YOUR INTESTINAL FLORA
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
©May 2017, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
The intestinal flora are groups of bacteria that live in our intestines. They assist digestion and kill or crowd out harmful or pathogenic organisms such as parasites and yeasts. They also help produce some vitamins and other chemical substances needed for health and long life.
In order for the intestinal tract to work correctly, it must contain only the correct groups of organisms. This is rarely the case today.
Intestinal dysbiosis. This is the condition of having the wrong groups of bacteria in the intestines.
SIBO. This is short for small intestine bacterial overgrowth. It also usually includes the wrong flora.
Probiotics are products that contain the correct flora. Some are sold in stores in pills or liquids. Others are found in some fermented foods such as miso or sauerkraut.
Prebiotics. These are products that promote the growth of the good or friendly bacteria in our bodies.
THE CORRECT FLORA
The correct or so-called “friendly” flora in the human intestine includes bacteria such as lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus bifidus, and perhaps a few others. Most people don’t have enough of these.
LACK OF THE CORRECT FLORA ALLOWS THE INCORRECT ONES TO MULTIPLY
When the good or friendly flora are missing or in low concentration, it allows other bacteria to multiply in the intestine. This will hamper the digestion of food, but can also cause many other symptoms, since the incorrect flora produce toxins that are absorbed into the body. Also, without the proper flora, vitamin deficiencies can develop even if a person eats a wholesome diet.
INCORRECT INTESTINAL FLORA
The incorrect flora include many possible species of bacteria such as Escherichia coli, usually called E. coli. However, there are literally hundreds of other bacteria such as streptococcus, staphlycoccus, clostridia and others that can and do infect the human intestinal tract.
A very common yeast or fungus that infects the human intestinal tract is candida albicans, along with other species of yeasts. These yeasts live on sugars that are often present in excess in people’s intestines, thanks mainly to their diets that are too high in either simple sugars or complex carbohydrates such as starches in foods like potatoes, bread, rice, cookies, cakes, pies, pizza dough and the like. For more about candida albicans infection, read Candida Albicans Infections on this website.
Many people also have some amoebas, giardia lamblia, parasitic worms such as tapeworms, trichina worms from eating pig products, and perhaps other parasitic organisms in their intestinal tract. These organisms irritate the intestines badly, and in rare cases burrow through the wall of the intestines and can enter the general blood stream and spread throughout the body.
Parasites around the world. In many warm parts of the world, parasitic infections are the major cause of disease and death. They take literally millions of innocent lives each year.
These infections can be serious and can be largely prevented if the leaders of these nations started simple educational programs to teach the people proper cleanliness procedures such as boiling the water and cooking the food properly. Human and animal waste must also be disposed of properly and children must not play in contaminated dirt.
To read much more on this very important subject, and how to eliminate parasites without drugs or herbs, read Parasites on this website.
CAUSES FOR INCORRECT INTESTINAL FLORA
1. Ill health. If the entire body chemistry is not in balance, it is very difficult to maintain the proper intestinal flora. It does not matter if one takes probiotics such as lactobacillus acidophilus, or eats yogurt every day. If the mineral balance and other parameters of health are not correct, one’s internal environment will not support the healthful intestinal flora, allowing harmful organisms to easily gain a foothold. This is the case with almost everyone today.
2. Improper diet. Dietary problems that damage the intestinal flora include:
a. Yin foods that subtly unbalance and seriously weaken the body. This is about the worst dietary mistake that causes intestinal dysbiosis. Yin foods include all types of sugars and sweets, including all fruit, fruit juices, and other sweet foods. This factor is discussed separately below.
b. Chemicals that irritate the intestines. The food itself can contain pesticide residues, toxic metals and other poisons. Processed foods also often contain up to 100 chemical additives today. These chemicals include flavorings, preservatives, dough conditioners, artificial and natural sweeteners, MSG, aspartame and literally hundreds of others. One never knows how sensitive one’s digestive system is to a particular chemical, so reducing food chemicals to a minimum is the best policy for a healthy digestive tract.
Even taking a lot of vitamins and mineral supplements can be quite irritating for some people.
c. Raw food. Many health authorities recommend eating raw food. However, we find that except for a little raw dairy products, which are excellent, and a little raw fat such as fish oil or flax oil, too much raw food definitely irritates the intestines and gets in the way of mineral absorption. It also infects the intestines with parasites and other infections, at times. For details, read Raw Food.
d. Unclean food. This is a big problem in some areas. It also includes all raw food unless you are absolutely sure it is washed with soap and water to kill parasites and other harmful organisms.
e. Irritating and hot herbs, spices and condiments. This includes hot sauce and many others that inflame the intestines.
f. Empty calorie foods. These include white bread, white rice, white sugar, soda pop and most prepared restaurant foods. These lack the vitamins and minerals required for their proper digestion. As a result, they slowly deplete the body of vitamins and minerals, and damage the intestines, as well.
g. Other damaged or poor quality foods such as pasteurized and homogenized milk products, refined grains and others. These often cause subtle allergic reactions in the intestines and damage the intestinal tract in other ways.
4. Yin disease. A primary cause for incorrect flora is often a diet that is too yin. This means that the diet contains too much: sugars, fruit, fruit juice, other sweets, alkaline water, or raw food such as salad, or other yin foods.
Other yin items include alcohol and even medical or over-the-counter drugs. In fact, taking too many vitamins, minerals or herbs is also very yin and can upset digestion enough to unbalance the flora. For details, read Yin Disease.
