Bacteria are single celled microorganisms that are neither plant nor animal. They typically live in colonies that reproduce rapidly depending on the favorability of the environment and available food supply. They are among the first life forms on Earth and collectively make up a biomass larger than all plants and animals. They live in almost any place and habitat including: clouds, hot springs, fossil fuels such as gasoline and oil, hot water tanks, hot springs, soil, deep in the Earths’ crust, etc. They also live in, on, and along-side all living things on Earth. All successful healthy species have evolved a mutual existence with bacteria.
We encounter bacteria in every aspect of our lives. They are on our bodies, on our pets, in the food we eat, the air we breathe, in the washing machine, dishwasher, shower, etc. Some examples of bacteria in our environment would be odors such as the odor of a wet dog, food odors, body odors, fresh soil or decaying wood, even the smell of raw sewage. That smell is the result of the waste of the bacteria as it feeds and multiplies.
Many foods are produced using microorganisms such as yeast and bacteria like wine, beer, yogurt, cheese, sauerkraut, and kefir. When we consume these foods, the taste is the result of the metabolic processes of bacteria. When ingested many of these foods help introduce healthy bacteria into our bodies that ultimately will help create a balance between good and harmful bacteria.
We can even feel bacteria or rather the result of harmful bacteria as is the case with infection. The pain and discomfort that we are actually feeling is the inflammation associated with the bodies’ defensive response to the invader.
A rather graphic example of the relationship between living things and bacteria is what happens when a living thing such as an animal expires. While the animal was alive it maintained a balance of bacteria for its’ life. Then when it passes, due to old age for example, this balance is no longer in check and the body is consumed by would-be harmful bacteria.
One analogy that might help to put in perspective the relationship between good and bad bacteria in and on the body is the following: Imagine you are an organic gardener and you don’t use anything chemical or artificial in your gardening practices. Now imagine you have a particular plant that is being attacked and weakened by undesirable insects, so you take measures and introduce another insect that lives in harmony with the plant and can minimize the effects of the harmful insect by feeding on it. In the end, the plant is now home to both beneficial and harmful insects and all three now manage a healthy existence.
In the case of the previous example, if the harmful insect were to kill the plant it would no longer have a home or food supply. Applying this principle to bacteria, it is not in the best interest of bacteria, in particular harmful bacteria, to kill the host but rather live at the expense of the host many times resulting in long term poor health for the host. But there are many instances where a pathogen, whether bacteria or virus, jumps from one species to the next and the initial mortality rate in the new species is exceptionally high until the pathogen mutates and tempers its lethality so as to insure its long term propagation. Unfortunately, it’s important to note that Antibiotics are leading us down that exact path. Whereas at which time bacteria become completely resistant to Antibiotics, their strength will be as if they have entered a new species. At this time, by our own design, we are creating superbugs that will eventually exceed any antibiotics and measures we can throw at them.
It is for this reason that we must move in a new direction away from drugs and focus on diet and lifestyle that promotes overall good health with a strong immune system and let our bodies adapt on their own and live in harmony with the microbial world.
Written by DMK of Seven Grains