We Are Our Bacteria

bacteria 1 We may think that we’re comprised mostly of human cells, but in reality we have over 100 TRILLION bacterial cells in our bodies.  These bacteria outnumber other cells 10 to one!

It makes sense, then, that these bacteria play a pretty important role in how our bodies function, and disruptions in our overall bacterial composition can cause serious disorders.  As the attached article states:

Even more serious is  the increasing number of serious disorders now linked to a distortion in the microbial balance in the human gut. They include several that are becoming more common in developed countries: gastrointestinal ailments like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and celiac disease; cardiovascular disease; nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; digestive disorders like chronic reflux; autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis; and asthma and allergies.

Antibiotic use can significantly alter levels of healthy bacteria.  Unfortunately, many children receive multiple rounds of antibiotics in the the early years of life, significantly disturbing the microbial environment within their bodies. In fact, researchers have concluded that antibiotic use and the resulting disruption in our microbiome, has led to a number of chronic conditions such as allergies, celiac disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

So what can we do about it?  Well, minimizing antibiotic use is a start, as Dr. Blaser states:

“In Sweden, antibiotic use is 40 percent of ours at any age, with no increase in disease,” he said. “We need to educate physicians and parents that antibiotics have costs. We need improved diagnostics. Is the infection caused by a virus or bacteria, and if bacteria, which one?  “Then we need narrow-spectrum antibiotics designed to knock out the pathogenic bacteria without disrupting the health-promoting ones,” Dr. Blaser added. “This will make it possible to treat serious infections with less collateral effect.”

It’s also important to repopulate our gut flora with healthy bacteria, known as probiotics.

Pobiotics come in many different strains and CFU’s (Colony Forming Units.)  As with all nutritional supplements, quality can vary significantly from brand to brand.  It’s important to choose probiotics that are pharmaceutical grade, meaning they have undergone independent third party testing and have the greatest level of bio-availability.  It’s also important to store your probiotics in a cool, dry place, preferably under refrigeration.

The following article goes into greater detail about the critical role bacteria plays in our overall health.  Who would have guessed that we’re all walking petrie dishes!

We Are Our Bacteria – NYTimes.com.

Enjoy and be well.


Michael Lenz RPh, is a partner in Fallon Wellness Pharmacy of Saratoga.  He has over 15 years experience in custom compounding.  Michael has received extensive training in Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) and Adrenal Fatigue.  He is an advocate for healthy eating and proper nutritional supplementation, and speaks frequently on the subjects of hormone health, nutrition and wellness.  Michael is currently enrolled in the Institute For Functional Medicine’s Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner Program.  He lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with his wife and 4 children.

source: nytimes.com

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