Is there any such thing as good bacteria?

November 12, 2012

Is there any such thing as good bacteria?

Bacteria come in all kinds of shapes and forms – some can kill you, some can help you live a healthier life.

Most people probably know that the human digestive system is full bacteria – around 400 different types in fact. Quite a number of them are good bacteria which aid good digestion; some of them are also thought to help in the fight against disease by keeping out the bad bacteria.

Aid to good health

Good bacteria in the digestive system are an aid to overall good health. The human body has difficulty digesting some foods such as starchy plants – good bacteria will help to break down these starches and allow the body to convert more food into energy.

Good bacteria are also involved in the creation of Vitamin K and other essential vitamins which is a side effect of the digestive process.

It is thought that friendly bacteria may well help in the fight against cancer by breaking down any carcinogens present in our body. In addition these bacteria promote regular renewal of the cells in the walls of the digestive tract also thought to help reduce the risk of cancer.

Studies have shown that good bacteria consumed in the form of probiotics may reduce the possibility of catching a common cold or developing a respiratory infection. Research continues in this area as well as the effectiveness of good bacteria in the fight against cancer.

These friendly bacteria are an essential part of the digestive process since they are involved in the final breakdown of food and in the absorption of nutrients from the food we eat – without them our body would not be able to absorb all the right nutrition from our diet.

Risks to good bacteria

Although friendly bacteria are present naturally in the digestive system unfortunately they are also vulnerable to being wiped out – antibiotics often attack these bacteria as well as the ones causing disease and sickness. A stomach virus may also greatly reduce the amount of friendly bacteria in the digestive system.


Whilst the supply of friendly bacteria in the digestive system will gradually renew itself it is possible to give it a helping hand by ingesting products containing probiotics. A probiotic product can help improve your intestinal balance which should then improve the digestive process, these live microbial supplements are now widely available as a supplement or may present in products such as yogurt and infant formula. Probiotics contain live bacteria which are deposited in the digestive tract after ingestion. Because of the wide variety of probiotic products available to choose from, you may need to try several before you find the one that is best for you. It isn’t necessary to take a probiotic all the time but if you have taken a course of antibiotics or feel a cold coming on then you may want to take a probiotic product daily for a short period.

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