Well Body

Tag: immune health

How to Choose a Probiotic

 Probiotics can improve the health of your all-important microbiome but choosing one can be mystifying.  There are hundreds of probiotics on the shelves at your favorite health food store.  Equipped with the right information, you won’t need a degree in biology to choose the best product to get great results without doing harm to your community of friendly bacteria.

Who should take a probiotic?

Probably everyone.  Certainly, everyone with digestive symptoms should take a probiotic reflective of their individual condition.  Even healthy people can benefit from a probiotic to protect against daily assaults and expand diversity to the microbiome.

Contemporary life delivers daily environmental injury; nutrient deficient foods and medications  to challenge our gut balance.  Adding a probiotic to a diet that includes a variety of fermented foods within a fresh, whole food diet creates a solid foundation of diverse organisms. Diversity is key and relying on one food source, such like yogurt with live and active cultures does not provide enough variety of organisms. (https://wellbelly.net/blog/page/2/).

How to choose the right dosage and the right match for me?

The dosage of probiotics varies from 1 to 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units). One billion meets the needs of a healthy digestive tract.  Think closer to 10 billion if you are taking antibiotics or showing signs of an imbalanced microbiome (https://wellbelly.net ). Pricing and marketing claims can be tricky so it’s important to read the label to determine how many capsules it will take to get the dosage you need.  A less expensive product may be misleading as it may take several capsules to reach an adequate dosage or not contain human strains.

How to take an oral probiotic. 

Avoid taking an oral probiotic at the same time as taking an antibiotic.  Mixed together the antibiotic will destroy many of the CFU’s in the probiotic.

Best to take the probiotic away from a meal so less harm is done to the CFU’s by gastric acid and digestive enzymes.  Right before bed can be ideal.

Storage has become more convenient.  Extreme heat and light exposure can damage the organisms but most products, today, are safe at room temperature if packaged in a dark container.  Requiring refrigeration does not make a probiotic more effective, but following the directions on the package does preserve the efficacy.

What bacterial strains should be contained in my probiotic?

The best products contain a minimum of seven, varied bacteria strains most common to humans.

Many probiotics will be derived from soil-based organisms (SBOs).  SBOs are generally less expensive but are not naturally found in the human digestive tract and have never been part of the symbiotic relationship.  SBOs are in the form of spores which can compete with the normal residential community of organisms.  This competition  can be detrimental to the microbiome that is out of balance.  Once established, the SBO spores can be difficult to get rid as they  occupy precious space that human strains need to flourish. Ask the store personnel to direct you to the human strain probiotics.

The research surrounding the microbiome is evolving on a daily basis.  Current thinking indicates that there are at least 500 species of bacteria and yeast that comprise the average 2.2 pounds of microbiome.

Two dominate families of friendly bacteria organisms comprise human strain probiotics, lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.  The following describes the strengths of the most common strains.


Lacto Bulgaricus, Acidophilus and Casei assist with lactose intolerance.  In addition, Acidophilus may be helpful at reducing cholesterol and Casei supports brain function. Lacto Plantarum can reduce inflammation and Rhamnosus supports the immune system, GI health and eczema.


Bifido Lactis and Bifidum support immunity, Longum supports brain function and constipation and Beve supports GI health and has anti-aging properties.


Streptoccus thermophilus which is not related to strep throat is a friendly bacteria that assists lactobacillus bulgar by making nutrients that assist with growth.

Saccharomyces boulardii is a yeast that competes with candida albican (an opportunistic yeast), supports immunity, GI health and reduces diarrhea.


Some products contain pre-biotics which are nutrients to foster growth of friendly bacteria.  More information on pre-biotics  can be found in the blog dated:

Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to select a perfect match.  The science continues to evolve at this time but is not positioned to offer products with an exact match for every individual need.

Use this information as an engaged consumer in evaluating the multitude of probiotic products and can make an informed purchase that will contribute to your overall health.

Keep it simple: Consider the primary reason you are considering probiotics and select a product that has dominate numbers of CFUs which reflect your general condition.  Probiotics are good for you and should be considered an important tool for maintaining health.

Magical Sleep

Tranquil scene of a young woman dreaming and sleeping on a cloud up in the sky

Oh, for a Good Nights Sleep!  Waking refreshed from deep, restful sleep really is magical to rejuvenate the body and mind. Add some magic to your nighttime habits with these six tips:

1. Warm Bath Warmth coaxes your body to relax.  Dissolve one cup of epsom salts in your bath water and you will benefit from magnesium, the relaxation mineral.  A few drops of essential oil of lavender in the water engages your sense of smell to enhance the relaxation experience.

2. Sleep Snacks Choosing small bites of the right snacks enhances sleep chemistry.  A warm glass of milk, cherries, walnuts and honey are high in  the amino acid tryptophan.  Tryptophan makes  melatonin… your natural sleep sedative hormone. Remember the turkey coma after Thanksgiving dinner?  It was the high levels of tryptophan in the turkey that did it.

