Despite what we have been led to believe, not all bacteria are bad.
Each of us has around 100,000 billion viable microbes or bacteria living in our intestines. These microbes weigh around 1.5 kg in total and are referred to collectively as the microbiome.
95% of the microbiome is in the large intestine, with only around 50g (weight) of the microbiome residing in the small intestine.
The bacteria are made up of over 1,000 different species and more than 5,000 strains, some of which are considered helpful and others that have been shown to be detrimental to health. The two most common species of helpful bacteria found in our gut microbiome are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. Clostridium difficile is an example of a strain of bacteria that negatively impacts health, often termed pathogenic.
Maintaining balance between the helpful (good) bacteria and the more unhelpful (bad) species has been shown to be key to supporting a healthy digestive system. With the gut now understood to be central to health and containing more than 70% of our immune system, there is greater focus on natural methods for keeping our gut healthy.