Nutrient - Friendly bacteria
Roughly 2kg of bacteria (flora) live in our gut – usually in a balance of ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Healthy, balanced gut flora is essential for optimum health.
Good or ‘friendly’ bacteria are known as ‘probiotics’. There are two main families of good bacteria – Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium. Within each family, there are several different strains of bacteria.
Antibiotics easily destroy friendly bacteria. Once this happens, bad bacteria, as well as resident parasites, moulds and yeasts, such as Candida albicans, flourish and take over the gut environment. Overgrowth of these organisms (pathogens) is thought to be the reason behind many health complaints, particularly as these pathogens make toxic substances, which are harmful to the gut and thus to overall health.
Good bacteria help keep levels of pathogens down. They ferment fibrous foods to special substances called ‘organic acids’, which stimulate the growth of the gut lining, reduce gut pH and hinder the growth and survival of pathogenic organisms. Good bacteria also make certain antibiotic-like substances and raise the acidity of the large gut, helping to make the gut undesirable for pathogens.
Friendly bacteria in food, like live yoghurt, do not always survive passage through stomach acid. So taking a daily supplement of friendly bacteria may help optimise a healthy gut.