Bacteria get a really bad rap. Most of us associate bacteria with sickness, and we often go out of our way to kill bacteria by using antibacterial soaps and cleaners. When we are sick, we often look to antibiotics which kill bacteria in order to become healthy again.
But only about 5% of bacteria are actually pathogenic, and the other 95% are beneficial. What do you think would happen if all the bacteria in the world died? It would not be long before all life on earth ceased to exist, as bacteria are fundamental to the birth, life and death of every living thing on this planet.
Bacteria are part of the planet’s garbage disposal system that breaks down dead plant and animal tissue returning it to soil in the form of humus, so life can begin again. Each gram of healthy soil has 600 million microorganisms containing thousands of species of bacteria and fungi, so healthy soil is fully alive. And the humus that the bacteria make is the nutritious food that plants require in order to grow healthy and robust.
So in summary, bacteria ensure the health of the plant by providing it with food and nitrogen, and bacteria break down the plant if it is sick or after it has died, so that only the healthiest plants survive, and cycle of life can continue.
According to the late Sir Albert Howard, one of the most well known experts on organic farming, pests, diseases and parasites are "nature’s professors of good husbandry", meaning that diseased plants indicate a problem in farming, and provide an opportunity to look for mistakes and correct them.
So, what happens when farmers spray their fields with pesticides, herbicides and fungicides? They kill the army of microorganisms that support plant life, rendering the soil dead. Plants cannot grow in dead soil without the aid of chemical fertilizers. Chemical fertilizers do not make for healthy plants. Unhealthy plants do not make for healthy people. So our health rests on the health of the bacteria in the soil.
In times before chemical agriculture, we would consume live bacteria along with the food we ate. In healthy people there are thousands of species of bacteria that live in our digestive tract from the mouth, throughout the intestines and colon, that help us digest our food, synthesize vitamins like folate, vitamin K and biotin, and that are vital to the function of our immune system.
Bacteria break down our food into a useable form that can be absorbed through our intestines and utilized by the body. Bacteria clean the walls of the intestine and colon so that waste can be excreted easily and are therefore key to the body’s ability to detoxify itself.
Exposure to bacteria is critical to building a strong immune system, as the body needs something to fight against in order to build its army. Overuse of antibacterial soaps, pasteurized products and antibiotics has led to a sicker and more allergic population, as the body has not had the opportunity to build its antibodies.
So, the question becomes – do you have enough bugs in your gut, and are they the right kind? Were you ever on antibiotics? If so, they killed all the bacteria in your gut, so if you did not actively replace them, probably not.
In today’s world of processed, denatured, sugar and chemically laden food that came from dead soil, most people have a bacteria population in their gut that is 85% "bad" bacteria and only 15% "good" bacteria, and the ratio should be the other way around.
Good bacteria are killed off by the chlorine and fluoride in the water we drink, caffeine, birth control pills and other drugs, stress, food additives, and too many bad bacteria that compete in the gut for food and a place to live. No wonder so many people have irritable bowel syndrome or other problems that stem from an inability to detoxify themselves.
Many people are carrying around with them several pounds of dead, rotting fecal matter in their intestinal tract, which creates a potential for self-poisoning and disease. Symptoms of poor quality bacteria in the gut is an inability to lose weight, carbohydrate cravings, recurrent candida or yeast problems, frequent constipation or diarrhea, digestion or acid reflux problems, joint pain and stiffness, frequent colds or flu, skin problems like acne or eczema for example.
So, how do we re-establish good-quality bacteria in our gut? We can start by eating living, whole organic food grown in live soil, eating more high quality fermented foods, and by filtering our water so we are not drinking chlorine.
Most importantly, take a quality probiotic supplement daily in order to repopulate the gut quickly with good bacteria. I like Primal Defense by Garden of Life, and I have just been made aware of InLiven by MiVitality which also looks really good, although I have not yet personally tried that one.
A good probiotic is a detox program, so start slowly in case you have detoxification reactions like not feeling well, headaches, or a need to be close to the bathroom. If you are reacting, cut your dosage or skip a day until you feel better. Most people don’t react negatively at all however. Build up your dosage to the recommended levels over time as your body cleans itself out and you feel better and better.
Chek, Paul Under the Veil of Deception 2002
Abbott, Phyllis, PhD Bacteria in Control of Life, Death and Evolution? Authorhouse, Bloomington Indiana, 2006.
Online at Bacteria
CD MiVitality Organic & Natural Enterprise Group, 2004.
Copyright 2005-2007 Vreni Gurd