Probiotics – I Recommend Going With Your Gut
By Guido Housemouser
Do you know what an enteric coating is? You may have seen this on your aspirin bottle or other bottles in your medicine cabinet, but let Guido enlighten you since that is what I do best. An enteric coating is a barrier applied to an oral medication or supplement that controls the location in the digestive system where it is absorbed (for instance, some supplements are better absorbed if they release their contents within the intestinal tract).
Recently, as an alternative to enteric coating, acid resistant capsules have been developed that serve a similar function by allowing the contents to make it through the stomach unscathed and to then be released in the intestines. That’s why some companies have encapsulated their probiotics with an acid resistant vegetarian casing.
So I’m rambling on about enteric coatings and you’re probably wondering where in the world this krazy kat is going. Well, you see probiotics have a home that they’re trying to reach just like every kat at the shelter, so in order to reach the intestines this pill has to leave the bottle, enter your mouth, travel down your esophagus, float through your stomach and find its home in your intestines where the coating breaks down and all the inner goodness is released.
It’s quite a journey, but it’s worth the wait. Once deposited into the gut, some probiotics can release 12 billion live and friendly bacteria in sixteen different strains. That was not a typo by the way – each capsule can contain 12 billion live and friendly bacteria. That is like every person in the entire world coming to your house and dropping off two friendly bacteria at your front door. I think I just blew my own mind. How do they fit that in a capsule? They must have hired a magician (actually they’re very, very small).
So what are these so called “good bacteria?” Kind of an oxymoron like Casper the Friendly Ghost, if you ask me. Truth is, bacteria often get a bad rap much like a black kat being unlucky (which is merely a myth… I’ve gambled with them and they’re some of the luckiest kats I know). Back on track now.. you humans have more than many types of healthy bacteria that live in your digestive system. They help the digestive tract absorb nutrients from your diet and help support overall immune health. They break down plant starches and other foods that the human body has difficulty digesting. This allows the body to convert more food into energy. Good bacteria, like acidophilus and bifidobacteria, may also create an unfavorable environment for less desirable bacteria.
So you may be thinking it’s great that you have all these bacteria working overtime in your gut, but unfortunately due to aging and exposure to things like antibiotics, cortisone, birth control pills, radiation therapy, environmental toxins or dietary deficiencies, our natural supply of healthy bacteria is often compromised. So the bottom line is, if you want to keep your gastrointestinal health in check you’d be wise to include probiotics in your regimen to preserve the delicate balance in your gut.
Guido Housemouser, a pseudonym used by a team of health and wellness education writers, is credited with authoring the twice-weekly newsletter entitled, “Our Health News” The publication serves the worldwide community associated with Our Health Co-op that has provided affordable support for its members’ health for over a decade.