In recent health news, medical experts have once again been asking themselves, “What is the best way to control harmful bacteria?” This type of bacteria is the scary stuff. Although the vast majority of bacteria are harmless or beneficial, a few bacteria fall into the category of pathogenic. Pathogenic bacteria cause tuberculosis, pneumonia, salmonella, tetanus, typhoid fever, and syphilis, to name just a few diseases.
The chances of these types of pathogenic bacteria ever causing you harm are very slim. For most of us, fighting off bacterial infections caused by a bout of food poisoning or a urinary tract infection is likely all we will have to deal with throughout our lifetime.
For those who are worried about infectious bacteria, however, here’s some good news from researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University. Probiotics — those friendly bacteria found in the yogurt in your fridge — may be strong enough to prevent harmful bacteria from causing disease.
The U.S. research team investigated probiotics as treatment for and prevention of several acute and chronic infectious diseases including necrotizing enterocolitis, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and infections caused by bacteria such as “Helicobacter pylori,” “Clostridium difficile,” and vancomycin-resistant enterococci.
The researchers reviewed available clinical trials and found multiple animal and human studies that showed anti-inflammatory and selective antimicrobial effects of specific probiotics. Some studies also suggested a role for probiotics as a supplemental treatment, in combination with antibiotics.
It’s possible that the probiotics themselves can kill infectious bugs or help the body through an infection. Probiotics may be able to help prevent reinfection and may even help the body produce antibodies against infectious bugs.
There are over a billion good bacteria in your intestinal tract that play an important role in keeping you healthy.
Adding extra probiotics may give us the ability to prevent common infections such as the cold and flu. One other possible use of probiotics is to prevent infections while in the hospital.
Of course, you don’t need an infection to inspire you take probiotics! Keep eating that probiotic yogurt each morning and add some friendly bacteria to your body. That way you’ll be well supplied the next time you’re accidentally exposed to some nasty bacteria.