Our intestinal system has a length of about 9m, its total surface is approx. 400 m², which makes it clear that our intestines are the largest surface we are exposed to with the outside world. As a result, 70-80% of our immune cells are located in the intestine.
The digestive-absorption and immunologic processes involved are supported by billions of beneficial intestinal bacteria. The critical tasks of beneficial bacteria is to ensure the functioning of the immune system, to detect various pathogens, foreign substances, mobilise immune cells, absorbtion of nutrients, and produce various vitamins (vitamin K and B).
In addition, bacteria and fungi that are capable of causing illness, also live within us. However, this can only happen if the number of beneficial bacteria decreases for some reason.
What can reduce the number of beneficial bacteria?
It is well-known, that antibiotic treatments reduce the number of beneficial bacteria in the intestine. Even more common (than antibiotics) causes include various non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-acid drugs, and food additives. Psychiatric stress and physical stress, such as competitive sports effect the gut wall – greatly reducing the blood supply, which leads to a lack of oxygen and many beneficial bacteria die.
Different gut infections, inadequate diet and diarrhea may also alter the microbiom, but it is also important to regulate the microbiom following detoxification. This can be done by introducing these beneficial bacteria into our body.
What are those probiotics?
Probiotics are bacteria that are important to the intestinal and living organisms (most notably Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria), which have a beneficial effect on the human body, taken orally.
Preparations containing different probiotics influence the intestinal flora balance according to the number and type of bacteria and the bacterial interactions. Their specific composition is determined by the use of scientific results. As some bacteria help, while others hinder each other’s effects, so it is important to emphasize the right composition and the number of germs.
This was known before our time!
The positive effect of foods that are health-friendly for bacteria can already be found in the Old Testament, according to which “Abraham’s long life was due to the consumption of acidified milk” (Genesis 18: 8).
Mecsnyikov, a Nobel Prize winner in 1908, explained that the consumption of Lactobacillus fermented dairy products (buttermilk) reduced the number of “harmful” bacteria in the gut and has explained the longevity of Bulgarian peasants.
Written by: Dr. Pelle Judit