Probiotics: The Benefits of Bacteria and Other Microorganisms

Paul L. Reller L.Ac. / Last Updated: August 03, 2017

Probiotics as an Integral Part of Our Healthcare - the Need for a More Complex and Holistic Approach to Restorative Medicine with Complementary Medicine

As the twenty-first century begins, we are finally learning the importance of the whole planetary ecosystem and its actual relationship to human physiology and health in the form of the human Biome, or genetically evolved symbiotic colony of bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms that exists in each of us, evolves with us, and responds to the environment both within and outside of our bodies. Now that we finally created the technology to actually measure this whole Biome, we can no longer doubt that our health and existence is dependent upon our relationship to entire world of life on our planet, which is what the ancient Chinese Daoists emphasized. Hopefully, we will not persist in over-simplfying the subject of probiotics.

As recently as 1998, scientists thought that the number of microbial species totaled a few million at most, about the same as insect species. After finally mapping the genome and discovering how to really assess DNA, we now know that there are about a trillion microbial species on the planet, too many to devise effective drugs to control them. In addition, the number of antibiotic drugs, found or discovered, are still small, and multi-drug and pan-drug resistance has developed in the world of bacteria due to gross overuse of antibiotics with no regard for the environmental balance within or without the human organism. Pioneers in this new assessment of microbial species are Dr. Kenneth J. Locey and Jay T. Lennon, biologists at Indiana University. The complexity of microbial life on the planet, and the potential complexity are truly astounding, yet even this complexity of evolved species works as a whole, creating a sort of planetary Biome, a world of evolved balance. Maintaining a Biotic balance is all important, and one species on the planet appears to have evolved to intelligently help in this regard, humans. Hopefully, we will learn this task well, and work to ourselves be symbiotic with the world of bacteria and other microorganisms.

You perhaps are wondering why I am going off on tangents to inform you on probiotics. The reason is that maintaining our microbiotic colony, or Biome, is not as simple as advertised. So far, this relatively new field of medicine in modern science provides us with just a handful of approved bacterial species, and now just a few 'prebiotic' nutrient aids, while the number of species of bacterial alone in the intestinal tract numbers in the thousands, and separate Biomes are found on the skin, in the mouth and vagina, etc. These Biomes are interactive with our human genetic data and are symbiotic in very important ways to our health. To truly use this aspect of medical science, which was in fact utilized thousands of years before we had the microscope and a definition of bacteria and other microorganisms by traditional medicine, the patients and physicians need to understand the basic facts of the human relationship with the Biome. Simply taking an advertised and unregulated probiotic product by itself will not solve all your health problems. A more thoughtful and holistic approach may be one of the most beneficial aspects of healthcare in your life, though, and can be achieved with relative ease, despite this complexity.

The ability to finally map the genome has also revealed to us that we have a genetic symbiosis with the microbial world as well, and that we all have subtypes, phenotypes, or enterotypes of genetic and epigenetic codes that match our unique corresponding symbiotic microbial colony, or Biome. We are finally discovering that the Daoist perspective of health as a product of natural balance both within the human organism and extending to external environment is indeed correct, and that we cannot escape our integral connection to Nature, and the planetary biosystem, as weird as that sounds to many. Daoist approaches in medicine, and especially the specialty of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), bring a wealth of empirical knowledge and perspective to modern medicine, and the astounding scientific discoveries regarding the human Biome exemplify this approach. The Biome and Biotic health are becoming very important concepts in standard medicine. This does not mean that simply taking a probiotic is going to achieve a miracle cure or panacea for all health problems, though. While we may try to believe that simply taking the best advertised Probiotic product will do the trick, those of us with some intelligence are starting to understand that the subject of the Human Biome is a little more complicated than buying the best yoghurt, or even the best advertised probiotic supplement with the most billions of bacteria. To really correct many of our health problems, or prevent disease, we must restore our Biome in a systematic and individualized manner, clearing excess imbalances of problematic microbial growth, and doing all that is necessary to restore a biotic balance that each of our genetic codes is programmed to work with and maintain. This is a step by step process.

Scientific study is also revealing that our Biome depends on the healthy function of our human systems as well, a codependency, and a holistic approach to healthy restorative medicine is needed, not a simple quick fix. To do this effectively, we need to understand the concept, and develop a more holistic healthcare approach. A number of scientists of great renown have researched and elucidated the subject of the importance of the microbiota of our world for some time. Foremost in this regard is perhaps Lynn Margulis, who died in 2011, before her work was finally taken seriously. Dr. Margulis, wife of the esteemed physicist Carl Sagan, wrote a readable and definitive book on the subject of the microbiome and our evolution in a whole environment with her son Dorian Sagan, perhaps my favorite book, called Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Evolution from Our Microbial Ancestors, commissioned by the government to educate our students in 1987, yet protested and denied its place in the curriculum by fanatics on the right and left of the sociopolitical spectrum. Dr. Margulis was a Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Boston University, and is acclaimed for her work with Endosymbiosis Theory, the holistic connections between the species and the planetary biosystem, the work clarifying the 5 life kingdoms, the Metamorphosis Theory, and the role of symbiotic microbial organisms such as the spirochete bacteria in the evolution of the human nervous system and the immune system. Dr. Lynn Margulis was a true modern Daoist, and did not shy away from controversy, dogma or criticism in her entire life. Hopefully, one day soon her work will be taken more seriously and change our view of healthcare and medical research.

As research progresses, we are learning that there may be 40 times the number of bacterial cells in our organism than human cells, but that our own human genetic code is evolved to work with and maintain a particular type of Biome, or coordinated organ of these microorganisms. Genetic mapping is revealing that there are 360 times the number of bacterial genes in our Biome than in our human cells, representing an enormous amount of intelligent data. This is astounding. We are learning that this Biome is integral to our health, and that an unhealthy Biome is an essential cause of many diseases, including Enteritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, Atherosclerosis and Cardiovascular Disease, Chronic and Recurrent Genitoturinary Tract Infections, Chronic Pelvic Syndromes and Overactive Bladder, Autoimmune Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Allergies, Asthma, Eczema, and Alzheimer's disease, and perhaps more. This knowledge is so new to us that it is indeed overwhelming, even to our top scientists, but the evidence is overwhelming. The worldwide quantum bacterial colony, as well as our individual Biome, is very important to human health. In a sense, we are more bacterial than human, and we should just learn to deal with this fact and move on from a perspective that bacteria are just our enemy. The U.S. NIH Human Biome Project Consortium, composed of experts from nearly 80 universities and institutions, was created in 2007, and is creating a reference database with genomic sequencing techniques to document and catalog the vast array of microbial genes found in healthy humans, to advance the understanding of this network of cells and genes that keeps us healthy. While the applications in medical technology are indeed important, this project may also reveal just how genetic data is shared and communicated between all organisms on the planet, a subject that still remains a mystery to our greatest scientists.

Bacteria are perhaps the most maligned and misunderstood living organism on the planet. Anti-bacterial has become one of the most popular terms in our language, and overuse of bacteriocide chemicals, antibiotics, and disinfectants have become one of the leading threats to public health, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and public health authorities in many countries. At the same time, probiotics, or introduction of healthy symbiotic microorganisms into the digestive tract with supplements, has also become increasingly well known and popular, and now organic farming, or the growing of food without the use of chemicals that are synthesized to kill symbiotic insects and microorganisms, as well as synthetic nutrient fertilizers that destroy the natural balance of microorganisms, is also becoming popular once again in the population, as are naturally fermented foods that have supplied the renewables in our human Biome that are necessary for optimal health for millenia in human culture. Just as the overuse of chemicals has created a crisis in our food production in the United States, with food crops now resistant to common pesticides and herbicides, and unhealthy feedlot raising of cows creating crises of antibiotic resistant pathogenic bacteria affecting the human population, a crisis is being created in our bodies as well because of our resistance to understanding and working with bacteria and other microorganisms in our bodies.

For millions of years, humans have worked together with beneficial bacteria to create a healthy body and environment, and in only the last one hundred years we have ruined this healthy relationship as we discovered numerous new ways to kill bacteria, and treating all bacteria as our enemy. A new understanding of bacteria, ubiquitous in our environment and in our bodies, as more than just pathogenic organisms, but actually as essential to life and health is emerging, and with this realization, more and more treatment and preventive applications of probiotic therapy are emerging. Whether we like it or not, bacteria are the dominant species on our planet, and working with the bacterial Biome will reap enormous rewards for humans. This requires a learning process, though, and cannot be successful if oversimplified. New and dramatic discoveries in science are often hard to accept, with past misconceptions and practices held with an almost religious zeal, but for the sake of public health we are slowly accepting these new concepts of the bacterial colony and the importance of microbial balance. We are learning that other types of microbes are important to these bacterial colonies as well, as harsh antibiotic and chemotherapeutic treatments lead to overgrowths of species of fungi, such as the many Candida species, and this too is proven to create pathological imbalances in the intestinal or other bacterial colonies. To achieve a restoration of symbiotic balance of the Biome, we need to utilize an holistic approach, and CIM/TCM can help greatly in this regard.

How ubiquitous are bacteria? There are about 10 times the number of bacterial cells in our intestinal tract alone as human cells in our entire body, and they are important to our health. This intelligent bacterial colony in our gut is now considered a working organ, or metabolic system, creating essential nutrient, hormonal and immune molecules, and is comprised of more than just the 9 species of bacteria in your probiotic supplement. A new database created by the University of California at Irvine is cataloging the genetic codes of 100,000 types of bacteria found in our food. A single common bacteria in food and in our intestinal Biota may have thousands of forms as well, such as salmonella, which has over 2700 known strains. While a very small percentage of these bacteria may become pathological, the vast majority are important to our health as symbionts, working with our organism to create an optimum homeostatic balance of healthy function. In fact, symbiotic bacteria may be our most important line of defense against infection and inflammatory disease, and an unfocused protocol to treat pathological bacteria may have led to increased risk for future bacterial disease, as well as other microbial diseases. We have used antibiotics in a decidedly unintelligent manner, and we are now paying the price, as bacteria are evolving resistant mechanisms that make these antibiotics useless, and no new antibiotics are being discovered.

Research is revealing that probiotic bacteria may actually be our best hope for finding new antibiotics to treat bacterial infections in a world now dominated by antibiotic resistance created by antibiotic overuse, with pan-resistance creating a world similar to that before the discovery of antibiotics. This irony apparently is not registering very fast with our treating medical doctors, though, and insistence on overuse of antibiotics is continuing, even for children. Research into symbiotic bacteria is also revealing that these microorganisms may be our most important source of nutrients as well, providing specific nutrients for the human organism when it is not obtaining these important molecules from an unhealthy diet, and intelligently reacting to physiological stress to supply our metabolic needs. Maintaining a healthy relationship between bacteria and the human organism is extremely important to our health, yet our scientists have ignored this fact, focusing on a fight with bacteria instead, and fighting a more holistic approach in medicine.

Why have bacteria and other microorganisms been ignored in our scientific understanding of the human organism if they are so important to our health? In the January, 2013 edition of National Geographic magazine, Dr. Nathan Wolfe, a leading researcher in virology and visiting professor of human biology at Stanford University, and the Director of the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative, describes the recent research findings that have turned our ideas of human biology on its head. Dr. Wolfe states: "Our past ignorance of the microbial abundance on the planet stemmed in large part from our inability to grow, or culture, most microorganisms in the laboratory. A large number of the known bacterial species in the human Biome are labeled candidatus, a taxonomic term designating bacterium that cannot be maintained in a bacteriological culture in the laboratory. Lately, DNA sequencing techniques have allowed us to study whole populations in a given environment without the need to culture them in a petri dish." In other words, the Scientific Method, which has been touted as the cardinal rule of science in the last century, and which claims that only science reproducible in the laboratory can be accepted as fact, has failed us. New technology reveals that our scientists were operating on gross misconceptions that presented a danger to public health.

