It was 87 years ago that Sir Alexander Fleming stumbled across the invention of Penicillin, launching humanity into an unprecedented era of disease eradication. The advent of antibiotics revolutionized the conventional medical system and, unlike any other discovery, altered our ability to fight disease. The short-term results were astoundingly positive! We were now armed as a human race with a potent army of harmful-bacteria-fighting chemicals. As significant and beneficial as was the birth of antibiotics, only recently are we discovering some long-term deleterious effects of the overuse of antibiotics. We are learning that in killing off the harmful bacteria, the good bacteria would also be sacrificed. We’re learning that without a balanced gut flora, replete with good bacteria, we put our immune system at a disadvantage making us susceptible to the meteoric rise in auto-immune diseases we’re seeing worldwide, and especially in developed countries where antibiotics are readily available.
A combination of antibiotic overuse and the dropping quality of our food sources has made it easy for yeasts, parasites, and other harmful microorganisms to set up shop in our digestive tracts. Without the proper balance of gut flora, we can no longer absorb the proper nutrients from food, create essential hormones and neurotransmitters, nor can we excrete the toxic waste the body needs to be rid of. Now we know.
Send in the Cavalry! A quick Google search for ‘probiotics’ produces 13 million results. It seems to be the most recent buzz world in the medical field. Even conventional doctors are beginning to recommend probiotics.
How great is this? We can now stop infection from harmful microorganisms by introducing antibiotics and simultaneously restore the healthy flora of the gut with probiotics. The result is perfect: no more infection and a healthy digestive system.
In this series, I will be explaining from my perspective, how probiotics relate to the Traditional Chinese Medicine theories of health and balance. I will be describing what I have discovered to be the best method to restore a healthy gut flora, breaking down the most important bacterial strains to effect this restoration. Finally, I will explain a tried and true method of taking antibiotics safely, without bringing harm to the digestive microbiome.
For the purposes of this series, I use the terms ‘gut flora’ and ‘microbiome’ interchangeably. Both terms describe the sum of the tens of billions of microorganisms inhabiting the digestive tract.