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Helpful Bacteria??? June 3, 2009

Posted by viper42 in health.
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Ok, I must be nuts right?  How can bacteria be helpful?  I hear all the news about bacterial resistance, super bugs, new antibiotics to kill them etc.  So how in the world could they be helpful?   You would be surprised.

According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, many more studies are being done on bacteria.  The thought being that more insight to how bacteria work, and even why there presence, helps alleviate infection.  How can bacteria do this?  I’ll show a few examples.

If you have taken antibiotics before, I am sure you were told one the side effects most people get is diarrhea  (ewwwww).  Well, the reason for this is simple.  The antibiotic is killing bacteria in the gut.  The problem, those are NOT the bacteria we are targeting.  So what happens is that the bacteria that were once kept in check just because something was there, can now grow.  The issue is, they were not supposed to.  So more of the stuff you dont need is present and creates a rather…unpleasant problem.

Example 2.  What the dirtiest place on the body?  NO, its what you think.  Its your mouth.  There are more colonies of bacteria in your mouth than anywhere else.  So, why dont you get infections galore every day?  Hmmm, that is why the studies are happening.

So that you know, bacteria have already helped us.  There are some therapies today that work because we use the “tools’ in the bacteria as a factory to produce helpful medicine or reactions in the body.  Funny, that is exactly how viruses work.  But thats another story.

According to the article, researchers are now checking on a way to use a variant of a bacteria called C. difficile.  As a pharmacist I can tell, the regular one is NASTY.  It is already in you but held in check, Take antibiotics for a while…you will see this bacteria in full effect.  It can be a dangerous bug to have uncontrolled.  So why the variant?  By altering the bacteria, it is hoped to combat and even destroy its cousins to avoid this NASTY effects.  HEY wait a minute…NO antibiotics!!!  Just use an existing bacteria to help….THATS CRAZY!!!  Isnt living in this age so interesting?

There is one other thing mentioned here.  Apparently there is some link to H. pylori and asthma.  H.Pylori just a few years ago was found to be the cause of stomach ulcers.  So for those that have had one, that is why the antiobiotcs were given.  This bug is HARD to kill.  Think of it, a bacteria that LIKES to live in ACID and NO AIR.  They would do well in NY. Well, there is some link though that shows it can help alleviate a person from developing asthma.  The research is to new so only time will tell.

Well, the whole point here was to show how medicine is shifitng its views to alternatives…helpful bacteria.  Nutraceuticals are in the picture as well.  As health care costs rise, we become more ill, these concepts will continue to grow in demand and popularity.