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Beneficial Bacteria:

Treatment for Many Common Disorders


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Most people have been conditioned to think of bacteria as harmful, but the reality is that we live in symbiosis with beneficial intestinal bacteria.  The average person has about four pounds of bacteria in his body.  The majority of this bacteria reside in the digestive tract.  We'd die without the right intestinal bacteria, and unfortunately I believe this actually happens more often than most people realize.  Many holistic doctors believe that imbalances in intestinal bacteria are a major factor in many of the chronic disorders that we have today.  I think they are right.

As I have been doing research for this web site by reviewing medical studies and participating in email list groups for various disorders,  I've come to see some patterns and common threads that most likely relate to intestinal bacteria.  I've noted that there are certain conditions that appear both frequently in a variety of disorders, and frequently in connection with each other, regardless of the disorder.  A common thread in many disorders, whatever they are called, seems to be:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Low body weight
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Low magnesium levels
  • Vitamin B6 deficiencies
  • Low blood pressure
  • Mitral valve prolapse
  • Migraines
    The medical studies abound with interesting associations researchers have noticed: 

    • bleeding tendencies and scoliosis
    • bleeding tendencies and mitral valve prolapse
    • mitral valve prolapse and migraines
    • salicylates and attention deficit disorder
    • salicylates and allergies
    • bacterial infections and vitamin K deficiencies
    • vitamin K deficiencies and irritable bowel syndrome
    • vitamin K deficiencies and bleeding problems
    • aspirin sensitivity and allergies
    • bacterial infections and migraines
    • magnesium deficiency and MVP
    • and many more

    So what is a common link between all of these associations and features? A common link is a lack of beneficial intestinal bacteria. It is a plausible reason why these features appear together so frequently. A lack of the right intestinal bacteria is likely to play a role in many of the chronic disorders we have today, especially connective tissue disorders. It's a hypothesis that explains many of the associations that have been observed in the medical studies.

    Researchers tend to try to categorize the different connective tissue disorders and their features as entirely distinct entities, but they are not.  They have many similarities. If you just look at the data, and ignore the specific disease labels that researchers and doctors like to put on people, then I think you will find that many these types of disorders are highly multifactorial conditions which include variations of overlapping nutritional deficiencies as factors.  The reason the symptoms of these disorders overlap is because their root causes overlap.  The symptoms found in these disorders are not distinct sets of unique entities because their causes are not distinct entities.  If you consider the possibility that a lack of helpful bacteria may be a factor in all of these different disorders, then many of the study results and interesting associations researchers have uncovered all make perfect sense -- there are logical reason why they occur.

    I believe the lack of helpful intestinal bacteria is due, in part, to our modern day lifestyles that include preservatives in food, a cumulative effect of fertilizers and pesticides in farming and the ever popular use of antibiotics.  Preservatives in food keep harmful bacteria from growing in food products, but what do they do to our intestinal bacteria?  Antibiotics kill harmful bacteria, but they also kill the beneficial bacteria in our bodies in the process.  Chemical fertilizers in soil help crops to grow, but what effect do fertilizers and pesticides have on our bodies?   All of these factors can impact beneficial bacteria, and without beneficial bacteria, our ability to absorb nutrients and fend off harmful bacteria decreases.


    Take Two Aspirin And Some Bacteria

    "Some headaches may be linked to infection with a common bug and daily doses of friendly bacteria could ward them off, preliminary research suggests. A study presented Friday at an infectious diseases conference found that about 18 percent of chronic migraine sufferers were infected with the stomach bug helicobacter pylori and antibiotics appeared to clear the headaches.

    Adding the friendly bacteria Lactobacillus seemed to work even better, leaving most people migraine-free for a year and lessening the intensity and frequency of recurring headaches in the others, the lead researcher said."

    From the CBS News web site

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    Helpful Bacteria

    The role of beneficial bacteria includes the following functions:

    • Synthesize vitamin K.  Vitamin K is needed to clot the blood and keep bones strong.  Deficiencies of vitamin K include a wide variety of problems including menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding), frequent nose bleeds, hematuria (blood in the urine), ovarian pain, osteoporosis and fractures.

