I’ve got a great reader question about Strep Throat, but I’m going to morph that into a Post on the Immune System. After all, that’s what it’s all about, right? Here’s the email:
I was hoping to find out more about which brand of probiotics I should be taking. I have a long history of frequent occurrences of strep throat and still get it frequently in adulthood. I have always been given antibiotics so I’m thinking I do not have even close to the amount of good gut bacteria that I should have. I have noticed over the years that when I get strep throat the symptoms have become more and more severe with higher fevers and a horribly sore throat. Do you think this could have anything to do with all the antibiotics I have put into my body?
In addition to probiotics, are there certain foods that will increase good bacteria more than others? And for the next time I get strep, do you think its too late for me to try natural remedies after a lifetime of antibiotics?
Strep, and sore throats, used to be my Achilles Heel also. For everyone reading this, take out “strep” and put in whatever illness is your primary problem, because it’s not the Bug that’s our issue, it’s our immune system. It’s either weak or strong, and for the most part, we have a lot of control over that.
If you have a weak immune system, and start building it TODAY, in a year, you could be a completely different person. It’s never too late to build a strong immune system, but it does take consistent effort for the rest of your life.
The bacteria that cause strep, Streptococcus pyogenes, is actually a NORMAL bacteria for us. As a matter of fact, our skin and mucus tissues ALWAYS have bacteria on them, this strep bacteria being one of them. What happens is sometimes it, or other “Normal Flora”, overstep their bounds and become pathogenic. Why?
We compromise our immune system with chemicals and/or sugar. How?
The primary chemicals in ANTIBACTERIAL SOAPS, triclosan and triclocarbon (T&T), actually ******mutate all the bacteria they come into contact with, both the good and the bad. By the way, our skin is a PRIMARY line of Immune Defense; that means God made it literally teeming with BILLIONS of bacteria that work FOR US. Studies show that when these bacteria are exposed repeatedly to triclosan and triclocarbon, Genetic Mutations Happen. This is bad. I can’t even link to one study – there’s too many. Google it if you’re interested.
When good bacteria are mutated, they’re UNable to fight off bad bacteria.
Studies also show that T&T disrupts thyroid function, muscle function ( your heart is a muscle), and imitate estrogen ( a xenoestrogen). So, it slows thyroid, muscles, and imitates estrogen? Hello body fat, fatigue, and moobs!
Another reason to stay away from antibacterial soaps? Triclosan was introduced in 1969… as a Pesticide; and today it’s still registered as a pesticide.
It’s time – right now - to throw away any and all bacterial soaps you have in your house and switch to just Plain Soap. Look for brands that have FEW ingredients and no chemicals: Dr. Bronners and Kirks Castille are two we use in our house. There’s several options in your stores Healthy Aisle. If you’re rubbing your babies butts or your kids hands with chemical laden wipes, stop now and find a better brand. They also contain T&T, along with assorted other cancer causing, immune disrupting, chemicals.
Reason number 2 for a weak immune system: Sugar; it suppresses the immune system IMMEDIATELY, and for hours; and it’s Bad Bacteria’s FAVORITE food. ( Cancer cells also thrive on sugar.)
Scenario: You and your child wake up and have a glass of OJ, a bagel or bowl of cereal, and a banana. Boom: there’s now anywhere from 70 to 100 grams of sugar in you, or 17 to 25 Teaspoons of Glucose in the blood. White Blood Cell activity, the exact activity we need when the kid next to ours sneezes, or we push open the door loaded with bacteria at our office/store/gym, won’t be coming to the rescue. It’s suppressed from the sugar, and possibly mutated by antibacterial soap.
Reason number 3 for a weak immune system: Too much Bad Gut Flora and not enough Good Gut Flora. Our large intestine is supposed to contain about 100 TRILLION beneficial bacteria. It turns out that these bacteria have hundreds and hundreds of jobs, and one of the biggies is interacting with all our Fighter Cells, like T-Cells and B-Cells.
A single round of plain old antibiotics, for strep, may wipe out strains of beneficial bacteria that may never, ever come back.
Our Lymph System, which is heavily involved with our Immune system, runs through our large and small intestine, completely and literally intertwined. Our gut bacteria and our lymph system work together to create our Immune System.
