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Probiotics: Helpful and Harmful

Probiotics: Helpful and Harmful
January 23, 2017 Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

Probiotics: Helpful and Harmful

The use of probiotics is becoming extremely commonplace with a growing number of products being supplemented with a growing number of bacteria that are touted as health promoting.
 
It is apparent consumers do not fully understand what they are, or what they can do, because the same people who use anti-bacterial wipes or gels will purchase a probiotic which is full of bacteria and swallow it without question.
 
A probiotic is a supplement that contains bacteria that are capable of secreting mild acids once they reach the intestinal tract.
 
Consumers are unaware that they also interact with the immune, nervous, hormonal and intestinal systems in potentially harmful ways.
 
Probiotics are often sold as a “healthy” blend of “natural bacteria” that will restore or replenish your intestinal flora. These products are vastly overstating anyone’s understanding of intestinal bacteria.
With modern technologies, we can sequence the DNA of the thousands of different bacteria that live within the intestinal tract. But most require such unusual factors for survival that scientists are unable to grow approximately 80% of the bacteria detected.
Without being able to grow them, researchers can only guess at basic aspects of their function and behavior.
 
If the researchers are guessing, then the sellers cannot fully understand what they are selling, and have no scientific basis to offer assurances of safety as they do.
 
But despite this lack of understanding, many people have discovered that probiotics relieved some of their digestive issues. This is a very important clue because it means they have an overgrowth of (lower) colonic bacteria within the (upper) small intestinal tract.
 
This bacterial overgrowth is called SIBO, Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. This occurs when colonic bacteria migrate too high into the wrong section of the intestines.
 
This may occur after taking antibiotics or antacids or when something alters the speed of the digestive tract such as anesthesia, vaccines, or brain injury resulting in Autonomic Nervous System Dysfunction (Dysautonomia).
 
SIBO affects a large portion of the population and as many as 20% of people with SIBO report no intestinal symptoms. Others with SIBO experience intestinal distress (diarrhea, constipation, eat-and-must-go to the bathroom ASAP, excessive bloating), food sensitivities/intolerance, night sweats, morning nausea, sour stomach or “low blood sugar” between meals, skin problems (rashes, hives, eczema), and recurrent strep and bladder infections.
 
Our intestinal tract is around 40 feet long. It works like a conveyor belt, moving food and waste products forward that our brain controls through our Autonomic Nervous System (“Autonomics”).
 
The Autonomics are the brain’s master control mechanism for the organs, hormones, and immune system. The Parasympathetic branch of the Autonomics control our “rest and digest” brain commands and inflammation.
 
SIBO may start after we experience an injury to our Autonomic Nervous System which alters the movement of our intestinal tract.
 
The Autonomic injury may be a direct physical injury (concussion, car wreck), an indirect injury (emotional trauma), a metabolic injury (pregnancy, drug reaction, chemo/radiation), or an inflammatory injury (excessive vaccine reaction, antibiotics, anesthesia, surgery, reaction to allergy testing).
 
Our bacteria have learned the first rule in real estate; location is everything.
 
The colonic bacteria move up to a much better neighborhood (small intestine) where nutrients help them replicate and survive.
 
The invading bacteria digest the nutrients and then release gases, toxins, and waste products that give us symptoms.
 
The bacteria are smart and they will work to stay in their new location. They have learned to send signals to the brain via the Autonomic Nervous System’s main nerve, the Vagus Nerve. These bacterial signals further alter our Autonomics and slows down our digestion even more.
Bacteria from the colon do not like an acidic environment and supplementing with probiotics creates an increase in acids in the small intestine. More acid production, means less colonic bacteria overgrowth, and the person may feel less symptoms.
 
The relief in symptoms from increased acid is also probably why apple cider vinegar makes some people feel better.
 
But probiotics do not fix the underlying neurological Autonomic problem, and people may lose the benefits once the bacteria can replicate and continue their migration upward.
 