Potassium and magnesium are minerals that promote relaxation.  Sweet potatoes, low sodium popcorn (oil popped), rice cakes and potato chips are high in both potassium and magnesium.

Pistachios are high in the vitamin B-6 required to make melatonin.  If you do not recall your dreams, you may be low in B-6.

Dark Chocolate, one ounce of 70%  or greater cocoa, is a superstar snack containing potassium and magnesium while promoting serotonin, which proceeds the production of melatonin.  Yum.

3. Lights Out Total darkness stimulates your brain to produce the sleep hormone, melatonin.  Yes, that translates into no reading, TV, computer, Kindle or Facebook on your smart phone thirty minutes before going to bed.

4. Soothing Sounds Your choice: nature sounds, soothing instrumentals or white noise intices the brain to surrender into a relaxed rhythm.

5. Sleep on Your Left Side  Sleeping on your left side aids digestion thus reducing heartburn. Left-side sleeping, also, works with gravity to move lymph fluid along it’s natural course toward the heart.  Circulation of lymph fluid boosts  immune activity and the elimination of toxins.

6. Count Sheep One by one, appreciate the positive things in your life.  Research has shown gratefulpeople sleep better.

Developing sleep habits creates body memory to expedite your transition into quality sleep.  As you practice your sleep ritual it will, soon, take less effort to fall asleep and enjoy better sleep.   Good night, sweet dreams.

Zinc…More May Not Be Good

Zinc…More May Not Be Good To Manage Your Cold

It is important to read the labels of all natural cold remedies to know how much zinc you are taking to manage your cold (use the information below on zinc for best results and avoid damaging the balance of micro-organisms in your gut).

Zinc is one of 24 micronutrients essential for survival.  It is found in meat, egg and legumes.  Oysters are particularly high in zinc.  The benefits of zinc include:  optimal function of the enzyme, hormone and immune systems; a potent antioxidant; testosterone booster; treatment of acne; and an anti-microbal effect similar to an antibiotic.

Like many nutrients, some is good, too much may be harmful.  High doses of zinc can can change the gut microbiome and even make the gut susceptible to infections such as Clostridium difficile or C. Diff.

Which brings us to how high much is too much?

The most frequently recommended dosage of elemental zinc is in two to three small doses equaling a total of 50 mg. per day.

However, different forms of zinc result in varying doses as follows:

50mg elemental zinc in the form of zinc citrate, equals146 mg zinc citrate.

50mg elemental zinc in the form of zinc sulfate, equals 220 mg zinc sulfate.

50mg elemental zinc in the form of zinc gluconate, equals 385 mg zinc gluconate.

50mg elemental zinc in the form of zinc monomethione, equals 238 mg zinc monomethionine.

Dr. Sandy’s Cold & Healthy Gut Remedy*:

  • L-lysine, 2000mg. twice daily to discourage virus replication
  • Vitamin D-3, 5000mg. twice daily to activate immune activity
    • (D-3 5000, 1 cap AM & PM)
  • Vitamin C 1-2000 mg. as tolerated, twice daily to boost the immune system
    • (Bio C 1:1, 2 caps AM & PM)
  • Saccharomycin boulardii, 500mg., daily, to prepare the gut lining to house healthy bacteria
    • (Saccharomycin DF 1 daily)
  • Probiotics to restore health bacteria
    • (ProbioMax DF, 1 cap daily)
  • 50 mg. of elemental zinc, an antimicrobial similar to an antibiotics.
    • (Zinc Glycinate, 1 cap AM & PM)

*High-quality, bio-available recommended brand and dosage is in bold and available through the Xymogen e-store.  Good quality L-Lysine can be purchased at your health-food store.

Enjoy your holidays cold-free:  identify the form of zinc in your remedy and take the appropriate amount to maintain a healthy gut.


New research shows that children who have developed a diverse micro biome are resistant to developing asthma, food allergies, eczema and other immune-related conditions.

Children acquire their micro biome at birth, optimally as they travel down the birth-canal and drink breast milk.  No mater the circumstances of birth, however, a healthy micro biome can be developed at any stage of life.  Here are six ways:

  1. Plan meals with lots of fiber and vegetables.  Picky eaters?  Disguise vegetable in a fruit smoothie.
  2. Use antibiotics only when necessary.  Explore herbs and homeopathic alternatives to treat colds and flu. These natural remedies can be powerful and shorten the duration of symptoms.
  3. Get a dog.  This one will make you a hero in your house.  Contact with dogs increases a child’s friendly-bacteria diversity.
  4. 4 Encourage outdoor play.  Again, increased exposure to diverse bacterias.
  5. Wash hands with plain soap and water, not antibacterial.  Antibacterial soap destroys the natural micro biome that lives on the skin and often contain unwanted chemicals.
  6. Don’t fear dirt.  But still wash produce before eating.


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