It matters that we have Great Gut Function: good strong stomach acid, plenty of digestive enzymes, we poop every day, and that our food goes from one end to the other WITHOUT gas, bloat, indigestion, or reflux. Those conditions aren’t normal and indicate big problems with your gut.
Problems with your Gut mean problems with your Immune System. We’re a big cycle.
What to do here: Evaluate: do you bloat/burp/reflux? You probably need to supplement with stomach acid (HCl) and/ or digestive enzymes. ( I use Biotics brands. Email me. ) Been on several courses of antibiotics? Focus on Probiotics and *******Fermented and Cultured foods******. Probiotics are great and often necessary, but even the expensive ones with billions of organisms don’t approach the numbers and strains in Real Whole FERMENTED Foods. (BTW, that link highlights an interview with Caroline Barringer, she was my main Instructor when I was in school at the Nutritional Therapy Association. ) Good brands of Probiotics: Biotics ( email me), Dr. Ohhiras, and Culturelle. There’s more, and it’s a good idea to rotate them. Apparently, our bacterial microbiome is literally as individual as our fingerprints, and it’s very varied.
Second evaluation: do you get sick often, colds, flu, sore throat? Correlate your weak immune system with the health of your gut. Fix your gut first, and strengthen your immune system with Real Whole Foods ( which also help fix your gut). If you have an over active immune system ( auto-immune conditions, like allergies), you probably have Leaky Gut. You’ll need to heal and seal the intestines; again, email me for a supplement list.
If you have an aversion to fermented foods, ( real saurkraut, keifer, kumbucha ), get over it. Buy some, and commit to eating a little bit every single day. Pretty soon, that tart taste goes from bad to good. Our taste buds do evolve, honest. Two of my favorite brands of cultured food are Wildbrine and Bubbies Pickles. If you buy any of the cultured beverages, make sure it has LITTLE TO NO ADDED SUGAR. Sugar feed bad bacteria. Add a little liquid stevia if it’s too tart, or add your own berries or fruit to thick keifer and blend them in. ( p.s. Cultured/fermented foods and drinks are ALWAYS in the refrigerator section.)
What else can we do to strengthen our Immune System in addition to cutting back on the sugar and upping cultured foods? Lots.
1) Eat garlic, onions, ginger, oregano; they all contain nutrients that make good bacteria thrive. Those same nutrients are also used by our entire gut lining to rebuild, repair, and reduce or eliminate inflammation. They also have STRONG anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
2) Eat PLENTY of fiber; that’s what our gut bacteria eat to thrive, be strong, and do their work. Bacteria in our gut eat fiber and resistant starch, they don’t eat fatty acids or amino acids. After they eat, they produce ( think, “poop out”) by-products, like vitamins and fatty acids that are used through-out the entire body for different jobs. One by-product they produce is called Butyrate, and it’s a fatty acid that they eat themselves, and send to inflamed areas of your body. Butyrate has enormous Anti-Inflammatory action; research is showing it also has Anti-Cancer properties.
3) Butyrate is also found in Grass Fed Butter ( like Kerry Gold), and other FULL FAT dairy products from COWS THAT EAT GRASS. (remember, butyrate is a fatty acid) Butyrate is made in the cows gut by their gut bacteria from nutrients in GRASS, not grain. Read your labels and look for Grass Fed dairy. It’s getting easier and easier to find grass fed dairy products in the stores. If you’re interested in Raw, Grass Fed dairy from a farm, and you live in Virginia, search www.localharvest.com.
We belong to 2 great raw milk co-ops, and another raw cheese co-op. Look for a farm convenient to you.
Wrap Up: Sugar, grains, and chemicals ruin our body. Unnecessary / excessive antibiotics destroy our beneficial bacteria. For a strong immune system, and to repair damage from a weak immune system, live by the premise that every bite matters. Every thing we put in our mouth either makes us stronger or makes us weaker.
We don’t get sick because people around us spread their germs, we get sick because we’re not strong enough to fight those germs.
Strengthen your body every day. Eat Real Whole Food with plenty of good fats, clean proteins, TONS of vegetables, some fruits, some nuts and seeds, and some dairy if you tolerate it. Pledge to have fermented or cultured foods several days a week. Take good supplements. Drink good water, move, rest, control your stress levels. And stay away from foods that make you sick, weak, and miserable.