Empirical science, or the observation of our world in its natural setting, has now shown that our medical science has overlooked the most important aspect of our health, the intelligent quantum field of microorganisms that maintain homeostatic balance, and the holistic relationship between the environment and the human organism. Dr. Wolfe cites research in the last decade that showed that at least 1800 distinct species of airborne bacteria are noted in the air we breath in daily, with the ability of these bacteria to survive in microscopic water droplets and travel on prevailing winds across the entire planet. In fact, in 2014, biologists at the University of Southern California discovered bacteria that survive entirely on electrons, and may form into microbial nanowires, or "biocables" that conduct electricity. The bacterial superorganism discovered how to use and conduct electricity millions of years before man, and we may need these many species of electron conducting bacteria to evolve our nanotechnology and bioorganic, or natural computing, and these bacteria may not need either oxygen or water to survive in the air we breathe, able to actually form living computers in space. This complex bacterial colony is taken into our bodies with every breath, and specific types of bacteria intelligently make up primary populations of microorganisms in different parts of the human body.

Many different specialized communities of bacteria perform essential functions on the membranes of our bodies, the skin, sinuses, throat, lungs, mouth, gums, esophagus, stomach, intestines, urinary tract, and vagina. In fact, when a baby is borne, the vaginal Biota of the mother suddenly grows a vast amount of a single type of bacteria, Lactobacillaceae, which then makes up 90 percent of the bacteria on the skin of a baby borne naturally, allowing the newborn to digest the mother's milk and colostrum efficiently, insuring optimal health and immune function. When a baby is borne via C-section, only about 4 percent of the bacteria on this baby's skin is lactobacillae. Numerous studies have proven that health problems associated with C-section birthing are related to this imbalance of Biota and poor absorption of the important colostrum of the mother, which contains the essential genetic information of the learned immune system. Numerous studies now show that children born of C-section deliveries acquire allergic rhinitis, asthma and eczema at a much higher rate, are more prone to infant antibiotic need, which is now linked to obesity and diabetes if overused. Slowly, we are reversing our notions that all bacteria are our enemies, and are exploring the expanded use of symbiotic bacteria in treatment. These findings are so strange to our ideas in science that we still do no understand the basics of how or why.

An August 2015 article in Time magazine entitled A Strange New Way to Solve Crimes presents us with applications for the amazing research into our symbiosis with the environmental Biome as well. Just as we are starting to accept the Biome within us, and now the Biome on our skin and surface membranes as real, we are seeing that the Biome in our environment is also playing a huge role in our health as well, and is unique to each of us and our environments. This environmental Biome is so unique that law enforcement has been using it to prove that individuals were involved in crimes merely by analyzing the bacterial colony on a cell phone or weapon, or a windowsill or lightswitch, and matching this with a suspect. It turns out that each of us has a unique bacterial colony that we live in, and this colony has a unique place in a larger colony. By age 3, each of us has a defined environmental Biome that remains largely consistent throughout our life, and forms an interactive continuum with the world Biome. Even the Biomes of our family and intimate friends and lovers develop a symbiosis, with studies showing that the more intimate you are with someone else, the more shared microbes you both have in your unique Biomes. There is nothing more Daoist than this. A study published in the journal Science, led by Jack Gilbert, a microbial ecologist at the Argonne National Laboratory, which does research for the U.S. government, found that when a family moved from one house to the next, that it took only hours for the environmental Biome of the new house to be almost identical to that of the old house that they moved from! The fluid and changing nature of this bacterial environment, yet the strict patterns and laws that it adheres to, implies that a type of microbial intelligence that we have no understanding of is at play. The more we study the bacterial and microbial world, the less we can think of it in the classic manner that it is nothing more than a dirty enemy.

While bacteria do create infectious diseases that are sometimes devastating, and the creation of antibiotics has changed the way we live and allowed for control of devastating diseases, we need to continue to evolve our understanding of bacteria and our ways of utilizing science to create a better, safer and healthier world. As with many aspects of our lives, the commercial issues often grow to dominate and control issues of public health. As we gain increased understanding of our environment, we are unable to use this understanding to change in a logical manner, purely because a lucrative industry has been created that perpetuates old technology and fights change if it decreases profit. Change often occurs only when we are faced with dire consequences, as we see now with the subject of climate changes accelerated by our dependence on fossil fuels, excess meat production, and overpopulation. In the last one hundred years, humanity has created changes in the way we live that are amazing, yet we have also created a way of life that has abandoned our respect for the natural interdependence with the rest of life on the planet. This co-dependence is a matter of survival, though, and the science of the way of nature (Daoism) must be once again emphasized if we are to re-establish our place in this world and insure our health and healthy future, both outside and inside our bodies.

While the discovery and creation of antibiotics and antibacterial chemicals has improved treatment overall, the statements that imply that there was no antibiotic treatment and disinfectant before these pharmaceuticals were created is patently false. There is a long history of effective antibacterial and antibiotic therapy with herbal medicine. The advent of pharmaceutical antibiotics made it much easier to use stronger medications and have a standard supply of these medications on hand. Before these drugs, there were proven herbal antibiotic antibacterial medicines, though, and modern research not only proves that they work, but also that many of them are useful to insure that the antibiotic drug works more effectively when used with shorter courses and smaller doses of antibiotic drugs. In addition, many studies around the world now prove that herbal chemicals are effective against drug-resistant strains of antibiotics, and some herbal chemicals, such as berberine, are now proven to significantly enhance the effects of antibiotics. The greater use of herbal antibacterials and antivirals, along with the maintenance of a healthy bacterial flora in the body, or human Biome, and promotion of an efficient and healthy immune system, is the choice of most patients that educate themselves to this important health aspect, and integration of Complementary Medicine fulfills these needs.

While the human species apparently likes to look at every issue in life as a binary choice, either right or wrong, black or white, etc., the fact is that most issues in life, and especially in biology, are nuanced and scaled. So too, the issue of antibiotics in medicine is not the clear picture of success that we portray it to be. We now know that maintaining a complex symbiotic relationship with the truly dominant species on the planet, bacteria, is very important to our immune protections against infection. While antibiotics and antibacterials are important and beneficial when used properly, and sparingly, the overuse of these chemicals has actually hurt the human immune protections considerably as well. Our ability to control and fight infections, of all types, but especially bacterial infections, depends on our bacterial Biome. We now know that not only a genetically individualized Biome must be maintained for optimal immune function, but that our diet must consist of biotic foods that supply key bacteria on a daily basis for our immune protections to work at their best. By abandoning the knowledge that was discovered over millenium in developing the human diet, and instead adopting a diet of processed foods and agricultural practices that took out most of the beneficial symbiotic bacteria, and especially the evolved bacterial balance in nature, that we depend on, we have created a devastating health problem for our population in the modern industrial age. Thankfully, we are starting to realize that a return to natural birthing, organic farming, fresh local foods, naturally fermented foods, and the integration of herbal and nutrient medicine when appropriate, is very important to public health.

The importance of integrating a new understanding of Biotics and Complementary Medicine into our healthcare system to protect us from the growing threat of hospital acquired, or nosocomial, infections that are often antibiotic-resistant

Protecting ourselves against bacterial disease is of course very important. The current antibacterial strategies have not worked, though. In 2012, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 1 in 20 patients admitted to hospitals in the the United States acquires a bacterial infection, leading to an estimated 1.7 million infections, and 60,000 deaths per year! A study published in the The ISMD Journal in 2012 found that hospital patients were more likely to encounter potentially pathogenic bacteria in mechanically ventilated rooms than in ones with access to fresh air from outside, a finding we saw in the first serious scientific statistical studies of hospital care more than a century ago, by the esteemed Florence Nightingale, yet stubbornly ignored. This 2012 study was authored by Jessica L. Green of the University of Oregon, the director of the Biology and Built Environment Center (BioBE).

Our notion that human science and technology can control or eliminate bacteria and thus prevent infection is patently untrue, and more and more evidence suggests that we must work with the biota, not against it, if we are to succeed in decreasing pathology related to bacterial infection. There is no longer any doubt that we must take a holistic approach to disease. An article in the New York Times Science Times of May 28, 2013, outlines the findings of the microbiologist Dr. Noah Fierer of the University of Colorado Boulder as he studies the natural flora and fauna the exists in the modern home, despite the array of antibacterial cleaning products we use. Dr. Fierer, teaming up with a biologist at North Carolina State University, Dr. Rob Nunn, found that a healthy human kicks up a congestive plume of 37 million bacteria per minute as he or she walks through the typical home. With this number of reproducing living bacteria in our homes, looking for the potentially pathological ones is like looking for a needle in a haystack, and studies in recent years have not revealed an effective strategy for even identifying the threat. Instead, focus has now shifted from antibacterial strategies to ways of improving the balance of bacteria and other flora and fauna in the home, office and hospital. Probiotic concepts were apparent in Traditional Chinese Medicine at a very early date, as is apparent from the history of Kombucha Tea, which originated in China as early as 400 AD, called Red Tea Fungus (Hong cha jun), and incorporating various strains of symbiotic bacteria and yeast, such as Saccharomyces and Gluconacetobacter xylinus in the fermentation of Camellia leaf and herbal tree fungus to achieve a health drink called Xian Cha, or tea of the 'immortals', a reference to the early Daoist practitioners of what we later called alchemy. By restoring the natural biotic environment that has evolved to protect us, while also restoring the natural biotic balance within our bodies, the human immune system will have a much better chance of preventing and countering bacterial disease. By utilizing this wealth of research, and the holistic protocols in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM), each individual may be able to increase the ability of their body to deal with infection efficiently.

Without bacteria, neither our bodies or our world would survive. The book entitled Microcosmos, Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution, written by Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan, explains how bacteria created our living environment, maintain the tight level of oxygen tension in the air we breath (despite rising carbon dioxide levels), are integral to our evolution, and in fact, make up a majority of the cells in our bodies. In fact, there are about ten times the number of bacterial cells in the intestines as animal cells in the entire body. The human bacterial colony continues to operate symbiotically with human data, or DNA, and with a type of intelligent decision making that still eludes our scientific understanding. Perhaps this lack of understanding is what perpetuates our fear of bacteria, but increased understanding will alleviate these fears, and may provided us with the holistic attitude that will generate a healthier life and aging.

Today, we are finding that an unhealthy intestinal Biome, as well as our membrane Biomes, are essential causes to many of our diseases, including Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Atherosclerosis and Cardiovascular Disease, Metabolic Syndrome, Obesity, Genitourinary Tract Infections, Overactive Bladder Syndromes, and perhaps more and more diseases that our modern technology is having a hard time treating and controlling. The need for a healthcare approach that seeks to restore the healthy homeostasis of the human physiology, the bacterial symbiotic Biome, and the symbiotic mitochondria to actually treat effectively and restore health is now very apparent. To fully achieve this goal, we must do more than just treat this subject like we have treated medical care in the last half century, simply taking a pill. We must instead gain an understanding of the complex subject of the human Biome and take a more holistic approach to restoration.

