Recent studies have shown that bacteria on our bodies may be protecting us from skin cancer.
We tend to have this notion that all microorganisms, bacteria inclusive, have negative effects on our health, which isn’t true. While some which may be initially harmless could turn harmful under certain conditions, other bacteria may just be completely harmless. The good bacteria form part of our normal flora; which may be found in the gut, nose, vagina or on our skin.
These harmless bacteria aim to protect us from diseases through different ways which include;
- Producing proteins that kill other bacteria
- Competing with harmful bacteria for space and nutrients
- Lowering the pH so that other bacteria can’t grow
- Produce vitamins we are unable to produce
- Help digest food
- Improving our immune system
Furthermore, there are certain conditions that could make harmless bacteria become harmful. Sometimes such bacteria find themselves in a different environment from which they are used to, therefore in order to survive, they usually end up being harmful. Another example is the vagina, whose environment is acidic, when it becomes alkaline probably as a result of douching or having multiple sexual partners; it provides an avenue for sexually transmitted infections like candidiasis. Immunosuppression and the regular use of antibiotics are other conditions that make good bacteria bad.
Interestingly, the growth of these harmless bacteria could be encouraged through the food we eat. Eating vegetables, fruits and legumes provide nutrients for a healthy microbiota. Fermented foods such as yogurt are rich in lactobacilli, a type of bacteria that are beneficial to your health.
Therefore maintaining a healthy microbiota/normal flora could prevent numerous chronic diseases.