correlation between fibromyalgia and gut problems. The medical community does not yet know what causes fibromyalgia or agree on how to remedy it; but time and time again, I see people who fix their guts finding relief or improvement from fibromyalgia.
Sherri, one of my class participants, shared her fibromyalgia story:
Over 20 years ago, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. For years, I’d had an all-over body ache that felt like inflammation. It was an ache that I had every day. I was especially achy when we had rainy weather.
After having a terrible bout with a stomach virus that lasted about a week, I searched out information about how to heal my gut issues. I found your videos and that’s where it all began. After watching your videos, I immersed myself in making kefir, cultured veggies, and kombucha. After three weeks of filling myself with these wonderful foods, I woke up one morning and realized I didn't have that all-over body ache anymore. It’s been that way for the past eight days, and I’m so excited about it. Also, it’s calmed my painful gastric problems, and I have a sense of well-being. I know this is something that I’m going to continue to do because it’s improving my health. ~Sherri
Of all the health ailments cultured foods can help with, the one I hear the most about is either food poisoning or stomach virus (Gastroenteritis). I’ve seen it work personally on my family many times. When I started sharing this remedy with my friends, I was overwhelmed with how much it was helping them. It was one of the reasons I finally decided to write a book and start a blog sixteen years ago. People needed to know there was help for them, and it was a simple remedy that they could make in a jar and keep in their refrigerator for many months. I have found nothing more effective then cultured veggies and their juice to stop food poisoning or a stomach virus dead in its tracks. It was the very thing that finally convinced me once and for all that cultured vegetables were powerful medicine. After that, I kept them in my fridge at all times.
Most of the immune system resides in the gut
Most people do not realize that 70 percent of the immune system is located in the digestive system. The large majority of the body’s immune cells are located in the digestive tract and these immune cells are assisted by the probiotic microorganisms that live there. These powerful microbes can recognize the presence of a pathogen and stimulate the body to initiate an immune response to fight off threats and to attack these harmful invaders.
Certain strains of probiotics support our immune system by killing disease-causing pathogens with the anti-microbial substances they produce called bacteriocins. These mighty helpers work to eliminate pathogens from the body. Here’s where having lots of healthy microbes is important. Good bacteria help us to eliminate harmful or pathogenic bacteria and viruses by outcompeting the harmful microbes for food and other resources. Having lots of good bacteria takes up space within the digestive tract which makes it harder for the bad microbes to take hold and cause harm.
I have met hundreds of people who are now on gluten-free diets. My daughter used to be one of them. Gluten pain can make life difficult and become a heavy load to bear. How can this grain that has been around since time began suddenly wreak such havoc on so many individuals? Well, it is definitely causing a lot of problems, but I was never one to do something without understanding the reasoning behind it. I want to know the answers for myself and not just take someone’s word for it. When my daughter developed IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and couldn’t eat wheat, and every week the list of foods she couldn’t tolerate kept growing, I became a woman on a mission to understand what was going on.
The Underlying Problem
I started researching the foods that hurt her gut the most and eliminated them from her diet, but that was only a temporary fix - the underlying problem was still there. Here is what I found - the reason she was having so much trouble digesting grains was really a three-fold problem. First, her gut lining was damaged. Years of antibiotics had stripped her of all her good bacteria. Stress, certain foods she was eating, and a lack of nutrient-dense foods were destroying her gut lining. The lack of proper bacteria to turn her foods into vitamins and fatty acids was causing changes in her gut. There was nothing to protect her gut lining. She had been on an extremely low carb diet for several years, and her microbes were in dire need of fiber in the form of prebiotic carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains to thrive and grow. She was only eating 30 carbs a day, essentially starving her microbes and was taking antibiotics. When your microbes don't have any food, this can cause the pH in your gut to shift. This shift can favor the growth of less healthy, negative endotoxin-producing gut bacteria such as Bacteroides, and reduce the growth of positive bacteria that are “more healthy” for your gut. Jeff Leach from the American Gut project states,1 "As pH shifts, prospects for opportunistic pathogens increase, as do opportunities for gram-negative bacteria like Bacteroides and Enterobacter. When you add this up – and a lot more shifts in the microbial ecology of the low-carb gut – you most certainly have a classic case of microbial dysbiosis – as the name implies, an imbalance. This dysbiosis can lead to issues associated with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, autoimmune disease, metabolic disorders, and so on." This now makes sense to me since it was the perfect storm - she was a perfectly normal teenager with no food allergies, and suddenly she developed all kinds of symptoms and food allergies she'd never had before. Antibiotics had stripped her of all her good bacteria and left her defenseless. This, along with starving her microbiome with a lack of fiber to feed her microbes, was changing the world within, causing great pain and symptoms that changed the course of her life. We also found that just eliminating the offending foods will eliminate the pain to a degree. but then you need to fix the microbiome to re-establish a new inner microbiome.
