By Joanie Blaxter, founder of Follow Your Gut
First, a note from Kelly: Joanie shares below about a certain probiotic that you CAN take when taking an antibiotic, but if you just want to know which probiotic I take, NOT related to antibiotics, click here. Also see this disclaimer: Neither Joanie nor I are health professionals! Use what you read here for your own research and then consult with a natural-minded doctor or health professional you trust to find what is best and right for YOU. Read my entire disclaimer here, and also note that there may be affiliate links in this post. Here's Joanie:
July 31, 2016 UPDATE – Since writing this article I now have a new favorite probiotic that is also excellent to be taken with antibiotics, never needs refrigeration and can help fight off the dangerous superbug C. diff. In fact, it does everything I describe Saccharomyces Boulardii doing… and more. Here's why I take it daily without fail and wouldn't hesitate to take it alongside Saccharomyces Boulardii since both can be taken not only preventitively to improve immune resistance, but also can be taken at the SAME TIME as an antibiotic protocol: This is because spore bacillus have a shell (spore) that protects them from the medication, whereas Saccharomyces Boulardii is a member of the yeast family and so is also unaffected by antibiotics. To read about this spore bacillus probiotic formula go to: Is My Probiotic Really Helping or am I Wasting Money? 5 Ways to Know For Sure and this newer post: Can Leaky Gut be Healed? Find Out HOW: Study Showed Reversal in 30 Days.
Saccharomyces Boulardii (pronounced “Sak-roe-my-sees Boo-lar-dee”). Write it down if you have to. It may save your life someday, or the life of someone you love…
While microorganisms living in our gut are far and away majorly comprised of bacteria, nevertheless, the human intestinal tract includes a variety of living beings: fungi, viruses, yeast, bacteriophage, parasites, etc. Yes, even parasites can be “good”! New research is discovering that some have anti-inflammatory properties.
In my experience, eating a diet of unprocessed, organic foods along with high levels of raw, cultured fruits, vegetables and dairy is one of the very best ways to support the diversity we all need in our gut flora.
To understand how some of these microorganisms can be categorized “good” while others are “bad”, I want you to think in terms of…
POOP, and I don't mean yours. I mean your gut microflora's.
Microorganisms in our intestines eat food (usually some form of carbohydrate) and then, inevitably, ah, er… poop.
The nature of that by-product can determine whether the producer gets categorized as “good”: probiotic, literally meaning beneficial to life, or “bad”: pathological, meaning disease-producing. For example, some strains of probiotic gut bacteria produce vitamins K2 and B Complex.
On the other hand, “bad” guys poop out… well, bad stuff — toxins. How toxic? That varies from microorganism to microorganism. Truly deadly microflora are relatively rare. Since many “pathological” ones are mildly toxic, but not life-threatening, their numbers must be kept below a certain threshold for ideal health.
This is why Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride describes having too many pathological microflora in the intestines as producing “a river of toxicity coming from the gut.” Once absorbed into the bloodstream, these by-product substances can travel anywhere in the body, overloading our detoxifying organs, irritating tissues and creating systemic inflammatory problems virtually anywhere.
Systemic inflammation is what the traditional medical model is beginning to address as THE underlying issue for our common modern scourges: heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease, etc. Good gut health leads to the reduction of the body's overall inflammatory load.
The key is, the ratio of probiotic to pathological bacteria has to be in the correct range of no less than 5 or 6 “good” guys to one “bad.” And for sure you want one of those good ones to be this probiotic member of the yeast family.
How Sacchromyces Boulardii may save your life
Have you ever met someone with C. diff? I have. She said she had just come from the hospital where she had almost died when a cocktail of various antibiotics had failed to work against the superbug.
The incidence of C. diff “increased 400% between 2000 and 2007”. The direct result of antibiotic use, C. diff is primarily picked up at medical facilities and NOT killed by alcohol-based sanitizers. It causes extreme gut inflammation, “more than 450,000 infections a year, and is directly responsible for nearly 15,000 deaths in the United States.”
The C. diff woman looked like she had almost died – ghostly white, gaunt and highly anxious. Could probiotics help? she asked.
Then she dropped the bomb.
Given her history of not responding to antibiotics for the strain of superbug in her body, want to know what her doctor had recommended she do to stay healthy?
Soak regularly in a tub of chlorine bleach… ???
My reaction? xxF?F?F!!!-#x!?? (scroll down that link to see the complete list of side effects of chlorine)
Which, of course, being the professional I am, I did not share with this very fragile and desperate woman. No, I simply walked her over to the probiotics shelf in the digestive section of the vitamin aisle.
- She was unaware that of a relatively inexpensive and easily available probiotic called Saccharomyces Boulardii will “fight off” C. diff.
