Volume 2, Issue 51
December 17, 2009

How to avoid infections through the holidays — and the rest of the year

In recent weeks, I've told you several ways to avoid serious infections. I've told you about vitamin A, vitamin D, and even Dr. Navarro's Magic Potion. As great as these are at fighting infections, I've yet to tell you about the best possible way to keep infections away.

You've undoubtedly heard that the bacteria in your intestinal tract are not there by accident. God put them there for a reason. In healthy individuals, there are literally hundreds of completely distinct species of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. In fact, the single most effective way for you to avoid having deadly intestinal infections is to have plenty of these bacteria around. A brand new study reveals why.

Researchers at the New York University School of Medicine looked at only one of these friendly bacteria. It was the bacterium segmented filamentous bacterium (SFB). This bug inhabits the intestinal tracts of healthy mice. Mice that don't have many of this particular species of germ are also lacking in special immune cells called Th17 cells (T helper 17 cells). Th17 cells play a critical role in both mice and humans in killing intestinal infections.

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Th17 produce molecules called cytokines. In this case a cytokine by the name of interleukin 22.ÿ Cytokines are immune system messengers that stimulate the intestinal cells to produce anti-microbial proteins. And these anti-microbial proteins kill certain types of disease-causing germs, including candida and staph. Thus, mice that have a severe lack of Th17 cells are very susceptible to infections from these and other germs.

The researchers colonized the intestinal tract of a group of mice with SFB. They wanted to find out what effect this single bacterium might have on the mice's immune system. They discovered something that's very important for your health. After the SFB had grown to a sufficient number, lo and behold, Th17 cells started to show up in large numbers, too. Much greater numbers, in fact, than mice who were deficient in SFB.

But the story gets better. The researchers then exposed these treated mice to the pathogenic bacterium Citrobacter rodentium. When they did, the mice had a much greater resistance to infection than mice who did not get SFB pretreatment. The researchers showed that having only one species of friendly bacteria was enough to protect the mice from a serious infection.

Now multiply this effect by hundreds of types of friendly bacteria.

But what do we do? When we think we're getting sick, the doctor gives us an antibiotic. And we kill off all of these bacteria. However, it's not just the antibiotics that your doctor gives you. It's also all those antibiotics that you put on your skin. Yes, the antibacterial soaps, wipes, mouthwashes, and sprays. These antibiotics do very little to kill the infections people are so afraid of, but they do a great job killing off the friendly bacteria that are so important to prevent the very same infections.

So take my advice and use antibiotics only when they're absolutely needed. Also avoid antibiotic cleansers and sprays as much as you can. And just to be extra safe, be sure to take a few doses of friendly bacteria every week. A good choice is a product made by Advanced Bionutritionals called Advanced Probiotic Formula. Every enteric coated capsule contains 3.5 billion organisms of the friendliest bacteria you could ever have the pleasure of meeting. You can order simply by following this LINK.

Finding your Real Cures,

Frank Shallenberger, MD

REF: Ivanov II, Atarashi K, Manel N, et al. Induction of intestinal Th17 cells by segmented filamentous bacteria. Cell. 2009 Oct 30;139(3):485-98.

Copyright 2009 Soundview Publishing, LLC

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