English 3 MIN READ 616 VIEWS May 6, 2024

From Probiotics to Pathogens: Unveiling the World of Good Bacteria and Their Counterparts

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

We all have heard about bacteria at some point in our lives. However, many might be aware only of these commonly found single-celled organisms which cause diseases or infections. It is important to recognise that not all bacteria are harmful. Yes, you read that right! In fact, a significant portion of bacteria, known as good bacteria, are beneficial and play an important role in different physiological processes. So, without further ado, let’s delve into the fascinating world of good bacteria, unveiling their types and characteristics. Additionally, in this article, we will delve into good bacteria vs bad battle in a detailed manner, so keep scrolling.

What are Good Bacteria – Characteristics, Types, & Examples:

Over a period of time, bacteria have got a bad reputation, and it is safe to say that is not without a reason. These organisms are responsible for causing a variety of acute disorders like pneumonia, food poisoning, meningitis, and strep throat. However, as stated above, not all of these guys are bad! The good bacteria, which reside in our gut in huge numbers, are responsible for different functions like digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and producing diverse vitamins within the intestinal tract, such as niacin, folic acid, and vitamins B12 and B6. What’s more, these useful bacteria fight against bad bacteria in the gut by producing acids, which prevent the latter’s development, in addition to stimulating the body’s defence mechanism to fight them off.

Furthermore, acting as protectors, good bacteria in the body are capable of multiplying and thriving, thereby serving diverse purposes. These include guarding your intestines’ cells against invading pathogens, accelerating the repair of damaged tissues and, last but not least, helping absorb fatty acids. 

Now, as far as good bacteria types are concerned, there is one main category of useful bacteria, which is called probiotics. These live bacteria are crucial and beneficial for the body’s functioning. If you include fermented products, like yoghurt, some cheeses or even pickled veggies, you already are eating some of these good bacteria. Probiotics are available in different forms, like supplement pills and creams. Many food products also contain good bacteria, examples of which are listed below:

  • Buttermilk
  • Beer
  • Chocolate
  • Kimchi
  • Sourdough bread
  • Sauerkraut

Probiotics are again segregated into three main types. We have listed good bacteria names and their functions in the body, so keep reading to know more.

  • Lactobacillus: Usually present in the digestive, urinary, and genital regions, this genus of good bacteria type produces lactase and lactic acid. This type of good bacteria is usually found in yoghurt, dietary supplements and suppositories. Over 50 species of this useful bacteria are known to exist, and it is well known for offering diverse benefits to the body, including preventing antibiotics’-triggered diarrhoea, keeping colic at bay in babies, treating bowel-related disorders (like IBS and ulcerative colitis) etc.
  • Bifidobacteria: This good bacteria type usually resides in our gut and is beneficial in supporting the immune system, hindering the development of bad bacteria within the gut, and breaking down lactose so that the body can use the same in the form of nutrients.
  • Streptococcus Thermophilus: This type of good bacteria is present in the gut and is known for producing lactic acid. This type of probiotic helps in the absorption of nutrients, breaking down food and warding off the bad counterparts.

Good Bacteria vs Bad Bacteria:

This is no unknown fact that every coin has two sides, and bacteria are no different. On one hand, good bacteria protect us from different diseases, while on the other, the bad guys make us sick. So, when it comes to the good bacteria vs bad battle, it is always beneficial for the body if the good bacteria emerge victorious. This is because if the bad ones overpower the useful bacteria, the immune system can be thrown out of whack. This can result in the development of serious disorders, acute allergies and even autoimmune disorders. Hence, it is important that good bacteria flourish in the body so that bad bacteria, like E.coli, listeria and salmonella, don’t get a chance to thrive and cause mild or life-threatening diseases.

Conclusion:

So, as we have seen, the presence of good bacteria is vital for our many bodily functions, including maintaining the health of our gut. Moreover, it is important to understand the difference between good bacteria vs bad as it can help you make informed health choices. From consuming probiotic and fibre-rich foods to practising proper hygiene to taking antibiotics as prescribed and planning regular check-ups, you can easily help good bacteria survive in the body, thus keeping different infections and diseases at bay.

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