Good Gut Bacteria
Your large intestine is full of good bacteria that keep you healthy. Bacteria are microbes – microscopic, unicellular organisms – that are among the oldest, and earliest life forms on the planet. All living organisms today – including us – have progressed in the presence of bacteria. So it's not surprising that humans not only get along with bacteria, but that we can't get along without them.
Outnumbered 10 to 1
According to gut expert Jessica Richman "There are 10,000 total species known to live on and in humans. And we have somewhere between a few hundred and a 1,000 in each of us." But recent research shows that roughly 99% of our gut bacteria belong to only 30 or 40 species. Each of us has about 100 trillion (100,000,000,000,000) bacteria living inside us, outnumbering our human cells by 10 to 1. It's believed that 99% of these microbes either are doing good things and protecting us, or are just along for the ride (maybe). There are however, about 1% that are potentially harmful or "pathogenic."
Here to Help
Bacteria are in your GI tract for a very good reason. They help regulate your immune system, digest your food, create energy and even synthesize vitamins within your body. When your good bacteria thrive, you're at your healthiest. And when they're diminished by antibiotics, illness or an unhealthy diet, the intricate, internal interactions of your ingenious systems can't work at their best.
Key for Health
Beneficial bacteria appear to play a key role in a number of vital health processes. These include the creation of vital short chain fatty acids, the maintenance of correct permeability of your intestinal wall lining, maintenance of intestinal villi, and the release of signaling molecules that travel from your gut to your brain. Nourishing your beneficial bacteria with a good supply of prebiotic fibers helps them to flourish and to reduce pathogenic/bad bacteria through "competitive exclusion."
When your good gut bacteria thrive, so does your health.