Probiotics Are The Good Bacteria We Need
The typical human brain weights about 3 pounds, & a healthy human body will have over 3.5 pounds of probiotic good bacteria & organisms. This and the fact that our heart weights only 0.7 pounds and liver weights about 4 pounds, makes our probiotic bacteria one of the largest organs in our body.
Probiotics are live, active bacteria that live naturally in your gut. Although technically found all over our bodies, probiotics are mostly found in the stomach where they help maintain healthy flora that balances out bad bacteria present. Probiotics consists of "pro", supporting or favoring, and "biotic, pertaining to life or specific life conditions as well as "anti", or opposing or neutralizing life.
There have been lots of research on probiotics and the effect it has on the human body. Researchers believe there are several reasons that probiotics work and normalize digestive activity if their are digestive problems. The natural gut flora serves as a regulator to allow the body to function.
First, probiotics help with the decrease of inflammation. In many instances inflammation is good and necessary and normally helps your body fight off infection. What many people don't realize is that constant high levels of inflammation may cause swelling and pain and damage tissues. Things like Psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, and chronic fatigue system are all diseases in which inflammation plays a heavy role. Generally, we don’t want inflammation in the body because it can also cause our proteins to lose their functions and can create free radicals. Too many free radicals result in an increase risk of illness and disease.
Probiotics also affect the spacing between our intestinal cells to create a firm and impenetrable barrier. This spacing holds our intestinal cells together and serves as the seal between the tissues lining our internal surfaces and regulates the flow of large molecules between the bloodstream and the inside of the intestine. This intestinal barrier is influenced by the things we eat and is also influenced by a number of probiotic strains.
But most people are unaware that our digestive systems also houses hundreds of different bacterial species whose primary job is to keep our our intestinal linings healthy, help to break down food, and regulate our immune response. This immune response comes from our body's ability to fight a plethora of toxins that we ingest over our lifetimes.
What are some of those toxic invaders and how do they affect the gut?
One of these is antibiotics. Sure, they save lives. But rampant and often unnecessary antibiotic use is the biggest issue of healthy intestinal flora. The reason is that antibiotics are indiscriminate, killing both good and bad bacteria. It's comparable to a war... Probiotics and Antibiotics. Antibiotics versus Probiotics. Strains of probiotics like Bifidobacterium and Bifidus and Acidolphilus waging a battle with Penicillin and Amoxicillin. Do probiotics work against these invaders?
This then leads to a catch-22 in your body. Let's say you come down with an infection and decide to take antibiotics. Your “community” of bacteria is altered because these drugs kill the good and the bad bacteria. It's indiscriminate. This becomes a vicious cycle because a compromised bacterial community allows you to get infected by antibiotic-requiring harmful bacteria. So do probiotics work in this instance?
Most likely you’ve heard that after taking antibiotics you need to repopulate your intestines with good bacteria to keep from getting sick again and put balance back into your intestinal ecosystem. Most people gravitate towards taking probiotic pills or supplements; however, there are many other sources of healthy bacteria, mainly from foods.
So what else can affect your gut biome? Aside from antibiotics overuse, poor diets, genetics, stress, environmental toxins, and exercise (yes exercise) also wreak havoc on the gut by wearing down the barriers that protect our intestinal walls, eventually causing problems like allergies and leaky gut.
Heavily processed foods, preserved foods, and those filled with chemicals and toxins, damage gut health too. I'm sure you've heard about how things like gluten, processed meats, sugar, most alcohol, mold toxins from coffee and chocolate can affect digestion and gut health. Celiac disease is an example of what can happen when these junctions are compromised. Undigested gluten fragments seep into the underlying tissue, setting off an immune response. This inevitably can lead to a strong likelihood of having a gluten intolerance or worse a gluten allergy. So looking for immune boosting foods geared to strengthen your immune system become even more necessary.
The one thing to remember is that there always will be bad bacteria in our bodies. And really, that's okay. The main objective in having a healthy digestive system is not necessarily eliminate all of the bad bacteria that is living there, but ensure that there are more good bacteria than bad. Over the years, people have begun to gravitate towards probiotic supplements as a way to increase those good bacteria.
In most instances these supplements encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria in your digestive system, which will in turn easy many types of digestive discomfort and, in general, boost overall health. You may be one of the tens of millions of people who regularly use probiotic supplements. However, taking probiotic supplements is not a cure-all or panacea for all digestive issues, and unfortunately many people who use it for that.
But one thing we do know. There are many things that go to change and affect your bacterial make up of your gut. Things like stress, whether or not you change the foods in your diet frequently, food contamination, chlorine in the water, and a whole host of other things play a huge part in how we feel in our gut. So with all of the possibilities of this balance getting out-of-whack, taking a probiotic supplement or eating fermented foods every day is a better solution than not doing it at all.
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- What Are Probiotics?