- Tuesday, 01 July 2008
The large intestine is teeming with life. Over 400 microorganisms – including bacteria, mold, yeast, and fungus - live in the large intestine, feeding off the remains of your food. The more you feed them, the faster they spread. The microbial strains existing in your colon are a direct result of what you eat. Eating the same types of foods repeatedly causes certain strains to spread. Foods such as baked goods (sugar), cheese (mold), bread (sugar and yeast), mushrooms (fungus), and alcohol (sugar and yeast) feed those microorganisms that can create a condition called dysbiosis, or an imbalance in the ratio of healthy to unhealthy microorganisms. Unfortunately, these little buggers can have a significant impact on the body. Many strains release gaseous by-products that can enter your bloodstream causing a variety of symptoms ranging from allergic reactions to eczema or worse.
Not all intestinal microorganisms are dangerous. In fact, our goal is for 80% of microflora to be of the beneficial varieties. People with flourishing intestinal colonies of beneficial bacteria are better equipped to fight the growth of disease-causing bacteria. These healthy microfloras protect the immune system by reinforcing the protective barrier of the intestinal mucosa helping to prevent the entry of pathogenic microorganisms into the blood.
Probiotics are the opposite of antibiotics and are defined as live microorganisms. Probiotic bacteria favorably alter the intestinal microbial balance, inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, promote good digestion, boost immune function, and increase resistance to infection.
Probiotics available as nutritional supplements and found in foods such as yogurt are primarily the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species. Plain, organic yogurt provides a good source of probiotics. Different brands of yogurt can vary greatly in their bacteria strain and potency. Some yogurts, particularly fruit-bottomed, do not contain any live bacteria or contain an adulterated form unrecognizable by the body. If you choose to supplement, depending on the brand, two to four capsules in divided doses gives added intestinal and immune protection.