Ask Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo
Q: I've been reading a lot about probiotics lately. I noticed that you have four different probiotics - why? Do I need to take a probiotic every day? What are the benefits of taking your supplements as opposed to another probiotic - or just eating yogurt?
A: The term "probiotic" means "in favor of life". It was coined in 1910, by a Russian physician named Metchnikoff, who promoted a theory of longevity that associated prolonged life and improved health with decreased gastrointestinal toxicity. He suggested that the aging process could be slowed with fermented foods that contain friendly bacteria.
At the time, blood type wasn't understood, however, further research has found that your blood type antigens are actually prominent in your digestive tract and, in about 80% of individuals (secretors), are also prominent in the mucus that lines your digestive tract. Because of this, many of the bacteria in your digestive tract actually use your blood type as a preferred food supply. In fact, blood group specificity is common among intestinal bacteria with almost ½ of strains tested showing some blood type A, B, or O specificity.
To give you an idea of the magnitude of the blood type influence on intestinal micro flora, it has been estimated that someone with blood type B will have up to 50,000 times more of some strains of friendly bacteria than either blood type A or O individuals.
Second, some strains of beneficial bacteria actually can have lectin-like hemagglutinin activity directed against your blood type, so avoiding those is a good idea. Polyflora Blood Type Specific Probiotics (O | A | B | AB) also blend "prebiotics" (foods which provide special growth factors for probiotic bacteria) that are right for each type.
Yes, I recommend that you take probiotics daily. Even using strains of friendly bacteria that have a great ability to survive digestion and colonize your digestive tract, there is a tendency for a gradual decline in the quantity of these bacteria over time. This decline is substantially worsened with stress, poor dietary choices, antibiotics and other drugs. In today's world, with all of its modern pressures, the ability to maintain an optimal intestinal microbial balance is almost always taxed. It has also actually been estimated that we consume 1 million times LESS healthy bacteria in our diet today than our ancient ancestors consumed.
Regular use of probiotics has shown to restore intestinal balance, which results in prevention of the adherence of unwanted microorganisms, the production of a wide array of antibacterial and antifungal compounds, and improved resistance against bacteria like E.coli, Salmonella, and H. pylori.