Colon Health and Friendly Bacteria

'Friendly bacteria', or beneficial bacterial, are essential to good colon, or bowel, health.

A large proportion of a healthy stool consist of millions of bacteria which normally live in the colon. There are several hundred species of these bacteria present in the colon. A good balance of bacteria in the colon contributes to good colon health.

There are also a number of harmful bacteria present in the colon. In good health, these harmful bacteria are kept in check by the abundance of beneficial bacteria. Unfortunately, the bacteria in the colon often get out of balance. This condition of imbalance is called dysbiosis. Dysbiosis means that the harmful bacteria have become much more abundant than they should be.

The worst effect of dysbiosis is that the excessive harmful bacteria produce waste products which are toxic to the body, raising the 'toxic load' the body has to deal with. Health conditions including candida and ME almost invariably involve dysbiosis, but it also contributes to many other conditions of ill health.

Causes Of Dysbiosis

The imbalance of bacteria – dysbiosis – can be caused by:

* Taking antibiotics

* Poor diet. Beneficial bacteria love the fiber in vegetables; harmful bacteria thrive on meat and sugar

* Traveling abroad – because of a sudden change in diet

* Drinking water which contains chlorine (drink filtered water instead)

* Hormones – either as pharmaceuticals or in the water supply, etc – can produce bacterial imbalance

What Do Friendly Bacteria Do?

Friendly bacteria:

* Help produce energy for the body

* Synthesis essential nutrients, eg Vitamin K

* Help to detoxify poisons in the diet

* Help maintain the acid balance of the body – vital for health

* Promote immune system health

Unfriendly bacteria not only smother the beneficial type, but also produce their own additional toxins – these are their waste products.

How Can I Restore Balance?

By supplementing the beneficial bacteria, and avoiding the damaging situations mentioned above, as far as possible.

What Does A 'Flora' Supplement Contain?

A good 'bowel flora' supplement will usually contain Acidophilus bacteria plus some other types, often Bifidus and Rhamnosus. Good quality supplements will have strong, patented strains of the bacteria mentioned. Desirable properties include being able to pass alive through the acid conditions of the stomach, and adhering well to the colon wall when they arrive there.

Try taking a quality supplement at any time for a course of 3 months, and also during and following any antibiotic course you have to take, and when traveling.

A bowel flora supplement is often part of a colon cleansing program, which will also typically include a herbal supplement to promote bowel regularity, and a product to provide extra fiber, often psyllium husks.