Gut Health As You Age
Constipation, diarrhea, stomach upset, or pain when you eat is always a sign that your gut is struggling and needs your help. These symptoms can develop after you take antibiotics and they are always a sign that your gut is out of whack. Having cultured foods can greatly help bring balance to these symptoms. Many people have gotten off their medications for constipation after consuming kefir. One of the first people I met at one of my classes was a man in his late seventies who was on medication for chronic constipation for years. One week on kefir and he didn't need it anymore. One way kefir may help is by lowering the pH in the colon via short-chain fatty acids (butyric acid, propionic acid, and lactic acid). A lower pH or more acidic colon enhances movement. More studies have been done and click the link below to access them.
S. boulardii is one of the most thoroughly researched of all probiotic supplements.4 It is now used to treat Clostridium difficile (C. diff), acute diarrhea, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, some parasitic forms of diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal disorders.5 S. boulardii can also act as a decoy to harmful pathogens. It attracts and binds with the pathogens, keeping them from attaching to the intestinal wall and doing damage. Many people have expressed how much kombucha has helped them with chronic diarrhea. It seems to be the only thing that really works for them, and it's simply a delicious fermented tea - not a drug that can have side effects.
H. pylori is a type of gram-negative bacteria that infects the lining of your stomach. This bacteria can stick to stomach cells and your stomach can’t protect itself very well. It can cause inflammation and damage the tissue in your stomach and the first part of your small intestine (the duodenum). In some cases, it can also cause painful sores called peptic ulcers in your upper digestive tract. H. pylori can also get the stomach to make more acid, causing painful symptoms of gas and bloating.
But here's the good news!
Many traditional fermented foods and beverages that contain probiotic microbes can help with H.pylori. A few studies showed that consumption of probiotic foods such as kefir, cultured vegetables and kombucha are beneficial in helping with H. pylori infection. These probiotic foods bring in a fresh inocula of microbes to your gastrointestinal tract. Several strains such as Lactobacillus, L. plantarum, and Saccharomyces are especially effective in bringing balance to the gut when infected with H. pylori.
Saccharomyces boulardii is another probiotic yeast that is found in kombucha that can help with H. Pylori and candida. Click the link to read more.
High Blood Pressure
In 2001, I was battling hypertension and diabetes. It was then that I started drinking kefir and I noticed an interesting occurrence. It seemed that when I drank a glass of kefir every day my blood pressure would go down; and not just a little, but quite a bit. It would put me in the normal range. When I would stop drinking kefir, my blood pressure would start to creep up after three days. So I started doing experiments on myself to see if it was the kefir. After many, many trial runs I was convinced it was the kefir. I have never been one to just accept without knowing the reasoning behind anything, so I began searching for answers.
A couple of months later, I was reading a book called Bacteria For Breakfast which described fermented milk products and how they lower blood pressure in people with mild hypertension. To combat hypertension doctors often prescribe what is known as an ACE-inhibitor, a drug that helps decrease the tension in blood vessels, thus decreasing blood pressure. What the study discussed in Bacteria for Breakfast found is that some strains of probiotic food1 produce their own ACE-inhibiting substances during the fermentation process.
High cholesterol is another health issue that is significantly impacted by probiotics. I’ve had many people tell me that their cholesterol level was lowered after starting with cultured foods. As good bacteria grow in the intestinal tract, these microbes consume some of the cholesterol that is present, incorporating it into their own cells. This means the cholesterol becomes unavailable for absorption from the intestine into the bloodstream, naturally lowering total cholesterol.