Bacterial Colony as an Intelligent Symbiotic Life Form that is Essential to Health Inside Us and Outside

To frame your understanding of the importance of bacteria, and the intelligent bacterial colony across our entire planet, let me refer you to an article in the New York Times Science section of May 24, 2010, cited with an e-link below in additional information. The article, From Trees and Grass, Bacteria That Cause Snow and Rain, reveals how scientists have only now discovered that a common bacteria, Pseudomonas syringae, which grow on our food crops, trees and grasses, are carried in aerosol form into the sky and form the nucleus of raindrops and snowflakes, exerting a living control of the falling of snow and rain by expressing proteins that trigger freezing at higher temperatures than usual, prompting the formation of ice crystals in the atmosphere that then fall to the earth and melt into rain drops. These specific bacteria have been found to compose the nucleus of snow crystals in over 70 percent of high altitude rain drops and snow flakes in some studies. The healthy balance of bacteria on the plants that we grow for food, the grasses in our yards, and the trees in our backyards and parks, are responsible for the balanced control of rain and snow precipitation in our world, an issue of increasing importance as global climate change and human population growth create enormous challenges for our water resources. These bacteria are integral to the regulation of rain and snowfall on our entire planet, and could play an integral part in alleviating some of the threat of climate change.

A follow up article in 2015 in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, entitled It's Buggy Out There, showed how the study of this bacterial phenomenon, originating in the 1970s, has now revealed that many types of bacteria become airborne and control both formation of rain and snow. It seems that pure water in the higher atmosphere does not freeze at zero degrees Celsius, but remains in a liquid and light state until about minus 40 degrees Celsius. For these microscopic molecules of water in the high atmosphere to freeze, they need what we call a seed, or nucleus, which acts as a template to form a crystal lattice. Clouds are visible accumulations of this effect, but the water molecules are still lighter than air. Both snow and rain usually starts as ice crystals, and the formations of these ice crystals appears to be largely controlled by bacteria. Professor David Sands, of Montana State University, is quoted: "We need to recognize these microbes as a part - maybe even a major part - of meteorological processes." Russell Schnell, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, stated in the article: "Almost all rain that falls on land, even over the Sahara and along the tropics, is first an ice crystal (created by airborne bacteria)." In 2004, NASA scientists reported that their monitoring of global climate change from space revealed that as the planet warms and ice melts, that greater ocean surface and warmer temperatures create more phytoplankton, which in turn release more microbial material into the air that creates more cloud formation, and more ice and snow. Study by Dierdre Toole of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution of the WHO and David Siegel of the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) found that more UV radiation triggers plankton to change their chemistry and create more DMSP, which bacteria use to create DMS, and this DMS enters the atmosphere, being lighter than air, and break down in the higher atmosphere to minute particles that water condenses on, building more clouds. This phenomenon was already discovered by scientists involved in the Gaia Project, a holistic view of the planetary ecosystem, but had been ridiculed. Dr. Siegel noted that the increase in DMS occurred as the number of plankton decreased in warmer waters, and that the increase in DMS was purely due to the amount of UV radiation and bacterial growth, stating: "For someone studying marine biology and ecology, this type of variation is absolutely incredible." The implications are that as the climate changes, the ecosystem reacts intelligently to modify the threat to life, and that bacterial colonies play an important role in this holistic planetary regulation.

It is not hard to see that this planetary bacterial colony is largely controlling how much rain falls where, and even modulation of the temperature and atmosphere, and that our notion that all of Nature outside of the sphere of human intelligent decision making is due to pure chance, is a false paradigm. It seems that evolution itself did not occur purely by chance, a paradigm that has led to a huge social argument concerning Science versus Religion, and that the concept of Intelligent Design, first coined by the real discoverer of the evolutionary process, Lord Alfred Russell Wallace, is not an idiotic belief, but a scientific fact. The world we live in is not so black and white, and human intelligence is not the only type of intelligence in the universe. The book Microcosmos, by Lynn Margulis and Dorian Sagan, clearly shows how data in nature is organized as genetic code, and that the planetary bacterial colony uses the virus as a means of altering its code to affect intelligent change. Yes, the virus is also important to our health and evolution. This intelligent process is responsible for the creation of our atmosphere and environment, without which humans would have never survived and evolved, and the process is ongoing. We are not in control, but we are 'control freaks'. By evolving past this we may begin to understand that humans adhere to larger patterns of existence, and to live to our fullest and healthiest capacity, we need to be in harmony with these patterns in Nature. This is the ancient science of Daoism, the 'Way' of Nature, developed in China many thousands of years ago, and incorporated into the medical specialty of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine).

Homeostatic balance and function is all important to health. This planetary 'homeostasis' needs to be maintained just as much as the human homeostasis. In recent years, study of the Biome of our food crops has also revealed that humans need this bacterial balance in plants to be maintained as well. Agricultural biologics are being created to not only increase crop yield, but now are being studied to protect humans against food toxicity. Just as symbiotic bacteria protect humans against threats from pathogenic microbial disease and environmental toxins, these bacteria that are symbiotic to the plant Biome also protect the plants from these threats, and in so doing prevent these toxins, antigens and allergens from affecting the humans that eat them. A September 16, 2014 story in the New York Times Science Times, entitled Fighting Poisons With Bacteria, reveals that researchers at the University of Delaware, working with researchers mapping the huge environmental Biome at the University of California at Davis, are finding that specific strains of rice have evolved Biomes that block the uptake of arsenic into the plant, an increasingly prevalent toxin in the environment. By aiding this plant homeostasis, we are finding more and more ways to protect the human civilization from environmental threats. Since this homeostasis in humans, plants and the larger planetary environment is so complicated, there will be no simple universal products created to achieve these goals, but rather a holistic protocol that is more complicated, but insures healthy natural mechanisms. We need to stop using so many harsh chemicals to kill these wonderful bacteria, and to find more focused treatments for microbial diseases, as well as utilizing the amazing natural resources evolved in Nature's own laboratory, our planetary environment. Many of these evolved mechanisms are found in herbs and foods used medicinally in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Our knowledge of the environmental Biome is not a new discovery. We have known for some time of the importance of these bacteria concerning the formation of rain and snow, and have utilized the proteins formed in these bacteria for cloud seeding and snow making for decades. Commercially, ski resorts have been using these proteins to create snow for some time, and a single bacterium in commercial production may produce enough protein molecules to stimulate a thousand snow flakes. Researchers are now convinced that a variety of bacteria, and even fungi, exist that exert a control over the formation of rain and snow, and as climate change produces more severe drought, these microbial organisms appear to be our best hope to alleviate this threat. How does this relate to probiotics, you may be wondering? To fully grasp the subject of healthy flora and fauna, or symbiotic microorganisms in our digestive tract, we, as a community, or culture, need to understand the importance of bacteria, and the intelligent way that bacteria works with us, in our bodies, and on our foods, to maintain the complex balancing act that keeps us healthy, and keeps our environment healthy as well, which is all important to the health of the individual.

Just as we depend upon healthy bacteria growing on our food crops, grass, and trees to make sure that we get timely rain and snow to survive, we depend upon healthy symbiotic bacteria to keep our bodies healthy as well. Simply ignoring the subject of bacterial balance and homeostasis, operating on the misconceptions that we maintain in our society, and expecting that eating some yoghurt advertised as containing probiotics will guarantee a healthy digestive system, is a gross oversimplification, and an ineffective way to utilize an understanding of nature and the human organism to achieve or restore healthy function. A comprehensive and holistic approach to probiotics involves restoration of the balance between the bacterial colony and animal cell organism in your body, and involves the intelligent choices of natural foods, avoidance of unnecessary chemicals in the food, household and general environment, and avoidance of unnecessary antibiotic, antibacterial, and disinfectant chemicals as well. This doesn't mean that we vilify these products and technologies, but that we use them intelligently when we need them, and not just because some corporation wants to increase sales. Restoration of the human Biome also involves a comprehensive and holistic effort to achieve this complex task of restoring homeostasis. Complementary Medicine, and particularly, Traditional Chinese Medicine, can help achieve this complex task in the most intelligent manner, providing a step-by-step approach in helping clear microbial overgrowth in the gut to insure that probiotics work, to improve intestinal membrane health, to provide antioxidant therapies and bioflavonoids, to restore visceral function, and to provide valuable and trustworthy advice on diet and lifestyle that helps achieve these goals in each individual.

Utilizing probiotic microorganisms to restore your intestinal health may require not only a superior product, but also attention to the whole environment that these symbiotic bacteria need to colonize and maintain your health, as well as consumption of probiotic foods. With over 100,000 types of bacteria in our food, the consumption of a handful of probiotic species with supplements is insufficient to restore a healthy Biome on its own. By taking a more thorough and holistic approach to probiotics, and utilizing current research, we can each arrive at the best individualized protocol to help our body get back to what it is genetically programmed to do, work synergistically with our human symbiotic bacterial colony, or Biome, to achieve the best health possible.

Restoration of the health and balance of the microbial colony in the gut is not as simple as we have been led to believe. In 2010, researchers discovered that there are three distinct types of ecosystems in the gastrointestinal systems of humans, called enterotypes (re: Peer Bork of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelburg, Germany). These distinct biotic systems have no link to ethnicity, sex, age, weight, or health, and this biotic system has so far baffled researchers. Each enterotype is thought to contain basic microbes that alter the gut environment so that only certain species may follow them in making up the complex varied biotic environment. The distinct enterotypes do have characteristics that alter the individual's health, though. For instance, Enterotype 1 microbial colony generally produces more enzymes to create more Vitamin B7, or biotin, while Enterotype 2 microbes may produce more enzymes to regulate Vitamin B1, or thiamine, with ill health of the biota creating deficiencies of biotin or thiamine in these enterotypes. In addition, further research on Enterotypes in 2011 revealed that the human intestinal microbiota variation is stratified, or has a layered variation as well in the gut, and that the abundant biotic functions of the Biome are not correlated with an abundance of species, hence the study of the human Biome and enterotypes will require an enormous amount of data to provide specific therapeutic options. With more study, specialized therapeutic protocols may be indicated that could do much to restore overall health, though, along with the biota. The study of enterotypes is extremely complicated, with years of mapping the diversity of microbes in the human population already producing an enormous amount of data. Each person is symbiotic with about 100 trillion microbes, and many of these, even bacteria, cannot be grown in a laboratory setting so far, limiting study of individual characteristics. Genetic mapping has accelerated this study, but adds to the complexity. Dr. Bork and his colleagues were startled to find distinct enterotypes, and so far the study of microbial patterns has produced few reasonable hypotheses to explain why we have distinct enterotypes.

The Human Microbiome Project has also found that much variation exists within these enterotypes, and that the microbial activities of the enterotype remains consistent even when the balance of species in the enterotype changes. The intelligent interaction of the colony maintains essential functions even when the Biome is affected in a way that destroys particular species. This is found to be essential to human health, as the human organism does not have the capacity to genetically created all of the protein enzymes and immune cytokines that we need to digest our food and supply our immune system. The public should be aware that simplified strategies marketed with probiotics in the near future may be rife with misinformation. While initial findings of distinct human enterotypes supplies some information to achieve initial matching of biotic enterotypes, perhaps applicable to fecal transplant techniques, the findings of continuous enterotype distribution in the population, and variations and stratification in an individual, show that a more holistic approach to restoration of biotic homeostasis is more sensible than allopathic approaches in therapy at this time. Once again, we are finding that restorative medicine and regaining a healthy homeostasis is the most practical approach to disease prevention and treatment, and that an integration of restorative holistic medicine with new allopathic approaches is vitally needed. This type of approach is often complex, and cannot be treated with the same simplified approach of just taking the one pill that exemplifies our allopathic approach in medicine.

