Good gut bacteria adds strength to our immune system and produces natural antibiotics to prevent the growth of pathogens. They also encourage regular bowel movements, synthesise Vitamin B and Vitamin K, assist with the digestion of protein into amino acids, break down bacterial toxins, balance intestinal pH, detoxify environmental toxins (i.e. heavy metals, pesticides and pollution) and help with our absorption of minerals and promote a healthy metabolism. This is just a little of what we gain from a healthy digestive system with the bacteria itself being at the top of the pyramid of good health.
85% of gut bacteria should be healthy with only 15% being not so good but unfortunately it is often the other way around. The bacteria found in the colon weighs around 3-4 pounds in weight and there are around 500 to 1000 different species, although around 30-40 of these species do the lion share of the work. Without healthy gut bacteria we are swimming upstream to good health.
I’m going to go back a little in history to give you some background though. Cultures all over the world for centuries have known the importance of keeping the gut bacteria in good shape. They would eat or drink a little fermented food at each meal which would consist of either fermented vegetables, milk, teas or even meat. The bacteria from these foods would help the gut bacteria multiply and stay healthy. However this way of life has been left behind by many and the modern day equivalent is the probiotic which comes in either capsule, liquid or powder form.
All probiotics are not equal however. Many are manufactured by companies who are not experts in this field so the contents may not live up to the statement on the box and I would consider most of the High Street probiotics in this category with the exception of independent health food shops. A good quality probiotic will encourage the bacteria within the gut to stay healthy and this is vital.
Many of us experience digestive discomfort and we put up with it but making some small changes can make all the difference. We are often reluctant to alter our habits because it takes effort and for many of us we are at our limit of what we can cope with. Small changes can make a profound difference to how we feel but the key is about knowing what to do and as we are all individual this varies according to our symptoms. Try and alter a couple of things yourself and see if you feel the difference and if you are not confident about this then visit an expert so you can be guided to what is best for you.