Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bad Bacteria? Not All of Them!

Growing up I thought that all bugs and microbes and germs were bad for you.  That's why you always washed your hands and sneezed into your shoulder and took antibiotics when sick.  What I didn't realize at that time (which may have grossed me out) is that people normally have a couple pounds of bacteria living inside them and on their skin.  However, that's a good thing because these bacteria are good for you.  Most of these bacteria are located within our digestive system, mainly the colon.  These good bacteria are known as Probiotics.

There's been more awareness of the necessity of Probiotics within the recent years with products like Activia getting more air time.  But that doesn't mean that everyone knows about them or why we have them.  There's a number of different reasons that we have millions of bacteria living within our colon.

The main reason is that we NEED them.  We live in a symbiotic relationship with these bacteria.  They need us because we give them food through our diet and we need them to help with many different bodily processes.  Some of the bacteria help us digest food like green leafy vegetables, some help kill of potentially harmful bacteria, and others actually help with the movement and absorption of the food that we eat.

So you can see that these bacteria are pretty beneficial.  With that said, most people are deficient in the amount of bacteria present.  This is partially due to the American diet, but mostly due to the over prescription of antibiotics.  Antibiotics are really good at their job.  They kill the bad bacteria in most cases.  However, they also kill off the good bacteria that you need.  A lot of times, you will probably weigh less after taking antibiotics because you've killed and passed the good bacteria that were helping you.

So if you've taken any antibiotics recently, it's a necessity to take a Probiotic supplement.  Yes, you can get some good bacteria from eating yogurt or drinking kefir or kombucha, but it's not enough.  You need to replenish that whole store of good bacteria. 

You can find Probiotics at any supplement or health foods store.  And typically, a good rule of thumb is that good Probiotics should be refrigerated.

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