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Bifidobacteria Keep Harmful Intestinal Bacteria Away

Bifidobacteria colonize the digestive system (including the appendix) of healthy people and the vagina of healthy women. They keep harmful bacteria and pathogens in check. The settlement of bifidobacteria in the intestine and/or vagina can be achieved with the help of high-quality probiotics. At the same time, the diet must be rich in indigestible carbohydrates (roughage) so that the bifidobacteria can find enough food and really settle permanently.

Bifidobacteria for a healthy gut

Researchers recognized more than twenty years ago that bifidobacteria are among the most important components of the intestinal flora. In adult humans, their share in the total intestinal flora is about 25 percent, while in newborns it even reaches 95 percent. With certain eating habits, however, you can increase the bifidobacteria proportion again as an adult.

Bifidobacteria keep harmful intestinal bacteria away

Bifidobacteria (like lactobacilli) lower the pH in the colon by fermenting glucose into lactic acid.

Undesirable intestinal bacteria and pathogens such as salmonella, putrefactive bacteria or coliform bacteria do not like such an acidic environment in the large intestine and can therefore hardly settle, and if they do, they cannot multiply excessively and are “good” intestinal bacteria – such as bifidobacteria – kept under control.

This controlling influence of the bifidobacteria results from the so-called bifid. This is a toxin formed by the bifidobacteria, which can prevent the growth and multiplication of harmful intestinal bacteria such as listeria or clostridia.

If you look at the possible effects of harmful intestinal bacteria, of which diarrhea is one of the most harmless, then it becomes clear what incredible merits we have to thank for the bifidobacteria.

Bifidobacteria in breast milk

Bifidobacteria are transmitted to the infant through breast milk. Therefore, breastfed babies have a significantly higher proportion of these microorganisms in the gut compared to non-breastfed babies.

Bifidobacteria are able to survive the extremely acidic conditions in the stomach and then colonize the infants’ large intestine, where they multiply rapidly.

Babies thus receive natural protection against pathogens via breast milk. This fact also explains why breastfed children suffer far less from infections than babies who are fed with conventional industrially produced infant milk.

In addition to bifidobacteria, breast milk also appears to contain certain substances that accelerate the growth and reproduction of intestinal bacteria. Studies have shown that the growth of bifidobacteria is stimulated by the addition of breast milk. Breast milk substitutes in the form of infant formula are therefore not recommended.

Bifidobacteria help with irritable bowel syndrome

Scientific studies have examined the preventive effect of bifidobacteria on diarrheal diseases and their influence on irritable bowel syndrome. The first results show that the bifidobacteria normalized the stool consistency and counteracted the development of flatulence.

It is now assumed that u. the absence of bifidobacteria in the intestinal flora is responsible for irritable bowel syndrome.

Bifidobacteria against vaginal infections

Bifidobacteria not only colonize the intestine and the digestive system, but also the female vagina. The friendly bacteria not only protect our digestive tract from infections but also the vagina.

Bifidobacteria stimulate the immune system

However, bifidobacteria can do much more. They are known to communicate with our immune system via certain signaling pathways, e.g. B. stimulates antibody production and the growth of certain immune cells. They also produce vitamins that we can absorb through the intestinal mucosa. The little helpers of our intestinal flora are real defense heroes.

Diet changes the intestinal environment

The composition of the intestinal flora is extremely dependent on the diet. A diet high in fat and meat feeds harmful gut bacteria that produce numerous toxins from unhealthy foods.

These include the liver toxins ammonia and various amines as well as nitrosamines, phenols, carcinogenic cresols, and endogenous estrogens, which can primarily contribute to the formation of breast cancer.

In addition, bile acids can be produced, which promotes the development of colon cancer. If alcohol is then also consumed, then this only boosts the productivity of the bad intestinal bacteria and more and more substances that are toxic to the intestine are produced.

A healthy alkaline diet with prebiotics is therefore particularly important in order to promote the right intestinal bacteria and starve the wrong ones.

Optimal composition of the intestinal flora

Bifidobacteria are undoubtedly the most important group of beneficial intestinal bacteria, but they are not the only ones whose presence is beneficial to our health. It is therefore extremely important that the intestinal flora consists of a harmonious combination of all health-relevant intestinal bacteria. This is the only way to optimally strengthen our immune system.

Choose a high-fiber diet

Fortunately, not only the bifidobacteria can be promoted through a prebiotic diet, but also the other desirable intestinal bacteria, such as the lactobacteria. To this end, food should be rich in useful fiber.

Scientific studies show that particularly indigestible plant fibers such as inulin as prebiotics promote the proliferation of bifidobacteria in the intestine. This also confirms the fact that the number of bifidobacteria in the baby’s intestine drops enormously when they start eating other foods.

The regular intake or consumption of prebiotic foods can greatly increase the proportion of bifidobacteria in the intestine.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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