The intestine and immune system are in close contact with each other. When the intestine is weakened, the entire immune system loses strength. And conversely, it can lead to disturbances in the gastrointestinal tract in a defensive weakness. In both cases, the intestinal flora gets out of balance. The intestinal flora - that is the name given to the totality of all microorganisms that live in the intestine. Billions of tiny creatures, predominantly bacteria, cavort there. There are about 500 different species. They are diligent helpers of the immune system, which ultimately even influence whether a person feels well or is ailing.
Tasks of microorganisms in the intestine
The health-promoting intestinal inhabitants fulfill many tasks:
- They ensure that certain nutrients can be properly digested and utilized.
- They form vitamins, such as vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting.
- They protect the intestine from aggressive pollutants.
- They prevent pathogenic viruses, bacteria or fungi from settling in the intestinal mucosa and causing infections.
- They provide the immune cells that are in the gut with important information. Pathogens can be targeted.
- They promote the structure and nutrition of the intestinal mucosa.
However, all these tasks can only be accomplished if colonization is balanced. The microorganisms have to stand in a very specific relationship to each other.
Disorders of the intestine
The intestine can usually compensate for small or short-term burdens well. Serious disorders and diseases only develop when the attacks are very massive or permanent. Incorrect diet, an unhealthy lifestyle, aggressive pathogens or the use of certain drugs such as antibiotics or cortisone are examples.
The good germs are damaged by such influences and the bad ones can spread. Toxic metabolic products arise and burden the intestine. Foreign and pollutants can no longer be sufficiently defended. Inflammatory processes can follow. More and more pathogenic germs take the place of good, healthy ones. Soon, the intestinal flora is "understaffed" and overloaded. The first signs of this are flatulence, belching and convulsions in the intestine or colic as well as a greasy, strongly smelling stool.
The immune system also begins to "falter". The immune cells in the intestine can no longer work optimally, the defenses dwindle. Then the pathogens easily play a role in causing health problems. Many diseases can follow. Those affected are more sensitive, not just to infectious diseases. Sometimes allergies, rheumatic diseases or certain skin conditions develop. These are all diseases that are initially not associated with a disturbed bowel function.
Fortunately, the gut also takes help from the outside and you can do something to normalize its function. These measures are summarized under the keyword gut rehabilitation. There are different approaches. It is very important, however, to first clarify the cause of intestinal complaints to the doctor. If this gives the go-ahead, the pharmacist will advise you on the treatment with the remediating microorganisms. Most of these funds are pharmacy-only, but you do not need a doctor's prescription for their use.
Therapy of intestinal inflammation
With the so-called mucous membrane therapy one tries to counteract inflammations with bacterial metabolic products and to restore the functions of the mucous membrane. Metabolic products of microorganisms such as E. coli (human intestinal bacterium) or certain lactobacilli (lactic acid bacteria) are eligible for this. This therapy works particularly well with an inflamed mucous membrane, for example after diarrheal diseases. Because the health-promoting germs of the intestinal flora can only multiply if the intestinal mucosa is healthy.
In microbiological therapy, the intestine is treated by the administration of whole germs, not just their metabolic products. It uses both living and killed germs, for example, E. coli or Enterococcus faecalis . The germs occur in the natural intestinal flora and do no harm. They help to rebalance the intestinal flora and contribute to the rehabilitation of the immune system.
Probiotics are recommended to prevent the immune system. These are microorganisms, usually Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, which enter the intestine with food or food supplements, settle there and support the work of the natural intestinal flora. Nutritional supplements from the pharmacy, for example in the form of capsules, have the advantage that it is well known that the cultures arrive in sufficient quantity in the intestine and act. For food, this is not always the case, for example, if the cold chain has been interrupted or if the storage does not take place properly.
Mushrooms for diarrhea
Prebiotics such as inulin or oligofructose are indigestible carbohydrates (oligosaccharides) that can not be digested by human digestive juices. They increase the number or activity of the desired lactic acid and bifidobacteria in the intestine and thereby support the body's defenses. Symbiotics are combinations of prebiotics and prebiotics.
In acute diarrhea, but also to prevent traveler's diarrhea, for example, is also a therapy with Saccharomyces boulardii . This is a yeast that can be taken as a capsule or powder and colonizes the gastrointestinal tract within a few hours. There he prevents the diarrhea from spreading, without affecting the intestinal flora. The funds are available without a prescription at the pharmacy.