November 20, 2014


Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

Did you know that 80% of your immune system is located in your digestive tract? Allergies, Psoriasis, Colitis periodontal disease, high blood pressure, weight control and mental health are all indicated and linked to our normal gut flora.

Your GI tract contains some 100 trillion bacteria - or at least it should –which can weigh 2-3 pounds. The bacteria outnumber all the other cells of your entire body by 10 to 1.

These bacteria are the major component of your immune system. Contrary to the vaccine industries apparent dysfunctional theory that antibody titers are all we need for disease suppression. Their underlying premise is that vaccines give you higher titers of antibodies to fight off a disease. They do that, temporarily, and no long term benefit remains. Hence, your child needs “booster shots” to redo the entire process. But I digress.

What good are these bacteria? First, they modulate your immune response (not the antibodies) and reduce inflammation. They produce vitamins, absorb minerals and eliminate and neutralize toxins. They control asthma and reduce the risk of allergies. They benefit your mood and mental health and they boost weight loss.

Beneficial bacteria also control the growth of diseases by competing with them for nutrition and attachment sites along the colon. This is a hug deal, because pathogenic bacteria can take a hold in your system when they are left unchecked by the good bacteria.

A bacterial imbalance worsens in your gut when your diet is high in processed foods and pasteurized or sterilized foods. Sugar is also a detriment to normal balance of flora in the gut.

Researchers have found a difference in the normal flora of obese people and thinner people. Certain bacteria are better at turning calories from complex sugars into fat. Guess who has more of that type?  The neat thing they found was that as people lost weight, the bacteria changed. As obese people lose weight, a substantial part of that occurs as a result of changes in the bacteria of the gut. They even found that in cases of gastric bypass, 20% of the loss of weight was due to shifts in the balance of bacteria.

Other studies of patients with ulcerative colitis, psoriasis and chronic fatigue all showed gut bacteria to be a critical link in healing. Inflammatory markers that measure each of these diseases impact on the body were significantly reduced when probiotics were introduced into their diets for just 6 to 8 weeks.

So how do we take care of our gut? A strong case can be made for eating organic foods to protect your gut flora from agricultural chemicals that kill them. Eat whole, fresh foods regularly. Fermented foods are excellent for the gut bacteria.  These include sauerkraut, pickles, yogurt, kefir, miso and olives. For any food to be “alive” with good bacteria, it cannot be pasteurized. Take a good probiotic supplement if your diet lacks in those areas.

Glyphosate (Roundup), used in genetically modified crops (and even around your house to kill grass) appears to be among the worst of the food chemicals used today. In general, avoid the things that kill beneficial bacteria. These include antibiotics, chlorinated water, antibacterial soaps and sprays and pollution. Unfortunately, those antibiotics are found in most store bought beef and chicken as they are raised with regular doses of antibiotics.

In conclusion, it is clear that sufficient amounts of good bacteria are fundamental to your good health. You can’t be healthy if your gut balance is out of whack. It is also clear that we have some control of our lifestyle choices such as your diet, medication, antibacterial cleaners you use and probiotic supplements you take. Keeping a good balance of gut bacteria is another way you can increase your chances of remaining healthy and vital throughout your lifetime.