Health Articles

February 13, 2018

Is it true that only 15% of cancers are caused by genetics?

Yes. Environment, Drugs and lifestyle play major roles.
Inflammation and Cellular oxidation.

What causes cells to divide abnormally?

Cancer is unchecked cell growth. Mutations in genes can cause cancer by accelerating cell division rates or inhibiting normal controls on the system, such as cell cycle arrest or programmed cell death. As a mass of cancerous cells grows, it can develop into a tumor.
The cells don’t respond normally to signals this can be caused by free radical damage, inflammation and a over response by our immune system.


Are there any products or lifestyle changes we can make?

Curamed- BCM-95 vs 5-FU
BCM-95 kills off 5% less cancer cells then 5-FU however 5-FU stimulates Cancer stem cells and has a higher rate of re-occurance. BCM-95 surpress cancer stem cells.
In 2015 a study showed that adding BCM-95 to 5-FU it improved its effectiveness on chemoresist cells. “Chemoresistance occurs when the cancer cell is no longer responding to the cancer-killing effects of chemotherapy. The cancer cell ‘learns’ how to survive the chemo. It is a huge problem Cancer cell resistance to chemotherapy is a major cause of death in patients with colorectal cancer. In a first-of-its-kind study, BCM-95® Curcumin was found to improve chemotherapy’s effectiveness in killing chemoresistant cells

OPC– We found that androgen-responsive cells LNCaP are more sensitive to OPC in terms of inhibition of proliferation in comparison to androgen receptor-negative PC3 or DU145 cells. Treatment with OPC resulted in a decrease in the percentage of LNCaP cells in the S phase and an increase in the percentage of cells in sub G1 phase. The anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effect of OPC in the LNCaP cell line was associated with down-regulation of expression of the androgen receptor. Interestingly, similar regulatory effects of OPC, such as inhibition of expression of cyclin-dependent kinases and cyclins and stimulation of tumor suppressors p21 and p27, were seen in LNCaP and PC3 cells. Favorable changes in the Bcl-2/Bax ratio were observed in LNCaP and PC3 cells after the treatment with OPC. OPC caused an increase of phosphorylated mitogen-activated protein kinase p44 and p42, thus suggesting induction of cellular differentiation.

CONCLUSIONS:We conclude that OPC is a candidate that fulfills criteria for chemopreventive strategies in prostate cancer that might be established in following in vivo studies.

Boswellia and Frankincense oil- It regulates the cellular epigenetic machinery which influences the genes to heal. It is also a strong anti-inflammatory. It stops DNA- damaging inflammation and oxidation. Stops cancer formation and tumor growth and neutralizes cancer causing compounds. Frankincense oil contains AKBA Acetyl-11-keto-B-boswellic acid. AKBA has been shown to inhibit the replication of leukemia and prostate cancer cells. It has also been shown to suppress the progression of breast cancer cells.

In Brain cancer patients where they experience cerebral edema , 60% of the patients had a 75% reduction of cerebral swelling when give 4,200 mg of Frankincense a day.
It boosts the immune system by increase our white blood cells (body’s primary defense) and by keeping inflammation at bay.

Estrosense – contains DIM and Calcium D-glucorante.
DIM is a precursor to I3C . Indole-3-carbinol is a substance found in vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, turnips, and rutabagas. Indole-3-carbinol is used for prevention of breast cancer, colon cancer, and other types of cancer. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has reviewed indole-3-carbinol as a possible cancer preventive agent and is now sponsoring clinical research for breast cancer prevention.
It blocks receptors for estrogens.

Curamed Prostate – Curcumin, Pomegranite,Grape Seed extract, D3 and silymarin
Prostate health support should be a focus of every man’s daily supplement regimen. For the ultimate in prostate support, CuraMed Prostate should be his first choice. This formula targets three major aspects of men’s health—cellular protection, free radical defense, and male hormone balance—for powerful support of prostate function.*
• Healthy PSA Levels*†
• Male Hormone Balance and Detoxification*
• Oxidative Stress Defense*

