- 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?
What damages the Gut Flora Balance?
Normally you have an abundance of friendly bacteria in your intestinal tract. The ratio of friendly bacteria to unfriendly bacteria in the intestine and elsewhere in the body is ideally 85% to 15% for both infants and adults. Microflora is best when balanced.
However, certain lifestyle stressors such as poor nutrition, illness, medications, chemotherapy, antibiotics, genetics, environment pollutants, and stress can disrupt the natural ecology of the digestive tract and cause bacterial imbalance that results in overgrowth of harmful bacteria and yeast, chronic gut inflammation and damage to the gut lining. Organs can also stop functioning properly.
Contaminants that destroy gut flora balance are:
- Antibiotics are the most lethal thing for our microbial balance. Taking broad-spectrum antibiotics can alter the number of gut bacteria and may affect a person’s health and ability to digest food. People may take the drug to cure bacterial illnesses or may unintentionally consume significant amounts of antibiotics by eating the meat of animals to which they were fed. Antibiotics can cause antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) by irritating the bowel directly, changing the levels of gut flora, or allowing infectious bacteria to grow.
- Antibiotics can change the number and species of gut flora, thus reducing the body’s ability to ferment carbohydrates and metabolize bile acids and may cause diarrhea. Carbohydrates that are not broken down may absorb too much water and cause runny stools, or lack of short chain fatty acid (SCFAs) produced by gut flora could cause the diarrhea.
- A reduction in levels of native bacterial species also disrupts their ability to inhibit the growth of harmful species such as C. difficile and Salmonella kedougou, and these species can get out of hand, though their overgrowth may be incidental and not be the true cause of diarrhea.
- Gut flora composition also changes in severe illnesses, due not only to antibiotic use but also to such factors as failure to eat, and immune compromise.
- After a round of antibiotics, it will take at least four to eight weeks to re-establish the gut. This time period is an opportunistic window for parasites to establish themselves on the gut wall.
- Another harmful effect of antibiotics is the increase in number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria found after their use, which, when they invade the patient, cause illnesses that are difficult to treat with antibiotics.
- Foods high in sugar and processed carbohydrates increase the number and variety of different strains of Candida (fungus, yeast) in the body. These foods also promote the growth of parasitic worms in the gut environment.
- Medications of all types including contraception pills and corticosteroids are extremely hazardous to the gut flora. Dental fluoride treatments and fluoride based toothpaste are also damaging to the microbial balance.
- Two of the most damaging substances today are chlorine and sodium fluoride, present in most treated city water, and thus in most commercial beverages including soft drinks. Chlorinated water is particularly dangerous as it sterilizes our gut and repeated exposures destroy the life supporting bacteria in the gut. The consumption of coffee and alcoholic beverages further contributes to the destruction of the intestinal flora.