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Welcome to the Natural Health and Wellness Program of ANTRAC Acupuncture Clinic, from Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. My name is Louis Gordon and I am an acupuncturist. I practice acupuncture from my acupuncture Clinic in Middle Ridge, Toowoomba, QLD, 4350. Just as fresh clean water bubbling up from a natural well is vital to sustain life, my WELLNESS information will help YOU to sustain a vibrant life beaming with optimal wellness.

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Probiotics Might Lessen Infant Eczema and Asthma

By Dr. Mercola

Story at a Glance:

In children at risk for developing eczema, limiting sugar and supplementing with fermented foods or beneficial probiotic bacteria cut the risk of developing eczema in half compared to those taking a placebo.

Giving an infant probiotics may help stave off eczema and other allergic diseases by beneficially altering the early colonization of bacteria in their gut, which may help the child’s immune system to develop and mature.

The first way you can encourage your newborn’s gut health to flourish is by breastfeeding. Beyond this, providing abundant probiotics to your infant (and also consuming them during pregnancy) in the form of fermented foods is one of the most powerful ways to restore and maintain your child’s beneficial gut flora.

Beneficial bacteria such as those found in fermented foods and probiotics thrive in your intestines to perform a magnificent symbiotic relationship with you, improving not only your overall health but even your skin.

Signals from these gut microorganisms are known to interact with organisms on your skin and research suggests these interactions, or another unknown probiotic-skin connection, can help with skin conditions, including eczema.

Beneficial Bacteria Halve Infants’ Eczema Risk

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is very common in infants and young children. According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, it affects between 10 percent and 20 percent of all infants, resulting in red, itchy patches or rash on the skin (eczema is often known as “the itch that rashes,” meaning there’s really no rash until you start scratching the itchy area).

Eczema is more than just a skin problem, however, as it is an indication that there is a problem with your immune system. In fact, eczema is said to be one of the first signs of allergy during the first days of life, and about three out of four children with eczema later go on to develop asthma or hay fever.

What does this have to do with the beneficial bacteria in your gut?

Most people, including many physicians, do not realize that 80 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive tract, making a healthy gut a major focal point in your efforts to achieve optimal health. In fact, the root of many health problems is related to an imbalance of intestinal bacteria.

You may be surprised to learn that the bacteria in your gut outnumber the cells in your body by a factor of ten to one — you have approximately 100 trillion bacteria living in your GI tract, comprised of as many as 500 different species and 7,000 different strains. Collectively, each of us carries around several pounds of bacteria inside us!

The beneficial bacteria in your gut has actually been found to help prevent allergies by training your immune system to distinguish between pathogens and non-harmful antigens and respond appropriately – and this may be one reason why they also appear so beneficial for eczema.

According to the latest research, a review of 21 studies that included 11,000 participants, in children at risk for developing eczema, supplementing with a type of beneficial bacterial called Lactobacillus rhapsodic GG or Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain HN001 cut kids’ risk of developing eczema in half compared to those taking a placebo.1 Children that took other various mixtures of probiotics also had their risk of eczema at least halved.

Please note that this does not mean that this strain of beneficial bacteria is the only one that provides the benefit. It happens to be the one that was studied. These studies are not free and someone has to pay for them. But it is likely that most beneficial bacteria, especially lactobacillus strains, provide similar benefits.

A Simple Way to Lower Your Child’s Risk of Eczema

That probiotics are beneficial for preventing eczema in infants is not a new finding, but rather one that I’ve been reporting on since at least 2001, when researchers also found infants receiving probiotics supplements were half as likely to develop the skin condition.2

In 2008, another found that children with only a limited variety of bacteria in their intestines one week after birth were more likely to developed eczema by the age of 18 months.3 Still more research published in 2009 also found that daily supplements of probiotic foods may reduce the risk of eczema in children by 58 percent.4

It’s thought that one reason giving an infant probiotics helps to stave off eczema and other allergic diseases is by beneficially altering the early colonization of bacteria in their gut, which may help the child’s immune system to develop and mature. At birth the human gastrointestinal tract is sterile, but in the first days, months and years of life a rapid colonization of bacteria occurs until a stable indigenous gut microflora is established.

Babies that are given the best start nutritionally by being breastfed (the major source of your immune-building good bacteria following their initial implantation through the birth canal) also tend to have intestinal microflora in which beneficial bacteria predominate over potentially harmful bacteria. So, the best way you can encourage your newborn’s gut health to flourish is by breastfeeding.

The most benefit from probiotics, at least in terms of eczema, may happen very early in life. After three months of life, the 2009 study above found no difference in the incidence or severity of eczema between groups given probiotics or a placebo, noting that the preventive effect appeared to be established within the first 3 months of life, although it appeared to be sustained during the firs two years.

What this means is it is essential that your baby to receive plenty of beneficial bacteria in the first few months of life and continuing through childhood and adulthood.