Probiotics may also cause health problems in other ways. I have seen children and adult patients become more nauseated, depressed, anxious, and even develop arthritic symptoms when they started supplementing with probiotics.
 
And a word of caution, just because you do not feel an obvious ill effect does not mean the probiotic is not adding to your systemic inflammation level that triggers a wide variety of illness.
 
So instead of adding living bacteria to the intestinal tract, I recommend a prebiotic fiber called inulin. Inulin is a fiber that can only be eaten by the healthy bacteria that normally inhabit the small intestine, not the invading bacteria from the colon.
 
As the normal small intestine inhabitants grow in numbers, they excrete mild acids that the colon bacteria do not like and recede. It gently rebalances the intestine’s natural bacteria without the influence the unknown bacteria found in probiotics.
 
Some have SIBO to the extent that inulin is not enough to control the colonic bacteria and they need a short course of antibiotics to knock down the bacterial overgrowth plus Autonomic Nervous System treatment for their brains to regain neurological control over the movement of their digestive tract.
 
There are five stages in Autonomic Dysfunction and the first two stages do not have noticeable symptoms. It is only in the third stage of Autonomic Dysfunction that people start to experience symptoms that affect their daily life GI trouble.
 
Autonomic Dysfunction does not appear on an MRI, CT scans, and it is not detected in yearly bloodwork. For over 10 years I have tested the Autonomics using spectral analysis to pinpoint the tone and balance of each of the Autonomic Nervous System’s two main branches. I also use Heart Rate Variability (HRV) testing as a marker for Autonomic function and recovery.
 
I have found to maintain healthier bacteria one must also restore neurological (Autonomic) control over the intestinal tract. We must repair and maintain both the intestinal tract as well as repair and maintain Autonomic function.
 
SIBO and Autonomic treatment often involves short-term medications to restore a better bacterial blend, core nutritional changes to support neurological repair and stem cell production, Vagal Nerve Stimulation, and long-term dietary changes.
 
I have discovered a multifaceted formula for Autonomic restoration that is so unique and effective that in 2016 I filed a patent application for “The Nemechek Protocol for Autonomic Recovery” (Patent Pending).
 
Controlling SIBO and maintaining Autonomic Nervous System balance is not easy, but it is also not impossible. The process takes work and a marathoner’s mindset; each day your efforts, foods, and medications either support or endanger your recovery and health.
 
Fixing the brain, to fix the body, takes persistent effort by the patient but I have seen recovery years or decades after the person’s Autonomic injury or onset of SIBO.
 
I am a classically trained internal medicine physician (D.O.) from UCLA and my Internal Medicine and Autonomic practice is in the Phoenix area. My research background has been focused on the Autonomic Nervous System, brain metabolism, and metabolic inflammation.
 
I use all available scientific and medical tools to induce the nervous system and organs to repair themselves by normalizing inflammation control mechanisms, inducing natural stem cell production, and re-activating innate restorative mechanisms.
 
For more information, call my office at 623-208-4226.
 
© 2016. Dr. Patrick M. Nemechek and Jean R. Nemechek. All Rights Reserved. Patent Pending.

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Swarna Vemuri
Swarna Vemuri

Hello Dr. Nemechek,
I have a 7 year old (turning in May) boy who has speech, behavioral issues. (on spectrum)
He has been on 1/2 capsule in water of the probiotics in rotation (Bifidobacterium, Bulgaricum and Superdophilus stored in refrigerator) prescribed by his Ayurvedic Practitioner. It has been only two months on it but he had two rounds streps and antibiotics (with diarrhea). If I start him on Inulin should I stop these probiotics?
I only ask because of the particular strains am not sure they prebiotics or probiotics.
Thanks in Advance

N. Panayotova
N. Panayotova

Hello, dr Nemechek! My daughter has often diarrhea with undigested food in stool. Her pediatrician recommended Enterol, which is traditional remedy against Clostridium difficile in my country. It include Saccharomyces boulardii. Also we often use brewer’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) for this purpose. Should we avoid them? Thank you in advance!

