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Probiotic Introduction

The Gastro-Intestinal Tract

Gut Flora

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Mucosal Immune System

Stool Analysis

Probiotic & Prebiotic Treatment


Probiotics help Gastro-Intestinal Function

Patrick Hanaway, MD discusses the benefits of Probiotics for a healthy digestive system in his article "Balance of Flora, GALT and Mucosal Intergrity". He is a board-certified family physician and holds dual appointments as medical director for the Family to Family Clinic and chief medical officer for Genova Diagnostics. Both are located in Asheville, North Carolina, USA.

How Dysfunction Effects the Digestive Tract

Hanaway explains how dysfunction in the gastro-intestinal system manifests in typical digestive diseases such as:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease - Crohns Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (IBD)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease GERD)
  • and even colorectal cancer

It can also manifest as imbalanced immunologic function, creating and/or contributing to both atopic illness and autoimmune dysfunction.

He says that dietary approaches provide the most effective means of restoring balance in the gastro-intestinal system, but explains how the profound dietary changes undergone by humans over the past 100 years conflict with the nutritional input that our genetic structure evolved to maximize.

He goes on to explain how this disruption creates a complex array of clinical needs that require support for the whole being to regain balance and optimal function.

Hanaway identifies the critical functions of what he refers to as 'commensal flora' i.e. a living relationship in which one organism derives food or other benefits from another organism without hurting or helping it.

Commensal bacteria are part of the normal flora in the gut. In this article Hanaway evaluates symptoms of those who have alterations in bowel patterns defined by the Rome II Criteria to determine whether they have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). He also describes the characteristics of probiotics, and names the most common probiotic bacteria (Altern Ther Health Med. 2006; 12(4):44-53.)