A double-blind study with 60 volunteers aged 18 to 65 looked at the effects of probiotics on cholesterol. Each day for 12 weeks, one group received a capsule that contained 120 billion viable Lactobacillus strains, which happen to be abundant in cultured vegetables. The other group got a placebo. There was a 13.6 percent overall reduction in total cholesterol in the people who took the probiotic as compared with the placebo group. Moreover, the participants with the highest cholesterol at the start of the study reduced their total cholesterol by 17.4 percent. Their LDL cholesterol—the “bad” cholesterol—was lowered by 17.6 percent, compared with the placebo group. 10 This is a significant reduction in total cholesterol. Ingesting cultured foods provides not only the Lactobacillus strains that were used in the study but also various others that add to an overall balanced gut.
Many of your gut bacteria break down histamine. If you get an imbalance in your gut due to antibiotics, stress, or a diet high in processed foods, the good bacteria strains lessen and you'll have more of the pathogenic bacteria which may lead to impaired histamine degradation and increased histamine load. But here's the catch - certain probiotic strains are histamine-producing, while other strains are histamine-degrading which should improve your symptoms. If you have too much of the histamine-producing kind and not enough of the other, then you're in trouble.
Histamines are produced inside your body, but there are also a variety of foods that naturally contain histamines. If your gut bacteria is out of whack, then these foods can cause the release of histamine, or block the enzyme that breaks down histamine. Your body also produces histamines, too. It's not the foods that are creating the problem. The problem is your body's inability to break them down.
Female hormones are complex and beautifully made. But take those hormones and ignore them, and they will get your attention through symptoms of discomfort that can lead to disease and believe you me, they can wreak havoc on your life. A woman’s ovaries are responsible for making the hormones progesterone and estrogen. If the bacteria in your system that live near your reproductive organs change to harmful pathogenic types of bacteria, your ovaries are likely to become hindered and may under-produce or over-produce a certain hormone causing all kinds of hormonal imbalances. Your blood sugar, sex hormones, and adrenals are a three-legged stool and when one struggles, so do the other two. They all work together and you need all of them in sync to feel good.1
So, let's say you have some imbalances in your gut flora. You are 100 trillion bacteria and when they become unbalanced by not having enough of the "good guy" bacteria, then harmful pathogenic bacteria and yeasts (such as Candida) start to spread and grow in your gut. The good bacteria are diminished and then your body's detoxification system becomes hindered. Hormones that are normally eliminated via the gut and liver stay circulating in your system, and then you end up with hormonal imbalances that make you miserable.
Hormones are broken down and detoxified in two ways in the body: first in the liver, and then in the colon. When the digestive tract is out of balance, your estrogens, especially, are not detoxed properly which leads to symptoms of estrogen dominance. The most important step you can take to support gastrointestinal function is to rebalance your gut flora - especially clearing out yeast. I have found this step to be the most profound in dealing with any hormonal imbalance - especially PMS.
Eating probiotic foods will help keep out pathogens, parasites, bacteria, and viruses, especially Gardnerella, Proteus, Chlamydia, Campylobacter, Neisseria, Treponema, and Salmonella.2 These are also the urinary tract bacteria that cause yeast infections and bladder infections. These infections are common when you have hormonal imbalance!
Perimenopause And Menopause
After your body starts to slow down and you start to go into perimenopause or menopause and the ovaries are done with their cycles of estrogen and progesterone production, the adrenal glands' hormone production is meant to “kick in” and make up any deficit. After this ends, your adrenals can still keep your hormone levels regulated. So your adrenals work harder but if you have worn them out, you're going to have a hard time.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is usually identified by a group of symptoms: abdominal pain, bloating, and a change in bowels that can alternate between diarrhea and constipation. My daughter's story of healing from IBS was one that made me a believer in the power of probiotic foods. She had multiple food allergies and IBS, and by having cultured foods and prebiotics at every meal she healed her gut and IBS. That was over sixteen years ago (check out the story here).
