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It’s the Too Much BBQ Summer Blues!

Posted Jul 07 2010 4:02am

Do you have the urpy burpy, too many barbecues or too much summer travel blues?

Your tummy ache solutions could include these medicinal herbs:

Acidopholus/ Bifidus : Travelers diarrhea is more common than one might think – This particular brand guarantees half a BILLION live beneficial bacteria directly to the small intestine. A balance of healthy bacteria has been shown to boost the body’s natural defense capabilities.

(see detailed commentary below)

Peppermint/ Ginger: Perhaps you get an upset stomach from driving, flying or boating.  Plan ahead for motion sickness. Using a blend of herbs including peppermint and ginger this product will ease motion sickness and it’s accompanying queasiness and nausea.

Senna: Constipated?  The herb Senna, which has been used for thousands of years is a natural laxative.  Senna and several other herbs provide a gentle and effective colon flush – it does not cause “emergency” trips to the bathroom – just a gentle encouragement of the muscles of the colon to get things moving again. This product is a “signature” formula for this particular company.

Plant based digestive Enzymes: Gassy? Bloated? Enzymes assist the digestion of all the foods you eat – many enzyme products are animal based – but this brand is a multi action plant based product – better digestion means better absorption of your food.

*Summer is upon us!  Some of us will be taking trips to foreign lands, and some will be hanging out in the yard around the Bar-B-Q pit. All of us will be adapting to the hot weather and the stresses of summer. Summer heat is perfect for the growth of bacteria, and some of us may succumb to digestive distress after eating.

The human body is continually protecting itself from the outside world. To shield itself from harmful environmental stimuli, the body employs our immune cells, biochemicals, organs and tissues. The complex interaction of these physiological systems produces our immunity. Some of these systems have dual roles: The digestive system, for example, not only extracts and absorbs nutrients from foods but also destroys pathogenic organisms that may be present in those foods!

Acidopholus/ Bifudus is an important addition to our diet for support of our immune function.  Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria species (probiotic organisms) have been shown to increase numbers of circulating lymphocytes, stimulate phagocytic activity of white blood cells, elevates antibody responses, and can increase production of immune-modulating chemicals such as gamma interferon. This particular probiotic product also contain the prebiotic fructooligosaccharides (FOS). FOS are carbohydrates that support the growth of probiotic organisms in the gastrointestinal tract. A recent study in Lancet showed that oligosaccharide molecules can bind to pathogenic microbes, thereby preventing their attachment to host cells.  (1)

Probiotics secrete anti-toxins that can help reduce the impact of exposure to agents that usually cause “traveler’s diarrhea”.  We tend to be resistant to the bacteria and viral agents that we have been exposed to in the past, once we have developed “antibodies” to them.  Eating strange foods, or drinking water from strange places can introduce new bacterial strains that our immune system may not have processed previously. Using a Acidopholus/ Bifudus for a few months before taking that trip, to prepare our digestive tract for potential threats.

Over the last 10 years several investigative newspapers like the Washington Post and the LA Times have gone to “health food stores” and purchased cross-sections of popular supplements like Gingko Biloba, Ginseng, and St. John’s Wort.  They tested them in independent labs and found that many of those products contained impurities, reduced, or non-existent levels of the active ingredients listed on the labels.  This finally forced the FDA to propose a new regulation to require current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs) in the supplement industry. The proposed rule would, for the first time, establish standards to ensure that dietary supplements and dietary ingredients are not adulterated with contaminants or impurities, and are labeled to accurately to reflect the active ingredients and other ingredients in the product.  (2)

Evidence of the health benefits of lactobacillus and other probiotics – also known as “friendly bacteria” – is impressive. Many studies have investigated the role of various strains of bacteria in preventing and treating such illnesses as inflammatory bowel disease, urinary tract infections, diarrhea, and even colon cancer. Last year the American Journal of Gastroenterology published an entire supplemental issue dedicated to the use of probiotics in disease treatment. (3)

Perhaps the most important function of probiotic organisms is to limit the growth of pathogenic organisms. These potentially harmful microbes naturally reside in the human intestinal tract but do not overpopulate when sufficient numbers of probiotic organisms are present. Probiotic bacteria not only compete with these pathogens for nutrients and space, they also secrete substances–lactic acid and other organic acids, hydrogen peroxide, and potent antibiotic agents known as bacteriocins–that inhibit the growth of harmful organisms. Many studies demonstrate the ability of probiotics to antagonize pathogenic microbes and treat the intestinal infections caused by these harmful organisms. (4)

The statement “the best defense is a good offence” reminds me that taking Acidopholus/ Bifudus at this time of year is the most effective way to enjoy the summer without the risk of succumbing to food toxins.

REFERENCES:

(1)   A Nutritional Approach to Immunity

(2)   FDA Moves On Dietary Supplements

(2)   Probiotics Effective Against Viral Infections

(3)   A Probiotics Primer

*the above sourced from former newsletter


Flickr image credit – taken at the signapore zoo – too funny

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