Nevertheless, we are able to work with initial findings in biotic research to achieve effective holistic restoration of biotic homeostasis with the help of Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM). Research has confirmed that in humans, as well as research animals such as mice, two distinct phyla, or classes based on structure, of intestinal microbes, dominate the intestinal biota. These are Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. A balance of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes in the gut has been found to be very important to our health, and more Firmicutes than Bacteroidetes in humans has been equated with a higher BMI and obesity. Firmicutes are generally gram-positive bacteria, but a few of these Firmicutes do stain gram negative due to a type of outer shell structure. Now, antibiotics typically target the gram negative class of bacteria, mainly targeting Bacteroidetes, creating an imbalance of Firmicutes to the depleted Bacteroidetes, and this would be associated with obesity and other health problems. The gram positive bacteria are also more difficult to attack and kill, with some of the 274 genera of Firmicutes well known to have types that are pathological, such as Staphylococcus, Bacillus, Listeria, Enterococcus, Steptococcus, Clostridium, and Heliobacterium, and overuse of antibiotics may be responsible for many infections involving these strains of bacteria. The overuse of antibiotics has perhaps contributed greatly to the problems of obesity and weight gain, as well as low-grade infection and chronic inflammatory disease due to this induced imbalance. Reestablishing a healthy balance of these types of bacteria in the gut is now considered very important in healthcare, especially after antibiotic use, or prior to a hospital stay. This involves restricting antibiotics to situations that have a specific necessity for the drugs, not gross overuse as feed animal growth stimulators, and not as a panacea for any type of infection, and reestablishing a healthy biotic balance through persistent holistic probiotic protocols.

Not only do we have strong evidence that antibiotic overuse may lead to obesity by creating a Firmicute over Bacteriodete imbalance in the gut, but that in fact, reestablishing a healthy Biome may help cure obesity. A 2013 study at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, published in the journal Nature, found that symbiotic bacteria from the gut of a lean person could actually cure obesity. Microbiota from human twins, one lean and the other obese, were inserted into laboratory mice induced with obesity. The microbiotic colony from the lean humans colonized obese mice and cured their obesity. Mice given microbiota from the obese twin became obese. When put together in a cage, where mice microbiota readily exchange, due to the evolved habit of mice to eat each other's feces, the obese mice gained the microbiota of the lean mice and became lean, but the lean mice did not colonize the obese-type microbiota. This study shows that animal organisms are largely controlled by their biota, and evolved controls favor the healthy biotic colonies. The implications of this study are enormous.

As research into the human Biome progresses, an amazing amount of scientific data points to tremendous potential for probiotic therapies in Complementary Medicine

In 2011, the esteemed Cochrane Summaries, a medical database of all published scientific medical studies, published a review of studies examining the benefits of probiotics for preventing acute upper respiratory tract infections, commonly called the flu and common cold. This meta-review found that consumption of probiotics significantly reduced the episodic upper respiratory tract infections in infants, children, and adults. This is presumed to occur because the probiotics support a more healthy immune membrane protection and help eliminate the circulating irritants to upper respiratory membrane health, including allergens. Even though these upper respiratory tract infections are almost always viral, not bacterial, the support of a healthy biota was important in the immune protection, and probiotics are thus more than an aid to healthy bowel movements (CD006895). Once again, though, the greatest success with restoration of the Biome involves decreasing excess growth of pathogenic species as well as encouraging growth and balance of the healthy symbiotic microbiota. Research is also revealing how a more holistic treatment protocol is proven to aid in this Biome restoration. For instance, research in China has shown that short courses of acupuncture result in measurable modulation and balance of the gut Biome in laboratory animals with disease associated with such bacterial and microbial imbalance. To see such research, just click here: .While such concepts are resisted in standard medicine, they are proving to be true. CIM/TCM offers and array of treatment protocols that may greatly improve healthy restoration of the human Biome, with herbal formulas to clear parasitic microbrial overgrowths, nutrient prebiotics, acupuncture stimulation, and protocols to help restore GI function and membrane health. This preventive protocol could be all-important in a new age where bacteria are quickly evolving ways to subvert synthesized antibiotics, new drugs come with adverse side effects that destroy the Biome and inhibit immune function, and mounting environmental and food toxins that create more stress on our system.

In 2012, Michael A. Fischbach, a microbiologist at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), published what could be called a medical ecology manifesto in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Translational medicine is described as the conversion of scientific discovery into health improvement, and is more than just a vehicle for new drugs, also supporting Complementary Medicine when scientific discovery shows that these therapeutics work. Dr. Fischbach researches how symbiotic bacteria actually produce antibiotics in the human gut. He is engaged in a research project with Stanford University and the University of California San Diego entitled Beyond the Human Microbiome: The Human Gut as an Antibiotic Discovery Engine. Dr. Fischbach has stated that microorganisms in nature are the best chemists on the planet, producing a fantastic number of useful drugs that could be utilized by human chemists, and he has set about systematically identifying many of these natural chemical medicines. He points out that the first chemical antibiotic was discovered on a mold that blew into the lab of Alexander Fleming in 1928, and that subsequent antibiotics, such as vancomycin, were also discovered in natural bacteria. The contribution of traditional medicine to this field is stubbornly ignored, but points to the value of natural medicines and to the holistic approach.

In fact, many of the most important chemical medicines in use today were discovered by observing Nature's laboratory, analyzing herbs, foods, and microbial life. Dr. Fischbach is now looking inside the human organism to find even better drugs, mapping the entire genomes of thousands of microbial species found in the human Biome to find chemicals produced by these bacteria to cure disease. He has found that these genetics are more complex that we previously imagined, with complex homeostatic mechanisms guiding expression according to need, and with quantum effects of clusters of bacterial genes controlling the expression of useful chemicals. New antibiotics were discovered in this way, such as a bacterial product called lactocillin, similar to a synthetic antibiotic being tested by Novartis. Dr. Fischbach is also exploring the mechanisms used by the bacterial colony in our guts to control the antibiotic effects, in essence selectively killing pathogenic bacterial overgrowths while still protecting the whole bacterial colony. These natural antibiotics will be safer than synthetic antibiotics for this reason. The problem is that we cannot patent natural chemicals, and the pharmaceutical industry will do everything in its power to prevent the acceptance of natural medicines, like it currently does with herbal and nutrient medicine. In this research of the human biome, though, a wide array of natural medicines will be found, not just antibiotics, just as some important pharmaceuticals were found by studying herbal medicines, such as Red Rice Yeast, the source of statin drugs to control cholesterol. Whether standard medicine will finally accept natural medicines as viable and effective, despite the inability to patent them and generate huge profits, will be the question. If public health concerns become most important, we may find that probiotics and biotic-derived medicines are some of our most important medicines in the near future.

More current research reveals the amazing ways that the human microbiome of symbiotic bacteria keeps us healthy. Dr. Kjersti Aagaard-Tillery of Baylor College of Medicine have shown how the bacterial colony in pregnancy benefits the fetus and young child. Before birth, a bacteria called Lactobacillus johnsonii, normally found in the intestines, where it produces enzymes that aid the digestion of milk, grows in the vagina and becomes a dominant species of bacteria there. These researchers believe that the baby at birth is coated with this bacteria and ingests it, providing healthy preparation for the digestion of the mother's milk. The mother's breasts grow up to 600 beneficial bacterial species, and produce probiotic oligosaccharides to aid the newborn's Biota. As the newborn's Biota grows properly, the baby is protected from harmful bacteria and disease. Much of the education of the adaptive immune system is performed by this microbiome of symbiotic bacteria. The widespread practice of caesarian section (C-section) and use of formula instead of breast feeding negates these important health benefits. When such children get sick, the use of antibiotics has been shown to have a high association for future asthma, allergy, and inflammatory bowel disease. Surely, we can realize that vaginal birth and breastfeeding are extremely important to our children's health, and that avoidance of antibiotics except when absolutely necessary in the infant is also very important. The intelligence of the human microbiome is amazing, and eludes the understanding of our top scientists.

These findings concerning the effects of the Caesarian resection in birthing have been much studied, and challenged. A December 15, 2015 article in the New York Times, entitled Proof of the Fruits of Labor, summarized the current findings, though, which are quite remarkable. In the United States, the use of C-section has declined with knowledge of adverse long-term health effects, but in 2015, a third of births are still delivered by C-section. Studies in 2001 showed that at least 5.5 percent of women with no medical reason at all to have a C-section were talked into this procedure. A study in 2015 called Listening to Mothers III at the Indiana University School of Medicine, led by Dr. Erika R. Cheng, found that in response to declining rates of C-section, a large number of women are now told that they have too large of a baby for normal childbirth, but that 80 percent of these warned women turned out to have a normal size baby. A large baby occurs only in about 5.5 percent of births. By using an ultrasound study that was known to be inaccurate, many women were scared into consent for a C-section. An article in the January 12, 2016 New York Times entitled Weighted Toward C-Sections documents many women who claimed that they felt bullied into the C-section.

A large comprehensive multicenter study was finally performed to confirm the adverse effects of the C-section on infant health, led by Dr. Mairead Black of the University of Alabama, and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Numerous studies clearly have shown that not waiting until the labor begins naturally, or inducing labor, eliminates all sorts of biological mechanisms that are healthy for the infant and mother, and that children born of C-section are at much higher risk for obesity, diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, allergies and asthma. A large Scottish study cited noted that these risks were different for babies born of planned C-section with induced labor compared to emergency C-section, with a legitimate medical reason to resort to C-section over natural vaginal birth. The biggest increased risk for the planned C-section babies was Type 1 diabetes, with a 35 percent higher risk in the future, but similar rates of the need for an asthma inhaler by age 5 increased over vaginal birth babies, and obesity, were noted. Dr. Josef Neu of the University of Florida has done much research on the hygiene hypothesis of vaginal birth and found that a number of maternal bacteria increased during birth appeared to educate the neonatal immune system, showing that it should not overreact to many microbes, which could lead to increased risk of autoimmune responses such as Diabetes Type 1. Dr. Neu also stated that the systematic use of broad spectrum antibiotics routinely prescribed just before planned C-sections can be transmitted via mother's milk to the newborn, if not directly during birth, decreasing the natural programmed diversity of bacteria in the Biome of the newborn. These various experts agreed that the natural birthing process has evolved many mechanisms to insure health and that the systematic use of planned C-sections was a bad mistake for public health. Knowledge of the role of the symbiotic human Biome has been an important part of this realization.

These findings were dramatic, yet the findings acknowledged in recent years that the human Biome is indeed an important organ, or metabolic system in the body, that is extremely important in our overall health, especially to our immune system, our neurological well being, and even our endocrine system, has been unbelievable to even our top scientists, who are still trying to understand how this is even possible. A June 28, 2015 article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, entitled Gut Feelings, outlines the history of these scientific findings. In 2007, scientists announced the plans to map the entire human genome of perhaps 23,000 genes, but during this same time period we started mapping the human Biome, and estimated that over 2 million genes would be found in a human microbiome. These bacterial genes express many of the protein messengers that our bodies use to regulate homeostasis, and regulate the secretion of many neurohormonal messengers that are bioidentical to human neurotransmitter hormones, such as serotonin, dopamine and GABA. The observed connection between so many diseases and gastrointestinal dysfunction led researchers such as Mark Lyte, at Texas Tech University, in Ablilene, Texas, to believe that the human Biome may be strongly tied to our neurohormonal health, and designed many experiments that proved that this was indeed so. His experiments with monkeys and chimpanzees showed that their bacterial Biomes were many psychoactive substances, that the transferring the microbiotic contents from one subject to another actually could change their neurodevelopment, control of mood, and neurological health and function.