So what do scientists say about the connection between probiotics, a healthy gut, and IBS? One 2014 study looked at 28 people suffering from IBS.1 Some of the participants were asked to consume a fermented milk product for four weeks while others served as a control group. In those people consuming the drink, researchers saw an increase in the bacteria that produce butyrate, an acid that is beneficial for gut health. In response, the symptoms of their IBS also improved, while the symptoms of the people in the control group remained. The conclusions drawn in this study mirror those of a study done in 2009 with 34 participants.2
Another study, done in Norway, compared three groups: two groups composed of people who were suffering from IBS and one with subjects who had no symptoms of IBS. One of the IBS groups was given dietary advice, and the other two groups didn’t receive this advice. Many people who have IBS avoid dairy because it causes their symptoms to flare up. The people in the IBS group who got advice were told to consume fermented milk products containing probiotics. Interestingly, the people who consumed the most fermented dairy did significantly better than their counterparts. They reported an improvement in their quality of life and a reduction of abdominal pain.3
There is an emerging surge in the use of probiotics for kidney health in the medical field.14,15 New probiotic supplements have been developed to specifically treat the kidneys, and there have been remarkable results. Certain strains of probiotics can gobble up urea, uric acid, creatinine, and many other toxins that are not being eliminated by underperforming kidneys. As the healthy bacteria grow and multiply they consume more and more of these poisonous substances, reducing the serum uremic toxin levels in people with compromised kidney function.
As of late, people have been sending me more and more stories of how these foods have improved their kidney health. A woman recently shared with me how she had just discovered that she had kidney disease and that her children had it too. Within just a few months of consuming cultured foods, new tests came back confirming normal kidney function. She was astonished, as was her doctor, that the kidneys could heal so rapidly, and it made her a strong believer in the power of cultured foods.
Here is Peni's story - one of my favorite stories about cultured foods and kidney health:
I wrote to you a couple of months ago desperate for some help. My kidney doctor had just told me that my kidneys were functioning at 20 percent and I needed to choose which form of dialysis I would prefer. This seemed a death sentence for me. I have had several health problems through the years, and this was heading for a crash really soon! I asked you if you had ever heard of anyone who had tried this "cultured food and drink" way of life with any results of repairing kidney function and you told me you had not heard of this, but you gave me encouragement to try it anyway. In my grief and despair, I decided to do just that. Donna, I went back to the kidney care doctor just recently and he just kept shaking his head and said he didn’t understand how or why this way worked, but that not only had I lost weight in the two months since I last saw him, but my kidney function ... went UP 10 percent!!!!! Yay God! He said he had never heard of this happening before. The nurse came back in after the visit and said in all the years she had worked for him, she had never seen him speechless like that. All this, Donna, after only doing it for approximately 1-1/2 months! ~ Peni
I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. I felt off, kind of loopy in the head and couldn't think straight, and not myself. I was tired and wanting to rest a lot and didn't want to exercise. This was not like me, and it scared me. Then I got a cold. I rarely, if ever, get sick and it broke me. My daughter Maci called me and I couldn't stop crying. I said to her, "This is how people feel when they're sick and it feels like the world is coming to an end. I'm not used to this anymore and I have to find out why I'm feeling so bad." Then I got really scared and said, "What if there is something really wrong with me and I don't know it?" She interrupted my crying and said sternly, "MOM! Don't listen to anything this version of you is saying. This is not who you are, this is a scared, sick person and that's not you. You'll figure it out. It'll be okay. You're just scared and not used to feeling bad. DON'T LISTEN TO HER! She's not the real you! "
She was right. I was making up all kinds of scenarios in my head of what could be wrong. I asked for wisdom, and a few days later I received it. I was going to sleep one night and a thought popped into my head. "I had all my mercury fillings removed a week ago and this is when all this started. Could I be feeling the side effects of mercury poisoning?" Apparently, after you have your fillings removed, it stirs up the mercury that is sealed in your mouth and the vapors can affect you for a month before it starts to subside. Could this be the cause of all these symptoms? Did I lower my immune system? Was my body struggling and did it need my help to detoxify from all of this? Well, now I had a plan and I was on it big time. I would help my body detoxify, and I was good at this. It needed me to help it. So I upped all my cultured foods and prebiotics (which included fresh green juices), included lots of cultured vegetables, extra doses of kefir, and a bunch of kombucha. I quickly felt ten times better, and in a few days, I was back to feeling like myself again.
