Good day there, Eric Bakker, naturopath, author of Candida Crusher with another question in our frequently asked series.
Eric, what are probiotics? Why are they useful? Can you tell me more about probiotics?
Well, that’s a good question and one I get asked quite regularly. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria. So your body contains billions of bacteria. There are a lot of bacteria particularly concentrated in your digestive tract. You’re looking at maybe between 500 to 600 species or more of bacteria in your digestive system.
So I tend to think of three main groups of bacteria in the gut. We’ve got the good guys or the beneficials. We’ve got the commensals or the guys in between. I call these guys the politicians. They can be good or bad depending on who’s around at the time. And then we can have the bad guys or the pathogenic bacteria. And the Candida species can be classified as pathogenic or bad when they’re in abundant amounts or they can be also classified as commensals because they’re generally kept in check by the good bacteria. Because most all people have got Candida albicans in their digestive system. It’s only when you get issues that upset the balance. For example, taking antibiotics or high stress, too much alcohol, various other factors that would allow the Candida species to take right off.
So probiotics are generally beneficial bacteria. There’s been a big explosion in the last few years of people taking probiotics. And there are many different types of probiotics you can take. But the two main groups which generally you’ll be familiar with will be the lactobacillus species and the bifidus species. But there are various other species even including yeasts. There are various yeasts such as saccharomyces or boulardii, which is a beneficial yeast. So not all yeasts are pathogenic or bad. So you need to be careful when you hear the word “yeast” that you don’t immediately think they’re bad.
So probiotics can be taken as a dietary supplement. I’m going to talk a lot more about probiotics in subsequent videos, and I’ll also talk a lot more about cultured and fermented foods which can help contain the yeast bacteria to enhance your flora or a high lactic acid, a particular acid, for example, in yogurt which can help to really build up levels of lactobacillus acidophilus in your gut. The lactic acid is a food for the lactobacillus, for example.
So probiotics are beneficial and they certainly have their place. And I hope that answers your question.