How To Restore Intestinal Flora, And What Happens If You Don't?
If you see a thirty something man with gray hair, or a forty year old woman with balding head, or a fifty year old stroke victim in a coffin, or a sixty-five year old grandpa with shaking hands, or a seventy year old grandma with dementia — look no further than inside their compromised guts.
You see, besides making
passable stools, gut bacteria also synthesize vitamins B-7
(biotin), B-12, and K. The deficiency of these
essential vitamins contributes to diabetes, obesity, hair loss, gray hair,
eczema, seborrhea, anemia, internal bleedings, ulcers, strokes, cancers,
degenerative disorders such as Parkinson and Alzheimer disease, and
common gastrointestinal, respiratory, and autoimmune disorders.
flora is also vital for prevention of constipation, for maintaining your
primary immunity (phagocytosis), for shielding your large intestine from
colon cancer, and for averting yeast infection inside your mouth or
Reader's Testimonial "I found your website 3 years ago because of
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After bacteria inside the gut are killed by antibiotics,
laxatives, heavy metals, surgeries, and colonoscopies, fiber is
broadly recommended to replace bacteria and form stools,
otherwise they turn into grayish rock-hard pebbles, and turn a
routine trip to the bathroom into a torture. This condition is
called disbacteriosis or disbiosis.
It's also an open secret among medical professionals that
disbacteriosis harms patients, particularly children and seniors, who
are the most vulnerable. Children — because of diarrhea and underdeveloped immunity. Seniors —
because of practically all age-related diseases, impaired immunity, and
What are the causes of disbacteriosis?
Well, anything that kills bad bacteria also kills good bacteria, which are identical
single-cell living organisms, albeit better behaving. Here‘s just a
brief list of the most egregious villains. You will not find any
particular recommendations here, because they‘re self-evident: don‘t
use fiber, avoid antibiotics, remove amalgam fillings, use natural
soaps, etc. Here we go:
Protein deficiency. The intestinal flora derives its
energy and plastic nutrients not from food, but from mucin, which is
secreted by healthy mucous membranes. Mucin is a glycoprotein—a molecule
that bonds glucose with amino acids. Gastric and intestinal mucus is
formed by combining mucin and water. Mucus protects the lining of the
stomach and intestines from mechanical damage, enzymes, gastric acid,
astringent bile, and food-born pathogens. The deficiency of the
essential amino acid threonine, for example, curbs the body‘s ability to
produce mucin, and, correspondingly, the bacteria‘s ability to function and
Excess dietary fiber. (Yes, you‘re reading it
right.) The by-products of fiber‘s bacterial fermentation (short chain
fatty acids, ethanol, and lactic acid) destroy bacteria for the same
acids and alcohols are routinely used to sterilize surgical
instruments—they burst bacterial membranes on contact. And that‘s how
fiber addiction develops: as the fermentation destroys bacteria, you
need more and more fiber to form stools. If you suddenly drop all fiber,
and no longer have many bacteria left, constipation sets in as soon as
the large intestine clears itself of the remaining bulk.
For some reason this point is
causing intense consternation and controversy among the “experts” on all
things fiber. If you are one too, and believe that I am stretching the
facts to fit my point of view, please note the following:
(1) The operative phenomenon here
isn't that “fiber causes disbacteriosis,” — but 'excess fiber' — as in “the fermentation of excess dietary fiber.”
(2) Let me remind you that wine
in the vat left for too long turns into vinegar, all the bacteria die
off, and the fermentation stops. Bacterial fermentation in the wine vat,
dear opponents, and in the pile of feces happens to be exactly the
(3) Finally, consider this corroborating quote: “Colonic bacteria ferment unabsorbed carbohydrates into CO2, methane, H2, and short-chain fatty acids (butyrate,
propionate, acetate, and lactate). These fatty acids cause diarrhea. The gases cause abdominal distention and bloating.” (Malabsorption Syndromes; The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy.) Let the diarrhea run its course a day too long, and disbacteriosis will soon follow. (God, I love
those rare moments when Merck and I are singing the same tune.)
