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What Is Microflora?

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  • Written By: Synthia L. Rose
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 28 October 2014
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The word “microflora” refers to the collection of live microscopic organisms that flourish inside the organs of living creatures. These microbes, which exist in places like the stomach, pharynx, and vagina, include fungi, bacteria, and viruses; they act as protective agents that strengthen the immune system or destructive agents that weaken the body. Some environs host microflora which include viruses and worms. The inhabitants of microflora, also called microbiota, can be either beneficial or malicious depending on whether they are anaerobic or aerobic. The root word “flora” suggests that microflora refers to the microbes living in flowers; the word has evolved, however, to primarily refer to ecosystems inside animals.

Benevolent and nutritive microbes inside most microfloras are typically called probiotics; they are anaerobic. Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli are two of the most common probiotics in the microflora of many animals. Lactobacilli are attracted to environments that are high in sugar and starches. They produce lactic acid, which fuels the muscles with extra energy, according to many doctors; in some body regions, lactobacilli produces the disinfectant hydrogen peroxide. Existing primarily in the intestines, vagina and urinary tract, lactobacilli bacteria purportedly helps the body’s positive microflora to fend off pathogens, which are microbes that cause disease.

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Bifidobacteria, much like lactobacilli, also inhabit intestines and vagina, generating protective lactic acid. These bacteria are known for preventing ulcers and diarrhea when existing in proper abundance. They also allegedly help relieve breast pain, eczema and flu. Cancer, hepatitis, and yeast infections are also helped by bifidobacteria.

Microflora is best when balanced. Whenever the ratio of probiotics is skewed, infections and disease can result due to the high concentrations of harmful bacteria such as staphylococcus, yeasts, and streptococcus; organs can also stop functioning properly. Poor nutrition, illness, and medications such as chemotherapy can kill off good bacteria and destroy the microbiota balance. Genetics, environmental pollutants, and stress can also destroy bacteria ratios.

To restore this balance or preserve it regularly, many people augment their diets with powder or capsule supplements containing probiotics. Proper dosage depends on the individual and the body’s present ratio of good and bad bacteria. Many users experiment with increasing the recommended dosage gradually until they notice a shift in infection, irritation, or energy levels.

Fermented foods like yogurt and alcohol can often add beneficial microflora. Breast milk delivers high levels of probiotics to the microbiota of infants. The ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria in the intestines and elsewhere in the body is typically 85 percent to 15 percent for both infants and adults.

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irontoenail
Post 5

@umbra21 - The problem is that the normal microflora in the human body has got there through generations of evolution, where we've grown to rely on each other in ways that we are still only just understanding.

Any attempts by scientists to interfere with that relationship can end up with the indigenous microflora being damaged, and the human host being harmed as well.

I mean, the bacteria in our mouths probably do something for us. If you introduce a bacteria that feeds on them, they might disappear altogether, which might have unintended consequences.

I think it's an interesting line of research, but I'm not going to purposefully infect myself with new bacteria any time soon.

umbra21
Post 4

I think it's going to be interesting in the next few years as to how many new ways of manipulating the microflora of the body are going to pop up.

I know there is definitely some research going into the microflora that are found in people's mouths.

The bacteria in our mouths are what are responsible for cavities. Apparently one of the reasons they cause cavities is that we eat a diet different from what our ancestors ate.

If we were eating more fibrous roots and foods without sugar in them, our teeth probably wouldn't need to be cleaned because the bacteria in our mouths wouldn't be able to go nuts and gorge themselves, producing the acid that eats away at our teeth.

What current research is hoping is that we will be able to adapt the normal flora of our teeth to our modern lives, by introducing a bacteria that feeds on the ones already there, keeping them in line so they can no longer produce so much destructive acid.

Once they manage to find a way to do this, we won't have to brush our teeth anymore, they'll just stay healthy of their own accord.

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