What is microflora? In advertising, you can often hear this word and something about its restoration. But why is it needed and what does it do in our body?
During evolution, some species realized that it is better to survive together. For example, a cat catches mice, and a human feeds it, protects it from predators, and provides a home. Dogs are used for protection and hunting on the same principle.
«But where is the connection with microflora?» — you might ask. The situation is similar to the examples above — we have «tamed» some types of bacteria, without even realizing it. How did this happen? It turns out that some bacteria can survive in the acidic environment of the stomach and get into the small intestine. There are favorable conditions for them — warmth, plenty of food and water, no oxygen and ultraviolet. A kind of microbial paradise. What a person does for bacteria is now clear, but how do they pay the «utilities»? With their work!
Normal microflora performs many functions.
Helps digest plant food. The human body is not capable of digesting coarse fiber fibers on its own — we do not have the necessary substances for its digestion. But bacteria easily break down cellulose.
Maintains immune tone. In the process of life, bacteria release various substances into the intestine. They are absorbed into the blood and are not typical for our body. The immune system perceives these substances as foreign, so it produces antibodies. Thus, our level of protection is increased.
Provides competition to harmful bacteria. Our microflora loves its home, so when strangers appear on the doorstep — it fights on our side. Lactobacilli suppress the growth of other microbes and can protect against intestinal infection. This is a usual competition for territory, if the microflora wins — you won’t even notice. If it loses — diarrhea may start.
Why can the normal composition of microflora be disturbed?
Antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics do not understand where the «good» bacteria is and where the «bad» one is. They kill everyone indiscriminately. Because of this, digestion is disrupted or an intestinal infection may come to replace the infection that was treated. That is why diarrhea often occurs after antibiotic therapy.
Pathogenic bacteria. If harmful microorganisms turn out to be stronger than our microflora — they will kill it and settle in your intestines. This is not for long, the immune system will destroy the threat, but until this happens — you will not be able to get far from the toilet.
How to restore the intestinal microflora? On pharmacy shelves, there are dozens of boxes with probiotics — drugs that contain «canned» bacteria of normal microflora. The idea seems logical — if good bacteria have died, you need to populate the intestines with new ones.
But there is a problem — how to bypass gastric juice and deliver them to the destination? Hydrochloric acid is a very aggressive environment. What do you think happens to most bacteria after we swallow them? Right, they are destroyed and digested like regular food!
It is impossible to artificially «populate» the intestine with probiotics. They do not have proven effectiveness and are not used in developed countries. The diagnosis of «dysbiosis» does not exist in modern medicine.
Our doctors like to prescribe probiotics along with an antibiotic. Just think about what nonsense it is — to mix a drug that kills bacteria with live bacteria. By the way, if you want to learn more about the drugs that are treated in the USA — read our article on this topic.
There is a normal and natural way to restore microflora — lactic acid products. They contain lactobacilli, which are resistant to high acidity of the stomach and make up the main part of our microflora. Regularly consume yogurts or starters — and your microflora will be fine.