Introduction to Probiotics

January 31, 2020

Copied with permission from https://www.arishtam.com/product-page/aristam-homebrewing-guide and https://www.amazon.in/Arishtam-HomeBrew-Probiotics-Indias-homebrew-ebook/dp/B07WSXSCQY

 

Before we start dwelling into the world of probiotics, we need to understand and appreciate the role of living micro-organisms in our life. In the earlier chapter on the “History of fermentation”, we tried to explore how humans had co-evolved with these micro-organisms. The advertisements and commercials make us believe that the only way one can be safe is by killing 99.9999% of the microbes. We use anti-bacterial soaps, over-use antibiotics and disinfectants for almost everything. Whenever I watch these commercials, I am reminded of the story of sleeping beauty. Yes, needles can be dangerous but trying to eliminate this tool is futile. The real world is neither sterile nor aseptic. Big brands can make big money by demonizing the microbes. They would want us to rather live quarantined inside an aseptic bubble. Are we gullible enough to fall prey to this media tactic?

 

I am not trying to undermine the importance of hygiene. However, one does not need a hospital grade disinfectant to mop the house floors daily. Some plants have nodules in their roots to invite nitrogen-fixing symbiotic bacteria. Similarly, Human skin and our intestines have pores for symbiotic bacteria to flourish. It helps establish a biome (microbiota) that boosts our health, digestion and our immunity. Doctors will prescribe lacto-bacillus tablets after a course of antibiotics to replenish our gut fauna. Vaccination and inoculations are nothing but small controlled dosage of (dead or weakened) disease causing microbes which are deliberately introduced in our system so that we can develop immunity for them.

 

There is an empty chair theory. If the chair is lying empty, it is an invitation for anybody to occupy. However, if it is occupied (even by an innate object), the newcomer has to befriend all the residents in the room before he can create a vacancy.

 

Our skin and intestines have pores, which also behaves in the same way. They are occupied by millions of friendly microbes that do function like secreting enzymes, regulating pH (especially in vagina) etc. They produce Vitamins, help breakdown complex food like cellulose and programming our immune system. Some research have claimed that even our mood is dependent (to a certain degree) on our gut fauna. It is like a rainforest with a rich diversity. Isolating one strain and estimating its contribution is not possible, it is the collection that one needs.

 

When we scrub our hands with an anti-bacterial soap, we kill the benign symbiotic microbes on our skin. The skin pores becomes empty and ripe for any new microbes to colonize (good or bad). However, with normal washing using soap and water, enough good bacteria are left to retard the growth of invasive species.

 

This book is not designed to entice readers to buy expensive probiotics, prebiotics capsules and formulations. Instead, how one can easily and inexpensively make them and incorporate them in their daily lives. I am no medical practitioner but I have observed people suffering from HIV, Parkinson’s disease, Epilepsy, Pre-mature birth (infants), Gastric disorders, diabetes, Diabetics and Depression to benefit from incorporating a small dose (a teaspoon or two) of homemade probiotic culture in their daily lives. Please consult with a doctor on how to start consuming them for medical reasons or altering the prescribed medicine dosage.

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