Provides Nutrients that Matter
CuraMed Prostate combines five individual powerful ingredients into one unbeatable team that supports prostate health.*
Curcumin: Clinically studied for intensive cellular protection from oxidative stress and healthy detoxification, this powerful botanical compound is blended with turmeric oil for enhanced absorption and benefits, and is backed by 31 published studies.*
• Pomegranate Seed Oil Extract: Omega-5 (punicic acid) from pomegranate seed oil is a powerful nutrient that supports healthy androgen levels†, cellular protection, and prostate function.*
• French Grape Seed VX1®: This tannin-free OPC extract provides 100% absorbable polyphenols to reduce the risk of oxidative stress and support healthy cells and testosterone balance.*
• Vitamin D3: A critical nutrient essential for prostate cell health and healthy hormonal balance.*
• Silybin: A powerful compound from milk thistle, silybin supports detoxification and prostate cell health.*

While saw palmetto is one choice for prostate support, there is strong research that supports the use of the combination of cell-supporting ingredients that can only be found in CuraMed® Prostate. If you already use a saw palmetto supplement, CuraMed Prostate can be added to your regimen for even greater benefits.*

Why is omega-5 fatty acid important?

Omega-5 (punicic acid) provides hormone balancing benefits, and is actually a rarity in the natural world. Pomegranates are one of the only known plant sources of this valuable nutrient.*

Black Mustard Seed:
Serious Support When You Need it Most
When you need to defend against oxidative stress, Black Mustard Seed delivers. It is a highly concentrated source of glucosinolates, cruciferous compounds from black mustard (Brassica nigra) seeds that can also be found in lesser amounts in kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
A key glucosinolate is sinigrin, which converts into cell-protecting AITC (allyl-isothiocyanate) in the body, and plays a critical role in defense from oxidative stress for health and longevity. Black Mustard Seed from Terry Naturally is a highly concentrated superior source, standardized for a minimum of 25% glucosinolates for optimal well being.*

Black Mustard Seed Helps You Fight Back
In order to thrive, we all need optimal health at a cellular level. The compounds in Black Mustard Seed are the ultimate support for healthy cell formation and development.*



October 17, 2017

I firmly believe that the number one health threat to the lives of both adults and children in this country is diabetes. There are two kinds of diabetes, creatively named Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease in which the insulin-producing part of the pancreas is destroyed by one’s own immune system. It usually manifests itself in childhood or during the teen years. These individuals need to take insulin the rest of their lives because their body can no longer make insulin. Thus far, this type of diabetes is not reversible unless you have an experimental pancreas transplant.

Type 2 diabetes is much more common, and makes up about 95 percent of the cases of diabetes in America. This type of diabetes is a metabolic syndrome in which the cells of the body become resistant to insulin and won’t let sugar inside the cell. This creates an unfortunate situation where the cell is starving—the food can’t be delivered—and the body is suffering because abnormally high levels of sugar continue to circulate in the bloodstream.

Even slightly elevated blood sugar can wreak havoc on our health. High levels of sugar in the blood cause oxidative damage and inflammation. Problems with abnormal blood sugar have become an epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 35 percent of American adults (20 or older) have pre-diabetes—fasting blood sugar levels in the 100 to 125 mg/dL range. Those levels of sugar, even when you haven’t been eating, could mean that you’re on track to develop Type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, about 50 percent of Americans over the age of 65 have high blood sugar levels. And many won’t know they have a problem until serious physical symptoms appear.

Type 2 diabetes is almost completely preventable. Sedentary lifestyles and the commercial manipulation of our diets and food choices are directly to blame. That isn’t meant to be a judgement on anyone’s willpower or athleticism; it’s a direct manifestation of our industrial scale food system. We’re eating more refined sugars, carbs, and high-fructose corn syrup than any time in history. Many foods are filled with chemical additives that didn’t exist 75 years ago. We are Stone Age bodies trying to live in a rapidly changing dietary environment and most simply cannot adapt.

Replacing refined carbohydrates and sugars with healthy fats and proteins in your diet can be one of the most powerful steps you take to get your blood sugar under control.

It may seem counterintuitive that adding more fat helps you lose weight and achieve better blood sugar balance. However, a higher fat and protein diet doesn’t add to the burden of sugar in your bloodstream, and it forces your body to use its energy resources more efficiently.

Some excellent foods include that help keep your blood sugar healthy include:

  • Eggs
  • Nitrate/nitrite (preservative) free beef, chicken, turkey, and duck
  • Coldwater fish
  • A variety of vegetables
  • Fats like butter, coconut oil, olive oil and avocado
  • Nuts (preferably not roasted in soy, corn, or canola oil)

By training your body to stop using glucose (sugar) as its primary source of energy, you help break your reliance on sugar and carbs, and reduce your risk of diabetes.

