Ramilas Health Tips

Ramila's Healing Arts Clinic


There's been quite a lot of recent news about the importance of digestive health in relation to other seemingly unrelated aspects of health, such as emotional health and cognitive function. I thought it would be helpful to look at the role of probiotics and how they affect our overall health.
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Volume 8, Issue 6

Ramila Padiachy

Doctorate of Natural Medicine (DNM)®

Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic

1437 Woodroffe Avenue
Ottawa ON (map)


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What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. The word probiotics comes from pro biota, which means "for life". Although people tend to think of bacteria and other microorganisms as harmful "germs", many microorganisms help our bodies function properly. For example, bacteria that are normally present in our intestines help digest food, destroy disease-causing microorganisms (e.g., E. coli, some yeasts, other unfriendly microbes), and produce vitamins. Many of the microorganisms in probiotic products are the same as or similar to microorganisms that naturally live in our bodies.
What is in probiotics? The most common are bacteria that belong to groups called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These are broad groups that include many types of bacteria. Lactobacillus may be the most common probiotic, and is found in yogurt and other fermented foods. Bifidobacterium can also be found in some dairy products.
What are prebiotics and synbiotics? Prebiotics are dietary substances that favour the growth of beneficial bacteria over harmful ones. Synbiotics are products that combine probiotics and prebiotics.

Do you need probiotics?

stomach troublesThe health of the intestinal tract is largely dependent on maintaining a healthy balance of friendly microorganisms, or friendly flora. Several factors can kill these friendly microbes which can cause us to develop chronic yeast overgrowth, compromising both bowel health and general immune resistance.
Probiotic supplements replace friendly microbes. Standard recommendations for taking probiotics include:
  • after taking any antibiotics
  • when travelling, to help protect the body against infections from drinking water and food
  • for anyone suffering from yeast or fungal infections, or for people with chronic sinus problems, weak immunity, or other chronic infections
  • if you are exposed to chlorinated or fluoridated water, especially in a hot shower, which is worse than drinking it
  • if you use antibacterial soap
  • if you eat conventionally-raised meats and other animal products, since such animals are routinely fed low-dose antibiotics, plus genetically engineered grains which have also been implicated in the destruction of gut flora
  • if you consume processed foods (excessive sugars, plus otherwise "dead" nutrients feed pathogenic (bad) bacteria)
  • if you're exposed to agricultural chemicals

How to help your gut flora

In addition to avoiding as many of the harmful factors as possible, eat fermented foods (traditionally made, unpasteurized) such as kefir, various pickles, lassi (an Indian yogurt drink), and natto (fermented soy). If you don't eat fermented foods regularly, take a good quality probiotic.
Gut bacteria affect brain functioning and mental health
We all know that our mental state can affect our digestive system. For example, stress and other emotions can contribute to gastrointestinal symptoms such as butterflies in our stomachs. However, recent research has linked the health of gut flora to brain functioning and mental health - this means the gut-brain connection is a two-way street.
We tend to think the brain is in charge. However, you may have also heard of "the second brain" in the gut. There are two nervous systems: the central nervous system and the enteric nervous system. They are connected by the vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from the brain stem down to the abdomen. This is the route the gut bacteria use to transmit information to the brain.  
Just as you have neurons in your brain, you also have neurons in your gut, including neurons that produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, which is also found in your brain. It is reported that the greatest concentration of serotonin (related to mood control, depression, and aggression) is found in your intestines, not your brain. This may be one reason why antidepressants, which raise serotonin levels in your brain are often ineffective in treating depression, whereas proper dietary changes often help.
Emotional shifts experienced by people with irritable bowel syndrome, as well as other bowel problems, such as diarrhea and constipation, may be triggered by the enteric nervous system, rather than the other way around. Historically, it was believed that anxiety and depression contributed to these bowel problems but now researchers are see that the connection may also be the other way around.
Digestive system activity may also affect cognition - thinking skills and memory.  When the composition of the microorganisms in the gut is not ideal, it can promote inflammation which, in turn, can result in cognitive decline. In fact, inflammation is linked with many major diseases (cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as dementia) which underscores the importance of a well-balanced digestive system.
It's hard to do justice to such a large topic in a short newsletter. For more comprehensive information about the extent to which we share our bodies with microbial species, I recommend this article published in the New York Times. I hope you are convinced of the huge importance of keeping your gut healthy, both through good nutrition and well-balanced probiotics.

Supplements for Maintaining a Healthy Gut

Bifidophilus Flora Force

There are some Nature's Sunshine supplements that are very helpful for maintaining a healthy gut.


You can find information about these products and purchase them in our online store:

  • Bifidophilus Flora Force
  • NutriBiome Bacillus Coagulans Probiotics
  • Probiotic 11

For additional information, please email or call Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic at 613.829.0427 for an appointment. Please continue letting friends and family know about this newsletter. Visit our website where you can see back issues of this newsletter, information about services, products, and our clinic, and order products.



  1. DiLonardo MJ. What are probiotics? WebMD Feature  Accessed September 19, 2016.
  2. Probiotics. National Center for Complementary Health, NIH.  Accessed September 19, 2016.
  3. Horne S. Do you need probiotics? Tree of Light Publishing ( Obtained through Nature's Sunshine Products.
  4. Mercola J. Mental health may depend on the health of your gut flora.  November 12, 2015.
  5. Mercola J. Your gut bacteria affects your brain function, the study confirms.  June 20, 2013.
  6. The brain-gut connection.  Accessed September 19, 2016.
  7. Caracciolo B, Xu W. Collins S, Fratiglioni L. Cognitive decline, dietary factors and gut-brain interactions. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development 2014;136-137:59-69.
  8. Pollan M. Some of my best friends are germs. New York Times, May 15, 2013,

Disclaimer: The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.

When health begins, dis-ease ends.

Thanks again to you and Ramila for the treatment. The pain in my arms and shoulders is completely gone and I had pizza yesterday for the first time since I went off dairy last September. WOW!
- Garry F, Toronto

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Happy New Year! We tend to start the year with good intentions and resolutions. Often our resolutions include losing a few pounds that may have crept on over the holidays or the past year, despite our best intentions. What I want to talk about this month is weight management.
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