Friday, February 20, 2009

The Significance of Intestinal Bacteria

By Richard Bell

Intestinal Bacteria, commonly called Gut Flora are organisms that live in our intestines and keep us healthy by performing numerous significant tasks. On an average a human is known to have about thirty trillion microorganisms in their stomach, with more than five hundred types. They are as responsible for performing work as any of our main organs, but are never mentioned as something we need in order to stay healthy.

Our feces are about sixty percent bacteria, which is why doctors ask for a sample when we have an intestinal problem. This is the most non-invasive manner in which tests could be done to find the reason of the upset stomach.

When babies are born they have no bacteria in their system, however their body quickly picks up bacteria from the mother and surrounding environment, and within a few months their body builds up the healthy bacteria. Babies born by cesarean deliveries are likely to take a longer period of time to build up these bacteria as compared to babies born normally.

The bacteria in our stomach perform various different roles such as fermenting, maintaining a healthy resistance level, fighting the harmful bacteria, creating vitamins, and helping us store fat. Firstly they break down carbohydrates; as a result our body can absorb the nutrients from it. With no bacteria in our intestines, we would not have been able to break down a lot of food that we eat, and therefore would need to eat more to remain healthy.

These bacteria also stop the dangerous bacteria to grow in our digestive tract. Due to the struggle in the tract between different types of bacteria for room, the bad bacteria are unable to grow up because the helpful bacteria do not allow them to have any space. Humans with no any intestinal bacteria could to get sick more often when compared to those with normal levels.

These bacteria are also helpful in building up our immune system so we dont fall sick. Due to a tolerance for healthy bacteria that we develop in our childhood, the immune system is proficient to battle the bad bacteria, therefore leaving behind only the good bacteria. These bacteria are also helpful in preventing from all sorts of allergies and inflammatory bowel disease.

However, nowadays the use of antibiotics and other drugs is increasingly upsetting our digestive system, as the medicines are not able to differentiate between the several forms of bacteria in our body and wipe out the bad bacteria and the good. This is the main cause of diarrhoea and other sicknesses of the bowel. Although we may not be consuming antibiotics intentionally, a lot of the dairy and meat we consume nowadays is said to have the antibiotics, which are given to the animals to prevent them from several diseases. The use of Probiotics is now popular to help the good bacteria thrive in the gut, as probiotics are helpful for the bacteria to perform their functions by helping fight harmful bacteria and improving the resistance level of the body

It is important to know that not all bacteria are bad for us, and that our body has many millions of bacteria in it that are actually helping it stay healthy.

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