One of the things I appreciate most about writing articles for Naturally Savvy is that I can share my personal experiences with you. I entered the natural health industry because of my own poor health and I am living proof that educating yourself and following a balanced lifestyle will lead to long term benefits in energy, vitality and overall wellbeing. I feel privileged to be able to share my experiences with you.
On that note, let me tell you about how probiotics recently helped me to conquer cholera and E.coli. I was in Africa for three weeks over Christmas and had a wonderful time but brought back the unexpected souvenirs of cholera and E.coli. Symptoms included severe watery diarrhea, nausea, muscle cramps and unbelievable dehydration. I found it ironic that I suffered from these afflictions considering I am a digestive care specialist.
Luckily I was aware that there was an outbreak of cholera in Zanzibar, knew what the symptoms were and acted quickly to overcome them. During my stay, the island was without power for more than a month with only intermittent power provided by a generator. This made water and food sanitation rather unreliable. Lucky for me, my symptoms started only once I got back home so I had access to clean drinking water, which was very important to my recovery.
When my symptoms started, I went to my naturopath who advised me to stay properly hydrated and keep my electrolytes balanced. Chemically, electrolytes are substances that become ions in solution and acquire the capacity to conduct electricity. Electrolytes are present in the human body, and the balance of the electrolytes is essential for the normal function of our cells and our organs. I rehydrated with coconut water and Vega Sport Performance Optimizer, a natural, plant-based powder that I mixed into my water to help balance my electrolytes. My naturopath also put me on Saccharomyces boulardii, a probiotic which restores and maintains the natural good bacteria in the large and small intestine.
Saccharomyces boulardii is a tropical strain of yeast first isolated from the lychee and mangosteen fruits in 1923 by French scientist Henri Boulard. He isolated the yeast after he observed natives of Southeast Asia chewing on the skin of lychees and mangosteens in an attempt to control the symptoms of cholera-perfect for my condition! There have also been numerous randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled studies showing the efficacy of Saccharomyces boulardii in the treatment and prevention of gastrointestinal disorders such as acute diarrhea, recurrent clostridium difficile infection, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (I.B.S.), travelers’ diarrhea, antibiotic-associated diarrhea and HIV/AIDS-associated diarrhea.
Along with the Saccharomyces boulardii, I took extra probiotics in the form of Ultimate Flora Critical Care: a 10 strain, 50 billion strength probiotic formula that also helped to balance the good bacteria in my gut. With all of this good bacteria and rehydration, I was better in days and started to regain some of the weight I had lost so quickly (seven pounds in just three days) due mostly to water. Going forward, I am staying on a high dose of probiotics for about a month to ensure my good bacteria is strong. This is important when you consider that 70-80% of the immune system is in your digestive tract.
All in all, I learned a lot from my illness and now realize that even the best laid plans can go awry when dealing with an exotic diet, foreign water and a cholera outbreak.
1] http://www.medicinenet.com/electrolytes/article.htm – accessed 4 Feb 2010