On this website, we regularly post about good, healthy bacteria which are vital for a healthy organism and a healthy body. A key category among these are lactic acid bacteria, which are subdivided into a large number of bacterial species such as lactobacillus (bifido bacteria used to be listed among these) and others.
Lactobacteria (lactobacilli) are a natural part of a healthy gut flora. They help our metabolism by processing carbohydrates in our food, producing lactic acid. Generally, harmful bacteria remain unable to thrive in this acidic environment. In this way, lactobacteria not only keep our digestion healthy, but also promote physical wellbeing and a strong immune system. Examples are L. reuteri and L. brevis, about whose health benefits we spoke previously on this website (see, e.g., http://www.gesunde-bakterien.de/en/lactobacillus-microbe-of-year-2018-also-important-on-the-skin/ and http://www.gesunde-bakterien.de/en/the-link-between-gut-bacteria-and-autism/).
Makers of food supplements, and occasionally doctors or non-medical practitioners, promote taking so-called probiotics – substances which contain appropriate lactic acid bacteria – to boost the gut flora. However, any promised health benefits would depend on the makeup of the bacterial community in the gut. “Standardised food supplements”, as they are referred to, are not wrong in principle but may not deliver the desired outcomes if the compounds do not match the demand for healthy bacteria in the gut.
Probiotic compounds with lactic and bifido bacteria are recommended by a number of parties to help regulate the gut flora after or during treatment with antibiotics. Antibiotics not only destroy harmful microbial strains, but also useful and good bacteria. As a result, natural bacterial diversity is destabilised. This not only applies to intestinal use of antibiotics, but also for exaggerated as well as occasionally cleaning of the skin. Here, too, adding specific lactic bacteria (http://www.gesunde-bakterien.de/en/lactobacillus-microbe-of-year-2018-also-important-on-the-skin/) can help to achieve the right and healthy bacterial diversity.
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