Sunday, July 1, 2012

Probiotics Destroy Toxic Chemicals in Our Gut!

Worried about toxins in your body?  It seems that probiotics may be a big part of your solution! 

Over the past few months I've been posting recipes for probiotic-rich foods as well as information on the benefits of increasing the numbers of these beneficial bacteria in your gut - I even recommend that you travel with my Homemade Coconut Kefir for heaven's sake! ;)  

Here is yet another reason to eat your fermented foods every day!  It seems that these beneficial bacteria do more that boost our immune system, produce vitamins, break down our foods for more complete digestion, they also act a bit like the old Pac Man video game my kids loved . . . they systematically destroy many of the most harmful toxins we ingest unwittingly!

So the next time you are thinking about entering into a whole body detox program maybe it can be very effective, less expensive, tastier and more simple than you ever imagined . . . after all that jar of ruby red Beet-Ginger Kvass, that jar of thick, creamy and delicious Very Vanilla Almond Milk Kefir or that yummy bowl of Lavender Honey and Lemon Ricotta Gelato are right there to help you!

This article by Sayer Ji is a compilation of clinical data on the subject and is one of the best reasons to eat or drink some probiotic-rich foods TODAY!

Dr. P

It is an awesome fact of nature that we have trillions of organisms within our body – containing completely foreign DNA – some of which break down toxic chemicals that we humans have created to kill other things, but are now killing us, e.g. pesticides. Who are these strange helpers?
Wait. Aren’t bacteria supposed to harm us? Aren’t they the enemy in the endless war against infection?  
Well, when our immunity fails, some can grow out of bounds opportunistically. But they respond to the environment within which they are raised, not unlike most other creatures. Provide organic, wholesome vegetables, for instance, and you have a hotbed of positive activity in your gut. Provide sugar, processed foods and an increasing burden of chemicals and it can get ugly in there!
Also, believe it or not, ancient bacteria teamed up with our cellular ancestors eons ago to produce the energy-producing organelles within our cells called mitochondria. So, are we really that different from bacteria? No, on some level, we ARE bacteria, spurning some researchers to describe us as "meta-organisms," composed as we are of many different living systems working symbiotically.
So, let’s look at some of the amazing feats of these friendly bacteria….
  1. Bisphenol A Toxicity: Absorption/Excretion – Bisphenol A (BPA) is an increasingly omnipresent petrochemical derivative with endocrine-disrupting properties (i.e. it messes up your hormones!) and is found in thermal printer receipts, all world paper currency, plastics, and many other consumer goods.[1] Sadly, it is not a matter of whether or not you will be exposed, but to what degree. Enter the probiotics Bifodobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei. In rats exposed to BPA in their diet, blood concentrations of BPA dropped significantly and it was excreted in their feces 2.4 times more readily than the non-supplemented control group. The researchers concluded that the probiotics "…reduced the intestinal absorption by facilitating the excretion of BPA, and that these probiotics may suppress the adverse effects of BPA on human health."
  2. Bisphenol A Toxicity: Degradation – Novel, bisphenol A-degrading bacterial strains were isolated from the traditional Korean fermented cabbage dish known as kimchi.[2] Three isolates of Bacillus pumilus were shown capable of degrading BPA. The researchers reported that these food-derived bacteria would make efficient and safer systems for the removal of BPA.  Logically, the consumption of kimchi (or the probiotics extracted from kimchi) would enable a human’s gastrointestinal tract to break down this harmful chemical, as well.
  3. Insecticide Toxicity – Here comes kimchi to the rescue again!  In 2009, the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry revealed that the rather nasty insecticide chlorpyrifos (CP), which has been linked to neurological effects, developmental disorders and autoimmune disorders, may be no match for the bacteria that make possible kimchi fermentation.[3] The researchers found the bacteria in kimchi turned CP into lunch (a source of carbon and phosphorous) and degraded it rapidly until day 3 (83.3% gone!) and degraded it completely by day 9! The superheroes in this story were identified as: Lactobacillus brevis WCP902, Lactobacillus plantarum WCP931, and Lactobacillus sakei WCP904.  But then things got even more amazing…..
    These toxin-muching superheroes were found to degrade four other insecticides:
  1. Coumaphos - Insecticide
  2. Diazinon
  3. Parathion
  4. Methylparathion
If you think the chemical-munching and degrading abilities of probiotics are amazing, then consider that probiotics perform thousands of vital functions within our body, and have been clinically researched to prevent and/or reduce the symptoms of close to 200 different diseases.  You can view the first-hand research on the benefits of probiotics on's research page dedicated to the topic.

[1] Effect of probiotics, Bifidobacterium breve and Lactobacillus casei, on bisphenol A exposure in rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2008 Jun;72(6):1409-15. Epub 2008 Jun 7. PMID: 18540113
[2] Degradation of bisphenol A by Bacillus pumilus isolated from kimchi, a traditionally fermented food. Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2007 Jan;136(1):39-51. PMID: 17416976
[3] Biodegradation of chlorpyrifos by lactic acid bacteria during kimchi fermentation. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Mar 11;57(5):1882-9. PMID: 19199784


  1. Others may not be familiar with its benefits but yes, probiotics definitely destroy and prevent toxic chemicals in our gut. In effect, it makes our gut healthy and eventually, our immune system become stronger.

  2. Thanks for your input Valerie!