Dysbiosis is the imbalance of bacteria in the colon, or bowel, which often leads to bad health. The idea of dysbiosis was postulated by Metchinkoff in the nineteenth century. Metchinkoff correctly identified that:
* Excessive putrefactive bacteria (the harmful type) in the colon cause toxins to be produced – especially the damaging ‘amines’, and that
* Eating fermented foods containing probiotics – ‘friendly bacteria’ – could reduce ill health. These foods include yoghurt and sauerkraut.
The colon and small intestine contain 3-400 species of bacteria and, surprising to many, most of the bulk of the stool consists of bacteria.
Friendly And Unfriendly
Most of the bacteria in a healthy colon are the ‘friendly’ type. These are predominantly the ‘anaerobic’ type – they do not require oxygen to live – and they have a beneficial effect on our health. There are also a small number of ‘unfriendly’ bacteria in the healthy colon. These are predominantly ‘aerobic’ – they do need oxygen – and they also produce toxins, notably the toxic ‘amines’ mentioned above.
In good health, the harmful bacteria are kept in check by the abundance of beneficial bacteria. Unfortunately, the bacteria in the colon often get out of balance – the ‘dysbiosis’ of Metchinkoff.
* Increases the ‘toxic load’ the body has to deal with, and
* Reduces the benefits provided by the ‘friendly bacteria – which are many, including keeping us energetic and boosting our immune system.
The increased toxic load results in ailments including:
* Auto-immune diseases – such as rheumatoid arthritis
* Candida overgrowth
* ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis)
* Unexplained fatigue
As always with your health, if you are ill, seek help from a trusted alternative health practitioner, as well as keeping your doctor ‘in the loop’.
Dealing With Dysbiosis
The partial answer to dysbiosis is to supplement with a very good quality bowel flora product. This will usually contain good strains (which will be patented) of several different species of bacteria. These are often acidophilus, bifidus and sometimes faecium. This supplementation might be for a course of 3 months and can helpfully be repeated annually. Nowadays, these supplements are stable – i.e. they don’t need refrigerating. This can be useful for travel. However, if you do refrigerate them they will remain more powerful than if left at room temperature. A product with a claimed 1 million organisms may start its life with 10 million so that it can arrive at the end of its stated shelf life with at least 1 million. So do keep unused pots in the fridge. And DO buy from a trusted source.
Some other matters to pay attention to, to deal with dysbiosis are:
* The diet – reduce meat and fish in the diet. Harmful bacteria thrive on partially digested meat.
* Antibiotic use – these kill the friendly bacteria.
* Low fibre in the diet – increase vegetable consumption which are favoured by friendly bacteria. Brown rice and whole wheat and other whole grains are also high in fibre.
Colon cleansing is a prime method to promote good health. Supplementing of bowel flora combines well with any colon cleansing programme to help counteract dysbiosis.