Let me just say this up front, loud and clear: I can not overemphasize the importance of gut flora. We are not educated properly on this subject. We are not eating properly in order to maintain the absolutely crucial bacterial balance necessary for health. If your gut isn’t healthy then you aren’t healthy. You must fix this before you do anything else.
There exists a condition called disbacteriosis and sadly, most of us probably have it. Basically it is an imbalance of intestinal flora. Ideally our guts contain both the “good” and the “bad” bacteria, with the good winning out. But when our diets are poor and we introduce antibiotics we allow the bad bacteria to overtake the balance. To give you an idea, a healthy person should have between 3-5 pounds of beneficial flora.
Before we can work on our digestion and elimination health we have to understand what the problem really is and how huge of a role friendly bacteria play in our health.
Necessary Functions Provided by Friendly Flora
- They keep our digestive system healthy. Bacteria coat our digestive tract and act as a physical barrier to protect our blood stream from anything dangerous entering. Without the proper balance of good bacteria
- Chelate heavy metals, carcinogens, and other toxic substances and excrete them out of the body.
- Convert food into nourishing substances for the lining of the gut, keeping it healthy. This is where “leaky gut syndrome” comes from – a lack of good bacteria causes the gut wall to deteriorate and become porous. This then allows harmful substances to leak through into the blood stream, causing vast destruction to your health.
- Probiotic microbes are essential for feeding our bodies properly. They produce enzymes that break down food. They produce the substances that transport minerals and vitamins through the gut wall. They actually synthesize vitamin K2 and a plethora of B vitamins and amino acids.
- They are the basis of our immune systems. Gut flora control pathogenic microbes. Modern medicines, antibiotics, and vaccinations wipe out beneficial bacteria, allowing these pathogenic microbes to occupy our digestive tracts. Once this happens it is very difficult to drive them out. Proper gut flora = healthy immune system.
Signs of disbacteriosis include asthma, allergies, skin eruptions, and chronic infections. You can also tell if your gut is healthy based on whether you are constipated (see diagnosing the health of your gut) or have issues with gas or bloating.
So the next question is how do we correct or maintain this balance? I’ll address it in the next article.
What is your understanding of the importance of gut flora?