Jenn
Jenn

Dear Dr Nemechek, Thank you for your protocol and helping so many families! Before starting the protocol, I was giving my 4 y/o probiotics as this is what many practitioners recommend. Every time I would give her a probiotic (tried 3 formulations) or even a multivitamin, she would become very dysregulated and have a worsening of her symptoms. I don’t fully understand why this happens, but it’s not a coincidence. I very much agree with your comments on probiotics. We now are following just your protocol and I have clearly seen gains in my daughter’s regulation and even expanded social… Read more »

Jessica
Jessica

Hi Dr Nemechek . I finished your book and will be starting my 2.5 year old, diagnosed with ASD, on your protocol. She has been on a probiotic (HMF Neuro) since November per our Neuroptahic Doctor as well as fish oil. I understand that your protocol states NO Probiotic so I will be ending that ASAP. Should I wait a couple of weeks or any time frame to “clear” her system of the probiotic before she starts the Inulin? Also, should we avoid any and all snack foods that list soybean oil, sunflower oil etc as well as all yogurts?… Read more »

Beth Oehlhof
Beth Oehlhof

I have your book and am going to start the protocol. My doctor won’t prescribe the Rifaximin. Is there any other way to balance the bacteria? Can I still benefit from high doses of fish oil now until I find a Dr. who will prescribe the Rifaximin? I want to do the protocol with my 10 year old and 15 year old. I’ll do the insulin for the younger one. Same question, will my 15 year old benefit from the fish oil without the prescription? Thanks!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Can we give homeopathy medicine with ur protocol

Charlene
Charlene

Hello Dr. N, thank you for giving us hope and results! My daughter is 5 years old mild ASD and we have just started your protocol. She takes Montelukast granules (anti histamines) for respiratory allergies, should I stop giving her the granules? Thank you in advance

Brittany Lopez
Brittany Lopez

Your information has been very interesting to me. My son is currently battling a yeast overgrowth that got much worse after a week of antibiotics. How would the inulin interact or affect his yeast issues?

Abu D
Abu D

Hi Dr,

Your protocol seems to have worked with many people, particularly parents with delayed children. I have a child with SPD and I was wondering if your protocol would work for him. My particular question is about a colonizing probiotic, Reuteri which I was planning on giving him before putting him on your protocol. Is Reuteri harmful or cooperative with your pre-biotic protocol.

Thanks!

Anonymous
Anonymous

My 4 year old son is following the protocol and I must say that things are improving slowly. However he is still such a picky eater. Last year , when we weren’t following the protocol I tried the manuca honey. I gave him a tsp per day and after two days we started consuming the manuca , he started eating everything and being hungry all the time. However this only lasted a month. Lately when I researched on the benefits of Manuca Honey I found that it helps with SIBO. What is your opinion regarding the above? Can we give… Read more »

Jim
Jim

Dr N thanks for all your effort and for giving us hope. I have one question, my boy is on protocol, but he has explossive diarrhea, normally in my family, when someone had diarrhea, we took bacillus claussei, it’s ok for the protocol?

Zahra
Zahra

Hi

I have recently started my 4.5 year old son on your protocol. I read your book but I have a question that I am still confused about. My son likes to eat yogurt with his lunch and if I don’t give him yogurt he doesn’t eat his lunch. I am still doing your protocol completely but I can’t remove yogurt from his diet. Will the protocol still work ? Thanks in advance for your reply.

Shilpa
Shilpa

Thanks for your response Dr.

Shilpa
Shilpa

Hello Dr. Nemechek,
Thanks so much for the protocol and for supporting people in such a genuine way. My 13 yr old son started it (with Rifaximin course) and is already showing positive changes. No side effects experienced so far.
We (parents) have been diagnosed with Candida with proper stool test. I am wondering if we can benefit from your protocol to heal our gut? I have read that Rifaximin can worse the Candida. Any advice based on your expertise would be very helpful.

