Fermented Sauerkraut Versus Probiotic Pills
Dr. Mercola from Mercola.com stated, “Fermented foods not only give you a wider variety of beneficial bacteria, they also give you far more of them, so it’s a much more cost-effective alternative. 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! So clearly, you’re far better off using fermented foods.”
Many people wonder if probiotic pills provide the same benefit as probiotic foods, they seem to be marketed in the same way—healthy bacteria for our guts. However, probiotic foods work significantly better because of their construction. To get into the small intestine and colon, where they do the work of breaking down and processing food and powering up the immune system, the bacteria first have to move through the stomach, but the stomach is filled with acid designed to kill bacteria. When you eat a probiotic food, the food itself provides a protective armor that helps shield the friendly bacteria. It also speeds the transport out of the stomach, thus keeping the good bacteria intact. Probiotic pills are often trapped in the acids of the stomach, and the probiotics killed before the body ever gets a chance to use them. So consuming probiotic foods, such as kefir, kombucha, and cultured vegetables, is 100 TIMES more effective than taking pills.
So while we know probiotics absolutely have nutritional value, what you see on the label may NOT be what you get.
In fact, two researchers at Bastyr University in Washington recently tested a wide variety of probiotic supplements and found that in four out of twenty products no sign of living friendly bacteria was present.2
The unfortunate truth is that too many probiotic supplements vary widely in quality and potency. Here's why:
- Many probiotic supplements cannot survive harsh stomach acid in order to get to your intestines.
- Manufacturers talk about number of CFUs (colony forming units), but don't always offer the types or combinations of probiotics that are ideally suited to human intestines. So while they have some value, they do not help re-colonize your inner ecosystem, which is the overall goal
Here are some reasons that fermented foods and drinks are superior:
- Beneficial bacteria and yeast in fermented foods and drinks are live and active!Whether you purchase fermented foods and drinks or make them at home, you are getting active
- Fermentation pre-digests vital nutrients for you.Packed with B vitamins, minerals and enzymes, fermented foods and drinks are whole foods full of nutritional value in their own right. On top of that, the microflora increase the bioavailability of the nutrients in all the foods you eat by hundreds of times.
- Fermentation does not use heat.Your fermented foods and drinks retain their vital amino acids that can be destroyed by heat.
- You get a variety of live cultures supplied by nature in fermented foods and drinks.Lab produced probiotics are often a single strain of bacteria, like Lactobacillus acidophilus.
- Supplements contain bacteria onlywhile fermented foods and drinks also contain "food" for the microflora to help promote their growth. It's like sending the good guys down into your digestive tract with a lunchbox of goodies to sustain them on their long and perilous journey down under. Once they reach their destination (and IF they reach their destination) the microflora in a supplement need up to 6 hours to colonize in your intestines. The microflora in fermented foods and liquids are so hardy they start working at once.
Fermented foods and drinks are acid-resistantand are viable in your system from the time they touch your lips all the way down into your gut.
Body Ecology is on the cutting edge of using probiotics to impact your health, and because we believe in the healing value of beneficial bacteria and yeast, we have created several different ways for you to get daily doses of high quality, potent microflora in your diet.