The Key to Symbiosis and Reduced Inflammation
In today's society there is a great deal of effort
spent on eradicating our homes and ourselves of bacteria.
From antibacterial soaps and household cleaners to bacteria-resistant
clothing, we seem to be waging a war on bacteria. With so
much attention being paid to the negative effects of these
invisible organisms, it may seem counterintuitive to actually
ingest bacteria purposefully. But the truth is, there are
hundreds of "good bacteria," like acidophilus,
that not only help us achieve better health but are necessary
for us to survive and thrive!
The term probiotic means "for life!"
A probiotic is a living microorganism which, when administered
in sufficient amounts, confers a health benefit to its host.
Two of the most common probiotics, Lactobacillus acidophilus and the group known as bifidobacteria, are commonly found
in the gut and assist the body with a number of functions.
The digestive system is inhabited by billions of these bacteria,
collectively referred to as intestinal microflora.
We begin to acquire microflora as infants, and by the time
we've reached adulthood there are as many as 450 different
bacterial species inhabiting our colons alone! L. acidophilus and bifidobacteria improve the health and function of the
digestive tract by discouraging the growth of unfriendly or
harmful bacteria, yeasts such as Candida, and protozoa.
They also improve the overall integrity of the intestinal
wall, which reduces the amount of toxins entering the bloodstream.
Research indicates that poor intestinal health, especially
leaky gut and overabundance of Candida, can exacerbate
skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema and acne. Lactobacilli
also improve nutrient absorption, while bifidobacteria produce
B-complex vitamins and inhibit nitrates, which are possible
cancer causers. It is thought that B vitamins are essential
to skin health.
You might not know how profoundly your diet, the environment,
hormonal changes and your stress levels can affect your GI
tract. Ensuring that your digestive system is in balance (a
state of symbiosis) is a first step to reaping the benefits
of excellent health. Dysbiosis, an imbalance of bacteria
in the intestine, is often the result of a deficiency of good
bacteria. An imbalance can lead to uncomfortable digestive
issues, including slow intestinal transit time. In fact, probiotic
supplements containing beneficial bacteria are often suggested
for a variety of conditions, such as colitis, acne, eczema
and psoriasis! Consuming bifidobacteria regularly for just
30 days is clinically proven to improve digestive health.
At DermaHarmony we want you to understand why probiotic supplements
are so important, and how they can help you in a variety of
ways. We are proud to offer an excellent probiotic formula
within our own DermaEssentials™ daily supplement packs!
Why would I supplement with probiotics for skin problems?
Many helpful bacteria are found in the gut, and when present
in adequate numbers are able to perform their tasks amazingly
well. Oftentimes, simple factors like stress, the use of antibiotics
or hormones, or a bout of ill health can cause an imbalance
in the colonies of beneficial flora versus harmful ones in
the gut. Altered bowel function with diarrhea wipes out the
organisms, and constipation impairs ideal levels as well.
When numbers of helpful organisms are low, there is often
an increase in detrimental bacteria. A lack of symbiosis between
the intestinal flora in your gut and you as their host can
lead to common symptoms of malabsorption, indigestion, and
a host of other unpleasant symptoms. These include:
- Failure to thrive (in infancy and childhood)
- Anemia, with weakness and fatigue due to inadequate absorption
of vitamin B12, iron, and folic acid
- Diarrhea, steatorrhea (excessive amount of fat in the
- Abdominal distention with cramps
- Cramping, bloating, and flatulence (gas) due to impaired
water and carbohydrate absorption plus irritation from unabsorbed
- Frequent bulky stools
- Frequent loose, watery stools
- Greasy stools
- Pale, foul-smelling, bulky stools
- Canker sores and skin rashes
- Adult acne and rosacea
- Dilation of cheek and nose capillaries
- Easily bruised skin
- Weak and cracking fingernails
- Recurring yeast infections, Candida,
- Low sex drive
- Muscle cramps
- Feelings of anxiety and depression
There is no doubt that a healthy digestive system is critical
for proper nutrient absorption. Aiding nutrient absorption
can dramatically improve health. For your body to digest and
absorb the correct amount of nutrients and minerals from the
food you eat, the nutrients need to be "bio-available,"
that is, in a form which can be easily assimilated by the
GI tract. Probiotics are helpful in breaking food particles
such as proteins into smaller nutrient molecules, aiding their
digestion and absorption. The beneficial bacteria assist by
acidifying the intestinal tract (lowering the pH level), which
is necessary for optimal absorption of nutrients and trace
One of the easiest ways to increase and encourage the growth
of helpful bacteria colonies is to take a high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade
probiotic supplement. Though it is possible to increase beneficial
flora by eating foods such as yogurt (try the Activia brand by Dannon), most simply do not contain the quantity
and quality of viable bacteria to increase populations at
an acceptable rate. You simply cannot get enough from food
alone when fighting a severe imbalance or inflammatory condition
of concern like psoriasis. This is true especially for those
who do not tolerate dairy.
