You won’t believe how probiotics were administered 100 years ago

EarlyEnemaToday most people are aware that probiotics provide a wide array of benefits. And most people know probiotics can be found in a wide array of both foods and supplements.

But you might be surprised to learn that this “recognition” of the benefits of probiotics is not really somethng new–even if the ads on t.v. make it sound like it’s cutting edge technology. The fact is, at least one doctor, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, was incorporating the regular use of probiotics into his practice in the late 180os.

And if you’re not surprised to learn that probiotics were a legitimate medical treatment over 100 years ago, perhaps you’ll be surprised to learn how they were given to the patient: Yogurt with live bacteria (probiotics) was inserted into the rectum of the patient with the use of an enema.

But let’s back up a bit…

Most of us recognize that “probiotic awareness” has grown during the past 10 years. But the curious person has to wonder why, if they were used in medical practice over 100 years ago, they were not widely promoted during the 80-to-100 year period in between?

Just twenty years ago my own U.S.-trained doctor told me to stop listening to “kooky nutritionists” when I dared to suggest probiotics for addressing a digestive issue a relative was experiencing. (I say “U.S.-trained” because doctors in most European countires have a long history of prescribing probiotics.)

JohnHarveyKelloggLRThat was two decades ago. Today, on the heels of mountains of research, medical doctors will once again acknowledge the profound benefits of beneficial bacteria (probiotics). It’s great they have been brought kicking-and-screaming into the “probiotic age.” But where were their combined voices during the lost years?

It’s the classic tale of monopolistic medicine.

At the time of Dr. Kellogg’s flourishing practice, doctors were more independent, and many schools of thought were “allowed” to be presented to the American consumer.

It was before the American Medical Association, government authorities and pharmaceutical interests merged into a medical establishment that permits only the one-size-fits-all approach to medical care… an approach that, not coincidentally, relies wholly on pharmaceuticals.

This pharmaceutical approach is the system that we recognize today in America; however, this wasn’t always the system in America. A hundred years ago choices were abundant, and patients were free to research a treatment and choose a doctor based on references, regardless of what “established” doctors may think. It was in this culture that new ideas flourished. And it was in this culture that probiotics could be considered a real, bonafide part of medical treatment–at least by Dr. Kellogg and his patients.

Reading Dr. Kellogg’s statements on the value of inserting probiotics into the bowel, one might think they were reading an article written by “modern-day” natural health practitioner:

“Thus planting the protective germs where they are most needed and may render most effective service…”

In other words, well over 100 years ago he was promoting the same benefits of probiotics that today we see pasted on virtually every yogurt container and every probiotic supplement.

According to Wikipedia: “Kellogg believed that most disease is alleviated by a change in intestinal flora; that bacteria in the intestines can either help or hinder the body.”

Probiotics&YogurtDr. Kellogg certainly had detractors, and, even today, historians still fuss over his more-eccentric beliefs; however, he was a well-respected surgeon who had many notable patients. His list of patients included President William Howard Taft, Amelia Earhart, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, George Bernard Shaw and Johnny Weissmuller.

Dr. Kellogg was also an early developer and promoter of dried and toasted cereals. He established the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake company, which later became The Kellogg Company (of Corn Flakes fame).

But more important than Dr. Kellogg’s patient list or food creations is the fact that his practice of making nutritiona part of disease treatment has been sustantiated. And it appears the nutrition area in which he was most correct was in the use of “protective germs.”

Fortunately, today you don’t have to resort to yogurt enemas to receive an extra intake of “protective germ” probiotics. You can simply reach for a convenient bottle of Whole Food Multi Complete, which contains eight different strains of probiotics (not to mention dozens of other critical nutrients).



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