Tips for Starting Your Baby’s Gut Flora Off Right

Total Video Length: 1:13:21

Your baby gets his or her first “inoculation” of gut flora from your birth canal during childbirth. If your flora is abnormal, your baby’s flora will also be abnormal; whatever organisms live in your vagina end up coating your baby’s body and lining his or her intestinal tract.

Many infants are challenged because their mother previously took birth control pills, was on antibiotics or was a typical American and ate 150 pounds or more of sugar a year. Any mother with any or all of these risk factors is likely to start her infant’s life out on shaky ground, as she is unable to provide them with optimal gut flora that will nourish their health. So any mother in this group needs to be especially conscious of this information and recommendations.

Studies show that a growing number of women have unknown vaginal infections at childbirth, which can result in the passage of abnormal microflora to their babies. This introduction of unfriendly flora, combined with antibiotic use, can predispose a baby to Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS). GAPS can have very damaging long-term effects on a child’s health, including such conditions as autism, ADHD, learning disabilities and a number of other psychological, neurological, digestive and immunological problems.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is a neurologist and neurosurgeon who has devoted years of her career to studying this phenomenon, and how to treat and prevent it. Pathogenic microbes in your baby’s digestive tract damage the integrity of his or her gut wall, allowing all sorts of toxins, microbes and macromolecules from undigested food to flood his or her bloodstream, and then enter the brain and disrupt its development.

Breastfeeding protects your baby from this abnormal gut flora, which is why breastfeeding is so crucial to your child’s health. No infant formulas can do this.

Any time your baby is given a broad-spectrum antibiotic, his or her beneficial flora are wiped out, giving pathogenic flora (including antibiotic-resistant bacteria) a window of opportunity to overgrow and wreak havoc. It takes the “friendly flora” two weeks to two months to recover, but by then, some not-so-friendly ones have found a niche. The first symptoms you typically see are colic, loose stools, constipation, eczema or respiratory infections.

Adding a vaccine that further stresses your baby’s immature immune system is like adding fuel to a fire — conditions that raise your child’s risk for a major adverse vaccine reaction. In other words, a vaccine could be the proverbial “final straw” if your baby has GAPS. But all of this may be corrected, or even averted, by the addition of some natural probiotics.

Fermented Foods are Important for Babies, Infants and Children Too

Before you give your child fermented foods or probiotics it is especially important to recognize that they are not magic bullets and cure-all ills. They need to be integrated with a healthy diet. If your child is consuming loads of sugar, grains and fruit juices, those sugars will rapidly break down in the intestine and feed the pathogenic bacteria, which effectively competitively inhibit the beneficial bacteria you are supplementing with making them useless and virtually ineffective.

Once you have the diet optimized, providing abundant probiotics in the form of fermented foods is one of the most powerful ways to restore your baby’s beneficial gut flora. Oftentimes, a commercial probiotic supplement won’t even be needed.

Apart from breastfeeding, the first fermented food Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends for your infant is raw organic grass-fed yogurt (not commercial yogurt from the grocery store), because it’s well tolerated by most infants and children. It’s best to make your own yogurt at home from raw organic milk, and start with a very tiny amount. Once yogurt is well tolerated by your baby, then start introducing kefir. If you have any problems with cow’s milk dairy, you can try goat’s milk dairy as an alternative or substitute vegetables fermented with yogurt culture or kefir culture.

If your baby has a severe condition, such as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), then the addition of a high-quality probiotic supplement may be needed.

You can ferment virtually any food, and every traditional culture has fermented their foods to prevent spoilage. There are also many fermented beverages and yoghurts. Quite a large percent of all the foods that people consumed on a daily basis were fermented, and each mouthful provides trillions of beneficial bacteria — far more than you can get from a probiotics supplement.

Here’s a case in point: It’s unusual to find a probiotic supplement containing more than 10 billion colony-forming units. But when my team actually tested fermented vegetables produced by probiotic starter cultures, they had 10 trillion colony-forming units of bacteria. Literally, one serving of vegetables was equal to an entire bottle of a high potency probiotic! Fermented foods also give you a wider variety of beneficial bacteria, so all in all, it’s your most cost effective alternative.

Fermenting your own foods is a fairly straightforward and simple process, which is described in detail here. Remember, in addition to protecting your child from developing eczema, research shows giving pregnant women and newborns doses of good bacteria can:

  • Help prevent childhood allergies by training infants’ immune systems to resist allergic reactions5
  • Help optimize your baby’s weight later in life6
  • Improve the symptoms of colic, decreasing average crying times by about 75 percent7
  • Reduce your risk of premature labor

Consuming fermented foods is, again, the best way to optimize your, and your children’s, beneficial gut flora. To learn more, please listen to my interview with Caroline Barringer, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) who has been involved with nutrition for about 20 years. She’s now one of Dr. Campbell-McBride’s chief training partners, helping people understand the food preparation process.