    • Keep invading bacteria, viruses and yeasts in check.  Antibiotics can destroy friendly bacteria, which is why many women get yeast infections after taking antibiotics.

    • Manufacture the milk digesting enzyme lactase which is needed to digest most dairy products.

    • Aid in the absorption of magnesium.  Magnesium is used for hundreds of different functions throughout the body, so a magnesium deficiency can have dramatic impacts on a person's health.  Many of the common disorders of today such as asthma and migraines have been closely linked to low magnesium levels.

    • Change the local levels of acidity to kill harmful bacteria.

    • Manufacture various B vitamins.

    • Prevent toxicity from nitrites.
    The table below illustrates many of the symptoms that can appear when beneficial intestinal bacteria are in short supply.
    Low Levels of  Helpful Bacteria Can Cause:
    Poor Vitamin K Synthesis Magnesium  Deficiencies   B Vitamin deficiencies   Other Features
    Blood does not clot properly resulting in: 
    • Abnormal uterine bleeding
    • Heavy menstrual periods
    • Nosebleeds
    • Hematuria (blood in the urine)
    • Gastrointestinal bleeding
    • Eye hemorrhages
    • Bleeding gums
    • Purpura/Bruising
    • Lowered blood pressure
    Lowered bone densities contributing to: 
    • Pectus excavatum
    • Pectus carinatum
    • Osteopenia
    • Osteoporosis
    • Fractures
    • Laterally Curved spines (scoliosis)
    Deficiencies of vitamin K co-factors including magnesium. 
    Poor hyaluronic acid synthesis contributing to: 
    • TMJ
    • Hypermobile joints
    • Mitral Valve Prolapse
    • Keratoconus
    Raised histamine levels contribute to: 
    • Allergies
    • Asthma
    • Chemical sensitivities
    Increased adrenaline flow contributes to: 
    • Insomnia
    • Epileptic seizures
    • Attention deficit disorder
    • Hyperactivity
    • Anxiety disorders
    • Depression
    • Psychiatric disorders
    • Migraine headaches
    Muscles stay contracted contributing to: 
    • Fibromyalgia
    • Migraines
    Lowered bone densities contribute to: 
    • Scoliosis
    • Pectus excavatum
    • Pectus carinatum
    • Osteopenia
    • Osteoporosis
    • Fractures
    Other features of magnesium deficiencies include: 
    • Nystagmus
    • Urinary incontinence
    • Bedwetting
    • Hearing loss
    • Calcification of soft tissue

    Deficiencies of magnesium co-factors including vitamin D and calcium 
    B vitamin deficiencies include: 
    • Sensory perception problems
    • Lowered blood pressure
    • Abnormal gait
    • Tingling of nerves
    • Lowered uric acid levels
    • Lowered hydrochloric acid levels
    Lowered hydrochloric acid levels contribute to malabsorption which contributes to: 

    Various nutritional deficiencies and 

    Undigested, decaying food, which contributes to:

    • Irritable bowel
    • Gas
    • Bloating
    • Constipation
    • Loose stools
    • Celiac disease
    Deficiencies of B vitamin co-factors 
    Dairy intolerance 

    Overgrowth of harmful bacteria that contribute to: 

    • Vaginal infections
    • Yeast 

    • infections 
    • Bladder infections
    • Sinus infections
    Vaginal infections are a known to be a leading cause of: 
    • Premature birth


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    The Disorders

    With the table above in mind, let's take a few connective tissue disorders, plus a couple of common features of connective tissue disorder and review their diverse symptoms and how they fit in with this chart.

    Osteogenesis Imperfecta:
    Fractures, premature birth, heavy menstrual bleeding, osteoporosis, scoliosis, pectus excavatum, pectus carinatum, hearing loss, hypermobility, mitral valve prolapse, fibromyalgia, keratoconus.