Intestinal acidity. Besides fermentation, excess
acidity may occur when the pancreas fails to neutralize the stomach‘s
content because of pancreatic disorders or an obstruction. In this
instance, acidic digestive juices spill into the large intestine and
destroy bacteria. Interestingly enough, the most likely cause of
obstruction in an otherwise healthy person is the blockage of the
pancreatic ducts by—you guessed it—too much indigestible fiber in the
duodenum. Normal acidity (i.e. safe for bacteria) for stools is within
the 6 to 7.2 pH range.
Diarrhea. Acute intestinal infection, food
poisoning, laxatives, medical intervention, and other conditions may
cause prolonged diarrhea, which will literally wash out all of the
bacteria from your gut. An appendectomy (the removal of the appendix)
also increases the risk of disbacteriosis, because the appendix
preserves the “starter” culture when diarrhea occurs.
Antibiotics and antibacterial medication (such as
sulfanilamide, sulpha derivatives, Dynapen, Urex, Nydrazid, Macrodantin,
Rifadin, and many others). Antibiotics and antibacterial drugs play an
important, life-saving role in many circumstances. However, these drugs
are widely and indiscriminately overprescribed to children and adults
alike. One such prescription is often sufficient to wipe out the entire
bacterial population of your gut.
Antibiotic residue in fowl, fish, livestock, and
milk. Industrial farming necessitates the use of continuous, large
doses of antibiotics to keep crowded, confined animals alive.
Inevitably, some of these antibiotics transfer to the food supply, and
Heavy metals. Mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium,
nickel, silver, and other metals are extremely toxic, even in trace
amounts. The sources of contamination vary from industrial pollutants to
household chemicals, batteries to electronic components, measuring
devices, and other sources. Children are the most vulnerable.
Silverware. Silver is traditionally used for
kitchen utensils, goblets, plates, and pitchers for its strong
antibacterial properties. Silver flatware isn‘t such a good idea after
all, especially for babies.
Mercury from dental amalgam. This pollutant is
omnipresent in the United States. Amalgam fillings are placed
indiscriminately into cavities, because amalgam is cheap and easy to
work with. The American Dental Association insists that dental amalgam
is safe, while the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) and
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classify amalgam as a toxic and
hazardous substance: “Another source of exposure to low levels of
elemental mercury in the general population is elemental mercury
released in the mouth from dental amalgam fillings” (Transportation,
storage, and disposal of mercury is regulated by the Code of Federal
Regulations, 29 CFR 1910.1000, and its willful violation is a
criminal offense, except when mercury is “stored” in your mouth by a
licensed dentist.) It isn‘t surprising that dentists in the United
States have the highest rate of depression, suicide, and drug and
alcohol addiction, and the lowest life expectancy among all medical
professionals. This could likely be the
result of long-term exposure to mercury, which, as already mentioned, is
a potent poison, neurotoxin, and carcinogen; one that gradually destroys
nervous systems, causes cancers, kills off friendly bacteria, and brings
about... an addiction to fiber.
Artificial food coloring. Years ago, a color
pigment called crystal violet (also known as crystal gentian)
was widely used as a topical antiseptic. There are good reasons to
believe that long-term exposure to artificial food coloring may affect
intestinal bacteria in the same way crystal violet affected (killed)
Medical treatments and environmental pollutants. Chemo- and radiotherapy kill bacteria for the same reason they kill
cancerous cells. There are other factors that negatively affect the
intestinal flora, such as industrial pollutants, household chemicals,
antibacterial soaps, and toxic substances found in toothpaste, shampoo,
Quackery. If stools aren‘t “clean,”
then the colon must be “dirty.” This apparently logical inference is the
base for “miracle cures” of constipation, migraine, halitosis, yeast
infection, indigestion, and an endless array of other ills. While most
of these conditions are indeed connected to the dysfunction of the large
intestine, “cleaning” the colon isn‘t a solution, but a sure formula for
creating even more problems by causing even more severe forms of
As you can see, a lot of things, particularly the ones
that make a bundle of money for someone without any scruples, have a
greater than great potential for killing the bugs inside your gut,
ruining your good looks, and dispatching you to the grave.
