Disease, illness, even death, they can all be caused by the spread of bad bacteria.
But some could also do your body a lot of good.
Lou baxter reports.
Adam Jonas, has colitis, says: "You basically feel like you need to go to the bathroom 10, 15 times a day. So it's pretty nasty. It's not a comfortable thing to be dealing with."
To help with his gut problem, Adam takes a capsule full of bacteria every day.
Gregory A. Plotnikoff, MD, MTS, FACP, co-author - "Trust Your Gut" Senior Consultant Penny George Institute for Health and Healing says: "It's new to hear doctors prescribing bacteria."
Integrative medicine physician Gregory Plotnikoff did just that for Adam.
Adam, "I was really low in certain levels of good bacteria."
Called probiotics, they can be found in yogurt. The doctor says they help the body produce vitamins, pain-relieving substances, and can improve digestion.
Dr. Plotnikoff, "They're friendly bacteria, beneficial bacteria."
But sleep problems, surgery, stress, even antibiotics hurt the balance of good bacteria in your belly.
Dr. Plotnikoff, "40-million Americans suffer from chronic gut distress. Simply taking probiotics can help a large number of people."
They're helpful for most, but critically ill patients with immune system problems should steer clear of probiotics. Also, the FDA doesn't regulate probiotics for over-the-counter use. If you take them, the doctor says make sure they have at least 20-billion colony forming units -- or CFU's -- per capsule, and only wash them down with filtered or bottled water.
Dr. Plotnikoff, "City water has chlorine in it to get rid of bacteria."
Heat can also kill probiotics, so avoid coffee, tea or hot foods for at least 30 minutes before or after taking one.
Dr. Plotnikoff, "I take mine before I go to bed at night."
So does Adam.
Adam, "I would say I'm normal now."
I'm Lou Baxter reporting.