Helpful Herb to Fight Diabetes

After addressing diet and exercise, there is another step that for many proves quite useful in getting blood sugar back into normal range by adding an extract of the plant Hintonia latiflora to your regimen.

Hintonia has been clinically studied in Europe for over 60 years and developed into a natural medicine sold in German pharmacies specifically for prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes. Early research showed that the botanical product could be equal to or better than antidiabetic drugs in mild to moderate cases of Type 2 diabetes. Since then, studies have found that it could help people reduce or sometimes even replace their medications—all under their doctor’s supervision, of course.

In one clinical study, the hintonia-based product (combined with a few additional vitamins and minerals for support) lowered A1C (the average levels of blood sugar over time) 11 percent and fasting glucose 24 percent. Overall, diabetes symptoms dropped from a score of 4.8 points to 1.3 points, and 39 percent of those still using medication could reduce their levels.

The reason that hintonia works is related to a compound in the bark, coutareagenin, that has been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance. It also appears to partially inhibit alpha-glucosidase, an enzyme that releases sugar from carbohydrates. It does not block carbs, but slows their conversion to sugar to reduce the strain on the body’s insulin response.

As you begin incorporating healthier foods and exercise into your regimen, along with a Hintonia latiflora extract that can help you accomplish your blood sugar goals, you’ll notice a difference in weight, energy, and overall outlook.


“Hintonia Concentrate—for the Dietary Treatment of Increased Blood Sugar Values: Results of a Multicentric, Prospective, Non-interventional Study with a Defined Dry Concentrate of Hintonia latiflora by M. Schmidt and M. Hladikova, Naturheilpraxis, 2/14
“Mexican Antidiabetic Herbs . . .” by R. Mata et al., J Nat Prod, 3/22/13
“National Diabetes Statistics Report,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept. of Health and Human Services, 2017,
“Profiling Food Consumption in America,” USDA Food Consumption Handbook,
“Treatment of Mild and Moderate Type 2 Diabetes: Open Prospective Trial with Hintonia latiflora Extract” by M. Korecova and M. Hladikova, Eur J Med Res, 3/28/14



Cheryl Myers

Cheryl Myers, RN, is an integrative health nurse, author, and expert on natural medicine. She is a nationally recognized speaker who has been interviewed by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Prevention magazine. Her articles have been published in Aesthetic Surgery Journal and Nutrition in Complementary Care, and her research on botanicals has been presented at the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the North American Menopause Society. Follow Cheryl on Facebook! 

October 17, 2017

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The rate of breast cancer is typically 5 times higher for women in the United States compared to women in many other parts of the world. It is interesting to note that in Japan the rate of breast cancer is about 1/5 the rate in the United States, but in second or third generation Japanese women living in America eating the typical American diet the rate of breast cancer is identical to other women living in the United States.

While conventional medicine focuses on early detection as primary prevention of breast cancer, a more rational approach is to reduce as many risk factors as possible while simultaneously utilizing those dietary and lifestyle factors associated with breast cancer prevention. Here are just a few important considerations:

Women with the highest ratio of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA+DHA to omega-6 fatty acids (the omega-3:omege-6 ratio) have a 67% reduced risk of breast cancer.

Women who regularly engage in exercise have a statistically significant lower risk (up to 60% reduction) of developing breast cancer compared to women with low levels of activity.

Obesity is perhaps the most significant dietary factor as it carries with it at least a 30% increased risk for developing breast cancer.

In addition, alpha-linolenic acid, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil are also the most abundant sources of anticancer compounds known as lignans. Studies have shown that increasing the intake of cabbage family vegetables or taking I3C or DIM as a dietary supplement significantly increases the conversion of estrogen from cancer-producing forms to non-toxic breakdown products. Studies have suggested that breast cancer rates are lower in Japan in part because people there typically drink about 3 cups of green tea daily.

For more information on steps you can take to reduce the risk of breast cancer, please refer to the corresponding chapter in the 3rd Edition The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine.


