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Home > About Probiotics > How We Acquire

How Do We Acquire
And Keep Our
Intestinal Flora

Abby needs a high percentage of her intestinal microorganisms to be friendly bacteriaOnce a baby is conceived, it grows in an entirely protected and sterile environment in the womb. Fetuses are totally isolated from any foreign organism (bacteria, viruses or fungi) reaching them because these organisms could seriously harm them and may well lead to their death. Since a fetus does not have a developed intestinal tract there is no way it could ever develop a mutual relationship with even the most helpful of bacteria.

When the baby is born it begins to pick up bacteria (good and bad) from the birth canal of the mother and the intestinal flora begin to be quickly established at that point. If the baby is nursed by his mother he will pick up more bacteria from her through that process. It is very likely he will pick up milk-based bacteria like acidophilus and bifidus in addition to other beneficial types.

However, even if the baby is delivered by Cesarean Section, or bottle-fed a formula, he will still rapidly pick up bacteria from the people and environment around him as well as from the formula. Unfortunately, he may or may not pick up bacteria that are good for him.

It is very important for a baby to be exposed to healthy bacteria early in life. The immune system learns to recognize and to tolerate the bacteria that colonized it in the first year or so of life. Once this process of colonizing the intestinal tract is complete, the composition of the intestinal flora will remain pretty much the same throughout the person's life. You can see how mportant it is that the person takes in a healthy mixture of bacteria.

Once a person starts to age, just as he tend to become more rigid and set in his ways in many aspects of his personhood, the intestinal tract becomes more and more rigid at only accepting the intestinal flora it has already been programmed to recognize. It is very hard to get the body to either recognize or tolerate new good bacteria that that are ingested.

Unfortunately, as a person ages the number of beneficial bacteria in his gut goes way down. It is not only important to supplement with probiotics, but to start this process before the body has serious trouble in learning to accept new organisms.

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