Antibiotics may be effective at eliminating pathogens in the body but they also disrupt the balance of desirable and undesirable bacteria in the gut.
This can leave the digestive tract available for pathogenic bacteria to take up residence making it harder for the friendly bacteria to re-colonise to beneficial levels.
The symptoms of an imbalance of gut flora are:- bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion, IBS and food intolerances. Friendly bacteria are found in cultured foods such as live yoghurt, cottage cheese, miso, sauerkraut, tofu, tamari and kefir.
However, these may not be enough, and a friendly bacteria supplement known as a probiotic may be beneficial. There has been medical research to prove the effectiveness of Yakult and Actimel. Friendly bacteria are crucial to our health and carry out a range of functions including:-
- manufacture of B vitamins
- play an important part in our immune system by increasing numbers of immune cells
- increase the absorption of minerals
- produce lactase to digest milk
- enhance bowel function by promoting efficient passage of waste
- help control cholesterol levels
- act as anti-carcinogens
- produce antibiotics to control levels of bad bacteria, viruses and fungi.
- alter the acidity of the gut to make the environment undesirable for pathogens
- break down hormones and build hormones for re-use
- contribute to optimal metabolism
- help remove toxins