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Home > Uncategorized > Bacteria and the Colon: A Healthy Relationship

Bacteria and the Colon: A Healthy Relationship

Bacteria and the Colon: A Healthy Relationship

When we hear the word “bacteria” our response is typically: it’s bad. However, there are certain forms of bacteria that are “good” and, in fact, that we need in our bodies in order to stay healthy.

These bacteria are typically housed in our digestive system, specifically, the colon. There they function to:

  • Prevent the harmful forms of bacteria from multiplying
  • Prevent disease from spreading from the colon across the body
  • Assist with digestion of carbohydrates that haven’t been fully broken down earlier in the digestive process
  • Strengthen and aid the immune system
  • Alleviate constipation
  • Prevent diarrhea
  • Produce vitamins – such as Vitamin K – for healthy functioning of the body
  • Produce hormones to help with effective bodily processes

If we don’t have these beneficial bacteria or we don’t have sufficient quantities of them, we are likely to be unhealthy and become ill.

It may be surprising, but there are between 300 and 1000 different species of bacteria – 500 is the number most commonly cited. However, the majority of the bacteria probably stem from only 30 or 40 different species with the most common bacteria genera being: Bacteroides, Clostridium, Fusobacterium, Eubacterium, Ruminococcus, Peptococcus, Peptostreptococcus, and Bifidobacterium.

Collectively these good bacteria go by many names such as: acidophilus, micro flora, gut flora, proflora, probiotics, dysbiosis and more.

These beneficial bacteria require a healthy environment in order to survive. This is not possible when you:

  • Consume preservatives, pesticides, processed and other unnatural foods
  • Have insufficient fiber in your diet
  • Take medication such as antibiotics especially
  • Use laxatives
  • Suffer high levels of anxiety

Once the bad bacteria start to multiply excessively the immune system becomes compromised and disease can more easily take hold. In addition, without the preventative actions of the good bacteria, pathogens can easily move from the colon into the organs of the body causing problems with diarrhea and fungi as well as illnesses.
Given today’s lifestyle it can be difficult to naturally maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the colon and, once it is out of balance, it requires a targeted effort to return it to a state for optimum health.
Foods such as cheese, yogurt and buttermilk contain high levels of good bacteria but this is often not enough and one needs additional supplements such as Nutrition Now PB 8 for a boost and maintenance.

About the Author

Tom Hines, co-owner of NutritionGeeks.com, has been working in the nutrition industry since 1997, is a competitive powerlifter, lives with his wife Netti and three boys TJ, Grady and Brock on the prairie in west central Minnesota, spends his leisure time coaching youth wrestling, working with his horses and being play toy #1 for his boys.

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