- Bacteria – Friend or Foe?
- What is Gut Flora (Gut Microbiota)?
- What damages the Gut Flora Balance?
- Importance of Gut Flora Balance –
- All Diseases Begin in the Gut
- Probiotics – What is it?
- Benefits of Probiotic (Bacteria)
- Prebiotics – What is it?
- Probiotic vs. Prebiotic – Which one to choose?
Importance of Gut Flora Balance –
The good bacteria in our gut flora work to support us, as they break down fibers and other larger molecules into smaller, more bioavailable nutrients that our cells can utilize. They also help us to eliminate wastes and toxins. The ideal ratio of gut flora balance, that is progenic (life-supporting) vs. pathogenic (disease forming) species of bacteria, is 85:15. When the pathogenic species grows beyond this ratio, problems begin to occur.
- First of all, the gut flora has two defensive mechanisms. The first one senses our environment by detecting the environmental toxins that are coming into the body. When environmental factors such as dust, chemicals, animal hair and pollen fall on the mucous membrane, the progenic bacteria sense and react to them. When there is an abundance of the pathogenic bacteria, this mechanism will be hindered.
- The second one is responsible for immune activation and inflammatory based reactions. When the first defence mechanism is damaged, meaning when the body is unable to read and identify environment factors, the second one begins to become hyperactive which leads to autoimmune reactions. Depending upon the genetic tendencies of the individual, this can result in asthma, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s or Graves thyroiditis, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, & etc.
And how does our body system trigger this autoimmune reaction? Our gastrointestinal wall and mesenteric lymph nodes, referred to as the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), contain a healthy mucous membrane, which is deeply entrenched with microbes (i.e. microscopic organism). This mucous membrane plays a powerful role in immune regulation through a key immuno-globin called secratory IgA. When pathogenic bacteria dominate the membrane, sIgA levels decline and immune regulation suffers. In addition, toxic waste from the pathogenic species is secreted into the bloodstream, causing a reactive immunological response leading to tissue inflammation. Auto-immune reactions are often triggered through this mechanism.
Therefore, it is important to have abundant good bacteria colonies housed in the mucosal membrane of the intestinal wall as they form a barrier and prevent unwanted toxins from seeping through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. These good bacteria colonies can also produce acids that inhibit harmful bacteria growth.
The intake of processed foods, sugars, many pharmaceutical drugs, fluoride, chlorine, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and other chemicals & industrial wastes destroys the mucosal colonies, causing the intracellular junctions within the intestinal wall to become weak. When this happens, it opens the door for opportunistic infections of pathogenic bacteria and fungi. In addition, large molecules and other toxins are able to easily cross the intestinal cell wall, getting into the bloodstream causing problems to the rest of the body.