    Recent studies show that many premature births are linked to vaginal infections, and vaginal infections can be caused by overgrowths of harmful intestinal bacteria.  Many people with OI are perfectly normal until a certain point in their lives, when they develop OI symptoms.  Some people have OI and then recover.  These are not the hallmarks of an incurable genetic disorder.  Perhaps there is a genetic predisposition to OI, but something else must be triggering the disorders in the people that have it for only a part of their lives. Could antibiotics or other agents destroying intestinal bacteria be factors?

    Marfan Syndrome:
    Pectus excavatum, scoliosis, pectus carinatum, osteoporosis, low blood pressure, mitral valve prolapse, seizures, low body weight, migraines, attention deficit disorder, insomnia, anxiety disorders, asthma, allergies, sensory perception problems, fibromyalgia, keratoconus, hypermobility, calcification of tissues. deways Curves of the Spine (Scoliosis)
    Pectus excavatum, pectus carinatum, hypermobility, mitral valve prolapse, osteoporosis, bleeding tendencies.

    Mitral valve prolapse syndrome:
    Migraines, asthma, allergies, keratoconus, low blood pressure, low body weight, scoliosis, hypermobility, anxiety disorders, pectus excavatum, pectus carinatum, bleeding tendencies, fibromyalgia, TMJ.

    Ehlers-Danlos syndrome:
    Pretty much every single symptom on the table.

    Attention Deficit Disorder
    ADD has been linked to a high intake of salicylates, which are aspirin like substances found in high concentrations in foods like fruits and nuts.  Allergies and asthma have both been linked to high levels of salicylates, as well as to aspirin sensitivity.  Salicylates block the action of vitamin K, which is why aspirin thins the blood and can cause bleeding problems.  Studies indicate magnesium is partly dependent upon vitamin K.  Salicylates block vitamin K, which impacts magnesium levels, which increase adrenaline flow.  The increased adrenaline flow then results in a variety of hyperexcitability disorders including ADD.

    I believe this is why mitral valve prolapse, a condition very strongly linked to both magnesium deficiencies and increased adrenaline flow, is also linked to bleeding tendencies.   When you look at everything logically, it all fits, and it all makes sense.

    Von Willebrand's disease
    Von Willebrand's disease is thought to be an inherited, common form of hemophilia.  But is it?  Are genes the only factor influencing the disorder?  Von Willebrand's disease is closely linked to mitral valve prolapse and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.  We know from other studies that MVP has an inherited tendency, yet is strongly linked to magnesium deficiencies, and is often corrected by magnesium supplementation.  Could von Willebrand's disorder have an inherited predisposition, yet be impacted by diet like the MVP that often occurs along with it?   People with von Willebrand's disease are usually aspirin sensitive (aspirin blocks vitamin K) and the symptoms of von Willebrand's disorder are pretty much identical to the symptoms of vitamin K deficiencies.
    MVP occurs not only in von Willebrand's, but along with a wide variety of various clotting anomalies.  Perhaps these clotting anomalies, including von Willebrand's disease may be caused in part by vitamin K deficiencies.


    Related sections of interest:

    Allergic to mold? Diet changes might help.

    Beneficial Bacteria

    Diet Tips for Irritable Bowel

    Read my Section on Sinus Infections

    Itchy Skin / Sensitive Skin

    MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities)

    Natural Therapies for Morgellons - The cause of this disorder is controversial and not clearly understood. My family had some similar symptoms so I wrote up what we found helpful.


    Selected Links:

    Bacteria Thrive in Hostile Human Bellies

    "Without good bacteria, the body could not survive," - The skin is home to a virtual zoo of bacteria, according to a study published in February, 2007, in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. One of the study authors notes that human forearms have as many species of bacteria as most zoos have of species of different animals.

    New sentinel against food poisoning? - Livestock feed containing a beneficial bacteria commonly found in cheese and yogurt has proven effective in reducing the dangerous E.coli bacteria in cattle before they are slaughtered for beef, meat researchers said this week

    Bacteria May Prevent Quake Damage - "A natural culture of Bacillus pasteurii along with oxygen and other nutrients causes calcium carbonate to form around sand grains, cementing them together. The structure of the soil is not changed; the gaps are simply filled in."


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