Now, don’t get creeped out, but bacteria is everywhere. Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms found everywhere on Earth – water, soil, plants and yep, on and in our bodies. These tiny organisms have struggled against a bad rep since the 1800s when the father of microbiology, Louis Pasteur, began experiments that would change how we view our bodies.
His experiments showed that bacterial growth was what spoiled things like milk and beer, and he invented pasteurization, the process of heating milk to kill the bacteria and molds. From those first forays into microbiology, Pasteur proposed that bacteria cause disease in people, which launched a field that today does much to keep you healthy.
Your body is full of bacteria – on your skin, in your mouth, gastrointestinal tract and vagina, for instance. There are 10 times as many bacteria as human cells in the body (10 to the power of 14)…100 trillion. Around a thousand different types can be found on the skin and in the GI tract.
Many things change the bacteria in your body. Medications may alter your body’s environment, making it easier or more difficult for bacteria to survive. For instance, many women get yeast infections when they take antibiotics. Yeast vaginitis infections are typically the result of the Candida albicans (a fungus), which is present normally in the vagina in small amounts. However, when they begin to multiply rapidly, they cause infection. Those antibiotics tend to wipe out good bacteria that keep yeast infections away. (Probiotics have been shown to help prevent and cure yeast infections!)
Do you think you can understand that bacteria are a necessary part of life without getting a little obsessive about washing your hands? It’s easier to fully grasp the concept when you start taking probiotics – remember, they’re just good bacteria – and see the impact on your health.
Go with your gut,
The Probiotics Team