October 17, 2017

You are aware that bacteria surround you on a daily basis. Your body is even made up of ninety percent bacteria cells and only ten percent human cells. However, there is no need to worry; many of these bacteria are beneficial to you and are necessary for your optimal health. At any given time, you have around 160 bacterial species (types) in your gut out of over 1000 species of bacteria identified in the guts of over 100 individuals. The digestive tract is one of the most complex eco systems to understand and study. The individualized bacteria composition found in each body play a vital role in keeping us healthy. Therefore reinforcing the numbers of the beneficial bacteria such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria becomes an essential daily health objective. The largest groups of probiotic bacteria found in our body are bifidobacteria and the second group is lactobacilli. The lactic acid bacteria found in yogurt make milk into yogurt thereby elevating its status into a functional food. It is not the most effective source of probiotic bacteria because the yogurt makers do not guarantee the potency of each strain of probiotic beneficial bacteria. Scientific criteria mandate that you know the strain and the potency of each serving of a probiotic product in order to anticipate a health benefit.

The idea of beneficial bacteria to preserve foods has been around for centuries. Even the ancient Sumerians painted about the use of fermented cheese in 2500 B.C. However, the idea of beneficial bacteria aiding us in life wasn’t created until the early 1900s when Dr. Elie Metchnikoff traveled to Eastern Europe. He was surprised to find many people living to be 100 years of age or older and concluded that this was due to the large quantities of yogurt they consumed.

Metchnikoff investigated the benefits of lactic acid bacteria, which flourish in milk. He found that many disease-producing organisms died or could not develop in milk containing these powerful bacteria. This, along with his other research on the immune system, led Metchnikoff to connect lactic acid bacteria to improved immune function, which relates to optimal health and vitality.

Probiotics, according to the World Health Organization, are “live organisms, which when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” Probiotics literally mean “for life” and are coming to the forefront of medicine as beneficial bacteria supplements to help restore our vital microflora.

But consumers need to be wary; not all probiotics are created equal. Just how can you tell if a probiotic will beneficial to your health? First, you need to know if the strain is beneficial for you. Within each family, or genus, of bacteria, there are many species and each of those species has hundreds of strains. Lactobacillus is the family (genus), acidophilus is the species, and NAS or DDS-1 are strains.

Not all strains provide health benefits. This is why you must rely on a reputable probiotics manufacturer to research and formulate its probiotics with the best and most beneficial bacteria available.

The following tips are the most important things you need to look for when purchasing a probiotic supplement:
Look for the International Good Manufacturing Practice certification (cGMP), which will ensure that you are receiving the highest quality probiotic that meets unequaled standards. This also guarantees that the product has been tested for potency and safety in all stages from the culturing of the bacteria through the printed expiration date. You must also look for a potency guarantee for each strain listed on the bottle label through the printed expiration date. The listing must include the strain, not just the genus and species. Without the strain listed, you may be getting a worthless bacteria. Probiotics must be stored and shipped refrigerated for the bacteria to live. Several probiotic companies claim that they have shelf-stable products but these have never been proven effective. Purchase only a probiotic with its supernatant (culturing medium). This provides nourishment for the probiotic and has been found to increase the benefits of the probiotic by up to 50 percent. The packaging is an important way to keep the bacteria protected. Dark glass bottles and tin lids protect the probiotics from the damaging effects of light and moisture.


October 17, 2017

Myth #1 -Yogurt and Kefir are effective probiotics. 

Yogurt and Kefir are considered ‘functional fermented foods’ and while they may contain ‘live and active cultures’ it is usually in very low doses, too low to have any therapeutic effect. (1) In addition, they are often pasteurized (which kills probiotics) and lack any protective delivery system to help them survive transit through our harsh acidic stomach to reach the small and large intestine where they are most active. (1) (2) (3)

Also, most yogurts and kefir are filled with sugar, preservatives and all kinds of things that aren’t good for you. To give you an example, an average six ounce serving of yogurt contains 22 grams of sugar and 157 calories, with some yogurts as high 36 grams of sugar and 260 calories per serving! To get the same quantity of probiotic bacteria found in one convenient probiotic capsule (30 billion cfu) you would have to consume 27 servings of yogurt; that’s 4,239+ calories and 594 grams of sugar! (4) (5) (6)

We’re not saying, don’t eat yogurt or throw away your sauerkraut, we enjoy these too and believe they are great additions to a healthy diet (our founder even played a role in setting the liquid yogurt standards), but realize that the amount of probiotic received is minimal and not likely to have a major impact on your overall gut health.

Myth #2 – Very High Potency Probiotics offer better results than lower potency probiotics.