5. Antibiotic use. Taking antibiotics, especially wide-spectrum antibiotics, often destroys the friendly intestinal flora. This allows other bacteria, viruses, yeasts and parasites to grow in the intestinal tract.
Another problem with antibiotics is that some remains in the liver for years, and can exert harmful effects on the digestive tract for many years. A nutritional balancing program will slowly remove this residue after several years on a properly designed program.
6. Cortisone therapy. Cortisone, prednisone, dexamthasone and other steroid drugs can damage the intestinal flora.
7. Other medical drugs or even herbs. Many medical and over-the-counter drugs interfere with digestion or stomach acid production, or irritate and damage the digestive tract. These include acid-blockers, pain killers, anti-inflammatory drugs such as Tylenol and Aleve, and hundreds of others.
8. The presence of toxic metals and other mineral imbalances. Too much mercury or other toxic metals affect the intestinal flora in some people. Autistic children often develop this problem, causing food allergies and leaky gut syndrome.
9. Mental upset and tension, and incorrect eating habits. This can seriously affect one’s digestion, in some cases. Please always rest a few minutes before and after eating, eat slowly, eat sitting down, and always chew thoroughly. Try to be at peace when you eat and do not overeat, or eat in your car, or while on the phone at work. These simple habits can assist digestion and assimilation and actually help keep the bowel flora normal and healthy.
10. Illnesses. For example, some fevers can kill the healthful flora, as can illnesses that make the body too cold. Parasitic infestation can irritate the intestines very badly in some cases. Diseases that deplete one’s vitality such as cancer and diabetes can also alter the flora. Even severe grief and sadness may damage the intestinal flora.
11. Complex food combinations. These make digestion much more difficult.
SYMPTOMS OF IMPROPER INTESTINAL FLORA
Symptoms vary from none to severe diarrhea, constipation or abdominal pain. Common symptoms include:
1. Very foul-smelling stools.
2. Bloating and gas.
3. Constipation or diarrhea.
4. Abdominal pain.
5. Food sensitivities or food cravings.
6. Possibly vitamin or mineral deficiencies since the intestinal flora help produce and absorb certain nutrients.
7. Weakness, sleepiness after eating a meal, headaches, or other aches and pains.
8. Almost any symptom is possible when the intestinal flora are incorrect. In fact, medical studies indicate that conditions such as heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, tooth decay, arthritis, cancer, childhood problems and much more can all be related to intestinal dysbiosis.
DYSBIOSIS AND VEGETARIANISM
Some people with incorrect flora feel better for a while on a vegetarian diet. We have encountered this many times.
They then assume that a vegetarian diet is best for them, and that meat, eggs and/or dairy are harmful foods that just cause bloating, gas, mucus and so on. This is not the truth. Let us explore why this occurs.
When the intestinal flora contains a lot of E. coli or similar bacteria, if one eats a concentrated protein food such as meat, eggs or cheese, perhaps, it literally feeds the E. coli organisms. As a result, they multiply and become more toxic. This causes the gas or bloating.
One answer is to stop eating concentrated proteins such as meats and eggs. However, we find that a vegetarian diet is not the best answer. It is a deficient diet, no matter what anyone claims, and it is too yin. Eventually, health suffers and restoring health after one has been a vegetarian for years is not easy.
The best solution is to correct one’s flora. When this is done, there is no problem digesting meats, eggs and most quality dairy products.
HOW TO RESTORE THE FLORA
Restoring the flora requires rebuilding the body chemistry. Nothing less will work! The conditions in the intestine must change so they support the friendly intestinal flora, but not the pathogenic or harmful bacteria and other microorganisms.
To do this requires a complete nutritional balancing program, and the process takes a few years in many cases.
WHAT ABOUT TAKING PROBIOTICS AND PREBIOTICS?
Most often, one does not need these if one follows a nutritional balancing program.
However, if you want to add a probiotic, here are suggestions:
1. Eat a little live culture yogurt, miso soup, sauerkraut or raw cheese every few days.
2. Rarely, a person needs a different product. A product in the health food store called Bio-K Original formula is very good. One takes about ½ teaspoon about 20 minutes before each meal. A container lasts about a week or less, and is very inexpensive. One usually need not continue it, although it is ok to take more if needed.
We do not recommend other probiotic products. They were toxic for a number of our clients! The reason is that they either contained the wrong bacteria, or the timing was not right. In other words, the body was not ready for the products.
Other important suggestions to heal the intestines and rebuild the natural flora. These include reducing or eliminating all medical and over-the-counter drug use as much as possible. Also, improve your eating habits and living habits.
What about doing coffee enemas when one is improving the digestion and intestinal flora? This is excellent. In our experience, coffee enemas do not interfere with the intestinal flora, and they can significantly speed up the healing of the intestinal tract by helping to remove parasites in the colon and stimulating bile flow from the liver.
They also help remove toxic metals and toxic chemicals from the body and normalize liver and pancreas secretions that are very beneficial for digestion. Coffee enemas, of course, can also assist with constipation and removing debris from the colon to assist the colon and the entire body to heal.
However, we do not recommend colon hydrotherapy more than a few times per year. Otherwise, it makes the body too yin because it involves a lot of water. Coffee enemas are better in this regard, as they involve much less water. The coffee enema procedure is available at this website.
In my experience, if a food allergy test indicates you are sensitive to coffee or caffeine, it does not mean you cannot do coffee enemas. Just start with a small amount of coffee. Many times you will be fine, and the coffee enemas will help to slowly reduce all of your food sensitivities.