I do use it on my kids. I’m comfortable with these oils for kids, but of course feel free to do research if that’s something you’re concerned about.
Of all the ferments I make, this Garlic Sauerkraut is the star. It’s jam-packed with an intensely rich beneficial bacterial profile, including a special one from the yeast family: Saccharomyces Boulardii.
S. Boulardii is a phenomenal little probiotic, known in particular for keeping Candida yeast overgrowth in check. (You can read more about S. Boulardii in this great post by Joanie Baxter at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.) So many people today face long-term battles with Candida overgrowth: those who eat a Standard American Diet (SAD), which halts the proliferation of healthy bacteria in the gut; those who are facing chronic health conditions such as Autoimmune Disease, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Lyme Disease, and more.
In addition to the vast bacterial profile that sauerkraut contains, the addition of garlic makes it a one-two-punch for fighting candida yeast overgrowth. But, because of the intense die-off it can cause, it’s best for those with candida to start with consuming just one tablespoon daily and slowly increase over time.
Fermented Sauerkraut can help to not only lower candida overgrowth, but prevent it.
In addition to its rich probiotic profile, sauerkraut is loaded with digestive enzymes, lactic acid, Vitamin C, B Vitamins,
One last thing worth mentioning: as a Lyme patient with lots of unhealthy bacteria and yeast wreaking havoc in my body, this is a really beneficial ferment for me to consume.
Essentially, if you face any health issues whatsoever, this is a “supplement” worth having in your arsenal.
- 1 head of organic green cabbage
- approximately 2 tablespoons salt
- 3 cloves organic garlic, sliced
- large bowl
- Cabbage tamper or French rolling pin or use your hands
- 2 2-liter Fido jars
- 1 5-liter Fido jar (I think a 3-liter would work even better, but 5 is what I had)
- Thinly slice the cabbage, wedging out the core.
- Place the shredded cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of salt. (Do not use iodized salt for this. You want unrefined sea salt.)
- Using a cabbage tamper, the end of a French rolling pin, or, if you’re really cut out for a work out, your hands, pound the cabbage until the liquid starts to release. This step helps the cellulose in the cabbage start to break down.
- In the 5-liter Fido jar, layer the cabbage and the sliced garlic. Press the cabbage down.
- Lock the jar, label the date on the jar (I use a Sharpie on a strip of masking tape), store the jar in a dark cabinet, and mark the calendar for four weeks. It’s important that you wait four full weeks both for the flavor and the bacterial profile.
Kristen Michaelis of Food Renegade has a great article highlighting the most common fermenting mistakes.
How do our bodies use B12? Mayo Clinic writes that “Vitamin B12 is frequently used in combination with other B vitamins in a vitamin B complex formulation. Vitamin B12 is important in DNA synthesis. Vitamin B12 is bound to the protein in food. Acid in the stomach releases B12 from protein during digestion.”
As a Chronic Lyme Disease patient, I’ve learned firsthand about the importance of Vitamin B12 for gut health (which Lyme wreaks havoc on) and nerve health. When I had carpal tunnel surgery ten years ago, not one of my three doctors thought to test my B12 levels. It wasn’t until three years ago in my search for answers to my health issues that I asked my health care provider to test my B12, and it was high, despite not being on any supplements. I found out through the thyroid patient support groups that it can be a symptom of having methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene mutation. So I tested through 23andme and, sure enough, I have it. (Read more here to learn about the conditions MTHFR can cause.)
For me, B12 supplementation (with methyl-B12) has made a tremendous difference. It stops my restless leg syndrome and light-headedness (my head feels like a balloon that is about to pop when my B12 is low), improves my weakness, tiredness, sore calves, rapid heart rate, breathlessness, and more, including many symptoms I thought were due to my chronically low iron (thank you, Lyme Disease and heavy metals).
We can also find B12 in fish, shellfish, meat, eggs, and dairy products, but I personally choose meat and eggs from pastured animals, wild-caught fish, and unadulterated dairy from pastured cows or goats because I know those products are healthier and nutrient-dense.
By the way, I’m not a medical professional. Please read my disclaimer.
That being said, in my research for my own health which I share with you here, I’ve found that B12 deficiency can cause:
Symptoms of B12 deficiency:
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Numbness or tingling in hands or feet
- Rapid heart beat
- Difficulty breathing, feeling out of breath
- Weakness, tiredness
- Pale skin
- Sore tongue
- Depression, anxiety, mania, hallucinations
- Poor memory, concentration
- Poor balance or coordination
- Diarrhea, constipation
- Upset stomach
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
- Menstrual irregularity
- Ringing in ears (tinnitus)
- Sore calves
At-Risk for B12 deficiency
- History of acid blockers
- Low stomach acid (common in hypothyroid patients, the elderly, those with gut health issues)
- A diet low in meat and animal protein, esp. vegetarian or vegan
- Celiac Disease
- Use of Birth Control
- Use of Nitrous Oxide anesthesia (which inactivates B12)
- Stomach Surgery
- Pregnant and post-partum women (increases B12 needs), especially those women taking supplements high in folic acid – particularly women with post-partum depression
- Age over 50
- Pernicious Anemia
- Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
- Peptic Ulcer
- Transcobalamin Deficiency
Those with hypothyroidism, vegetarians or vegans, and the elderly are at risk for low stomach acid.
This documentary about B12 deficiency is really informative.
Labs for B12 issues
Again, I’m not a medical professional. But as a patient, I understand that serum B12 labs are not always enough to rule out a deficiency because the lab is checking serum levels, not tissue levels of B12. Here is a list of labs that might be helpful, according to the video linked above:
- Serum B12
- Methylmalonic Acid
- Unsaturated B12 Binding Capacity
Links on methylation/MTHFR gene mutation:
- MTHFR Support
- http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/mthfr/ (See links at the bottom of the page for more reading)
- Heart Fixer – Dr. James Roberts
Links on Methylation and Digestion: