What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are preparations of living microbial cells that, when ingested, are thought to positively influence the composition of microbes in the gut, and improve the health of the intestine.
Remission of Ulcerative Colitis
In this clinical trial, 77 percent of those treated with a probiotic bacteria mixture experienced relief of their mild to moderate ulcerative colitis.
Of the 34 patients treated, 26 demonstrated improvement in their condition, with most of those experiencing a complete remission. Only three patients found their condition worsened after the treatment.
How Does it Work?
The mixture of eight lactic acid bacterial species is believed to work by:
- Reducing the number of "bad" bacteria
- Reducing the amount of inflammation
- Increasing the mucus layer in the gut
- Increasing the amount of anti-inflammatory molecules in the intestine
American Journal of Gastroenterology July 2005; 100(7):1539-46
Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that is an autoimmune disease affecting the colon -- it can devastate people's lives. This is most unfortunate as this is a relatively easy problem to treat. Yet nearly every conventional physician I know is virtually 100-percent clueless about how to treat this disease.
The ulcerative colitis patients I have seen frequently come in on dangerous immune-suppressing drugs like prednisone. These drugs non-specifically suppress the person's immune system and provide temporary relief, but at an enormous cost to the patient. They wind up exchanging symptom relief for an authentic solution that will not only address their bowel disease but also help them regain their health.
As the above article suggests, one of the easiest and simplest approaches would be to add some high-quality beneficial bacteria. This approach is actually beneficial for nearly everyone. Most of you know that I am not a major believer in supplements, but this is one that I advise nearly 100 percent of my patients to start until their bowels are normalized.
Nearly everyone seems to benefit from this, and if you search for "good bacteria" in the search engine on my site you will find hundreds of articles that review many of the other well-documented benefits that these good bacteria have.
They happen to be one of the BEST solutions for acute diarrhea, especially when you are traveling. To treat this you will need very large doses. Typically it will require an entire bottle taken in one day, divided in doses every 30 minutes until you are better. This is a sure-fire solution that has rarely failed the patents I have recommended it to.
There are many different types of beneficial bacteria. I have used dozens of different ones in my practice and have reached one consistent conclusion over the years. There just doesn't seem to be one "magic bullet," outstanding brand that is good for nearly everyone. I suspect that this has quite a bit to do with everyone's unique biochemical individuality.
There has been another consistent observation, though, and that is that most people with inflammatory bowel disease (either Crohn's or ulcerative colitis) seem to respond favorably to the probiotic Primal Defense. The developer of the product is Jordan Rubin, and he has a very compelling story of how this product helped him recover from Crohn's disease. Jordan used many other approaches, though, and he did not rely on Primal Defense as a magic bullet.
You can also obtain plenty of beneficial bacteria by consuming fermented foods like kefir. This is the way many traditional cultures received their bacteria. I can assure you that they didn't run down to their local health food store and purchase a bottle of probiotics.
The good bacteria will help normalize your gut flora and help to address potential infections in the colon that might actually be causing the colitis. Some researchers actually use powerful antibiotics like clindamycin and metronidazole to treat this disease.
Some of the other important factors that are absolutely crucial to recovering from inflammatory bowel disease are:
Animal-based omega-3 fats. Previous studies done at the Cleveland Clinic showed this to be a powerful tool to beat inflammatory bowel disease.
Make sure your vitamin D levels are optimized. Vitamin D appears to be nearly as effective as the omega-3 fats. It is my belief that it is gross malpractice for a physician to take care of a person with this problem and not regularly monitor their vitamin D levels. The best way to get vitamin D is regular sun exposure so make sure you have a healthy tan this summer. If you have a healthy tan there is little reason to measure your D levels as they will likely be near ideal.
Avoid sugar, as it will increase inflammation by increasing your insulin levels. You will need to restrict the use of carbs to "slow carbs" of mostly vegetables.
Avoid grains until symptoms are under control. Many with inflammatory bowel disease have gluten sensitivities. Additionally, the grains tend to increase insulin levels in most.