Why your tummy needs more than probiotics
January 28, 2013
Volume 3 | Issue 08
I've written a lot in recent issues of Nutrient Insider
about how stomach problems can lead to other health issues, including breast cancer and thyroid problems. So it's important to treat them effectively – and prevent them from happening in the first place. Unfortunately, too many people are relying on probiotics alone to treat their stomach. And that may not be enough.
Probiotics are fabulous for adding healthy bacteria to your gut. If you don't have enough of these healthy bacteria, then you can have all kinds of digestive problems. But many stomach problems aren't just a lack of good bacteria. You could have a bacterial overgrowth, a fungal infection, or an allergy problem.
A bacterial overgrowth is more than a lack of good bacteria. It's an over-abundance of a bad bacteria. Part of the problem might be that you don't have enough good bacteria. But in many cases, taking a probiotic won't get rid of the bad bacteria. So you have to treat the bad bacteria. Some antibiotics will kill off the overgrowth effectively. But they will kill the good bacteria as well. So if your doctor prescribes the antibiotic, you need to take a probiotic with it and after you're done taking the antibiotic.
Antibiotics won't help a fungal infection. Many doctors will prescribe an anti-fungal, which can be effective. But, again, there's the side effect issue. And it might be more than you need. That's because there are treatments available for bacterial and fungal infections that are much milder than drugs. They may take a little longer to fix the problem. But given time, they can work.
One of those treatments is Chinese cassia bark. Cassia bark is a lot like cinnamon. The tree is common in China and has a bitter taste, so it's usually less desirable as a food spice. But it does have clear medicinal properties, as researchers recently discovered in a recent study.
In this study, the researchers looked at whether the oil of cassia and cassia's major component (pure cinnamaldehyde) would treat various infections. They found that both the oil and the pure cinnamaldehyde were equally effective in inhibiting the growth of various isolates of bacteria including Gram-positive (1 isolate, Staphylococcus aureus), and Gram-negative (7 isolates, E. coli, Enterobacter aerogenes, Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Vibrio cholerae, Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Samonella typhymurium), and fungi including yeasts (four species of Candida, C. albicans, C. tropicalis, C. glabrata, and C. krusei), filamentous molds (4 isolates, three Aspergillus spp. and one Fusarium sp.) and dermatophytes (three isolates, Microsporum gypseum, Trichophyton rubrum and T. mentagraphytes).
That's a lot for one spice to treat. The fact that it can stop the growth of bacteria, fungi, and molds is impressive. So if you're looking for a great way to keep your gut healthy – or return it to health – you might want to consider taking cassia bark. You don't need much. In fact, I recommend taking it as a small part of a complete digestive formula, such as Integrative Digestive Formula. That way you get the benefits of other gut nutrients to keep your stomach feeling good all the time. And taking it with a good probiotic like Advanced Probiotic Formula, really keeps your gut in tip-top shape.
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Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.