We all know that food choices can drastically impact health symptoms. So, it's no surprise that diets are continuously developed for different health conditions or symptoms. IBS and SIBO sufferers have a difficult time finding things to eat that don't flare symptoms. Prior to finding cultured foods, my daughter suffered from IBS and I was on a mission to help her repair her gut and symptoms. Experiencing pain every time she ate was no way to live. There was little help from the medical community as to why she suddenly developed these symptoms and what I should do about it, but this led me to discover cultured foods and their ability to repair the microbiome and restore her health. One of the things that has been developed for those who suffer from SIBO and IBS is the FODMAP Diet.
Professor Peter Gibson at Monash University in Melbourne developed the FODMAP diet to help alleviate signs of IBS and ease discomfort. When it comes to the FODMAP diet, avoiding a lot of foods that cause symptoms only temporarily removes the problem. It doesn’t heal the problem that caused it to begin with. While this diet does reduce gas, bloating, and cramping, you'll have to avoid a long list of otherwise beneficial foods like fruits, grains, dairy, and veggies forever if you don't fix the underlying problem. New findings by researchers pointed to possible drawbacks:
“There may be potential detrimental effects of the diet in the long term, due to potential changes to the gastrointestinal microbiota… Future research should focus on the relevance of changes to the microbiota and ways to liberalize the dietary restrictions.” 1
What’s going on in your gut greatly influences how and when you sleep. Your gut has over thirty types of neurotransmitters (like the ones found in your brain). The gut also contains 100 million neurons, which is higher than the amount found in our spinal cord! And those transmitters that have brain-like properties make at least 95% of our serotonin - an important neurotransmitter for sleep and cognitive function. Serotonin does many things for you throughout the day. They call it the "joy hormone" and many antidepressant drugs target serotonin. But serotonin also controls your body clock and sleep cycles. The body's ability to make serotonin depends on many things such as the types of microbes in our gut, the foods we eat, and how much natural light and exercise we get.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps us feel sleepy at night. It was thought that only the pineal gland made melatonin, but they have also found that the gut produces 400 times more melatonin than the pineal gland. Even if the pineal gland is removed, melatonin stays stable. And they have recently found that low levels of melatonin have been linked to leaky gut and IBS. So much happens in the gut that we are unaware of and taking care of what you put in the gut changes not only your waking hours but your sleeping hours too.
The vagus nerve wanders from the brain into organs in the neck, chest, and abdomen. This nerve has two bunches of sensory nerve cell bodies, and it connects 90% of the neural fibers which transmit information from your gut to your brain. Essentially it is part of a long circuit that links the neck, heart, lungs, and the abdomen to the brain.
When people say they have indigestion, heartburn, or acid stomach, often these can come from having low stomach acid. That’s right, your heartburn, bloating, and indigestion may be from low, not high, stomach acid. You need to have enough HCL (hydrochloric acid or stomach acid) to properly digest your food and also for immune health. We become vitamin and mineral deficient if we don't properly digest our food so this is something you should pay attention to. When a person starts to eat, the stomach is stimulated to start producing HCL. The HCL activates the chief cells in the middle portion of the stomach to start secreting a protein-digesting enzyme known as pepsinogen. Pepsinogen needs hydrochloric acid in order to begin digesting protein. Your stomach acid is also needed to kill bacteria, parasites, and viruses that enter with the food you eat. This helps explain why cultured foods work better than probiotic supplements. The food gives the probiotic foods a protective halo to speed to the parts of the body that allow them to thrive and grow, compared to supplements which are mostly killed by the stomach acids.
If you're having these problems, even though it feels like your stomach is producing too much acid
actually the reverse is true. You need more acid!
Causes Of Low Hydrochloric Acid — Low Stomach Acid
- Stress — hydrochloric acid (HCL) can be inhibited by stress, emotion, or worry. High amounts of stress will exhaust the body and HCL production diminishes.
- Zinc deficiency
- B vitamin deficiency
- Age – as you get older, stomach acid production tends to decrease
- Mineral deficiencies
- Eating a nutritionally-deficient diet of processed and fast foods
- Overuse of antacids
One of the first things I discovered was that I had a zinc deficiency. Zinc is one of the most important minerals in the production of hydrochloric acid. If you don't have enough minerals, and especially zinc, then your stomach won't make the proper amount of HCL.