These hypotheses were also being tested at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, and University College Cork, in Ireland, where a team led by John Cryan used a well known test of neuropsyche behavior called the forced-swim test for laboratory mice, used to test the efficacy of antidepressant drugs such as Zooloft and Prozac, but here used to see if mice exposed to Lactobacillus rhamnosus, a common gut bacteria, could produce more GABA and improve their nervous system function. The test showed that the the gut bacteria did supply much GABA when the mice were stressed to the maximum, keeping them calm and delaying despair in the same way that Zooloft and Prozac had done in prior tests, all from feeding them a probiotic broth. Dr. Cryan and Ted Dinan published these studies and coined that term "psychobiotics". Dr. Lyte had suspected that the microbiome produced important immune chemicals, and was affected by human neurohormonal chemicals as well, a part of the specialty termed psychoneuroimmunology, or PNI. Dr. Lyte showed that petri dishes filled with gut bacteria reacted highly to norepinephrine, or adrenaline, the human adrenal stress neurohormone. Samples of these gut bacteria exposed to adrenaline bloomed with bacterial growth dramatically, while the control samples lived out their lives and died. This showed Dr. Lyte that indeed, human gut microbiota were genetically evolved to respond to stress to create needed biochemicals to adapt to stress. To test whether an imbalance of gut bacteria could affect neurological function, he fed Camphylobacter jejuni to mice in the laboratory, a common cause of human enteritis but not usually affecting the immune systems of mice, and observed that the mice fed this bacteria were more anxious and fearful than control mice. These dramatic and creative experiments showed that a remarkable symbiotic relationship had evolved between the bacterial colony and the human organism, linked by ancient genetic data. The findings revealed a quantum complexity that the scientific establishment did not want to believe, though, and these findings were rejected and ridiculed.

In 2008, these and other findings earned Dr. Lyte the distinction of being a finalist in the 2008 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pioneer Award, and the chance to received a $2.5 million grant to continue his research. After he presented his findings, a prominent scientist stood up and asked him why, if the bacterial Biome was so integral to human neuropsyche health, that patients given a strong course of antibiotics to kill bacteria weren't ending up on psyche wards. Obviously, the question of human adaptability was not so cut and dry, but this typical allopathic response was enough to again deny Dr. Lyte the grant and keep his work from being published. The religiosity of the scientific establishment had again won out. The study of the symbiotic relationship between the human Biome as an organ of metabolism and the human organism itself continued around the world, though, and pioneering research by Sarkis Mazmanian, at the California Institute of Technology showed that these gut bacteria produce even more than bioidentical neurohormones, but also a unique class of metabolites that may affect the behavior of the host in many ways, affecting neural membrane functions, and neural cross-talk in a complex feedback field that mimicked the way that the immune complement system and endocrine system worked. Dr. Michael Fischbach of the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) stated that "the scientific community has a way of remaining skeptical until every last arrow has been drawn, and until the picture is colored in". It appears that the picture is now completed, and the scientific community has finally conceded that a very complex holistic relationship exists between the bacterial colony and the Biome and the human organism itself, and that restoration of this biotic balance and homeostasis could actually produce the greatest cures and treatments we have ever seen. Dr Mazmanian stated that we may soon find that even a disease like autism may be more a disease of the gut than the brain.

The result since 2012 is a large array of therapies being developed to treat difficult diseases using both biotic fecal implants and the psychobiotic metabolites themselves to treat autism, multiple sclerosis and many other difficult neurological disorders. Dr. Lyte has since moved to the Iowa State College of Veterniary Medicine and stated that he hopes that his work won't become too hyped to deliver false promises of miracle cures before we really understand the real complexity of the system. He is now inundated by requests to reveal how probiotics can cure difficult patients, but cautions that grasping for simplistic answers in medicine rarely succeeds. The search for the real answers that physiologically connect the microbiota and brain function will take many years. The complexity of the human organ and Nature itself seems still far out of reach of current human understanding, no matter how arrogant we are.

So far we are in the infancy of understanding and utilizing the means to restore microbial symbiotic health in the gut. Advertising leads us to believe that we can just eat a particular yoghurt and all is well. This is patently untrue, and research into beneficial probiotic bacterial species is minimal at best. On top of that, the U.S. FDA has been very obstructive on approving new types of probiotics that have been thoroughly tested and tried in Japan and other countries, leaving us with just a handful of approved probiotic species for the last 20 years. Almost all fermented food will improve the bacterial colonization of the intestinal tract, including red wine, kimchee, kombucha, pickles, tempe, and all natural yoghurt, but for persons with a more serious biotic imbalance or deficiency, this may not be enough. Complementary Medicine is utilizing a wealth of new information to form a sensible treatment protocol, but the complexity of this task requires that patients understand that a thorough step-by-step protocol may be needed. Research as that cited above will help in the coming years to identify better and better individualized treatment protocols and to understand how gut microbial imbalances are contributing to serious health problems and disease.

More and more medical applications of professional probiotics are gaining hold in standard medicine as well as in Integrative and Complementary Medicine

Dysbiosis is a term that refers to microbial imbalance inside or outside of the human body, especially to imbalance of the human bacterial Biome that causes disease. Dysbiosis is now strongly linked to genitourinary tract infections, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD, or the combination of colitis and Crohn's Disease), chronic fatigue syndrome, obesity and cancer. As shown above in this article, dysbiosis is now a heavily researched subject that is producing dramatic applications in medicine.

We have utilized probiotic medical treatment in the past successfully, yet this simple, safe, benign and inexpensive therapy was not promoted in standard medicine, and often derided despite sound scientific evidence supporting its use. The reason for this is that there was no profit to be made with probiotic therapies. For instance, we knew that most chronic vaginal infections were caused by dysbiosis, and frequently occurred after antibiotic use. Lactic acid bacteria, or probiotics, were used successfully in these infections in the form of probiotic suppositories, or as natural probiotic yoghurt douches, or tampons soaked in natural probiotic yoghurt. Today, with the increased popularity of probiotics, many such probiotic suppositories are available, yet are often expensive. Realistically, any probiotic supplement in a gelatin capsule could be used for this purpose, softening the gelatin capsule by running it under warm water before insertion. Oral probiotic supplementation has also been shown to potentially prevent future vaginal dysbiosis, and adding oral probiotics that include the Lactobacilli strains L. rhamnosus and L. reuteri to standard metronidazole (Flagyl) or tinidazole antibiotic therapy was proven to significantly increase the cure rate. Many patients have found that herbal suppositories are effective as well, utilizing Traditional Chinese Medicine formulas in the form of capsules as suppositories, without adverse effects, and utilizing this broad spectrum antimicrobial effect. Adding probiotic and herbal soft gel capsules to a treatment with metronidazole for persistent bacterial and/or yeast infections is without adverse effects and costs very little, yet could dramatically increase the treatment effectiveness and decrease the amount of pharmaceutical antibiotic needed, as well as protect the vaginal environment from destroying its healthy Biome.

As mentioned above, experts in standard medicine have utilized probiotic fecal transplants as the only effective cure for severe enteritis with Clostridium difficile in the hospital, with amazing success. The development of a better delivery system for such fecal transplantation of an individualized and matched Biome in medicine is progressing. Studies have also shown that pretreatment with probiotics before entering the hospital may greatly reduced the risk of acquiring a nocosomial (hospital acquired) infection with Clostridium difficile, rotovirus, or other, often antibiotic-resistant strains of pathogenic gut bacteria. There is no reason to not enhance the biotic health prior to a hospital stay, and utilization of Complementary Medicine, in the form of a knowledgeable Licensed Acupuncturist and herbalist, may enhance this valuable preventive protocol considerably. A short course of herbal formula designed to clear pathogenic microbial overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract, followed by a professional probiotic formula course, and enhanced by symbiotically effective acupuncture therapy, could do much to insure that you are not one of the greater than 1.7 million patients per year who acquire a nocosomial infection during a hospital stay, often antibiotic-resistant, and often alarmingly dangerous.

Adjunct therapy with probiotics in the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, typically divided into upper GI tract disease, called Crohn's Disease, and lower GI tract disease, called Colitis, but now recognized as comorbid in most cases, is now very common. A 2004 report from Dr. Uma Mahadevan M.D. of the University of California San Francisco, and Mount Zion IBD Center, stated that the probiotic formula VSL3 was proven effective for prevention of infection after ileal-pouch surgery and maintenance of remission of this type of infection in chronic cases, and that 2 randomized controlled human trials showed at that time that use of the probiotic strain Enterobacter coli Nissle, as well as the probiotic formula VSL3, was effective for maintaining states of remission in Ulcerative Colitis. In fact, by 2004, integration of the probiotic formula showed a contribution to a remission rate of 63 percent. The rate of success with an array of standard pharmaceuticals has been poor in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, often leading to repeated surgical resections to control the disease, and with increased pharmaceutical protocols, the level of adverse side effects has discouraged many patients from taking what is prescribed. Since 2004, now a whole decade since this report, probiotic therapy is still not widely supported in standard care of IBD. In the meantime, many new studies have shown that probiotic therapies can play a dramatic role in quality of life and maintenance of remission states in IBD. VSL3, the probiotic formula mentioned in these studies, is almost identical to most professional probiotic oral supplements. VSL3 consists of 8 strains of lactic acid bacteria (LAB), with each dosage containing more than 225 billion bacteria in total, or about 25 billion per strain. The strains in this specialized product include Lactobacilli acidophilus, plantarum, paracasei, and delbrueckii, as well as Bifidobacteri breve, longum and infantis, and Streptococci thermophilus.

A sensible protocol to better utilize probiotics and restore the healthy balance between bacteria and our animal cells in the digestive tract - Probiotics and Prebiotics

Probiotics were introduced into medicine in the early 1900s by the Nobel laureate Elie Metchnikoff, with research showing how live lactic acid producing bacteria could improve the health of the gut flora and fauna, or Biome. The term "probiotics" was coined in 1965 by Lilly and Stillwell, describing how microorganisms symbiotic to the human gut could produce growth-promoting factors for our health. In 1989, this term was co-opted in animal nutrition to describe how live microbial supplements could benefit the animal Biome and improve symbiotic microbial balance to promote feed animal growth. Currently, the term "probiotics" is used to describe live microorganisms that confer a health benefit for the host, and currently consist of lactic-acid-producing bacteria, non-lactic-acid-producing bacteria, and non-pathogenic yeast. It is clear the many species of bacteria are not only beneficial to human health, but in fact essential, and that even many species of yeast are also essential to human health. We have known this fact for many decades, and the question of why we persisted in the belief that all bacteria and yeasts were bad, and that if we just killed bacteria and yeasts that we would be healthier, is the pertinent question that individuals should be asking. The strategy in biotic health has essentially been turned on its head in the last decade, instead seeking to understand how to encourage healthy bacterial and yeast growth and balance in the human gut, as well as the skin. The irony of this situation still eludes most of us, though.

