Healthy Articles Archive
Supplement focus: Acidophilus Part 1
Words: Susannah Olivier
Suzannah Olivier is a nutritionist and author of many books on health and nutrition, including Food Medicine (Robinson) and Healthy Food for Happy Kids (Simon & Schuster).
To most people, bacteria are thought of as harmful substances in need of disinfecting. Many are surprised to learn that bacteria can actually be good for us.
During a study at the beginning of the 20th century on people whose diets were high in fermented dairy products, Russian scientist Elie Metchnikoff discovered 'good' bacteria.
More recently, these good bacteria have become widely known as probiotics, and one of the most important probiotics is Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is used to keep our insides healthy.
The power of biotic
'Good' and 'bad' bacteria live in our bodies and are able to coexist whilst maintaining a healthy balance. They exist in vast quantities but our bodies have developed to create a mutually beneficial relationship with these bacteria. Whilst bacteria offer us protection, we provide a warm environment for them to live in, as well as food.
Finding this balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria is essential to maintaining good health, however this balance can be easily disturbed. Falling ill, sleep deprivation, stress or a bad diet can all alter the levels of bacteria and contribute to a range of health problems. Taking antibiotics may also lead to problems as they are designed to destroy bacteria, including the good ones. Supplements such as Acidophilus can help to support the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.