Not All Bacteria is Bad

Posted by Bradley Lewis on

Not All Bacteria Is Bad

Part of the mission of Earth’s Natural Clay is to educate people not only about calcium bentonite clay, but also about other natural health topics. So much of our health (and the health of animals as well) is dependent on a healthy digestive system. Here we explain why not all bacteria are bad and share information readers can use to take better care of themselves.

What You Need to Know About Bacteria in the Gut

The human gastrointestinal tract is home to many types and loads of microbes, also known as bacteria. They link in our skin, our mouths, women’s vaginas and throughout the entire GI tract. It’s estimated that there are more microbes than there are human cells in and on the human body. There is also a wide variety of the types of bacteria and there are more than 400 varieties present in humans. Because of their large number and the wide variety, bacteria play an important role in health and wellness. Most of these bacteria are not harmful and in fact, contribute to normal growth and development. Some bacteria, on the other hand, can be harmful.

Optimal health requires a healthy balance of bacteria, with more beneficial than harmful bacteria present. Beneficial bacteria have been shown to improve gut health by helping with digestion and elimination, alleviating symptoms of lactose intolerance, improving mineral absorption, reducing toxins in the bloodstream and improving the immune system.

Why We Need Good Bacteria

Some people hear the word bacteria and automatically think “Yuck! Bacteria is bad and will make me sick.” Actually, friendly bacteria is vital to good health and wellness. Some of the important functions of good bacteria include:

  • Manufacture and assimilate B vitamins
  • Produce digestive enzymes that help break down food
  • Detoxification of toxins in the body
  • Reduce harmful bacteria
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Reduce blood cholesterol
  • Balance pH levels in the gut
  • Assist in protecting from colon irritation, constipation and diarrhea
  • Help digest proteins, fats and carbohydrates
  • Produce natural anti-bacterial agents
  • Detoxify chemicals found in processed foods
  • Increase assimilation of calcium
  • Retard yeast growth and candida in particular
  • Retard yeast infections, herpes
  • Help eliminate bad breath, bloating and gas.

How to Spot an Unhealthy Balance of Bacteria

Digestive issues can have a number of causes. One of the simplest ways to try and resolve them is to eliminate the foods and stop the behaviors that contribute to an overrun of harmful bacteria. Eating foods rich in probiotics and/or supplementation with a good probiotic at the same time may also improve symptoms associated with an overrun of bad flora. Symptoms of too much bad bacteria in the gut include:
  • Diarrhea
  • Digestive problems
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Hypertension
  • Vaginitis
  • Kidney stones
  • High cholesterol
  • Allergies

The Enemies of Good Bacteria

The role of friendly bacteria or good flora in the gut cannot be underestimated. For this reason, it’s important to avoid and eliminate behaviors that KILL good bacteria. The most common things that destroy good bacteria include:
  • Antibiotics  – these kill both the good AND the bad bacteria in the gut. This includes antibiotics found in livestock and dairy products consumed. Just one dose can kill good bacteria.
  • Steroids – cortisone, hormonal birth control, laxatives. Steroids are not only available by prescription. They can be found in over-the-counter treatments too.
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Stress
  • Aging
  • Anything that weakens the immune system
  • Gluten
  • Meat – feeds the bacillus coli, which are harmful
  • Any foods that use fermentation or molds in their production.


The human intestinal tract contains countless bacteria, some good, some bad. Good bacteria helps to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol as well as detoxify and balance pH. Bad bacteria cannot be completely eliminated from by the body, but it’s important to keep it in check and under control. An imbalance of too much bad flora may result in diarrhea, hypertension, vaginitis and allergies, among other symptoms.


Foods to avoid include alcohol, coffee, sugar, meat and gluten. Steroid drugs (prescribed and over-the-counter) and antibiotics kill off healthy bacteria. A diet rich in probiotics and/or a probiotic supplement can help to keep the good bacteria to have the upper hand and the gut in better health.


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