Sugar and Immune System
Boosting your immune system is one of my favorite things that cultured foods do. Your gut is responsible for 80 percent of your immune system. The more good bacteria you have, the better your immune system will function. Viruses run around looking for a human host to inhabit. When it finds one, your body has special helpers designed to seek and destroy this invader. One of the things that can affect your immune system is eating sugar. Let's talk about this in regards to vitamin C.
On a daily basis, our body uses antioxidant vitamins to boost the immune system. One of the most important antioxidants for this is vitamin C (sometimes known as ascorbic acid). Studies have shown that vitamin C helps reduce cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, stroke and improves prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling. We don't have the ability to make this special vitamin in our bodies, so we must obtain vitamin C from the diet. One of the best ways to do this is through cultured foods - especially cultured vegetables. Lactic acid fermentation increases the micronutrient profile of foods. Not only does vitamin C increase when you ferment foods, but many other vitamins, too, such as A and B vitamins. All of the essential nutrients boost our body's ability to fight infections and invaders and keep our adrenal glands running at optimal levels.
So, do you want to know why you have certain persistent problems with things like ringworm, toenail fungus, and athlete’s foot? All of these are caused by a fungus that can spread and grow like crazy and last for years and years. “Onychomycosis” is the medical name for the infection that causes the fungi to appear on the nails. It is caused mainly by the Candida species, so there is also a good chance you have Candida if any of these are plaguing your body. Medical treatment can be intense and most of the drugs for toenail fungus are super hard on your liver, and you have to stay on them for long periods. They will often test you to make sure your liver is handling the drug. Topical treatments often won’t work for the long term. I’ve had two of these ailments, toenail fungus and ringworm, for many years and took the drugs. They would work, but the toenail fungus would always come back. Now, these many years later I have discovered why it always returned and how to rid myself of it for good.
When you have toenail fungus, ringworm, or athlete's foot it can be a sign of Candida virus or yeast within your system. People who have taken a lot of antibiotics, undergone chemo, or have taken a lot of steroids can all be susceptible to these types of fungal infections. Also, people with compromised immune systems are even more susceptible to this type of thing and here's why. Having lots of healthy bacteria in your body will control all of these types of infections by crowding out the fungal yeasts and making them go into their proper place in your body. You have good probiotic yeast in your body too, but when you've taken a lot of antibiotics, or your body has been through chemo, that decimates the good and bad bacteria. Then when yeast sees all the extra room, it takes advantage of it and multiplies quickly, leaving you with an imbalance in your gut flora. And believe you me, you don't want this.
Are your gut bacteria out of whack? Your bacteria can be one of your strongest allies in being healthy, or they can be one of your worst enemies. The symptoms of an unbalanced gut are broad and wide. It's staggering how many things are affected by your bacteria. So, here are some scenarios for you. After you eat, does your stomach hurt? How about gas? Are you struggling with perimenopause or menopause or PMS? Did you know that your body regulates hormones and detoxes extra estrogen largely through your gut? If your gut is messed up, those extra hormones are going to be circulating through your system. They make you feel tired and exhausted and they can lead to excess estrogen which can cause all kinds of problems. Your gut holds all kinds of answers to many dilemmas in your life. We think that we control so much of what’s happening in our daily life through our habits and daily rituals. You'll be surprised to know that your 100 trillion microbes control so much more. You might be shocked what happens to you when you harness their power.
Do you have any of these symptoms?
- Excess intestinal gas
- Chronic diarrhea
- Hormonal disruptions
- Anxiety or depression
- Digestion problems
- Food cravings and addictions
UTIs & Yeast Infections
We know that more than half of all women will experience the burning urgency of a urinary tract infection in their lifetime. Although men also suffer from these infections, the occurrence is much less frequent due to anatomical differences. If you experience discomfort when you urinate, you may have an infection. There are two types of infections that commonly affect these areas - urinary tract infections (UTIs) which are also called bladder infections and yeast infections. While these are different conditions, some of their symptoms, causes, and prevention methods are similar.