FALSE. The numbers of colony forming units (cfus) are important to be familiar with and should be clearly stated on the label for every strain included in the probiotic, however, a higher number does not always indicate a better product. Experts have agreed on a minimal number of viable cells at 1 billion cfus per day. (6) This provides a great starting point/minimum dose but what’s next? Well, it is not always an easy question to answer for one reason – you also need to know how PROTECTED those probiotics are and how well they will SURVIVE through transit, storage and shelf life.

Many probiotics offer little to no protection to assist them as they move through the digestive tract ultimately reaching our small and large intestine where they are most active, but getting them unharmed to this location possess a problem – how to get them through our highly acidic stomachs alive? In addition, the stress on living organisms through shipping and shelf life can lead to very small numbers of live organisms by the time they reach the consumer. When companies are unable to protect their probiotics or guarantee shelf-stability they tend to crank up their CFU numbers in hopes that dumping 40 or 50 billion cfus into their product will result in a few survivors. However, with the proper protection these high cfu numbers are likely not necessary. The bottom line is if you are confident in your delivery system through the stomach and you know your product maintains potency through the expiration date, you don’t need these crazy high cfu counts. Perhaps more important than falling for this numbers game is to look into the quality and the number of identified strains present and how they are being protected/delivered to the active site in your GI tract… which leads me to myths three, four and five….

Myth #3 – Multi-strain probiotics are better than targeted single strain probiotics.

Now, this is a tough one, because multi-strain probiotics manufactured such that each strain is separated, identified and validated are an excellent choice, but virtually all multi-strain probiotics are not made this way, so be careful when you select these and let me explain why. By their very nature all bacteria are antagonistic – meaning they don’t play well together. (7) In fact, one of the reasons probiotics are effective is because they displace potentially harmful bacteria in our gut with beneficial bacteria. Now, think about that statement… they work by displacing one another. Can you imagine what takes place when you put 4 or 5 or 10+ strains into one supplement? You guessed it, they destroy each other.

This is what we call the “closed-ended system” problem – when you place a live product into a closed-ended system such as a capsule/bottle you limit available resources (ie. oxygen, food) and the bacteria fight to use up the resources until they are depleted, once the resources are gone the bacteria begin to die. We can prevent some of this through freeze drying, which arrests bacterial growth, but since we are trying to maintain a live organism some competition will continue. Read the label of multi-strain probiotics carefully and ensure that each individual probiotic strain is micro-enrobed to maintain them in separate non-competitive environments within the supplement.

If you attempt to cram too many probiotic strains into one supplement you run into a very real space issue. How can you possibly fit an effective dose of 7 or 10 probiotics strains into one capsule? Chances are the cfus are approaching very low non-therapeutic levels. Make sure a cfu is given for each individual strain listed, as opposed to just a sum total for the mixture, otherwise you really have no idea what you are taking and if the levels are effective. A general rule of thumb is to stick to a product with 1 to 3 strains at most.

In addition, it doesn’t make sense to combine five strains that are all active in the small intestine as they will end up competing with one another. Instead, look for a mixture that combines strains with varying active sites in the GI tract (ie. small vs. large intestine), thereby caring for your whole GI tract.

The reality is a HUGE segment of probiotics on the market today are contract manufactured by one company with a marketing position. Look for companies that genuinely care about your health, companies that continue to research and explore the science of probiotics on a regular basis and companies who are the actual manufacture of their product.

Myth #4 – All probiotic species and strains are the same.

FALSE. That’s like saying you and I are one and the same. We are both homo sapiens sapiens after all so we can’t be that different, right? Wrong.  I have only just met you, but something tells me we are not the same.

Let me explain the scientific jargon here … take for example the most commonly referred to probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus identifies the probiotic at the genus level.  Add on acidophilus and you have now identified the species level. But what comes next?  This is where common names come in, my name is Julie your name is ____?   It’s the same with probiotics but instead of a common name we have STRAIN names. For example, Natren uses Lactobacillus acidophilus, NAS strain. And just like you and I are different, every strain of L. acidophilus is different. Many manufacturing companies do not distinguish the strains; they wrongfully assume that all L. acidophilus strains are the same. In fact, each strain can have varying probiotic benefits and strengths. (8) For example, not all L. acidophilus strains adhere well in the GI tract, without this important characteristic they tend to wash right through our bodies, in one end and out the other. Look for a quality product that identifies genus (ex. Lactobacillus), species (ex. acidophilus) and strain (ex. NAS); all together it looks like this: Lactobacillus acidophilus, NAS.

