The human digestive tract ranges from 25-35 feet and houses over 400 species of bacteria. In total there are over a 100 billion organisms in our digestive tract. The use of antibiotics is equivalent to pouring bleach into a fish tank in order to kill an overgrowth of algae. The bleach not only kills the algae but everything else that is present in that environment. Probiotics are small organisms that help maintain the natural balance of other organism in the intestines. The use of probiotics provides a safe and natural approach to curb the population of unwanted bacteria that cause microbial infections. It is necessary for people taking antibiotics to alternate with probiotics because antibiotics are unable to discriminate against good bacteria and bad bacteria in the intestinal tract.
Favorable bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidus counter the sanitizing effects of antibiotic therapy. Other probiotics that are naturally found in the intestines and also found in supplemental form include: Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus casei, Streptococcus faecium, and Bifidobacterium infantif.
The largest group of probiotic bacteria in the intestine is lactic acid bacteria that produce lactic acid as a result of carbohydrate fermentation. Lactobacilli acidophilus are small organisms that stop the growth of harmful bacteria and increase resistance to infections. This active culture can be found in some yogurts and available in supplemental liquid, powder or tablet form. L. acidophilus is part of the natural flora of the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts. Lactobacillus acidophilus has been used to treat Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) and yeast infections for decades. Compared to the pharmaceuticals available, the use of probiotics can help you achieve desired outcomes without any side effects.
The human digestive tract consists of Lactobacillus casei, a natural flora that prevents an overpopulation of ingested lactic acid bacteria from gaining residence in the gastrointestinal tract. Live Lactobacillus casei reduces diarrhea and helps modify microflora in the body. Lactobacillus casei produces DL-lactic acid and amylase that complements the growth of Lactobacillus acidophilus.
Deficient growth of good bacteria can be due to the following:
- Poor diet
- Chlorinated water
- Fluoride water
- Birth control pills
Streptococcus thermophilus and lactobacillus are efficient in preventing lactose intolerance. Streptococcus thermophilus cultured in a test-tube appear to stimulate disease-fighting cells. The bacteria also seem to reduce the amount of nitrite (cancer causing chemical) in the body. Studies have shown a relationship between those who consume good bacteria (Streptococcus thermophilus) and decreased likelihood of breast cancer as well as infectious diarrhea. When tested in animals it showed stunted growth of tumors.
Good bacteria, which include Streptococcus thermophilus, can be obtained by consuming yogurt however it is difficult to determine the amount of live bacteria from one batch to another. Lactic bacteria, Streptococcus faecium in particular, is found in the mucosa lining where it prevents attachment of other harmful micro bacteria. A decrease in beneficial bacteria can lead to diarrhea, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and other infections. Probiotics taken between antibiotic courses help repopulate the digestive tract with the good bacteria, which help control the growth of unwanted bacteria.
Despite diet strategies that seek to replenish friendly bacterial cultures to the lower tract, the aging process often depletes our reserves or inhibits their growth more quickly than we can restore them. Moreover, prolonged illness, antibiotics, synthetic laxatives and other medications can actually destroy these bacterial cultures within us, compromising our Digestive and Immune Systems.
Probiotics are completely safe since they comprise populations of bacteria that are already part of the normal digestive tract.