In 2015, research at the University of Copenhagen Center for Diabetic Research showed in a broad population study that the amount of antibiotics consumed was directly related to the risk of acquiring Diabetes Type 2, or Metabolic Syndrome (Kristian Hallundbaek Mikkelson et al, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, online Aug. 27, 2015). Prior studies have shown a strong relationship between childhood prescription of antibiotics and later onset of diabetes, and these studies demonstrate the importance of maintaining a health Biome. When antibiotics are necessary, they should be used in short sensible courses, but restoration of the Human Biome and gut health, with Complementary and Integrative Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (CIM/TCM) is important, as well as avoiding unnecessary use of antibiotics, which has created a healthcare crisis with antibiotic-resistance in pathogenic bacteria. TCM physicians created probiotic medicines and cholesterol controlling statins with natural red yeasts and fermented colonies of symbiotic bacteria at an early date in Chinese history, perhaps as early as 400 AD, or even earlier. Today, this wisdom is being confirmed with scientific studies.

For a person with a relatively healthy digestive tract, simply taking some probiotics is probably reasonably effective to restore biotic health and function. For persons with unhealthy intestinal tracts, the challenge of these probiotic bacteria to colonize and restore bacterial balance is greater. For this reason, professional probiotic products now incorporate added ingredients to enhance bacterial growth in the colon, such as fructooligosaccharides, lactobacillus growth factor (pantethine), and pantothenic acid, often termed prebiotics and biotic cofactors. Prebiotics are nutrients that stimulate growth or activity of healthy symbiotic intestinal bacteria, and pantothenic acid, a type of Vitamin B5, is an essential nutrient that is required to metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats, and to synthesize coenzyme-A, and was called pantothenic because it is essential and found in almost all food. Quality probiotic formulas also utilize various strains of bacteria that are thought to be most helpful, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, longum and infantis, and Bacillus coagulans, with at least 10 billion colony-forming units per gram. The serving size would generally be about 100 mg, giving one-tenth of ten billion per dose, or 1 billion bacilli. While it is tempting to look at the number of probiotic bacteria in supplements in a binary manner, assuming that more is better, this is not really true, as the ability of these probiotic bacteria to either colonize the gut, or affect the biotic colony and balance, depends on more than just the number of bacteria per dose.

The Common Strains of Probiotics in Supplement Formulas

Lactobacilli are gram-positive anaerobic or microaerophilic bacteria that help convert the carbohydrate sugar lactose, and other sugars, to lactic acid. These make up a small portion of the normal symbiotic bacteria in the intestine, but are proven to possess potential anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities. Since Lactobacilli acidophilus are commonly used in food production, this is an easy bacilli to supplement with. While we assumed in the past that Lactobacillus acidophilus, a consistent beneficial bacterial in the human Biome, would colonize if we added it as a supplement, we now know that the human organism has evolved utilization of Lactobacilli acidophilus as a beneficial gut flora that needs to be eaten regularly, and supplementation alone will not result in a healthy level of acidophilus in the gut biome as supplementation of other probiotic species will. We need to both improve the diet with natural and naturally fermented foods, and to supplement when needed with acidophilus to achieve the benefits we desire. Common foods shown to increase acidophilus strains include natural cultured yoghurts, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchee, microalgaes such as spirulina, chlorella and blue-green algae, miso soup, pickled foods, tempeh, and Kombucha tea, as well as onions, garlic, whole barley, and bananas. Bifidobacterium are a type of gram-positive anaerobic bacteria that are the major genera of the gut flora, or the predominant symbiotic bacteria in the colon. These have been studied and proven to potentially lower incidence of allergic reaction and prevent tumor growth. Bifidobacterium are considered essential to ferment carbohydrates. Fructooligosaccharides are plant-derived sugars that naturally enhance the ability of Bifidobacterium to ferment carbs. Bacillus coagulans is a gram-positive anaerobic bacterium that has been proven beneficial in treating IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), improving bloating, and increasing immune responses to viral challenges. As time goes on, there will be more species approved by the FDA and European Union for human consumption.

There are more than 100 species of Lactobacillus known, and 15 species used in probiotics around the world. The majority of these Lactobacillus species are transient in the human gut, although important in the Biome, and thus need to be eaten regularly. Lactobacilli form only a minor component of the human Biome, though, and are the most useful in probiotic supplements because they are the most studied. There are also a wide array of Bifidobacteriumspecies, another lactic-acid-producing type, and currently 8 species are used in probiotic supplements. Breast feeding induces an infant Biome that is especially rich in Bifidobacterium, and these anaerobic bacteria establish a predominance in the large intestine, providing an array of known health benefits to this portion of the intestinal tract. Other types of lactic-acid-producing probiotics include Streptococcus thermophilus, which is still used as a rind in some types of traditional cheeses, and helps control pathogenic strains of Streptococcus, Enterococcus species, such as Enterococcus faecium, which is now problematic in many individuals, especially as it has developed an antibiotic resistance, potentially induced by overuse of antibiotics, which may have turned a beneficial symbiotic gut bacteria into a potentially pathogenic one, and Pediococcus, a more recently discovered lactic-acid-producing probiotic, that has shown some health benefits. Pediococcus acidilactici has been studied as a potential probiotic medicine to treat common vaginal yeast infections, for instance, and has shown potential to suppress autoimmune pathology by upregulating regulatory T cells. Non-lactic-acid-producing probiotic species include non-pathogenic species of Bacillus,Propionibacterium, and Escheria coli, but production problems have presented a danger of introducing potentially pathogenic species or variants, and a high-quality product is essential when using these probiotic species. The lack of regulatory oversight in herbal and nutrient medicine in the United States has led to less utilization of probiotics than in most other developed countries, which adhere to the international regulations of such medicines.

The question of optimal probiotics is more complex that we would like to imagine it. As more and more research adds to the knowledge of probiotics and the human Biome, we are understanding that there are individualized needs, and that various species that we now use in supplements have various degrees of efficacy and various functions to fulfill. The importance of not only the number and choice of the small percentage of symbiotic bacteria used in probiotic supplements, but perhaps more importantly, the prebiotic chemicals that are needed for a health Biome, and the probiotic cofactors needed for effective colonization, are all important in utilizing probiotic therapy for specific health purposes. The question in choice of probiotics is not simply what is the best product, but which products will have the desired health effects for each individual. This requires a more thoughtful, and more comprehensive approach. A knowledgeable Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM) physician will be able to supply the needed expertise to achieve the best probiotic course, and dietary advice. Of course, patient education and understanding is the essential tool in this protocol, as a proactive approach is very important in utilizing probiotic medicine.

Besides these standard probiotic bacteria we see in supplements, there are now types of probiotic bacteria that are researched to provide additional benefit for patients that have health problems that are potentially related to imbalance of the symbiotic microbial colony in the intestine. Irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, nutritional deficiencies, and even chronic skin rash (atopic dermatitis) have been linked to poor intestinal health and allergic immune hyperactivity related to unhealthy microbial colonies in the gut. One type of probiotic bacilli that has gone through years of clinical trials and proven to be a potent medicine is Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (ATCC 531013), which is commonly just called Lactobacillus GG (GG referring to the scientists that patented this strain, Gorbach and Goldin) or LGG. This type of bacterium is a transient colonizer in the intestine, but does exert some potent medicinal benefits, and thus is recommended for patients with various health problems. Lactobacillus GG is now commonly used as a preservative for yoghurts, but a therapeutic dose is much higher than what is found in standard yoghurts. Lactobacillus GG thrives in acidic guts, is stable in the presence of bile, and produces lactic acid (the deficiency of which accounts for indigestion when eating dairy products). This makes Lactobacillus GG ideal for patients with chronic acidity, potential problems with bile breakdown, and patients with poor digestion of dairy products. Lactic acid is one of our main food fermenters as well, and persons with bloating and constipation may benefit from this probiotic. Studies have shown that Lactobacillus GG benefits patients with chronic urinary tract and vaginal infections by increasing biosurfactant excretion that inhibits adhesion of pathogens to the urinary tract and vaginal membranes. Studies have shown benefit in treating various types of diarrhea, reduction in the incidence of respiratory tract infections (chronic bronchitis), and treatment of atopic dermatitis. In 2005, a study showed that Lactobacillus GG was successful in treating antibiotic-resistant enterococcus that perpetuated kidney infections. In 2015, study at the University of Maryland showed that many of the benefits measured from LGG in studies appear to be due to symbiotic effects on the whole Biome, not just direct effects of these 2 strains of Lactobacilli on the human organism. Lactobacillus GG is thus a useful addition to therapy when utilizing probiotics for patients with these problems. Lactobacillus GG is patented and marketed as Culturelle in the United States.

Much has been made now of the need to refrigerate probiotic supplement formulas, but no research has proven that this necessary for most strains and preparations. The implication is that if the supplement has a live bacterial colony that large changes in the temperature or direct sunlight radiation exposure could damage the bacteria. While this is true, the need to actually refrigerate these supplements has not been proven, and for years they were studied and found to be viable if not exposed to extremes of temperature change, direct sunlight or oxygen exposure. This is still true, although some newer strains of probiotic bacteria may need a cool standard temperature. These bacterial strains are typically grown in a food medium, though, such as yoghurt, and are of course refrigerated. The labeling of a need for refrigeration appears to be part of marketing schemes as various companies compete, but at this point, there is such as small field of approved bacterial strains in probiotics that there is very little difference between these products, and thus companies are trying to use such tactics as the need for refrigeration as a way to distinguish their product as superior. Nonsense. The studies to date concern certain strains cultured in yoghurt, and even here the viability decrease within 20 days at various refrigerated temperatures was not great. The implications have been applied to all probiotic products.

While, of course, we want the issue of probiotics to be simple, as with many issues of human health and biology, it is not. More and more studies show that the response to specific probiotic bacteria vary from individual to individual, and depend on a variety of factors. Each patient can be thorough in their probiotic strategy, or just keep it simple at first and see what benefits occur. While advertising will try to convince each person that only one type of probiotic is the best, or effective, this is not true. A sensible approach would be to adopt better probiotic dietary habits, take various probiotic supplements periodically, and most importantly, utilize Complementary and Integrative Medicine to help clear potential pathological overgrowths in the gut Biome, as well as parasitic growths, so that the probiotic strategies can be effective in the long run.

Quality probiotic supplements are an important part of probiotic therapy, but are not the whole solution. In addition to the standard array of probiotic supplements, and the addition of probiotic medicines such as Culturelle, or Lactobacilli GG, though, there are now many probiotic foods available that are proven beneficial, and this product complexity is proving confusing for most people, especially as advertisers use this confusion to promote their product or discourage a competing product. This, of course, is not helpful. Any food that is fermented naturally provides some probiotic benefit, and research has proven that traditional fermented foods are very valuable to our health, such as sauerkrauts, kimchees, pickled vegetables and fruits, and naturally fermented yoghurts, as well as tempeh. The measurable benefits from any such probiotic food are proving to be focused, though, and not a general panacea. For instance, a study in Finland, at the University of Turku, in 2010, proved that providing an elderly population in a nursing home with probiotic cheese, or aged cheese, containing specific probiotic bacteria, Lactobacilli rhamnosus and acidophilus, improved the biotic immune protections and protected against Clostridium difficile infection, and increased the cytotoxicity of NK cells (PMID: 20236323). A follow-up study in Finland found that these benefits were specific and focal, and did not provide larger immune protectioins, such as fecal IgA concentrations, and markers of intestinal inflammation (PMID: 2124685). Such study points to the fact that an array of natural foods are important to our health, and that processed and sanitized foods in the modern diet produced problems for our gut immune homeostasis, but that no one food or product is likely to be useful as a biotic miracle food. While most of our probiotic foods and supplements now are milk-based, relying on lactic acid, further study has identified an array of plant-based probiotics as well that are beneficial, even lactobacilli that are not milk-based. These cultures are found in brined olives, sauerkrauts, salted gherkins (pickled cucumbers), and many traditional foods, and have been consumed for millenia, producing an array of lactic acid bacteria historically that has been part of our evolved immune protection, even before we started consuming a lot of milk in dairy production. In the twentieth century, this daily supply of plant-based live lactic acid bacteria in our diet largely ceased, and this is now thought to be responsible for much of our intestinal disease. A change in dietary habits away from sanitized and processed foods, and back to a natural array of traditional whole foods, is thus very important for our health. Taking probiotic supplements alone will not be enough.