Myth #5 – Enteric coatings provide sufficient protection for probiotics.

FALSE. The difficult part about working with these delicate living organisms is delivering them safely to the part of our GI tract where they naturally exist, the small and large intestine. That stomach gets in the way every time, the low acidity in the stomach was designed to keep bacteria out! So protection, to help bacteria survive through the stomach, is important, but enteric coatings are the wrong way to go for one main reason – they retain moisture! (9) All probiotics are freeze-dried (unless the product is fresh as in yogurt); freeze drying temporarily arrests the growth of the bacteria and eliminates moisture. So what reactivates their growth? You guessed it, moisture! If the enteric coating process adds moisture back into the product the bacteria begin to grow and compete with one another for resources, eventually they run out of resources within the capsule or bottle and die quickly.

So how can you properly protect probiotics? The answer actually has numerous parts; you start by selecting well-studied strains (see Myth #4) that are known to be hardy, coupled with a manufacturing process that includes the supernatant. (10) (11) During the manufacturing process bacteria are grown on a specialized food or growth medium, after fermentation occurs this is referred to as the supernatant or fermentation end product. Typically, the supernatant is separated from the bacteria prior to freeze drying, but there are valuable byproducts with in the supernatant. Probiotics that go through a full culture process to maintain this intrinsic supernatant in the final product are adding an additional layer of protection to the product as it naturally shields the bacteria from stomach acid. The supernatant also adds additional benefits to the probiotic user in the form of micronutrients.

The next step is the addition of an oil matrix system that microenrobe the bacteria. The oil is a fat and not digested by the stomach but rather emulsified by bile in the upper GI tract, releasing the bacteria to colonize and grow where they are most beneficial.  And finally, you have protective packaging; look for supplements that are further protected in hard gel capsules and stored in dark glass bottles. The dark bottles are resistant to UV damage and the glass is impermeable to moisture than plastic. Whereas, plastic is highly permeable and not as eco-friendly as glass.

Myth #6 – Homeostatic soil organisms and spore-forming bacteria are safe and effective probiotics.

FALSE and this one makes me cringe a little bit. Okay maybe a lot. The whole point of probiotic supplementation is to help restore the balance in your digestive system. How do we do this? By supplying the GI tract with probiotic bacterial species that normally colonize the human GI tract. How can you expect to balance this system by ingesting bacteria that are not normally found here? And why would you want to put soil bacteria in your body? Several companies in the USA use soil borne bacteria such as the genus Bacillus in probiotic products because they are stable since they produce spores. (12) Spores can survive extremes such as heating, freezing, drying and radiation– so refrigerated storage is not required (12). This is quite convenient for the manufacture that no longer has to worry about producing, storing and shipping a cold product.  But, we are left to wonder if this is a safe practice? Also, if a spore is an inactive vegetative state of bacteria how do we know if it ever becomes active inside our body? Astoundingly, one company that uses this bacteria has published a study showing that less than 10% of their spores germinated into an active (and therefore useful) form! (13) There is additional concern that these organisms may be able to enter the blood stream in people with depressed immune systems and cause septicemia. (14) There are so many well studied, clinically trialed probiotic strains, which are naturally occurring human flora that there is simply no need to mess around with soil bacteria. I would stay far away from these until these questions have been thoroughly studied by the scientific community. The benefit here is solely to the manufacturer.

Myth #7 – Probiotics do not need to be refrigerated or shipped in thermally controlled packaging.

Get out?! You mean you can put a live organism in a capsule, stick it in the back of a hot truck, ship it across the country, place it on a shelf and leave it there for awhile and it will still be alive? Gosh, I’m not even sure if I would survive that! I think NOT. This is a big FALSE. The truth is, without continuous temperature control probiotics will die. I challenge you to read the label here – if the probiotic does not require refrigeration chances are you are selecting soil spore forming non-human bacteria strains (see Myth #6 above) or the product guarantees potency at the time of manufacture or maybe they don’t guarantee their potency at all? All of these should be red flags. Look for products in the refrigerated section, which guarantee potency through the EXPIRATION DATE of each species and strain, and do not contain spore-forming soil based bacteria.