Thanks so much.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Hello Dr. Nemechek, I started my 13 yr old son on your protocol with Rifaximin a month back. We have started seeing lot of progress already. Thank you so much for the protocol itself and for being supportive to your readers through these posts. I have read your book which suggests that there is no point taking inulin after the Rifaximin. I hope there is no regression since his system did not develop as steadily like with inulin. However, he experienced no side effects so far. Only good. Do you think we adults can also benefit from the protocol? We… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous

For parents trying to navigate the often confusing and contradictory advice around autism being able to ask a question and get a straightforward answer is truly refreshing. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Hello Dr. Nemechek, my 4.5 year old daughter started your protocol 2 weeks ago but she was just prescribed amoxicillin for a urinary tract infection. While she is on antibiotics would you advise continuing with the inulin? Also, I know probiotics are not to be given while on your protocol, is that still true if one is taking antibiotics? Thank you.

Shilpa
Shilpa

Dr. Nemechek Thanks for your prompt response! Truly appreciate it. I plan to implement your protocol after completing the book shortly. For a 13 yr old, should i start with Inulin first or Rifaximin? Have heard such encouraging stories from people that hoping and praying this will solve the challenges we have been facing!

Shilpa
Shilpa

Dr. Nemechek. Thanks for educating us on SIBO and your protocol that can help those who suffer. I have started reading your book to learn more. One question – Does the protocol work in case of Candida? I have a 13 yr old who has Candida symptoms and also ADD symptoms. Is Inulin /Rifaximin proffered in case of Candida? Thanks for your advice.

Sandhya
Sandhya

Dr Nemechek, thank you so much for your response.

Sandhya
Sandhya

Hi Dr. Nemechek. I’m among a group of parents in India who are following your protocol and are seeing lots of gains. I had a question regarding atopic dermatitis. My son is 8 years old and on inulin and the oils. Would he need Rifaximin for his atopic dermatitis ?

Anonymous
Anonymous

My 8 year old son was diagnosed with mild autism when he was 2.5 years old. Ever since he was 2 years old i have noticed darkening on the inside of his joints which would worsen when he was sick. A couple of dermatologists said it was atopic dermatitis but I’m not sure. Probiotics were the only thing which cleared up the darkening and also his easy excitability. He had stopped flapping and making sounds while on probiotics. Since being on the protocol i have witnessed awakening in terms of more awareness, more questions, and better understanding. Unfortunately the darkening… Read more »

Olivia
Olivia

Dr. Nemechek, I have been giving my daughter (age 6) probiotics, fish oil and EVOO for the past 4 months to control a fungal infection. She is not developmentally delayed. My son (age 8) is on the protocol. My daughter has an intestinal fungal infection. Her symptoms are stomach upset and yellowed teeth and her blood work shows the cause. The histamine-degrading probiotics have helped her. I recently switched her to inulin and her teeth are again yellowing. Is this protocol not for those with only fungal infections or do I need to keep upping the inulin to see the… Read more »

Jennifer Testerman
Jennifer Testerman

Will inulin still be effective in a system with very little Bifidobacteria? I am a non-secretor, FUT2 +/+, and suffer from Collagenous Colitis, SIBO, and several of the other symptoms I have noted in your videos/blog posts. I am so grateful to hear you speak against probiotics— they made me very ill.

Ellen
Ellen

How do you feel about Houston Enzymes that digest in the stomach not intestines. And I also have to question on the oils. Every time my son takes oil of any kind he burps and regurgitates. ..any suggestions and should I just give it to him even though he does this. Thank you for your help!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Dear Dr Nemechek, I read your book and thought it was amazing! My son just turned 16 and is Apraxic and Autistic non-verbal. We do drink 5 oz Keifer a day which seems to make his chronic constipation worse. I take the Kiefer and it makes me feel so good I am thinking he should take it to… Any thoughts on this? Milk also stuffs him up. Could this be the SIBO? I also had a question about behaviors because my son is so sensitive. Every time I do any kind of different protocol I end up stopping because of… Read more »

Heather
Heather

Dr. Nemechek, I have a confirmed yeast allergy (from IgG and igE) so haven’t been taking any kindof probiotic/fermented food. What should I do to get the good bacterias in me? Thanks so much for any help.