Bladder infections often cause a frequent urge to urinate, a burning sensation during urination, and bloody, cloudy, or pungent-smelling urine. While a yeast infection may include pain when urinating, you’ll also experience pain and itchiness in the affected area. Vaginal yeast infections also typically cause a thick, milky discharge. UTIs are normally treated with antibiotics; but what you really need to know is that if you do have to take an antibiotic, you need to replace the good bacteria that is wiped out by the antibiotics.
Dr. Ann Stapleton, Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington, stated, "When a UTI occurs, gut bacteria like E. coli take up residence in the vagina and displace good bacteria that normally live there. UTIs cause pain during urination, and can even lead to back pain, fever. and bladder and kidney infections. Women take antimicrobial medications to combat these infections and the medications wipe out all bacteria, both good and bad. But for some women, the bad bacteria grow back to cause a recurrent UTI. Probiotics help to restore the natural bacterial environment to make it hard for the bad bacteria to cause another infection."
I have seen this in myself and in so many people. If they take the antibiotics to rid themselves of the bladder infection but don't replenish the good bacteria that the antibiotics wiped out, consequently they have a big battle with recurring infections even though they take multiple antibiotics. If you do find yourself in this situation, consuming probiotic foods will help keep out pathogens, parasites, bacteria, and viruses, especially Gardnerella, Proteus, Chlamydia, Campylobacter, Neisseria, Treponema, Salmonella, and Escherichia coli (E. coli). 1 These are the urinary tract bacteria that can cause yeast infections and bladder infections.
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Open minded health providers are starting to prescribe probiotics for different health ailments. Learn which probiotics they’re prescribing and how you can heal yourself by eating probiotic cultured foods.
- J. Scott and G. Gibson, “Probiotics and Autism,” Food Matters (2007)
- D. Banerjee et al., “Comparative Healing Property of Kombucha Tea and Black Tea Against Indomethacin-induced Gastric Ulceration in Mice: Possible Mechanism of Action,” Food & Function 1, no. 3 (December 2010): 284–93: abstract at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21776478.
- Cheney, S.H. Waxler, and I.J. Miller, “Vitamin U Therapy of Peptic Ulcer; Experience at San Quentin Prison,” California Medicine 84, no. 1 (January 1956): 39-42: abstract at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13276831
- G. Cheney, “Rapid Healing of Peptic Ulcers in Patients Receiving Fresh Cabbage Juice,” California Medicine 70, no. 1 (January 1949): 10-15: abstract at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18104715.
- S. Elmståhl, U. Svensson, and G. Berglund, “Fermented Milk Products Are Associated to Ulcer Disease. Results from a Cross-Sectional Population Study,” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 52, no. 9 (September 1998): 668–74: abstract at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9756124.
- D.J. Wallace and D.S. Hallegua, “Fibromyalgia: The Gastrointestinal Link,” Current Pain and Headache Reports 8, no. 5 (October 2004): 364–8: abstract at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15361320.
- M.C. Fuentes et al., “Cholesterol-lowering Efficacy of Lactobacillus plantarum CECT 7527, 7528 and 7529 in Hypercholesterolaemic Adults,” British Journal of Nutrition 109, no. 10 (May 28, 2013): 1866-72: abstract at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23017585.3841.
- “Impact of Gut Microbiota of Fermented Milk Product Containing Probiotics Revealed by New Technology,” Science Daily (September 11, 2014): www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140911125045.htm.
- A. Agrawal et al., “Clinical Trial: The Effects of a Fermented Milk Product Containing Bifidobacterium lactis DN-173 010 on Abdominal Distension and Gastrointestinal Transit in Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation,” Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics 29, no.1 (January 2009): 104-14: abstract at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18801055.
- H. Østgaard et al., “Diet and Effects of Diet Management on Quality of Life and Symptoms in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome,” Molecular Medicine Reports 5, no. 6 (June 2012): 1382–90: www.spandidos-publications.com/10.3892/mmr.2012.843.
- Duncan et al., “Oxalobacter formigenes and Its Potential Role in Human Health,” Applied and Environmental Microbiology 68, no. 8 (August 2002): 3841-7: aem.asm.org/content/68/8/3841.full.
- C. Campieri et al., “Reduction of Oxaluria after an Oral Course of Lactic Acid Bacteria at High Concentration,” Kidney International 60, no. 3 (September 2001): 1097-105: abstract at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11532105.