How to determine if you are affected by disbacteriosis?
Advised by their veterinarians, farmers pay big bucks
for bacterial supplements imported from Europe to keep their farm
animals well and productive, because nobody will buy a bloated,
underweight, sickly calf that‘s suffering from chronic diarrhea and
Well, disbacteriosis in humans isn‘t any more
difficult to spot than it is in livestock. Here are the telltale signs
of this condition:
Absence of intestinal gases. When dietary fiber
(soluble as well as insoluble) is present in the diet, intestinal gases
are produced by bacterial metabolism. A complete absence of gases (in
the presence of dietary fiber) suggests an absence of fermentation.
Small amounts of soluble (digestible) fiber, such as fruit pectin, speed
up the proliferation of intestinal flora, while avoiding excessive
Undigested fiber in stool can be seen as white or
dark specks. This is best determined by a stool exam performed by a
medical lab (CDSA, or Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis). The same
exam may superficially determine the symbiotic and pathogenic bacterial
content and ratio, but only for a minor subset of hundreds of innate
Constipation. Constipation is one of the most
prominent signs, especially when the stools are dry or hard. This means
there is too little bacteria to loosen up the formed feces and keep them
moist, because, unlike other stool components, bacterial cells retain
Intermittent or chronic diarrhea, irritable bowel
syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn‘s disease. As you‘ve read
above, the introduction of desirable bacteria into the affected large
intestine heals these conditions. So it‘s a no-brainer to assume that,
along with fiber, disbacteriosis plays a significant role in their
Frequent respiratory infections, asthma, bronchitis,
chronic rhinitis, post-nasal drip, nasal voice, sinus congestions, and
allergies. These primarily chronic conditions indicate a weakened
immune system because of disbacteriosis. They usually appear after a
routine respiratory infection that was treated with antibiotics, which
in turn damage intestinal flora.
Blood-clotting problems. Hard-to-stop ordinary
bleeding and easy bruising (ecchymoses)—dark, blotchy areas of
hemorrhages under the skin—may indicate a deficiency of vitamin K, which
is a by-product of bacterial metabolism. Before making this
determination, rule out vitamin C deficiency (scurvy) and anticlotting
medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen (NSAIDs), warfarin, and others.
Neurological problems and anemia. Vitamin B12 is essential for the normal functioning of the nervous
system and production of red blood cells. Since red meat and eggs were
almost eliminated from the “healthy” Western diet until the Atkins-style
diet came into vogue, the intestinal flora was the only remaining
“natural” source of vitamin B12. Numbness and tingling of the hands and
feet, paleness, shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, a sore mouth and
tongue, and mental confusion are the most common symptoms of a vitamin
B12 deficiency. At this stage, supplements are the only viable option to
quickly treat and reverse these symptoms.
Keep in mind that any one of these signs may indicate
other conditions. It‘s always best to consult a caring, competent
physician and ask him or her to arrange for a comprehensive digestive
stool analysis (CDSA) at a medical lab.
How to restore intestinal flora inside your gut?
disbacteriosis literally means “infecting,” or, as a
microbiologist might say, reinoculating your large intestine with
synergistic bacterial strains. In practical terms, it means that
you need to take a quality pre- and probiotics, such as Colorectal Recovery Program,
which I specifically developed for this purpose.
Supplemental probiotics are the most
accessible, inexpensive, and easiest form of oral bacterial
therapy. You can take these supplements continuously,
periodically, or on an as-needed basis, relying on your
observations of stools and other symptoms of disbacteriosis as
described here and in my books.
The Colorectal Recovery Program is recommended for all disbacteriosis-related
conditions. These include chronic constipation, bloating,
diarrhea, irritable bowel disease, diverticulosis, depressed
immunity, chronic fatigue, anemia, infertility, amenorrhea,
acne, hair loss, graying hair, premature aging, prediabetes,
diabetes, neurological damage intestinal disorders, oral sores, asthma,
acne, seborrhea, respiratory and urogenital infections,
recurring vaginal and oral yeast infections, complications from infectious
diseases, cancers, radio- and chemo- therapy, antibiotics and
antiviral treatments, and after heavy metal poisoning—such as lead or
mercury from amalgam fillings.
