Probiotics are live microorganisms — usually found in your gut — that can benefit your health. The term “probiotic” comes from the Greek “for life,” and aptly so because these friendly bacteria help support your body in many different ways.
Numerous studies have investigated the potential health benefits of probiotics. New patients at Dr. Joseph Mercola’s Natural Health Center are encouraged to take a high-quality probiotic supplement. Consuming unpasteurized fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, lassi (Indian yoghurt), kefir (fermented milk), natto (fermented soy), and pickled cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, eggplants, onions, squash, and turnips will also provide you with beneficial bacteria.
While Dr. Mercola maintains that food is your best source of nutrients, he believes that taking a probiotic supplement will enrich your diet and help you:
- Absorb minerals, eliminate toxins, and produce vitamins, particularly vitamin K and B vitamins
- Avoid allergies by training your immune system to differentiate between pathogens and non-harmful antigens
- Digest and assimilate certain carbohydrates and convert them into primary sources of energy and nutrients
- Kill harmful microbes and keep bad bacteria in your intestinal lining or mucosal barrier under control
- Support your immune system, 80 percent of which lies in your gut
Epigenetics and Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Epigenetics is the field of medicine that shows how your genes are not set in stone and are constantly changing based on diet, stress levels, and other factors, Dr. Mercola explains. It debunks the widely accepted dogma that the genetic code you received from your parents has the most influence on your future health.
Epigenetic therapy is an emerging field that involves treating disease using epigenetic manipulation. For example, consuming cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, as well as garlic and onions, help activate tumor suppressor genes that fight cancer.
A breakthrough study suggests that consuming a probiotic-rich beverage can positively influence the activity of hundreds of your genes. This study paves the way for customizing probiotic supplementation according to an individual’s unique genetics and gut flora composition to achieve a desired beneficial effect.
Epigenetics may hold the key to the future of medicine. But you can start now by implementing healthy lifestyle changes, like consuming foods and taking supplements that help support positive genetic expression.