- She also had never been told that fecal transplants are showing great promise for exactly this kind of life-threatening colitis.
- And, apparently, her doctor did not warn her that high levels of chlorine in her body would also kill the beneficial gut bacteria that keep pathological ones, like C. diff, in check.
The key with using probiotics for immune support, and this is equally true of Saccharomyces Boulardii, is to be proactive, to prevent the bad microorganisms from ever getting a foot hold in your intestinal environment.
Since C. diff is frequently picked up at medical facilities…
Those at highest risk for possibly picking up this deadly bacteria include anyone who:
- Visits a doctor's office or medical clinic
- Resides in a nursing home
- Has a stay in a hospital
- Is taking a round of antibiotics
Personally, that is why I include this probiotic before possible exposure to a deadly superbug.
Being a member of the yeast family, and not a strain of bacteria, gives this probiotic two advantages. It:
- Never needs refrigeration, and
- Is unaffected by exposure to antibiotics, making it an easy probiotic to take during an antibiotic regime.
Candida albicans: another reason to take Sacchromyces Boulardii
In response to questions about their probiotic intake, many people proudly tell me that they usually don't casually take antibiotics.
While declining to take a round of antibiotics for a simple cold or flu is a good first step towards protecting your probiotic bacteria, having a truly healthy gut involves much, much more.
(IMPORTANT NOTE: Neither Kelly nor I are health professionals, do not refuse antibiotics without first consulting with your own health practitioner! Preferably one who is more natural/homeopathic-minded.)
“Research from Rice University shows that 70% of all people are affected by candida, a systemic fungal infection“ meaning that most people with Candida overgrowth are not aware of having this health problem.
I believe the reason so many of us have Candida is because we are daily exposed to invisible sources of antibiotics that wreak havoc on our gut bacteria without even realizing what's happening.
Candida albicans is a yeast whose growth is partly kept in check by bacteria. When antibiotics destroy those bacterial strains, the Candida population can skyrocket.
Antibiotics: You DON'T Just Get Them from the Doctor
Three very common, but largely unrecognized, sources of antiobiotics in our body include:
- The chemical glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the U.S., also found in GMO foods (Read my previous related post: Trans Fats, Schmans Fats! Here’s What You REALLY Want to Avoid: Why Glyphosate is Dangerous and Much Worse.)
- Antimicrobials contained in all commercially sold personal care products.
- Chemical hormones in “The Pill”.
To assess your level of exposure to these “invisible” sources of antibiotics, consider these questions:
- Do you like to eat out? (Unless you are eating 100% organic, restaurants serve GMO food and meat from animals fed both antibiotics as well as GMO feed.)
- Do you purchase personal care products from either the drug store or natural foods store? (The antimicrobials in all commercially made products soak into the skin, potentially traveling to the gut via the bloodstream.) Find safe personal care products by clicking here and scrolling down on Kelly's resources page.
- Do you frequent a park, school yard or golf course? (Glyphosate is commonly applied for weed control, on both public and private properties.)
- Do you use hormonal birth control? (All women need to understand that “The effect of contraceptive pills on the composition of bacteria in the gut is devastating.” Also read: The Dangers of the Birth Control Pill.)
So, yes, write it down. Saccharomyces Boulardii:
Always keep on with a foundation of healthy, homemade fermented vegetables, kefir soda or dairy kefir, and yogurt, but if you have any concerns about exposure to Clostridium Difficile, you may want to consider adding this specific strain of probiotic as well.
Please share any tricks have you found to support gut health! Are there other hidden sources of antibiotics I haven't mentioned? How do you make sure your gut health stays strong?
Recipes for Homemade Personal Care Products:
Repairing Your Gut Post-Antibiotics or *Avoiding Antibiotics:
- Since this post came out I've learned of another probiotic that you CAN take while on an antibiotic, read about it here: Is My Probiotic Really Helping or am I Wasting Money? 5 Ways to Know For Sure
- Click here for posts about How We Avoid Antibiotic Bullets and More!
- What To Do If You Need To Take Antibiotics: Chris Kresser
- 6 Questions About Gut Health and Strengthening the Immune System
- Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride on What Can Damage Gut Flora
This was a post by my sweet friend, Joanie Blaxter, now a regular writer around here!
Joanie has been in sales & education in the natural foods & products industry since the early 70's, with her most recent six years spent as a vitamin specialist in a health foods store. She has also been the Ventura, California chapter leader of the Weston A. Price Foundation since 2010.
Disclaimer: Neither Joanie nor I are health professionals! Use what you read here for your own research and then consult with a natural-minded doctor or health professional you trust to find what is best and right for YOU. Read my entire disclaimer here, and also note that there may be affiliate links in this post.