Recovery Program is particularly effective while breastfeeding
and during restrictive weight loss diets, such as the Atkins diet,
because it prevents constipation, and eliminates the risk of
undernutrition or malnutrition from damaging your eyes, hearing, skin,
bones, teeth, hair, and nails.
Unlike most probiotics in liquid form, powder, or gelatin capsules,
capsules in the Colorectal
Recovery Program are coated with inert cellulose (“enteric”). This
technology prevents dissolution in the stomach, protects the
microorganisms from stomach‘s acidity, and assures effective
release in the large intestine to assure bacteria survival and
colonization. This means you can take it any time, with or
without a meal.
Recovery Program is particularly effective when you have a severe case of long-term disbacteriosis
because it contains a high quality prebiotic formula (GI Recovery)
that I specifically developed to enhance the survival and effectiveness of
probiotics once inside the gut.
Unlike practically all fiber-based prebiotics, GI Recovery contains L-Glutamine — an amino acid that stimulates
the regeneration of intestinal mucosa that is actually “home” and source of nourishment for intestinal bacteria. Also, this approach
doesn't cause gas or flatulence the way fiber-based probiotics do.
If you suffering from chronic constipation,
hemorrhoidal disease, incomplete emptying, then restoring anorectal
sensitivity should be your next goal. Please continue reading the How to restore anorectal sensitivity page to learn how.
For additional details about
the Colorectal Recovery Program or to order it, please visit its product page.
Q. How long do I have to take intestinal flora?
The content of your toilet bowl will tell you.
If your stools are light, fluffy, small, and moist without fiber
in your diet, you‘re okay flora-wise. I also recommend rotating
various brands of probiotics for optimal effect.
You should always take probiotics after any
treatment that may damage the intestinal flora, such as a course
of antibiotics, laxatives, chemo-, radio-, and retroviral
therapy, severe food poisoning, diarrhea, and similar
Some brands of probiotics (not Enterophilus),
especially liquid formulas, may cause severe bloating. You
should always exercise caution when trying out a new brand. Keep
in mind that it takes from a few days to a few weeks for
intestinal flora to take hold.
Q. I take intestinal flora regularly, but
still struggle with constipation.
If you are taking certain common medicines, or
if you already have some form of colorectal damage, such as
hemorrhoids or nerve da*mage, then bacterial supplements aren‘t
going to eliminate those underlying causes of chronic
constipation—even if your stools become picture-perfect in all
You may also suffer from delayed stomach
emptying (gastroparesis), so your bacteria never reach the large
intestine alive. That‘s because they can't bypass the stomach's
acidity and enzymes, even when taken in the morning on
presumably an empty stomach.
In this case you‘ll need to use the safest
possible method (such as Hydro-C) to stimulate regular
defecation. Whatever you decide to do, it still would be
better for you than going back to fiber, because the next round
of recovery may be even more complicated. Plus, keep in mind all
those other essential health properties of intestinal flora, as
In some respects, bacterial supplements are
very much like prescription eyeglasses—you don‘t expect them to
magically fix bad eyesight, but are still darn grateful for
being able to see.
Q. Do you recommend liquid probiotic formulas
that can be found in health stores?
To find an answer to this question, I have
experimented with several brands in the past. Some left me
bloated and flatulent for considerable stretches of time, even
on a fiber-free diet. Perhaps they‘d been just too effective.
Or, it‘s possible that live bacteria from liquid formulas took
hold in the upper sections of the small intestine, where they
shouldn‘t be. You may require a course of antibiotics to wipe
them out if the discomfort becomes unbearable.