Monica baker
Monica baker

Hello Dr Nemchek. First of all thank you so much for making this information available and taking the time to respond to everyone. It’s rare to see a doctor that takes the time to think outside the box and has such a big heart to truly help.people without concern for his bottom line. We have spent thousands of dollars we didn’t have in the last few years on doctors that were not able to help is much. I will be buying your book tonight and I have started the boys on the inulin 1/4 tsp today. They have been on… Read more »

Jesica La Rue
Jesica La Rue

Aloha. We purchased your book and started the protocol a few ago for our 8 yr old, TBI , Autism and Febrile seizures . Dosage for Inulin was 1/4 tsp but we reduced to 1/8 tsp due to him breaking out in hives. The hives are red and intense on his ears, face and neck. Is this an allergic reaction or a part of the process?? Thank you for your time

Tiffany
Tiffany

We have recently started your protocol and have seen great gains.
I am curious, we have a history of CDiff and HPylori. Recently someone close to us was diagnosed with HPylori (different source). As a preventative measure I’d like to stick my child on Saccharomyces Boulardii as we spend a deal of time with this person now however do not want to cause other issues.

Please advise.

Jade Perkins
Jade Perkins

Hi, I want to put my children and myself on your Protocol but my naturopath states that the inulin will worsen our strep issues. Is she right?

Thank you.

Debbie
Debbie

Dr. I fear my daughter may have autonomic issues due to lyme and thus may have PANDAS. Then a couple of days later I discovered she has an inguinal hernia and read this will require surgery. I am fearful of the danger of anesthesia. Do u have any advice or concerns I should address if she does require surgery? Thank u so much in advance.

Shannon Petrovic
Shannon Petrovic

Dr. Nemechek, I have a 14 y/o girl dx’D with POTS two years ago. Hers started overnight with extreme dizziness. No gut issues. Those symptoms, upset stomach, nausea, stomach pain, are fairly recent (last 4 months or so). I’ve only just been introduced to your protocol and I’m trying to cram it all in. Is it possible that this has been SIBO all along, but gastro issues wouldn’t present until much later? She did start a probiotic in January and I finally took her off in September along with many other supplements b/c nothing seemed to be helping and she… Read more »

Jodie
Jodie

Dr Nemechek,

What is the process of probiotics causing arthritic symptoms? You’re the first doctor I’ve seen to acknowledge this. I’ve tried a lot of different probiotic brands and each I’ve had to stop due to severe neck, upper back and rib/sternum pain. Some of the pain even still lingers now. My doctors have no explanation for it and think it can’t possibly be from probiotics.

Thanks!

Jodie

Anne Marie
Anne Marie

My son is 11 and carries and Autism diagnosis since age 3. He was also diagnosed with Hereditary Fructose Intolerance at age 9. It is a rare genetic disorder affecting 1:20,000. He can’t eat any foods containing fructose, sucrose or sorbitol. Hence, most plants. Does inulin contain fructose? if so, what other options are there for acceptable prebiotic dietary fiber for him?
thank you

Anonymous
Anonymous

Hi Dr Nemechek
Please could you tell me your thoughts on using KIB500 in place of antibiotics for a 12 year old with ASD who is FODMAP sensitive (causes a lot of burping) and burps a lot with carbohydrates also. I have suspected SIBO for a long time and it was made worse by 9 month PPI treatment to heal an ulcer.
Thanks
Pam

Ruth
Ruth

Dr. Nemecheck,

Can your protocol be used in a 6 year old child with symptoms of heartburn, and gassy. Non Autistic child but in the past had speech delay and some sensory issues. He was doing great and took antibiotics due to ear infection and shortly after that he showed symptoms of heartburn and loss of focus. ( maybe ADHD?)

