Not All Bacteria Are Bad!!!

Did you know that we have more bacteria in our intestinal tracts than we do cells in the entire body? Does that mean we are really more bacteria than we are human? (We’ll save that for later…) As for the 100 trillion bacteria that live in your digestive system, you should know that these are the good guys, not the bad guys. We refer to these nutritive and protective bacteria as friendly flora or probiotics meaning “healthful to life”. In fact, they are essential for optimal digestive and general health.

Many of us have used the term Acidophilus but don’t really know what or where that is in our bodies. Acidophilus is one species of the bacteria called Lactobacillus which is one of two primary groups of positive flora in the digestive tract. The other major group of probiotics is Bifidobacteria. Whereas Lactobacillus is found primarily in the small intestine of the upper digestive tract, Bifidobacteria are found primarily in the colon. Both of these groups of probiotics must be ample in number in order to keep less favorable organisms like yeast in check.

Friendly flora promote better digestion, help fight infection, make B vitamins, improve mineral absorption, reduce inflammation and can help normalize diarrhea or constipation. Antibiotic use, stress, food or water contaminants and low fiber diets can disrupt intestinal probiotics as can increased sugar and alcohol consumption.

So how do we improve beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract? Most everyone knows about yogurt being a great source of Acidophilus, however there are other cultured and fermented foods which are also excellent sources of probiotics. Try cultured foods like sauerkraut, cottage cheese, kefir, miso or kimchi. Drinks loaded with friendly bacteria are Amasake, a sweet rice drink and the ever popular Kombucha. Probiotics are available as a supplement and there are many different brands out there. Sheila recommends using probiotic supplements from several brands, alternating them throughout the week.  That way you are receiving a broad spectrum of different species grown in different media.  You can actually discover whether certain brands suit you better than others. Remember to include a brand that does not require refrigeration for when you are traveling and to use a dairy free brand if you are dairy intolerant.

About Sheila Wagner PT, CN, BCHN

Sheila’s cutting edge ability to uncover hidden source(s) of health issues when no one else has is the first piece to her step wise approach in solving your persistent health complaints.

+Sheila Wagner is the ultimate expert assisting people nationwide to finally fix their health through 1:1 consults, group programs, lectures and classes.

Opinions & Feedback:

  1. I am happy that you wrote this post!!!

  2. Everyone can use an easy health boost. What better way than with probiotics. Shelia, well said probiotics can aid digestion and help improve immunity.

  3. eastlandgrl says

    interesting, thanks

  4. You completed some fine points there. I did a search on the theme and found nearly all persons will go along with with your blog.

  5. Does Greek yogurt count? I’ve always wondered.

  6. Very informative! Thanks, Sheila! XO, Katherine.

  7. Thanks for the primer on gut bacteria. I know so many people who have their guts “out of whack” and after 3 surgeries in 4 months, I did, too. Now I know to vary the probiotics, which I did not know before!

    • Yes Sue, especially after a lot of antibiotics, it’s great to have several different brands on hand to rotate through and even one that is devoted to Bifido species as these
      are the primary good bugs of the lower bowel!

  8. Oh yes, the gut and our bacteria – so important to have healthy levels of good bacteria and to rotate your probiotics! Research has even shown that adding in probiotics can reduce anxiety in some individuals.

  9. Good info on what foods provide what you need, as well as that we need to rotate the probiotics.

  10. Thanks Sheila
    I think bacteria get a bad rap. That is a very helpful article for showing us how much we depend on them.

  11. This is new information for me. Informative and interesting, had no idea.

  12. What?! 100 trillion bacteria live in your digestive system … I know they are good bacteria, but that really sounds icky! I’m sure most people think bacteria and think illness, infection, viruses, germs … and totally forget or don’t even realize that here are good bacteria too … bacteria your body needs!

    Thanks for sharing!

  13. Thanks, Sheila! I’ll be checking out some of the foods you recommended.

  14. I need to to thank you for this good read!!

    I absolutely enjoyed every bit of it. I hav you book-marked too look at
    new things you post…

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