It‘s less likely to happen with capsules, such as Enterophilus, because the bacteria in these
preparations are sublimated (dried out) into hibernation. They
remain ‘asleep‘ while ‘commuting‘ through the folds of the small
intestine. This trip—from the stomach to large intestine—takes
around 24 hours. Once these bacteria reach the relative safety
of the blind gut (it has the proper pH and no enzymes to devour
them), they finally wake up and get into action.
Q. Can I keep my gut flora healthy by
drinking Dannon's Activia or similar products?
Very, very unlikely. The
presumably “live” or “active” bacteria in the commercially fermented
beverages such as Activia, including organic ones,
are likely to be dead by the time
you buy them. So they won't have any beneficial effect on
your digestive organs.
Manufacturers briefly expose the finished product
to high heat in order to shut down fermentation (by killing
bacteria, of course). This extends the shelf life of the
finished product and prevents blowouts, separation of whey and
You can easily determine if the bacteria in your
favorite yogurt are indeed “live” or “active.” Pour the beverage
into a clean glass, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and
leave the glass overnight in a warm place, such as the boiler
room or near a warm electrical appliance. If, come morning, the
wrap remains flat, it means the fermentation didn‘t start and
the gases didn‘t form because the bacteria were long dead.
Even if you get lucky, and the bacteria are
still alive, your stomach acid and enzymes will kill them on
contact anyway. No surprise here—sterilization of food is, in
fact, one of the stomach‘s key functions. Unlike bacteria in
yogurt, supplemental 'dry' bacteria survive the stomach's
hostile environment because they are specifically designed to
So how can products like Dannon® Activia™
claim to restore “regularity” for some? Well, that happens not because of
the bacteria, but due to the presence of inulin—a soluble fiber additive, which
happens to be a potent laxative. Each serving of Activia contains 3 g of
inulin. That's more soluble fiber than in six capsules of Metamucil Fiber Capsules laxative — they have only 2 g.
Inulin is harvested from plants, and is broadly
used as a filler and stabilizer in processed foods. Without some
kind of industrial-strength stabilizer, ersatz dairy like
Activia, which is “cooked” from dry milk, would separate into
water and solids before reaching consumers:
In addition to
inulin, Activia's label lists the following ingredients (Dannon
® Activia™ Light Strawberry, illustration modified, click
the link to see the original):
That's hardly a recipe
for healthy food! Lets
investigate these ingredients:
Cultured grade A non fat milk is a euphemism for dry milk dissolved in water.
Dry milk is produced by spray-drying skim milk at extremely high
temperatures. This process causes oxidation of remaining lipids,
which, in turn, are implicated in atherosclerosis and cancers.
Water. That's tap water from the municipal
water supply closest to the Dannon factory. It's the same water
with which you and I would flush a toilet. While by itself,
filtered and dechlorinated municipal water isn't
particularly harmful, is that what you're paying for with this
Inulin is a
known allergen reported in The New England Journal of Medicine in connection to anaphylaxis, a
deadly shock. Also, inulin is a fructan—fructose polymer.
Fructose and other fructans cause malabsorption of nutrients in
30% to 40% of individuals, and they have been implicated in
the pathogenesis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). That's not surprising—after
all inulin is a potent laxative, known to cause diarrhea. And
what usually follows diarrhea? Constipation, of course. In
addition to bloating, flatulence and abdominal cramps caused by
fermentation of inulin, alternating patterns of diarrhea and constipation is
a dead-on accurate description of IBS's primary symptoms.
Carmine (E 120) is a bright red artificial color harvested
from scale insects. Just like inulin, it's known to cause
anaphylaxis in some individuals — particularly long-term vegans,
and Jews and Muslims who observe kashrut and halal (respective
religious dietary rules).
955), a.k.a. Splenda®—an artificial sweetener. It has been reported
to cause migraines, DNA damage, and thymus degeneration. The thymus produces T-cells, which play a central role in
acid (E 296) is a known mouth irritant and cavities-causing
agent. It gives Activia its tartness and makes teeth sensitive
to hot and cold just like any other strong acid would do. That's
effect as from eating sour green apples, which contain
minute quantities of malic acid.