Thank you

Anonymous
Anonymous

Dr. Nemecheck,
Are digestive enzyme products helpful or harmful with your protocol?
My 8 year old son has autism and has been on MB12 shots daily and Kirkman EnZym-Complete/DPP-IV 11 w/Isogest for the past 16 months.
Many thanks,
Patricia

Sangeeta jain.
Sangeeta jain.

my son eatsca lot.
frequent urination

Kelsey Emuss
Kelsey Emuss

Dr Nemechek,
Could a Chiropractor understand (be enlisted) to work on the Vagal nerve stimulation?
I am binge reading everything on your blog so I may pop up in a few spots 🙂

Alisa
Alisa

Hello Dr. Nemechek,
I was going to ask the same about acupuncture and acupressure: could either be useful for those of us unable obtain the electronic VNS?

Alisa
Alisa

Learn something new everyday… Thank you!

Anonymous
Anonymous

With your Autism protocol Dr. Nemechek, what are your thoughts on BRAVO yogurt?

Kara
Kara

What are you thoughts on probiotic rich foods (i.e. sauerkraut, etc.)? Would those types of foods not be good to use on this protocol?

lilia
lilia

i just want to tell you about the biofilm; i testify to have seen the biofilm in the fecal matiere of my child, it ‘s like gelatine candies ; this biofilm hide developpement of microorganismes and also parasites and i have found even Tenia and oxyres the health of the child approuve when there is an evacuation of biofilm and the big approuvement was when there is evacuation in matiere fecal of like blach worm (it looks like!!!!!) do you have any information about that !! for the diet; for the time i did not breaks the diet ;how can… Read more »

lilia
lilia

thank you for the answer i’m an algerian microbiologist and my son was diagnosticated as autist in age of 2.5 years(sever degree) and after my research i made a protocol using only a diet (gluten and casein and sugar free) with a large consommation of olive oil extra virgin and with garlic (prebiotic) and curcuma and also a large consommation af green vegetable for my son after the begining of the therapy there was a priod of diarhéé and when i do some simple bacteriologic examination i found a big profileration of candida! now my chil is 6 years old… Read more »

lilia
lilia

what about candida spp developement and also formation of mycelium , it can cause permeability syndrome (caseiomorphine and glutenomorphin)

Eric B.
Eric B.

Will inulin help this situation.
Expected/Beneficial flora
4+ Bacteroides fragilis group
NG Escherichia coli
4+ Bifidobacterium spp.
4+ Lactobacillus spp.
3+ Enterococcus spp.
1+ Clostridium spp.

Commensal (Imbalanced) flora
4+ Enterobacter cloacae complex,isolate 2
4+ Gamma hemolytic strep
3+ Hemolytic Escherichia coli
3+ Lactococcus lactis

Dysbiotic flora
3+ Enterobacter cloacae complex

Anonymous
Anonymous

Hello – how much Inulin for a 60lb child? The powdered inulin?

Mónica Flores
Mónica Flores

Hi doctor, What dosis you use for rifaximin , for a boy with autism and 60 lb Weight.

Regards

Monica

Tim
Tim

Thanks for clarifying.

Less of a comment, more of a request – I’d be curious to hear your thoughts and wisdom in a blog post on food sensitivities and food sensitivity testing (such as the ones offered by Cyrex labs).

Tim
Tim

This is a really interesting blog post.

Just curious – what is the reason for inulin only feeding the right kind of bacteria? Shouldn’t it feed bacteria indiscriminately? (when you mention “Inulin is a fiber that can only be eaten by the healthy bacteria that normally inhabit the small intestine, not the invading bacteria from the colon”)

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