Which bacteria are most helpful for general health conditions?

Scientists’ understanding of the wonderful world of bacteria is still relatively new. There is a lot to learn. Dr Anne Madden said recently in her TED talk that “the last 100 years have featured human solutions to microbial problems, but the next 100 years will feature microbial solutions to human problems”. We already know a lot about some kinds of bacteria, and they do some pretty helpful jobs for us.

The most common probiotic bacteria come from two groups: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, although there are many others. Each group of bacteria has many different species. Researchers are studying which microbes may be most crucial for health conditions including diabetes, alzheimers and cancer. But a few have already demonstrated to help with everyday health concerns.

If you’re travelling abroad don’t let your holiday be ruined. Taking Saccharomyces boulardii weeks before your trip helps prevent diarrhoea, which usually comes from ingesting food or water that’s been contaminated with bacteria.

If you’re lactose intolerant Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Streptococcus thermophilus produce the enzyme lactase that helps the gut digest and absorb lactose.

If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or gastrointestinal distress Bifidobacterium infantisLactobacillus plantarum or Bifidobacterium bifidum have been shown to help regulate bowel movements and relieve bloating, pain and gas.

If you’re taking antibiotics be aware that they wipe out ALL of the bacteria in your body; the good and the bad. They can leave you susceptible to diarrhoea or infections. Taking a living liquid probiotic like our Bio-Live range can help to repopulate your microbe biome – the families of microbes that live in everyone and everything – and build up your good bacteria and immune system. Try taking Lactobacillus Rhamnosus and/or Saccharomyces boulardii six hours after each dose of antibiotics and continue for one to two weeks after you stop taking the antibiotic.

If you have eczema Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus fermentum have been shown to help treat those itchy, scaly skin rashes — especially in children.

If you have a cold some research suggests that Bifidobacterium animalis and Lactobacillus acidophilus can help reduce the length and severity of the common cold and flu by enhancing the body’s production of antibodies.

If you have a vaginal infection Lactobacillus acidophilusLactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri have been shown to help prevent and clear up bacterial vaginosis and urinary tract infections in some people. Researchers point to these bacteria being the most effective to protect against yeast infections and fight off unwelcome bacteria and fungi.

If you have bad breath, gingivitis or periodontitis Lactobacillus reuteri promote oral health by binding to teeth and gums, preventing plaque formation in the mouth. Research has also demonstrated the ability of Weissella cibaria to freshen breath by inhibiting the production of sulphur compounds in the mouth.

Written by Dom Penrose