Probiotics-The Good Bacteria
Antibiotic drugs are sometimes necessary to kill bacteria in the body. Antibiotics may also compromise the “flora” in the intestinal tract. “Flora” is the term for the friendly & beneficial (good) bacteria that live in the intestinal tract. These intestinal flora produce vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, K, folic acid & biotin. In addition, intestinal flora may also ward off pathogens by producing bacteriocin, a natural antibiotic.
The good bacteria found in the intestinal tract may also secrete chemicals that can inhibit pathogens. When there is a disruption in intestinal homeostasis, digestive & absorptive functions may be compromised in addition to vital immune functions.
LACTOBACILLUS &BIFIDOBACTERIA SPECIES
Lactobacillus & Bifidobacteria species are referred to as beneficial bacteria or “probiotics.” They produce important nutrients & enzymes that contribute to an optimal intestinal environment. In addition, Lactobacillus & Bifidobacteria species have individual functions that collectively produce beneficial effects in the body. Bifidobacteria represents approximately one-fourth of the beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract.
Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) help to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. They are composed of carbohydrates that cannot be broken down by enzymes. Because they are indigestible, they pass through the intestinal tract intact until they reach the colon. In the colon, the beneficial bacteria use FOS as a growth nutrient. Potentially harmful bacteria & yeast such as Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, E. Coli, & Candida do not use FOS.
-Fermented dairy such as yogurt; also miso, natto, sauerkraut and other naturally fermented foods
-Take foods and herbs that contain antibiotic properties separate from probiotic-containing supplements or foods
-Do get moderate exercise regularly
-Avoid stress & sustained tension
-Try to get adequate sunlight