Myth #8 – Adding prebiotics like Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) to probiotics is beneficial.

FALSE. Prebiotics are designed to provide the beneficial bacteria in your GI tract with a food substance that encourages their growth. However, when you take a prebiotic you have no control over which bacteria are benefiting and proliferating because of it. Therefore, you may be feeding the bad bacteria along with the good bacteria. (15) Scientific evidence has shown that by taking a prebiotic we are also encouraging yeast growth and the growth of potentially harmful bacteria such as Klebsiella, E. coli, and Salmonella. (15) (16) (17) In addition, studies have shown that FOS actually impairs the intestinal barrier (this is exactly what we are trying to prevent by taking probiotics in the first place). (18) And you might be shocked to know that the list of side effects associated with FOS includes diarrhea, abdominal rumbling, bloating, cramping and excessive flatulence. (19)  Many people take probiotics to help with digestive upsets, so why would they want to add on a prebiotic with known side effects like this? Probiotics that include the Intrinsic Supernatant (aka Growth Medium) are carrying their own food source with them so there is no need to combine them with additional prebiotics.

Myth #9 –  You shouldn’t take probiotics when you are taking prescription antibiotics.

This is a big false! It is even more important to take probiotics while you are taking antibiotics. Antibiotics are very potent, and kill not only the bad bacteria in your body that are causing an infection, but kill the good bacteria as well. This may be why antibiotics are often associated with nasty gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea. In fact, taking probiotics has been shown to reduce the incidence of antibiotic associated diarrhea by 42%! (20)

In order to allow both antibiotics and probiotics to work in your GI tract simply separate the times that you take them by at least a few hours. Take your antibiotics, then 2 hours later take your probiotics.

Myth #10 – You do NOT need to take a probiotic everyday.

Probiotics can only benefit you if you take them. You might think that if you aren’t actively doing something to damage your gut flora, such as taking antibiotics, that you don’t need a probiotic supplement. This is wrong. There are many reasons why you may have an unbalanced and unhealthy gut flora. For example, excessive hygiene precautions and chlorinated drinking water; many drinking water sources contain anti-microbial agents such as chlorine that kill the good bacteria in our bodies. (21) In addition, an unvaried diet and stress can lead to an off-balance system. (22) Speaking of diet, every time you eat you are introducing bacteria into your GI tract that may or may not be harmful, balancing this with beneficial probiotic bacteria is always a good idea. By supplementing with a high quality probiotic you can off-set these problems and set your body on the right path to health every day.

Myth #11 – Diet does not play a role in probiotic effectiveness.

This is false. Diet is just as important to bacteria as it is to humans. Studies have shown that the composition of our gut microbiota changes in response to the diet we eat. (22) An unbalanced, unvaried diet contributes to a less diverse makeup of bacteria in our gut. Scientists hypothesize that decreased microbial exposure through diet and other means are the cause of numerous health problems today. (22) It is important to enjoy a varied diet to benefit your health as well as the health of your bacteria.

Myth #12 – Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium are safe probiotics.

FALSE. In fact, in Australia these two organisms are banned from use as probiotics because, “…significant safety concerns exist.” (23) E. faecalis has been known to cause infections in humans, such as bladder infections. (24) (25) It has also been studied and noted that it is able to transmit antibiotic resistance through plasmid transfer, which is a very unsafe characteristic. (24)

E. faecium is becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics, which is a dangerous thing. (26) Organisms such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium infantis and Lactobacillus bulgaricus are heavily researched and well accepted in the probiotic community. (6)

However, animals require stronger probiotic strains since they are exposed to more undesirable bacteria than human beings. A special strain of E. faecium (NCIMB 10415 strain) has a proven track record in animal probiotic formulations. This particular strain has been tested and used extensively by a distinguished German veterinary doctor for decades and shown to lack the genes typically found in those strains that may cause infections.  (27) Studies also show that this strain is not antibiotic resistant, and it’s been safely used in Europe for animals for well over 30 years.  (27)

Myth #13 – Digestive enzymes mix well with probiotics.

Digestive enzyme makers would have you believe this to be the case.  Digestive enzymes are found naturally in our saliva and stomach acid, in enzyme-rich foods and also provided in supplements. They work to break down food molecules into smaller pieces that our bodies can absorb. Unfortunately, digestive enzymes can also break down probiotics. Digestive enzymes should not be taken at the same time as probiotics.


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