Besides using a quality professional probiotic product, and incorporating more naturally fermented probiotic foods into the diet, though, persons with a history of intestinal problems may want to first clear and detoxify the intestine, and possibly promote intestinal wall health, before taking the probiotic, to better insure that the probiotic colonizes and positively affects the intestine. If there is an imbalance of flora and fauna, or if there is evidence of an unhealthy bowel lining, such as in IBS, colitis, Crohn's, or celiac disease, or even with diverticulitis, an individualized course of clearing of unhealthy flora and fauna, and improvement in the immune responses and tissue health, could make the probiotic work for you. A number of Chinese herbs and formulas can effectively clear unhealthy bacteria, viruses, and parasitic microorganisms. Using a short course of these herbs before beginning probiotic therapy, as well as intermittently during the probiotic course, could help normalize the flora and fauna to better achieve an ultimate healthy balance. Use of bovine colustrum may also be helpful to establish an improved immune response, as this mother's milk molecule contains bioidentical antibodies to a number of common human pathogens, including E. coli, cryptosporidium, shigella, salmonella and staphylococcus, as well as rotavirus, that is associated with diarrhea. Bovine colustrum was used as the main source of human immunoglobin therapy before the development of antibiotics. Bovine colustrum is safe and effective, and contains a number of nutrient chemicals that are also beneficial to overall health and health of the intestinal lining. Athletes routinely use bovine colustrum to insure optimum performance, and colustrum contains potent antioxidants, as well as chemicals that improve blood quality, such as hemopexin, which binds free heme (as in hemoglobin) in the body. Acupuncture stimulation is proven to aid the balance and health of the Biome as well, and an individualized but comprehensive protocol is often needed to assure great success.

The normal bacteria in the intestine not only helps to finish the digestion and fermentation of our foods, but also helps us in a number of other ways. These bacteria produce essential nutrients as needed, especially various B vitamins, such as B12 and biotin, and Vitamin K (needed for healthy blood clotting factors). They also produce various hormones, many of which are needed to regulate fat storage and utilization (such as leptin), and chemokines (molecules that guide immune cells to the right target). Bacteria normally make up most of the flora in the colon, and our feces is composed of about 60% bacterial cells in the dry mass. This shows that the bacterial colony must be healthy and reproduce to insure health. It is thought that about 30-40 species of bacteria make up 99% of the normal flora. These normal bacteria work as a colony to prevent the growth of other harmful bacteria, stimulate a healthy immune response, finish food fermentation to produce gases that supply oxygen to the tissues, and supply other essential nutrients that we may need, such as essential fatty acids. Normal gut flora also maintain the right acidic balance in the intestines, and in the rest of the body. Healthy gut bacteria also inhibit overgrowth of yeasts, such as candida albicans, and fungi. When the intestinal flora are depleted, such as with antibiotic use, they cannot compete effectively for intestinal lining epithelial attachment sites, leaving the epithelium open to invasion by unwanted pathogenic microorganisms, and food molecules that are still not broken down, and lead to overreactive immune responses (celiac disease). When the acidity is imbalanced in the intestines, there is a high chance that various microorganisms will flourish that lead to poor health, such as candida. This chronic acidity also stresses the body and its ability to control acidity, putting stress on the complex calcium metabolism, as well as the kidney, as it produces blood plasma CO2 to control acidity in the body.

Not only the bacterial biome in the gut, but the one on our skin is important, and much research is now showing that antibacterial agents in soaps and cosmetics may be responsible for elimination of this important symbiotic protection and a major contributor to skin disease. By 2014, companies such as AOBiome, a biotech startup originating in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. are producing products that will restore some of the most important protective bacteria to our skin. A cosmetic product of this company provides cultivated Nitrosomonas eutropha, an ammonia-oxidizing bacteria that once kept our skin healthy, protecting against infection and inflammation, and converting sweat into nitrite and nitric oxide to aid circulation. The use of modern soaps, and especially chemicals ubiquitous in cosmetics, such as sodium lauryl sulphate, an organic anionic surfactant that is linked to endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity, cancer, and skin irritation, have all but eliminated the natural protection of Nitrosomonas eutropha. AOBiome has marketed a spray that at least temporarily introduces these valuable probiotic bacteria back into our skin. Of course, the whole skin biome will need to be helped to permanently restore some of these symbiotic bacterial colonies of the human skin and membranes, but a more holistic approach could achieve such re-evolution of lost health. While humans may have devised a lot of environmental chemicals that have destroyed our natural balance, holistic medicine offers an amazing array of remedies evolved in Nature that restores the whole system. The FDA approval for specific skin biotic medicines will be slow, but the aid of homeostatic restoration in the form of Complementary Medicine is already here. It just needs to be utilized. While many cosmetic companies are already marketing expensive products that claim to utilize probiotics for the skin, these patented "probiotic complexes" are not alive, and so will not contribute to the skin biome. Once again, an oversimplified product is sold to the naive public that we can depend on to not explore the actual complexity of the subject of their health. Much in the same way, most of the public believes that simple probiotic aids such as yoghurt will restore their intestinal biota, and do not utilize the more complex, but real, holistic therapy offered by Complementary Medicine to achieve this goal.

Not only the taking of probiotic supplements, but the use of simple dietary regimens is important in restoration of the gut Biome. A May 27, 2014 article in the New York Times quotes an expert in inflammatory bowel disease from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Dr. R Balfour Sartor M.D., concerning the link between early overuse of antibiotics and increased risk of Crohn's disease, citing not only the need to wisely restrict infant antibiotic use, but the importance of utilizing both probiotics and dietary protocols to protect gut immune health: "Diet is one obvious factor that affects both the composition of the gut biota and also its function. Bacteria eat what we eat, and every bacterium has certain food preferences. (For example) certain bacteria that metabolize the fiber in certain vegetables and grains produce short-chain fatty acids that are believed to protect the gut. They inhibit inflammation and activate immune responses that stimulate recovery from cell injury." Utilizing Complementary Medicine to not only clear gut microbial imbalances that are pathogenic, and better restore the biome with a professional probiotic regimen, but also to receive individualized expert advice on dietary prescription that could greatly aid in this important task of restoring homeostatic biotic health, is a sensible choice for many intelligent patients.

Restoration of the human symbiotic biome is not simple, but a number of simple steps can be taken to eventually achieve the goal. Besides using professional quality probiotics in a step-by-step regimen in Complementary Medicine, and clearing problematic imbalances of microorganisms with herbal medicines, one can also incorporate prebiotic nutrients into the diet. These are obtained by chewing a little raw steel cut oats in the morning, barley (or consuming dried barley sprouts), and eating jicama, chicory root, or Jerusalem artichoke (all with inulin). Fermented soybeans, such as in tempe, are also a good source. Other foods that may contain prebiotics include raw garlic, leek and banana (minimal amount), as well as cooked onion, and whole wheat flour. The highest content of prebiotics in food are found in raw chicory root, Jerusalem artichokes and dandelion greens. While many people are reluctant to consume these raw foods, the consumption of a clove of raw garlic is reknowned for improving and maintaining the health. Unfortunately, the garlic smell on the breath is undesirable for most people, and the eating of a little raw leek is a good substitute. Eating homemade whole wheat and barley flour pancakes in the morning is also a good habit to obtain prebiotics. If you juice, you might want to incorporate just a little raw jicama, chicory root, dandelion green, leek, or green onion into the juice. Utilization of the growing knowledge of prebiotics and probiotic aids, such as oligofructosaccharides, or fructooligosaccharides (scFOS), which both stimulate the production of microbiota in the intestine, as well as improve immune health, absorption of calcium, and provide texture and taste to foods, is important as well try to restore the natural holistic balance of our "second genome", or Biome.

Of course, incorporating more naturally fermented, pickled and cultured foods into the diet on a daily basis is important, and when needed, a more intense dosage of probiotics added in the form of a professional probiotic formula. These professional and approved probiotic formulas contain an array of probiotic bacteria that are proven to be medicinally helpful. Since there are only a handful of these approved bacterial probiotic strains approved so far, more in Japan than in the United States, a complete formula is essential in this regard. This involves strains of bacteria that are both milk-based and plant-based. Some individuals are now being discouraged from taking some of these professional probiotic formulas because they have milk-based bacteria in them, and a fear of lactose intolerance or hypersensitivity to milk is involved. Of course, the milk base in these probiotic formulas does not actually mean that a significant amount of milk or dairy is involved in these formulas, and the milk base needed to sustain certain types of medicinal probiotics will not produce a reaction to milk or dairy. For patients with lactose intolerance, the standard test is to drink two 8-ounce glasses of milk to see if symptoms result, and for patients with hypersensitivity to dairy, a sufficient amount of various chemicals found in milk or dairy need to be present for such a reaction to occur. The minute amount of digested milk used to sustain milk-based probiotics will not produce a negative reaction. Avoiding products that include milk-based probiotics, when these constitute most of the medicinal probiotics we currently utilize, would be mistake.

How antibiotic overuse hurts our own cells and destroys our Biome

The authors of the book Microcosmos reveal that mitochondria, the organelles (small organs) found in most animal cells, that generate most of our ATP (adenosine triphosphate), or cellular fuel, via oxygen utilization, were derived from bacteria. The authors also state that mitochondrial ribosomes (DNA and RNA) in human cells, as well as symbiotic bacteria, tend to be sensitive to exactly the same antibiotics as pathogenic bacteria. Streptomycin is an example of a common antibiotic that harms the cellular mitochondria and normal symbiotic bacteria in the body. For this reason, overuse of antibiotics creates problems with the health, and dysfunction of our mitochondria are now linked to a variety of serious diseases, including cancers and neurodegenerative disorders. Imbalance of gut flora and fauna, as well as of symbiotic bacteria in the mouth, vagina, and other tissues, can be negatively affected as well by overuse of antibiotics, and create chronic problems with one's health and immunity. When current antibiotics, which largely target gram-positive bacteria, are overused in the individual, gram-negative bacterial strains become dominant, upsetting the normal balance of bacterial colonies. This biotic imbalance creates many health problems, decreasing immune protections, symbiotic production of nutrient molecules, and a host of other important symbiotic functions. The action of specific antibiotics to actually damage mitochondria in our own cells, though, may be the greatest threat. Since mitochondrial dysfunction is now found to be at the heart of many diseases, especially chronic neurological diseases, and degenerative disorders, as well as cancer, antibiotic use should be used only when necessary, and restoration of the gut flora and fauna, and strengthening of the immune system, should always be considered after using a course of antibiotics.

