Bacteria - Friend or Foe?

Not all bacteria is bad. Yogurt and similar foods contain helpful bacteria. Antibiotics are drugs that fight bacteria that cause illnesses such as pneumonia and meningitis. By now, we all know that antibiotics have little effect on illnesses caused by viruses, such as colds or the flu. But in our haste to kill germs (thinking that by doing so we’ll produce health), we often overlook the good bacteria. Not all bacteria in the body is bad. In fact, without the good bacteria, digestion and other bodily functions would be seriously compromised. Unfortunately, when people take antibiotics it kills the good with the bad. That’s when it’s especially helpful to be mindful of probiotics. 

The word probiotics means “for life,” and they are the beneficial for “good bacteria” that can help promote health. 

Probiotics support the body’s natural immune functioning and help digest the food we eat. In fact, the gastrointestinal tract is home to more than 400 different types of bacteria, acidophilus being the most familiar. 

Probiotics also help to keep the level of harmful bacteria in check. A large percentage of probiotics comes from dairy products that contain lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, such as yogurt. Probiotics are also available in supplement form. Currently there are studies being conducted to assess the effectiveness of probiotics in treating many types of conditions, including Crohn’s Disease, lactose intolerance, high cholesterol, eczema, vaginal and urinary tract infections and the prevention of respiratory infections in children. 

If you’d like to know more about probiotics, just ask on your next visit to our practice. We’d be happy to discuss them with you.

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Bacteria - Friend or Foe?