Some interesting facts about our friendly and not so friendly bacteria

Did any of you see this documentary on BBC2 regarding allergies and the possible link to our Gut Flora? – 6 days left to view on iPlayer!
It was fascinating to see what microorganism colonies were both present and glaringly absent in the guts of children with severe allergies.

Michael Pollan wrote an excellent article in 2013 in the New York Times on this same topic , which is also worth a read.

Did you know that:
– Our gut flora alone comprises of 95% of the total number of cells in our entire body!! That’s 100,000 billion organisms!!
– There is developing evidence that an imbalance in these bacteria, otherwise known as dysbiosis, has significant implications for our health.
– In particular the health of the micro flora seems to be important for the immune system, prevention of allergies, controlling inflammation, hormonal imbalance and general gastrointestinal health.

What can I do to keep my Gut Flora Healthy?

  • Consume fermented foods daily. Cottage cheese, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, tempeh are just a few to mention and worth looking into!
  • Eat a wide variety of vegetables both cooked and raw daily – these foods contain prebiotics which stimualte the growth of good bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli and also promote a reduction in harmful bacteria such as clostridia, klebsiella and enterobacter. Include Jerusalem artichokes, onions, garlic, leeks, ripe bananas, aubergine and asparagus.
  • Reduce/eliminate processed foods and refined sugars from your diet, these generally are of very little if any nutritional value and are harmful to your health in general.

If you feel that your Gut Flora may be compromised by disease causing microbes than it may be necessary to take a probiotic supplement. Please consult with your GP or healthcare practitioner if this is the case.

What to look for in a Probiotic Supplement:

  1. Look for Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria bifidum.
  2. Choose an age appropriate product, for example B infantis is appropriate for babies and small children, I used the Biocare Baby Infantis Powder for my wee man.
  3. Most of the best products need to be refrigerated, although there are some viable products out there that may be stored at room temperature.
  4. Many studies have shown the preferential effects of prebiotics on the good bacteria so using products where both pre and probiotics are used together is best. A popular prebiotic is F.O.S.

Some symptoms that may linked to gut flora dysbiosis:

  • Diarrhea, constipation, abdominal discomfort, bloating, gas, rectal itching, menstrual complaints, bladder infections, depression, irritability, inability to concentrate, memory lapses, headaches, hives, hayfever, hives, asthma, ear fungus, chemical sensitivites.

Here at Lady G we offer Nutritional Therapy consultations, if you would like to make an appointment with Orla please contact us through email or by phone 01-2872311.


Lipski, E., Digestive Wellness, 3rd edition, Mcgraw-Hill

Biocare Education Series, Probiotics in Practice

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