In another article “How to Protect Yourself and Your Children from the Health Hazards Associated with Medical and Agricultural Antibiotics” Dr Mercola discusses the following.

The issue of antibiotic overuse, both in medicine and food production, and the subsequent threats to human health, has been featured in a number of recent news articles.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health, worldwide, and the primary cause for this man-made epidemic is the widespread misuse of antibiotics.

For example, data from the ECDC1 shows a significant rise of resistance to multiple antibiotics in Klebsiella pneumoniae and E. coli in just the last four years alone, affecting more than one-third of the EU. According to a recent report by Medical News Today:2

“In several of the member states, between 25 and over 60 percent of K pneumoniae from bloodstream infections show combined resistance to multiple antibiotics…

The ECDC data shows that consumption of carbapenems, a major class of last-line antibiotics, went up significantly in EU/EEA countries between 2007 and 2010. The report suggests this is most likely due to increasing multidrug resistance in Gram-negative infections, such as pneumonia or bloodstream infections, which are often treated with carbapenems.”

In an effort to raise awareness, the UK has issued an informational leaflet3 on the judicious use of antibiotics, urging patients to not ask their doctors for an antibiotic to treat symptoms of cold and flu, as antibiotics do not work on infections caused by viruses — they only work on bacterial infections.

Antibiotics During Pregnancy Linked to Asthma in Kids

Antibiotic-resistant disease is not the only danger associated with the misuse of these drugs. Excessive exposure to antibiotics also takes a heavy toll on your gastrointestinal health, which can predispose you to virtually any disease. Abnormal gut flora may actually be a major contributing factor to the rise in a wide variety of childhood diseases and ailments.

For example, recent research4 from Denmark shows that children whose mothers took antibiotics during their pregnancy were more likely to develop asthma, compared to those whose mother did not take antibiotics. Taking other risk factors into account, the researchers estimated that children exposed to antibiotics were 17 percent more likely to be hospitalized for asthma before the age of five. 

Children who were already predisposed to asthma (due to their mother having the condition) were twice as likely to develop asthma if their mother used antibiotics during the third trimester, compared to those whose mother did not use antibiotics.

While the study cannot tell us whether the asthma was the result of the antibiotic or the infection itself, the increased asthma risk found does support the theory that probiotics — beneficial bacteria residing in your gut, which are decimated by antibiotics — play a role in the development of asthma. Co-author Dr. Hans Bisgaard told Reuters Health:5

“We speculate that mothers’ use of antibiotics changes the balance of natural bacteria, which is transmitted to the newborn, and that such unbalanced bacteria in early life impact on the immune maturation in the newborn.”

Indeed, one of the most important prerequisites for your newborn is establishing a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Regardless of age, your gut is your first line of defense in terms of immunity. 

The baby gets his or her first “inoculation” of gut flora from the mother’s birth canal during childbirth, which is why a mother’s use of antibiotics during pregnancy can predispose the child to asthma and a variety of other ailments, as the antibiotic severely disrupts the natural microflora — in the mother’s bowels and vagina.

It’s important to understand that if mother’s flora is abnormal, her baby’s flora will also be abnormal, as whatever organisms live in her vagina end up coating her baby’s body and lining his or her intestinal tract.


Over 700 Bacteria Identified in Breast Milk

If there were any ever doubt about the importance of microbes to living creatures, one need look no further than human breast milk, which researchers recently revealed contains more than 700 species of bacteria (more than previously thought).5 Just as soil microflora is easily influenced by environmental and other factors, the study also found that the composition of breast milk microflora is influenced by the mother’s weight, as well as her method of delivery.

Researchers noted:6

“Milk from obese mothers tended to contain a different and less diverse bacterial community compared with milk from normal-weight mothers. Milk samples from elective but not from non-elective mothers who underwent cesarean delivery contained a different bacterial community than did milk samples from individuals giving birth by vaginal delivery, suggesting that it is not the operation per se but rather the absence of physiological stress or hormonal signals that could influence the microbial transmission process to milk.”

We now know, of course, that breastfed babies develop entirely different gut flora compared to bottle-fed babies as well. Infant formula is not a healthy replacement to breast milk, for a number of reasons, as it cannot duplicate the diverse microbial species found in breast milk, and therefore leads to altered gut flora.

Breast milk, but not formula, appears to promote a healthy colonization of beneficial biofilms (these biofilms are essentially thin, sticky bacterial “sheaths” that adhere to your intestinal wall, where they serve as a shield, effectively blocking out pathogens and infectious agents).7 And previous research has already established that breast milk reduces diarrhea, flu, and respiratory infections in babies, as well as lowers their risk of developing allergies, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and other diseases, once again reaffirming the importance of nourishing and supporting your microbial communities.



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