Healing FMS With Probiotics

Most of us realize how lucky we are to have antibiotics for those times we have bacterial infections. But we may not realize that other bacteria are keeping us alive. These good bacteria are nourished through eating dairy foods such as yogurt, cottage cheese, and buttermilk. All of these foods share a common denominator: they all contain the opposite of antibiotics which are called "probiotics."

Smart Idea

Today, there is a trend to increase one's dietary and supplemental intake of probiotics. "It's a very smart thing to do,'' says Dr. Randall Trowbridge. Trowbridge is a physiatrist specializing in rehabilitation who prefers to treat his patients with an eye toward the holistic.

Dr. Tamara Sachs, an internist with a practice in functional medicine comments on the centrality of the gastrointestinal tract to a person's well-being, "For humans, 60 to 80 percent of the immune system is in the gastrointestinal tract.'' For that reason, she's in love with probiotics, "It's huge,'' says Sachs.

Another doctor who likes to use an integrative approach in treating his patients is Dr. Mitchell Prywes, who is the head of the Danbury Center for Pain Rehabilitation. "There is so much chronic pain," says Prywes. "But do we look at our environment, the air we breath, the food we eat?''

Human History

Sachs tells us that probiotics have been around as long as there has been human life on earth. Probiotics can even be found in raw vegetables but die off when subjected to the heat of cooking. Sachs also says that during the course of human history, we've learned to coexist rather well with probiotics and that there are some 500 strains with many more waiting to be identified.

These helpful bacteria serve a variety of functions. Because they help us digest food, they are a crucial element for good nutrition. "They produce things we can't do without,'' Sachs says, underlining the point that probiotics help us break down the fiber in food so that essential nutrients can be made available to the colon.

Sachs also tells us that probiotics help teach the immune system to differentiate between beneficial and dangerous invading bacteria. Probiotics can be used to treat diarrhea in adults and children and can also be a boon to the immune system, but the joy doesn't stop there. Beneficial bacteria may be helpful to people suffering from colitis and autoimmune disorders affecting the intestines.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Prywes says that he has found benefit in treating fibromyalgia patients with probiotics. He explains that such patients tend toward gastrointestinal issues that have been brought about by the use of antibiotics. "Use probiotics to treat the gastrointestinal problems, and I've seen the pain from fibromyalgia get better,'' said Prywes.

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