The weeds next to the creek were thought to be unsightly. The home owner sprayed the offending plants which left a barren brown area. The plants were gone as were the insects and other life that used them for shelter and food. This diverse ecosystem is now different as is the terrain. The use of the spray indiscriminately killed other associated life that was not considered. No matter?
Your body is covered with micro organisms collectively known as flora. You are the host for such bacteria and yeast on your skin, in your gastrointestinal system, and in a woman’s vagina. These bacteria’s function is quite diverse and likely beyond our complete understanding. They protect us, serve as a barrier, aid in digestion, and make vitamins that we need. An infant gets its natural bacteria from vaginal birth. The Lactobacillus bacteria the baby receives from vaginal birth aids in the digestion of milk. For this reason, C-sections babies may have problems digesting milk and are at an early risk for other infections. Also, interesting is that a pregnant woman’s vaginal flora is different than one that is not pregnant, which suggest the hormone progesterone has influence on the bacterial environment.
The National Institute of Health’s Human Microbiome Project examined the bacteria found on humans for two years. The scientists sequenced the genetic material of bacteria recovered from 15 or more sites on their subjects, recovering more than five million genes. Women’s milk had up to 600 species of bacteria. And there may be more than 5,000 species of bacteria in the human mouth.
Does a bacterium cause disease? The advent of antibiotics, defined as against life, has been a mainstay of modern drug therapy. And yet, we use such a therapy without the full understanding of the consequences. How about the fact that Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, E. coli, Candida, and many more are all part of our normal bacteria? It was once said that if bacteria causes disease, then there would not be one dog left on the planet.
There appears to be a general fear of these small organisms. While good hygiene is important, trying to kill every possible bacterium is not only impossible but may harm your health. So should we use all these antibacterial soaps and gels? How about the antibacterial mouthwashes? It is better to use a basic soap such as the castile soap made of vegetable oils (Dr. Bronner's Soap. Over-washing the body with anti-bacterial soaps can compromise the protection offered by your normal bacteria. Incidentally, body odor can come from an intestinal tract that was over treated with antibiotics and/or a poor diet.
Certainly taking an antibiotic if you have a virus is useless. Sometimes we are told that an antibiotic will prevent a secondary infection after a virus. We are also told to continue to take the antibiotic for a full course to prevent the bacteria from changing into another form. Amazing! Antibiotics will kill bacteria but they will always be altered or change into another form. This is well known in the treatment of Lyme’s Disease. It is like chasing something you can not catch. It is also well known that the hospital environment with all the need to maintain sanitation creates the worst possible bacteria organisms. A hospital acquired infection is far worse than one from the community.
There are certainly times for antibiotic use; the trick is knowing when. Many children with recurrent ear infections have dairy allergies. Mucous forms as a protective mechanism for the allergy and becomes the food for bacteria such as “strep”. Children who take high levels of antibiotics may be at greater risk of developing allergies and asthma. Probiotics are extremely useful when taking an antibiotic. Probiotics (pro life) may aid in digestion, decrease yeast infections, protect the gut, and soften bowel movements. My favorite is Enterobiotic SBO which has 14 strains of good bacteria and some soil based organisms. Keep your immune system strong by practicing a daily wellness approach to life that pays attention to your diet. If you start to get sick, consider taking colostrum to boost your immune system.