The remaining ingredients (corn starch,
gelatin, sodium citrate) in Activia are less offensive fillers
and preservatives, but they too have about as much business
being in “healthy” yogurt as rat's excrement does in your
dinner. I hope you don't vomit.
Finally, if you are experiencing bloating,
flatulence, or abdominal discomfort after eating processed
yogurt or ice cream, you are likely being affected by soluble
fiber fillers, such as inulin, guar gum, agar, or pectin. To
exclude junk food like Activia from your diet, just read the
labels. By law, it's all printed there.
To summarize: beware when dealing with lawful
cheats. They ruthlessly mint money at the expense of your — and
your children‘s — health and longevity. The problem here isn't
that Activia is junk — that, unfortunately, is still legal to
sell. The problem is that Dannon ruthlessly markets it as a 'health' food to unsuspecting consumers. Even more
disgraceful — it preys on and exploits adults and children with
digestive disorders, who are the first to use this devil's brew.
It's in you power to stop this travesty and
tragedy. Bring a copy of this page to your supermarket, grocery
store, or cafeteria, particularly so-called organic stores such
as Whole Foods. Ask them to remove Dannon products from their
shelves. Do not patronize stores that sell this Euro-trash.
Contact your stockbroker or mutual fund and ask them to divest
Dannon's stock. Send a link to this page to your representatives
in Congress, and demand action. The change will come. They all
have kids and grandkids too.
(Guess what — I am no longer screaming “bloody murder”
alone. Here is more about this courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.)
Q. How do you know so much about this subject?
I am well informed about this condition because it has
been extensively covered in European medical schools for at least a
century, including at my alma mater — Lviv National Medical
University, one of the oldest and largest medical universities in
The role of disbacteriosis in disease was first
described by Ilya Mechnikov, a famous Russian-born, French-based scientist, who
(along with Paul Ehrlich) was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1908 for their research related to the
role of intestinal bacteria in human immunity.
So it isn‘t really something new, unknown, or original
in the world of human physiology and medicine.
American dentists are well aware of the amalgam
fillings controversy. You aren't likely to find any such fillings in
their own teeth, or in the teeth of their children and spouses. Many no
longer use amalgams to avoid exposure.
If you have any “black” fillings, get them replaced
with composite fillings. Do it for the same reasons you don‘t want
mercury in your fish, or lead in your kitchen pipes, or arsenic in your
If your dentist tries to talk you out of it — and he or
she may for legal reasons — then ask another dentist to do it
for cosmetic reasons. Dentists may lose their licenses for replacing a
viable filling “without cause” because it's construed as profiteering
When you ask dentists to do the same procedure for cosmetic
reasons, or to get rid of a metallic taste in your mouth, that's okay. Hence the charade. Health concerns aren't a good
enough “cause” because state licensing boards play along with the ADA's
position — amalgams represent zero risk.
If you work in the same office with a person who has
amalgam fillings, your exposure to mercury vapors from a breathing
person may be similar or higher than from a poorly collected spill from
a broken mercury thermometer.
If you would like to learn more about this subject, Amalgam Illness, Diagnosis and Treatment by Dr. Andrew Hall Cutler provides comprehensive information on all
issues related to dental amalgams. It's expensive, but worth it.
Let others know about this page! This link may save a life!
1. R.F. Schmidt, G. Thews.
Colonic Motility. Human Physiology, 2nd edition. 29.7:733.
2. Search on keywords
“disbacteriosis” and “dysbiosis”: www.ama-assn.org and www.gastro.org on 6/19/2004.
3. The Nobel Prize in
Physiology or Medicine 1908. Nobel e-Museum; [link]
4. Antibiotic-Associated Colitis; 3:29; The Merck
Manual Of Diagnosis and Therapy.
5. American Dental
Association. “ADA continues to believe that amalgam is a valuable,
viable and safe choice for dental patients and concurs with the findings
of the U.S. Public Health Service that amalgam has ‘continuing value in
maintaining oral health.‘» ADA Statement on Dental Amalgam, Revised January 8, 2002; [link]
6. Mercury Compounds. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; [link]