A brief overview – the microbiome
The microbiome consists of the microorganisms that exist in a particular environment, including the body or a part of the body.
Since there are about ten times more bacteria found in your gut than cells in your body, it is important to understand the connection between these microorganisms living in your body and their influence on health and disease.
It is equally important to understand that not all bacteria are bad. Many beneficial microbes are vital to the health of practically every bodily system. These good bacteria are known as probiotics – which means, “for life.”
Probiotic supplements aid the body in producing important nutrients that we do not have the genes to make. These nutrients are critical as they not only help to break down the food we eat, they teach our immune system how to identify threats and also create compounds that drive away illness.
We depend on this army of microbes to stay alive – I like to think of the microbiome as our sentries protecting us against the germ invaders. Behind the shield, they’re also hard at work breaking down food so that energy is released and vitamins are produced. If the bad gut bacteria dominate, your health will diminish and you will not feel at your best. It is, therefore, important to build up your good bacteria to positively influence your microbiome. This can be done with probiotic supplements and/or certain fermented foods.
If the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, well known as the father of modern medicine recognised the gut as being the body’s focal point of health over 2,000 years ago, I think we better take note. He boldly claimed that “all disease begins in the gut.” Scientists only started grasping how impactful the gut, particularly, the microbiome, is to our health about a decade ago.
Sadly, our modern way of living is not always the best. For centuries people have been fermenting and pickling food. The purpose of doing this was to preserve food which enabled them to keep their food for longer. Perhaps unknowingly to them back them, these fermented foods were full of healthy microorganisms (probiotics) and nutrition. And we wonder why they enjoyed healthier lives.
The industrial society we live in today is a far cry from how our ancestors lived. Now we have food manufacturers genetically modifying foods as a way of preserving them for long periods. The way in which food is artificially preserved often means it won’t decompose, which results in dead food, i.e., lacking in healthy bacteria and devoid of nutritional value.
Added to this, we now live in a culture dominated by antibacterial soaps and antibiotics. This is a major problem as we were created to live in harmony with microorganisms. When we overuse antibacterial soaps, sanitisers, antibiotics, etc. we destroy all the good bacteria along with the bad. You may think, “oh well, who needs any of them anyhow?” Wrong! When the good microorganisms are destroyed, it opens the door for harmful bacteria to enter. To go back to my army analogy above, this means, ‘the sentries have been killed and the enemies have invaded.’
When such an imbalance occurs, your immune system gets fuddled. Why? Because 80% of your immune system is in your gut. Seriously, your digestive system is home to an army of billions and billions of good fungi and bacteria. They have one of the most important tasks of locating bad microorganisms and wiping them out. They’re also hard at work metabolising your food. Their vital work in our gut keeps us healthy. Have you ever wondered why so many sick people have digestive tract issues?
The fact of the matter is that to fully absorb your food’s nutrients which allows your organs and body systems to be sufficiently nourished and stay healthy, you need an adequate probiotic balance within your gut. If you don’t have the right balance of gut probiotics, a sequence of events will occur, such as waste accumulation, constipation, excess toxins, and your body starts to smell – body odour, bad breath, etc.
What to look for when shopping for probiotics
Believe it or not, the best way to maintain an adequate supply of bacteria in your gut is by eating soil. Regular consumption of soil-based organisms (SBOs) is needed to restore your gut ecosystem. These SBOs include the good bacteria (probiotics) that usually live in dirt. They provide our gut with the support it needs to stay healthy by aiding in digestion, food assimilation, and proper nutrient absorption.
There are several different strains used in probiotic supplements currently on the market. When shopping for an effective probiotic, you want to source a brand that contains the most beneficial SBOs, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus; Lactobacillus casei; Lactobacillus rhamnosus; Lactobacillus salivarius; Lactobacillus plantarum; Lactobacillus paracasei; Lactobacillus brevis; Bifidobacterium bifidum; Bifidobacterium breve; Bifidobacterium lactis; Bifidobacterium longum; Bacillus subtilis, and Saccharomyces boulardii.
There is also a range of nourishing fermented foods on the market in health stores today, such as yoghurt; kefir (which means ‘feeling good’); sauerkraut (one of the oldest traditional foods – be sure to choose unpasteurised sauerkraut as live and active bacteria is killed during pasteurisation); tempeh (fermented soybean product – fermentation of this product produces some vitamin B12 too); kimchi (fermented spicy Korean side dish – when made from cabbage, the vitamin content is higher); miso (Japanese seasoning – rich in several vital nutrients and may reduce the risk of cancer and stroke, particularly in women); kombucha (fermented black or green tea drink); pickles (pickles made using vinegar do not contain live probiotics); traditional buttermilk (traditional buttermilk is a fermented dairy drink usually consumed in India, Nepal, and Pakistan – but, important to note, cultured buttermilk does not have any probiotic benefits); natto (fermented soybean product, which contains high amounts of vitamin K2 – it may aid in preventing osteoporosis and heart attacks); some types of cheeses (not all cheeses contain probiotics – so be sure to include cheddar, mozzarella, and gouda into your diet for probiotic benefits). There are many healthier probiotic foods you can eat, so if none of these tickles your fancy, find foods that work for you. If you can’t tolerate fermented foods, there are many probiotic supplements but be sure to do your research to ensure that you buy an effective supplement. Those containing SBOs, such as Elixirmune, are best.
Benefits of probiotics
There are hundreds of research studies that have found that SBOs successfully treat a variety of health ailments. Included in that list are asthma; allergies; flatulence; diarrhoea; irritable bowel syndrome; acid reflux; ulcerative colitis; nausea; indigestion; nutrient deficiency; malabsorption; autoimmune disease; bacteria, fungal, and viral infections.
