Friendly bacteria occur naturally in the body, but when levels start to fall and/or the balance of good versus bad bacteria is disrupted, it is important to supplement your levels of friendly bacteria. This can be done in two ways: either through probiotic foods or probiotic supplements.
Probiotic foods are foods that contain live bacterial cultures because they have been fermented in some way. Examples include kefir, natural yogurt, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso, and kombucha. Including these foods in your diet can help to support digestive health, by providing you with access to additional beneficial flora.
So Why Taking Probiotic Supplements?
One thing you and I struggle with is, it is not always easy to incorporate enough probiotic-rich foods in your daily diet. And even if you are eating these probiotic-rich foods, do you know what strains of friendly bacteria you are getting, or what levels of bacteria are provided?
What's more, while we'll certainly enjoy the benefits of the probiotics while eating these probiotic-rich foods, they do not normally take up residence in your gut - this is because they can't always survive the passage through your stomach acid. As a result, you only tend to get the benefit while they are going through your digestive system. Once eliminated, you would need to ensure a renewed supply to continue benefiting.
The Different Types of Friendly Bacteria That are Found Include:
Lactobacilli: These are the main good bacteria living in a healthy stomach and small gut. Its strains include: L. acidophilus, L. casei, L. delbrueckii, L. plantarum, L. rhamnosus, L. salivarius and L. sporogenes.
Bifidobacteria: These are the main good bacteria living in a healthy bowel. Levels naturally fall with age and long-term ill health. These strains of friendly bacteria help to make some vitamins, especially B-vitamins and so may be of extra help following a course of antibiotics or infection. The strains include B. brevis, B. longum and B. infantis.(friendly bacteria for kids).
Probiotics For Gut Health
Friendly bacteria ferment fibrous foods, transforming them into special substances called organic acids. These stimulate the growth of the gut lining, reduce gut pH and hinder the growth and survival of pathogenic organisms. Probiotics also do this by competing with pathogens for space and food, by producing antibiotic-like substances and by raising the acidity of the large gut, helping to make the gut undesirable to them.
Friendly Bacteria Role
Friendly bacteria play an important role in maintaining optimum health. In particular, they are essential for nutrient absorption and immunity.
When all is well, there is a balance of "good" versus "bad" bacteria. The good bacteria are required in sufficient numbers to ensure that the bad bacteria (and other pathogens) are not permitted to grow, flourish and spread, leading to illness.
This is a delicate balance and one which is easily disrupted by a range of potential factors, both internal and external. For example, stress, medication (such as antibiotics), toxicity, diet, illness, age, smoking, and many others.
The Long-Lasting, Full-Spectrum Support
It is preferable to rely on high-strength, multi-strain probiotic capsules, that have been specially encapsulated to survive stomach acid. In this way, you can be certain of the strains provided, the areas of the body covered and the levels of good bacteria per capsule. These friendly bacteria will also colonize the gut, ensuring they will grow and multiply and you will enjoy a long-term benefit.
We would love to hear from you. Are you taking your probiotics yet?
Majdi Shahein | Naturopathic Doctor and a Detox Specialist with Detoxification Works ®