Differences Between Good Bacteria and Bad Bacteria
Bacteria has gotten a bad name because of its association with illness, but did you know that you started building your collection of healthy bacteria from the moment you were born?
You need bacteria to perform some of the body’s most essential tasks, and even rely on some bacteria to keep your body safe and healthy. How bacteria affects your body really depends on a lot of factors, but the most important thing to remember is that having some bacteria in your body is not only a good thing, it is a necessary thing!
To learn more about the differences between good bacteria and bad bacteria, read on!
What is the Microbiome?
Within each person’s immune system is a microbiome made up of good bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses. Each microbiome contains hundreds of trillions of these microbes -- a number larger than anyone could possibly fathom. In fact, all of the bacteria in your body weighs somewhere around three pounds -- about as much as your brain! Sound a little scary? It shouldn’t. These microbes play a vital role in your immune function and general health.
No two microbiomes are the same. Even identical twins do not have identical microbiomes. You acquire your first microbes at birth and keep adding to the collection from then on out. Most of your microbes come from your environment and the different things you are exposed to. In essence, these microbes are your friends, and your collection is critical to your health.
The goal in any microbiome is for balance. While you may be used to discussing bacteria in a purely negative manner, it is your good bacteria that are needed to help maintain this balance.
When bad bacteria come knocking, good bacteria are there to help you make it through.
This is not all that good bacteria and bad bacteria do. Let’s look closer at the differences between each, so we can truly admire how much we all need our microbiomes and good bacteria to keep us healthy.
What is Bad Bacteria?
When you think bacteria, you are probably thinking of the bad kind. Illnesses like pneumonia, strep throat, food poisoning, meningitis, and many more are caused by bacteria. Every time we wash our hands and disinfect commonly-used surfaces, we are doing so to protect ourselves from bad bacteria.
Bad bacteria find power in numbers. A few bad bacteria in your body cannot seriously harm you, but a high concentration of them may lead to a more significant illness. Staphylococcus aureus, for example, can simply cause pimples when present at low levels, or it can cause pneumonia or even toxic shock syndrome when it has overrun the body.
What bad bacteria really do is disrupt the balance found in the microbiome. For one, bad bacteria activate and weaken the immune system, threatening the numbers of its good bacteria counterparts. Secondly, antibiotics, which are commonly used to treat bacterial illnesses, do destroy bad bacteria, but can also eliminate good bacteria in the process. This elongates the imbalance in the microbiome, until good bacteria can replenish their numbers and regain control of the immune system.
Thanks to scientific advancements, we now know how to identify and treat most illnesses caused by bad bacteria. Sometimes bad bacteria cause more chronic conditions, however, such as autoimmune disorders, allergies, and/or inflammation.
The best way to prepare your body against bad bacteria is by building a robust immune system. This includes making sure you have as much good bacteria as possible.
What is Good Bacteria?
All bacteria start out as invaders, however good bacteria enter the body and join forces with the immune system to support their host’s health. Good bacteria mainly settle down in the gut, but they are also found in the mouth, skin, vagina, urinary tract, and lungs.
It cannot be overstated that we need good bacteria not only to thrive, but to survive.
Here are some of the many tasks good bacteria perform to keep us healthy:
- Good bacteria regulate white blood cells, so that they do not overreact or underreact to a threat.
- Good bacteria that reside in the intestinal tract help make certain essential vitamins, such as vitamins B6 and B12, niacin (vitamin B3), and folate (vitamin B9).
- Good bacteria help break down carbohydrates/sugars and toxins, especially those which cells are unable to break down.
- Good bacteria exist to outnumber bad bacteria and other invaders. They help protect cells in the region of the body where they are located (typically the GI tract) against these pathogens.
- Good bacteria also help to get rid of bad bacteria by creating acids that prevent bad bacteria from multiplying or increasing their spread.
- Good bacteria promote better absorption of fatty acids and other nutrients.
All in all, good bacteria strengthen the immune response and are an integral component of a healthy, well-balanced microbiome.
How To Get More Good Bacteria
A lot of the good bacteria in your collection likely came from your environment, and you will acquire more bacteria as you continue to live your life, without having to think about it.
The best way to actively get more good bacteria in your system is by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. The following foods/drinks are all rich in healthy bacteria:
- Cottage cheese
- Sourdough bread
- Fermented pickles
You can also build your good bacteria collection by taking supplements called probiotics.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are supplements that provide us with naturally-occuring, live bacteria and/or yeast. The most common probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which are both bacteria, as well as the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii.
Probiotics are meant to support immune health and the balance of your microbiome. Similar to the role of good bacteria in the body, probiotics promote optimal absorption and digestion of food, nutrients, and medications. They also keep any bad bacteria that may have found its way into your GI tract from reaching your bloodstream.
Probiotics are available as pills, suppositories, or creams. Talk to your primary care provider before starting any new supplement, so that they can determine if probiotics are right for you, or if they will interact with other medication you are taking.
GoBiotix Complete Probiotic Multivitamin
Imagine you could get all your daily vitamin needs, plus 25 billion colony forming units (CFU) of probiotics, from the convenience of just one pill!
The GoBiotix Complete Probiotic Multivitamin has you covered. This probiotic will help you maintain a healthy microbiome balance, while also supporting immune health, aiding digestion, and replenishing your collection of good bacteria.
It also contains the following essential vitamins and nutrients, so you can kickstart your health to the next level:
- Vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, and E
- Folic acid (vitamin B9)
GoBiotix supplements are third-party tested and produced in a GMP certified facility, so you know that you are consuming exactly what is on the label -- nothing more, nothing less.
Give your immune system the boost it needs with GoBiotix Complete Probiotic Multivitamin!
Every human body has a unique microbiome made of good bacteria and other microbes, which help protect the body and promote better immune health. Unlike bad bacteria, good bacteria do not try to cause harm to the body and instead hold many essential tasks.
You can build your good bacteria collection by eating foods like yogurt and tempeh, and by taking probiotic supplements, such as GoBiotix Complete Probiotic Multivitamin.
For more probiotic supplements that help support your digestive health (one of the biggest keys to overall health!), check out our full collection of probiotic and gut-healthy supplements!