Could good bacteria kill bad bacteria? Is it possible to use probiotics for the treatment of medical problems that are caused by harmful microorganisms? Science says that the answer is positive. Probiotics can kill or at least control the colonies of numerous pathogens in the human body.
How It Happens?
Before moving on to the bad guys that probiotics can kill, let’s take a look at the way in which they accomplish the goal.
After probiotics are ingested either in the form of a fermented food or a supplement, they travel through the digestive tract until they reach the gut. This is where probiotic bacteria start multiplying and forming their colonies.
Probiotics are also known for secreting bacteriocins. Bacteriocins are peptides and proteins that can kill bad bacteria in the nearby area. Some probiotics are also known to produce antibiotics and hydrogen peroxide – two other crucial substances for the depletion of pathogen colonies.
Since probiotics have the most important positive effect on digestive health, it’s nothing but natural to start with a parasitic microorganism that can disrupt the fine balance of the gut.
Cryptosporidium is an intestinal pathogen. Its negative effects are particularly pronounced in people that have a compromised immune response. Cryptosporidium can cause severe gastrointestinal infections. A few of the most common symptoms include watery diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and even weight loss in severe cases.
A few of the most common causes of a cryptosporidium infection include contaminated water and food, eating food that’s not prepared properly and that’s contaminated with the parasite and touching surfaces that may feature the fecal matter of an infected individual.
Luckily, probiotics like lactobacillus reuteri have a profoundly positive effect on the people suffering from a cryptosporidium infection. Researchers found out that the positive impact was not associated to a strengthening of the immune response.
Rather, the probiotic secreted a substance that controlled the parasite and prevented it from colonizing gut cells.
A candida overgrowth can lead to various unpleasant health problems – from yeast infections in women to unpleasant skin lesions and reddened areas. Seborrhea is also the outcome of candida overgrowth.
Luckily, probiotics can be used to control the candida colonies. Good bacteria secrete small quantities of lactic acid in the gut. An acidic environment restricts candida growth and keeps it from entering a pathogenic state.
Probiotics also help strengthen the body’s natural immunity, which leads to even more effective candida control.
For even better results, you may want to consider eliminating sugar from a diet and opting for a potent probiotic especially formulated with strains that reduce candida overgrowth.
#3 Heliobacter Pylori
Heliobacter pylori or h. pylori is the bacterium responsible for peptic ulcers. This is a highly prevalent gut pathogen and one of the most prominent causes of chronic gastritis.
Conventional treatments for h. pylori can often fail due to the fact they require commitment on behalf of the patient and the possible resistance that the pathogen may develop.
Studies suggest that lactobacillus gasseri supplementation can suppress the growth of both standard and resistant strains. A clinical study involving 229 patients was presented in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
They were randomized in two groups and asked to undergo either antibiotic therapy or antibiotic therapy that also included the consumption of l.gasseri-containing yogurt.
After four weeks, the overall rate of h. pylori eradication was 74.5 percent in the control group and 85.6 percent in the group that was given the probiotic yogurt. The difference is statistically significant, allowing researchers to conclude that probiotics are effective in the fight against h. pylori.
#4 E. Coli
The final pathogen we’ll take a look at is one of the most common causes of infections in human – e. coli. While most e. coli infections are mild, they could be severe in immune-compromised individuals and in other specific cases.
Some kinds of e. coli bacteria can cause severe diarrhea and even hemorrhagic colitis. Antibiotic treatments seem to increase the risk of complications, which is why physicians are limited in the number of conventional treatment options they can try.
Lactobacillus acidophilus and lactobacillus rhamnosus, however, appear to be quite promising for the treatment of issues caused by an e. coli infection. In vitro trials demonstrate that both the severity of the infection and the length of its duration can be reduced through probiotic supplementation.