An article can be written on how probiotics affect each of these ailments, but for the purpose of this article, I’m going to focus on my experience with Elixirmune and the effect it had on some troublesome symptoms of acid reflux I was experiencing.
Basic overview of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
When you experience acid backflow from the stomach into the oesophagus, acid reflux occurs. Many of us have had some experience with heartburn which is one of the troublesome symptoms of acid reflux. Others experience severe complications from acid reflux, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a more severe, chronic form of acid reflux. Some people may have mild symptoms only, controllable by over-the-counter medicine. Others may need surgery.
There are varying reasons why acid reflux happens – from the food we eat, which affects the amount of acid our stomach produces – to a weakened lower oesophageal sphincter (LES). The LES prevents food in the stomach from making its way into the oesophagus but if it’s not functioning as it should it doesn’t close as it should and that’s when food particles make their way up. The lining of the oesophagus is different to the lining of the stomach and cannot tolerate the harsh effects of stomach acid well, it becomes irritated and can start to swell, hence the discomfort that you experience as acid reflux.
My experience with Elixirmune
I generally eat a diet high in organic fruit, vegetables, free-range meat and chicken, and freshly caught fish (not farmed). I also consume a range of quality supplements and incorporate some fermented foods into my diet from time to time. So, I wasn’t expecting to notice much of a difference when I was approached to try the Elixirmune product for the first time.
I initially started by taking it every evening and then weaned it to two times a week. After three weeks of regular use, it dawned on me that I hadn’t experienced any of the previous acid reflux symptoms I am prone to. My doctor has prescribed proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) – which block certain acidifying protons and may heal damaged stomach lining – and suggested I take them every second day or more frequently when my GERD symptoms worsen. I also stock antacids for those bad reflux days. But I did not need either the PPIs or any type of antacids.
Since the only variable that had changed over the past month was the inclusion of Elixirmune to my range of supplements, I realised that it must be the reason for the reduction in acid reflux. This has been a delightful and surprising experience as PPIs are not without negative side effects. Long-term use of PPIs is linked with an increased risk of developing osteoporotic-related fractures, Clostridium difficile infection, community-acquired pneumonia, vitamin B12 deficiency, kidney disease, and dementia. Finding a healthy alternative that is as effective is certainly a bonus.
“Elixirmune Gut Guard is a potent natural alternative to traditional pharmaceutical medication that powers up your body’s immunity system to help fight bacterial, fungal, and viral infections the way nature has done for millions of years. It creates a “rain forest” of good bacteria in your gut that fights the bad bacteria that cause illness and disease.”
Elixirmune is vegan friendly and 100% natural and organic. It can aid in combatting the following illnesses:
- Autoimmune diseases and disorders
- Digestive tract and gut-related conditions
- Metabolic and diabetic disorders
- Conditions related to poor circulation
- Respiratory disorders
- Fungal, bacterial, and viral infections
- Arthritic symptoms and inflammation
It can also be used orally, topically, as a facewash, and can be inhaled through a nebulizer or similar device.
Elixirmune contains a unique blend of 40 naturally occurring soil-based probiotic strains. These are rich in fulvic and humic acid which is required by the human body. “The scientific methods and process used to cultivate the probiotic strains from pristine virgin soil and the artisanal bio-fermentation process used to blend the ELIXIRMUNE formulation takes nearly 3 months and is part of their proprietary secret recipe formula that creates a product that produces incredible results even with the most chronic ailments.”
“Elixirmune was formulated by internationally recognised bio-technologists to develop a soil-based probiotic (SBO) that could introduce the goodness of South African soil to our bodies to help build up some “old school” immunity to fight disease and infections. For a better way of life.”
Unlike some traditional probiotics that are less likely to survive gastric acid, SBOs appear to survive it. SBOs also have a longer, more stable shelf-life. This is a plus as they do not need to be refrigerated, which makes it easier to take them along when travelling without worrying about keeping the product cold.
Elixirmune contains an interesting blend of ingredients (no artificial sweeteners, and is preservative and colourant free):
- Organic molasses: an ancient superfood that contains iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, selenium, potassium, fulvic and humic acid.
- 43 Naturally produced live culture soil-based probiotic strains which promote good bacteria.
- Bio-active humus extract (extract of the dark, organic part of the soil that is produced by the decomposition of animal and vegetable matter) and organic soil carbons (all of which are not carcinogenic) extracted from virgin soil deposits to aid the fermentation process.
The consumption of probiotics is well documented for promoting lower gastrointestinal homeostasis as well as stimulating the growth of beneficial indigenous gut microbes in an environment where there is an imbalance in microflora. However, the effect of probiotics on the health of the upper gastrointestinal environment is less clear.
“Researchers have found that probiotics may be relevant to changes seen in GERD:
- Specific probiotics accelerate gastric emptying by interacting with stomach mucosal receptors. Transient lower oesophagal sphincter relaxation is often triggered in GERD.
- Specific Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are linked with alterations in the immune response and antagonistic activity toward potential pathogens through the production of short-chain fatty acids, such as lactic acid.
- Intestinal motility and immunity can be impacted by small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) in which probiotics can be beneficial.”
For years humans have been exposed to soil bacteria but, sadly, the industrial society in which we now find ourselves has practically wiped out our exposure to these valuable microorganisms. Therefore, it is important to incorporate SBOs into our diets for ideal gut health and overall well-being. By doing so, we give our bodies the optimal ability to naturally ward off infections and disease.
By following a wholesome diet and lifestyle, you can reduce reflux and, in all likelihood, alleviate the nasty symptoms thereof without medication. By supplementing with probiotics, especially SBOs, you can also reduce the risk of developing GERD.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only. No material contained herein is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment before undertaking a new health care regime, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Authored by Delilah Nosworthy
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