All humans have enormous numbers of bacteria and other micro-organisms (10 to 14) in the lower intestine. In fact our bodies contain about ten times more bacteria than our own cells and these tiny passengers are extremely important for our health. They help us digest our food and provide us with energy and vitamins. These ‚friendly' commensal bacteria in the intestine help to stop the ‚bad guys' such as Salmonella that cause infections, taking hold. Even the biochemical reactions that build up and maintain our bodies come from our intestinal bacteria as well as our own cells.
Pretty important that we get along with these little bacterial friends... definitely. But as in all beautiful relationships, things can sometimes turn sour. If the bacteria in the intestine become unbalanced, inflammation and damage can occur at many different locations in the body. The best known of these is the intestine itself: the wrong intestinal bacteria can trigger Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The liver also becomes damaged when intestinal bacteria are unbalanced.