Eek! Bacteria! The bountiful microorganisms get a bad rap, sometimes with good reason. Yes, harmful bacteria can cause infections and ruin perfectly good food. There are also many beneficial bacteria, however; and you may not be getting enough.
Bacteria are among the most abundant organisms on the planet and they are is essential to human life. Millions of bacteria live in a symbiotic relationship with humans, on the skin, in the mouth, and especially inside the digestive tract. Here are just a few of the roles they fulfill within the ecosystem of the human body:
- Protecting the outer layer of skin from other harmful microbes
- Protecting against cavities and gum disease
- Breaking food down in the gut
- Helping the body to absorb nutrients from food
- Converting unwanted substances into waste
- Fighting off harmful bacteria
- Regulating the immune system
Although there are many, many different kinds of helpful probiotic bacteria, two that are very beneficial to humans are lactic acid bacteria and soil-based organisms.
Lactic Acid Bacteria
Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are a large group of microorganisms that are found in decomposing or fermented dairy and plant products. Because of their role in breaking down food products and producing enzymes, they form an invaluable part of the human digestion process. LAB can usually be found in food sources that have been fermented, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, pickled vegetables, and traditional buttermilk. For diets that are low in probiotics, or for certain digestive ailments and conditions, additional probiotic supplements may be beneficial to digestion and overall health. Here are some conditions and symptoms that may be soothed with LAB probiotic supplements:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Adverse reactions to antibiotics
- Adverse reactions to lactose
- High cholesterol
- Food allergies
Look for supplements that contain billions of units in each dose and, most importantly, products that are created using clean manufacturing processes without the addition of toxic binders and fillers.
Soil-based organisms (SBOs) are made up of different strains of beneficial microorganisms; these bacteria live in the soil and were once plentiful in the human diet, before our world became sanitized. Now, with every vegetable and fruit passing through rigorous washing and sanitization processes before it reaches our table, common food sources of SBOs are virtually nonexistent. This is unfortunate since SBOs provide important diversity and support to the microflora that are already hard at work inside the body.
In modern society, there are several ways to add SBOs to your diet. First, if you have the time and the space, you could maintain your own vegetable garden. If you grow your own vegetables, make sure to avoid pesticides and antibacterial rinses. Simply wash the food with water before eating it and enjoy the natural minerals and SBOs that a homegrown vegetable brings from the soil. If you live within driving distance of organic farms or markets, you may also seek out local suppliers of fruits and vegetables that have not been over-washed or sanitized.
The only other viable option is an SBO supplement. Here are some of the benefits you may enjoy from adding SBOs to your diet:
- Prevention of gut colonization by harmful bacteria and fungi
- Improved gastro-intestinal tract barrier function
- Balanced colon pH
- Support for intestinal regeneration
- Support for balancing gut microbiota
- Increased absorption of nutrients in the intestines
- Replenished friendly microflora in the colon
- Enhanced metabolism in the gut
- Normalized bowel function
- Reduced gas and bloating
- Improved immune system function
As with LAB supplements, it is important to find all-natural SBO supplements that are produced without the use of unnecessary additives that could undermine the effectiveness of the supplement. Browse all-natural probiotic supplements in the Living Clean Store, or read more about digestive health: