And that the diversity of those microbes is as important as the number?
Research has shown that this microbiotic habitat plays an important role in everything from allergies to obesity. A recent study of almost 300 non-obese and obese Danish people indicated that the obese individuals had intestinal flora with a low bacterial richness (diversity of type). In addition to obesity, this low bacterial diversity correlated with high level of insulin resistance and system-wide inflammation, both markers of long-term obesity.
The study abstract can be found here: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v500/n7464/full/nature12506.html
A separate study found that pregnant women who took probiotics (dietary supplements that help maintain intestinal bacteria) during pregnancy had babies who were less likely to experience allergies at a young age.
Plenty of good bugs in our bellies usually mean plenty of good bugs in other areas of our body. The vagina, for example, must have the right number of beneficial bacteria to avoid bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Taking probiotics helps keep the number of good bacteria high throughout the body.
So what does this mean for you—how can you ensure high bacterial richness?
It’s as simple as taking probiotics daily and avoiding actions that reduce good intestinal flora. We have over 100 different bacterial species in our bellies. These bacteria help us digest food and assimilate nutrients, so it makes sense that the higher the number (and diversity) of bacteria, the better our digestion will be.
Here’s what to do and what not to do to improve your bacteria:
Take a high-quality probiotic supplement daily.
Find a good probiotic, and then be diligent about taking it—especially during and after antibiotic use. We offer HMF Forte Probiotics, but any good supplement will work. Use the HMF Forte label as a guide to the most effective dosages of each bacterium.
Use antibiotics only when absolutely necessary.
We cannot stress “only when absolutely necessary” enough. We take entirely too many antibiotics, and it’s killing our bellies. Antibiotics kill not only the bad guys (bacteria) but also the good guys.
Antibiotics are to be used only in the case of bacterial infection that cannot be treated any other way. We can help you treat many infections without resorting to antibiotics. Those drugs were never meant to be the first line of treatment.
Do not douche.
It’s completely unnecessary, and it’s killing your levels of good bacteria. The vagina is self-cleansing, and douching washes out all the bacteria, including the good guys. If you feel that there is an issue with odor, see your gynecologist.
Keep in mind that the media portrays the vagina as a place that needs constant care and cleansing—not true. You can wash the vulva with plain soap and water, but you do not need to rinse or clean the vagina
Bottom line: good health begins in the gut. Probiotics help you normalize the numbers and diversity of your belly bugs.
If you’d like to find out more about keeping your gut bacteria levels high, contact us today for a consultation.