Choosing a Probiotic Formula
When choosing a probiotic supplement, it is very important
to select a top-quality, pharmaceutical-grade product for
consistent levels of live active organisms that yield potent
and effective results. Since probiotics are in fact live bacteria,
it is essential that they are packaged carefully under sterile
conditions. This is not only to prohibit the inclusion of
potentially harmful bacteria, but also to ensure that the
desired good organisms remain viable. It's also important
that a probiotic formula remain live and active during shipping
and throughout its shelf life. Likewise, probiotic supplements
should be discarded upon expiration date as they are most
likely no longer viable.
An indication of the quantity of bacteria present in a probiotic
supplement should be listed on the label by "CFU,"
or colony forming unit. This number refers to the
number of cells per gram at the time the probiotic was packaged.
These numbers may seem very high, in the millions or even
billions, but are actually quite moderate when considering
the vast numbers of bacteria already inhabiting our bodies.
At DermaHarmony, we want you to understand why probiotic
supplements are so important and how they may help you in
a variety of ways. We are proud to offer an excellent probiotic
formula within our own DermaEssentials™ daily supplement
packs! With DermaEssentials™, we provide 8 billion units
per day, delivered in two servings of a gelatin capsule containing
white powder. The following probiotics are included in our
Skin Care Packs.
|Amount Per Serving
|L. acidophilus (DDS-1™)
1.150 billion CFU
1.150 billion CFU
|L. rhamnosus (Type B, Bifidus)
775 million CFU
275 million CFU
275 million CFU
275 million CFU
150 million CFU
|* - Daily Value not established.
DDS-1™ is a trademark of Nebraska
Cultures, Inc. by the proprietary process developed
and researched by Dr. Khem Shahani of the University
How to Use Probiotics
It is important to take probiotics daily as directed on the
packaging. This will help to maintain beneficial levels of
flora in the intestines. Some individuals with certain inflammatory
conditions would be recommended to continue this indefinitely,
while others may choose to use probiotics more intermittently.
For example, if you have recently completed a course of antibiotics,
you may want to consider taking extra daily probiotics for
at least a month thereafter to restore colonies of organisms
that have been wiped out.
If you are on a chronic course of antibiotics or suffer from
bowel issues, continued daily use of probiotics makes sense.
Those with inflammatory conditions such as acne, rosacea,
psoriasis, colitis, or IBS may indeed also benefit from continued
daily use. It is also critical to use probiotics during
a colon cleanse like our DermaDetox™ formula.
What to Expect
You may initially feel gassy or bloated when you first start
taking probiotics. This is usually caused by the die-off of
harmful bacteria. The bloating typically goes away after a
few days. Drinking enough water, consuming adequate
fiber, a healthy diet and bowel regularity really helps you
purge properly and limit this die-off effect. If bloating
and gas continue or are severe, you may benefit from a colon
As you continue to take probiotics, your intestinal health
may increase, and you may notice better digestion and bowel
regularity, as well as more normal quality of bowel movements.
The probiotics will facilitate better nutrient absorption,
and as your internal healing increases the benefits of probiotics may be seen externally as well. At this stage many ailments,
including skin conditions, often begin to improve!
About DermaHarmony Supplements
DermaEssentials™ Skin Care Packs -
Four nutritional formulas in one covenient pack to provide
the nutritional foundation needed to stimulate the healing
process from within. They travel easily, and are to be used
twice daily with meals.
- Multi-Minerals and Vitamins (6 per day)
- Opti-EPA Omega-3 Fish Oils (4 per day)
- Digestive Enzymes (2 per day)
- Multi-Probiotic (2 per day)
In an independent review of 500 supplement products available
in the United States and Canada, the DermaEssentials™
base nutritional formula—prior to the addition of
EPA/DHA concentrated marine fish oil, digestive enzymes, and
the multi-probiotics included in our formula—ranked
higher than 489 other formulas on 14 criteria.
To read more about the excellent base of support we offer,
visit the DermaEssentials™ page. You can try DermaHarmony products risk-free for 37 days.
If you are not satisfied with your purchase for any reason,
simply return the empty bottles for a full refund of the product
price (less shipping and handling)—no questions asked.
If you would like to speak with one of our Nutrition/Digestive
Health Specialists, call 1-800-827-3730.
How We Help
At DermaHarmony, our goals are to educate chronic skin care suffers about dermatology, share what contributes to health and wellness, and support our readers in any way we can. Our programs promote healthy skin with nutritional supplements, topical treatments and dietary guidance. Learn more about our programs or call us toll-free at 1-800-827-3730. Our Support Desk is open 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday.
Our skin assessment is designed to help us get a better understanding of your symptoms and to make diet and lifestyle recommendations for you. It is simple, free, takes just five minutes to complete. Take our skin assessment.
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If you were able to gather up all the bacteria in your digestive system, researchers estimate the total would weigh about four pounds! Under ideal circumstances these bacteria live in our intestines, quietly performing many functions that aid in digestion and benefit the overall health of the body.
Probiotics—Reference Documents and Further Reading
Principal Author: K. Kastelein, Editor-in-Chief
Date of Publication: 08/09/2006