The Important Role of Bacteria in Maintaining our Environmental Health

Besides the role of bacteria and fungi in controlling the formation of rain and snow, bacteria maintain an intelligent tight control of the percentage of oxygen in the air we breath, as well as the health of the upper atmosphere that protects us from the deadly radiation emitted by our sun. Oxygen, which is very necessary to our life, makes up about one-fifth of our atmosphere. Study of the fossil records of our planet's past has revealed that it is the stabilization of atmospheric oxygen at about 21 percent that keeps us alive as we now exist. If the oxygen concentration would rise much higher than this, or if it had risen much higher than this in the last hundreds of millions of years, there would be, or would have been, a worldwide conflagation, according to the authors of Microcosmos. This is due to the high combustible state of an oxygen-rich air. If the oxygen level would fall below this tight level of concentration, living organisms as we know them would have a difficult time thriving. If oxygen falls a few percentage points aerobic (oxygen-breathing) organisms would start to asphyxiate. If oxygen increased by a few percentage points in the atmosphere, living organisms could spontaneously combust. While we think that we humans are responsible for the future of our environment, and that the large increase in carbon dioxide gases from industry, increases in the production of meat (methane gas), destruction of the plant life (e.g. the rain forests, coral reef algae, and peat bogs), and overpopulation, show that humans are responsible for the balance of gases in the atmosphere, the truth is that we still lack a fundamental understanding of the complex way that a holistic and synergistic bacterial intelligence actually maintains the necessary balance of gases, temperature and every other aspect of our life-giving environment that evolved in so complicated a fashion over so many millions of years.

This doesn't mean that we should ignore our responsibility to act responsibly in the framework of nature to maintain a healthy environment and life on the planet, but it does show us that we better adopt a new attitude if we are to succeed. We need to adopt the virtue of humility and understand that in all of this wonderful creation, we play a less significant role in a the natural order than we might fantasize, and that we need to operate within our designated role, understanding and working with the rest of nature. By reconfiguring our role in an industrial age, we can quickly adapt to the changes necessary to reclaim a technological way of life that is in harmony with the rest of life on the planet. The bacterial colony is already adapting to us. We need to work with bacteria to improve our world. Bacteria, acting intelligently will modify changes in global warming, and in fact will help clean up a lot of our messes. In 2010, the gulf oil spill was enormous, and the one technology that succeeds in cleaning up most of this spilled oil on the ocean floor is bacterial growth that eats the oil. This enormous bacterial effort dwarfs any man-made technology. Unfortunately, the aerobic bacteria that grow at an incredible rate also consume most of the oxygen, killing themselves and all life on the ocean floor. What happens then is that the organic debris from these bacteria create food and fuel for a fairly quick restoration of the denuded ocean floor. While humans talk, bacteria act.

In the evolution of life on this planet, oxygen and sun radiation, or light, were perhaps the two most toxic elements on the planet. Oxygen and light together were even more toxic. As the molten core of our planet created mineral elements with high heat combustion fueled by enormous pressures, metal oxides came to the surface in the form of gases. These gases escaped from the planet, but eventually, an atmosphere was created that trapped the gases. About 2000 million year ago, natural decay quickly accelerated the oxygen trappead in this atmosphere, from about one part in a million, to about one part in five. Microbial life on the planet was destroyed, yet evolved defenses with DNA replication and duplication, gene transfer, and mutation, to create bacteria that could not only survive, but use these toxic elements to thrive. Cyanobacteria evolved that developed a metabolic system that required oxygen and sunlight, and utilized the combustibility of oxygen to break down carbon based molecules and yield carbon dioxide, creating energy in the process. Eventually, this energy creating process was incorporated into the animal cell, probably in a manner that today we would call an infection, and small but efficient oxygen burning organisms, called mitochondria, became part of our cells. Decay of carbon matter via fermentation produces a couple of molecules of ATP, the fuel of our muscles, from each carbohydrate molecule, while the action of the mitochondria can produce as many as 36 molecules of ATP, making us the efficient organism that we are today. Thank you, cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria also created photosynthesis, producing the abundant vegetable life that not only feeds us, but also produces the oxygen that we breath. While we tend to look at these scientific facts in isolation, and appreciate them in science, we still tend to ignore the complex holistic balance that is still maintained by these bacterial processes, and overlook our own responsibility to continue to work within this bacterial framework to maintain the balance. The gift of higher intelligence means that we must use this intelligence to understand and exert a conscious effort. Organisms without such a higher intelligence, or type of reasoning, behave according to the natural encoded genetic intelligence that they are born with. Our responsibility is to think.

In much the same way as allopathic medicine ignores the big picture and focuses on a particular aspect of disease and injury to correct it, we have ignored the big picture when it comes to our biotic health.

Additional Information and Links to Scientific Study:

  1. A 2012 report from the U.S. NIH Human Microbiome Project Consortium, comprised of experts from nearly 80 universities and institutions, revealed astounding findings of the vast and fluid intelligent organ called the Human Biome, consisting of trillions of symbiotic microorganism and 360 times the number of bacterial genes than human genes that are vital to human health and function. This genomic mapping of microbial genetic data in human cells and tissues has revealed that the human Biome is able to maintain its intelligent function even when the balance of microbial species is greatly altered, and respond intelligently to the changing needs of the host. How this is possible is still a mystery, and hopefully, not only pharmacological applications but a new understanding of the relationship of the human organism to the ecosystem will be revealed:
  2. A 2013 experiment a the University of Michigan Medical School showed that introduction of a single low level microbe, in this case Candida albicans, into an intestinal Biome, results in marked changes in that Biome in the absence of intestinal inflammation. The ability to recover the necessary microbial balance is the important aspect of health, and needs to be promoted by a more holistic treatment protocol:
  3. A New York Times Science article explains how science has just now discovered, in 2010, the integral role of bacteria on our food crops, grasses and trees on the control of rain and snow formation and precipitation:
  4. A 2010 study at the University of California at Davis found that rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere has resulted in dramatic decreases nutrient content of basic food plants, resulting in much lower usage of nitrates, and dramatic decreases in levels of protein, amino acids, and other key nutrients needed for health maintenance:
  5. An August 3, 2010 article in the New York Times Science reveals how 21 percent of breast milk is an indigestible substance that seems to be purely a nutrient to feed probiotic bacteria in the infant, showing how important symbiotic bacteria are to our health:
  6. A 2001 review of scientific study of the history of important symbiotic bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract of humans, and a review of studies of probiotic lactobacilli, by Lund University in Sweden, shows that while milk-based lactobacilli have always dominated the discussion of probiotics in humans, that a 1994 study, and subsequent studies, have shown that at least one of the most common and beneficial lactobacillus strains in the human GI tract, Lactobacilli plantarum, is not a milk-based biotic strain, but long-derived from plants, and commonly from brined, fermented and cultured plants that were utilized by human civilization long before dairy products became a common nutritional source. As we develop more medically useful probiotics, we need to consider symbiotic bacterial strains that are sustained by and matched with foods other than dairy:
  7. A 2010 review of scientific studies concerning probiotic therapies, by experts at the Catholic University of Louvain, in Brussels, Belgium, noted that prebiotic nutrients are now proven to be integral to the restoration and maintenance of the human Biome, and the human clinical trials have proven the efficacy of prebiotics in disease treatment and prevention, especially with allergies, gastrointestinal dysfunction and inflammatory bowel disease, cancers, Metabolic Syndrome and diabetes, and obesity. Prebiotics are an expanding class of essential nutrients and foods that include garlic, onions, leeks, dandelion greens, asparagus, whole wheat, banana, artichoke, chicory root, oligofructosaccharides, pantothenic acid, and inulin, with further research sure to uncover more proven prebiotics:
  8. A 2014 study of the role of the microbiota and traditional fermented foods in the diets in treating and preventing mental health problems, by experts at the Harvard Medical School, the esteemed Massachusetts General Hospital, and the British Columbia Women's Hospital and Health Centre in Vancouver, Canada, shows that maintaining a health gut microbiome provides a wealth of benefits and chemicals in psychiatric care. The lesson from this study is that we need to focus on holistic traditional diet, lifestyle and medicine, and avoid the pitfalls of promoting just specific allopathic products advertised to provide quick miracle cures:
  9. A 2015 study by experts at the University of Maryland showed how one of the newly discovered probiotics, Lactobacilli GG (LGG), marketed as Culturelle, actually acts symbiotically with the individual human Biome to enact healthy changes and treat various diseases. This new quantum effect is important, as these researchers note that until now we have studied probiotic strains of bacteria as having individual effects directly on the human organism, but the greatest benefits seem to be in relation to their effects within a quantum field of microbiota:
  10. A 2015 study at the University of California at Davis showed that some of the common forms of probiotic bacteria actually work much better when consumed with a dairy product, or kept in a milk medium, such as yoghurt. The fear of dairy has been high in the population, and consequently most probiotic products now come with a statement that no dairy products exist in the formula, but this study shows that this may be misguided. Added to this is the fact that most probiotic formulas are composed of bacteria in the lactobacilli family, that help digest dairy, but the actual dried product sold no longer has any dairy in it. The labeling to announce that there is no dairy is not only not necessary, but avoiding dairy products may render some probiotics less useful:
  11. A 2004 study at the Fudan University School of Medicine, in Shanghai, China, found that integrating Chinese herbal formula with standard treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Clostridium butyricum probiotic significantly enhanced the ultimate balance of microbiota in these patients:
  12. A 2014 study in China showed that acupuncture stimulation results in improved balance of microbiota. Laboratory animals with inflammatory bowel disease were treated with short courses of acupuncture, using electroacupuncture stimulation at the points ST36, 37 and ST25, and healthy species of bacteria were increased while pathogenic species decreased:
  13. A number of herbal and nutrient chemicals have been found to help with restoration of the Biome, generally referred to as prebiotics, with oligofructosaccharides and other chemical from onion and garlic species most studied. Here, experts at the Cyril and Methodius University School of Medicine and Pharmacy outline the long history of garlic and prepared garlic medicines as antibiotics and anticancer medicines, dating to 2600 BCE:
  14. A systematic review of studies of probiotic use to prevent recurrence of upper respiratory infections (flu and common cold etc.), published by the esteemed Cochrane Library database, shows that a number of clinical trials supply proof that probiotics significantly prevent upper respiratory tract infections and reduce prescription of antibiotics. Probiotics are useful for more than intestinal problems, and aid overall immune health:
  15. A study at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, published in the September 5, 2013 issue of the journal Nature, describes how biota from a lean person may cure obesity when introduced into an obese person:
  16. A more thorough review of scientific study of the gut microbiota, largely composed of symbiotic bacteria, and its relationship to obesity and disease, is found here in a 2011 article from experts at Wageningen University, and the University of Helsinki, in The Netherlands and Finland:
  17. A 2015 research study at the University of Copenhagen Center for Diabetes Research found in a broad population-based study that the amount of use of antibiotics is clearly related to risk of Diabetes Type 2, sometimes with onset over a decade later than the repeated long courses of antibiotics, showing that the Human Biome is very important to human metabolism, and destruction of the Biome by unnecessary use of antibiotic therapy creates a burden of disease:
  18. A 2013 review of scientific study in recent years, by experts at Louisiana State University, in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A. outlines how the human microbiome is a substantial contributor to a host of difficult diseases, including Alzheimer's, and perhaps may finally explain why the human genome is actually smaller than most plant organisms on the planet. The questions that have arisen since we learned how to map the human genome have been overwhelming, showing us that as hard as might try, Nature is indeed more complex that we can even imagine:
  19. A 2015 randomized controlled human clinical study at the Leiden University Institute for Psychological Research, and the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, in The Netherlands, found that a multispecies probiotic formula could actually treat depression and anxiety, reducing negative thoughts and sad mood. These researchers noted that other studies showed how microbiota produce neurohormonal chemicals that benefited patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and showed a number of pathways in the brain affected by the metabolism of these symbiotic bacteria: