Dysbiosis (imbalanced gut flora)
Early in the 20th century, Dr Elie Metchnikoff popularised the theory that disease begins in the digestive tract because of an imbalance of intestinal bacteria. He called this state dysbiosis, which comes from symbiosis meaning living together in mutual harmony and dis which means not.
Dr Metchnikoff was the first scientist to discover the useful properties of probiotics. He won the Nobel Prize in 1908 for his work on lactobacilli and humoral immunity and was a colleague of Louis Pasteur, succeeding him as the director of the Pasteur Institute in Paris. Dr Metchnikoff found that the bacteria in yoghurt prevented and reversed bacterial infection. His research proves that the lactobacilli could displace many disease-producing organisms and reduce the toxins they generated. He believed these endotoxins (toxins produced from substances inside the body) shortened lifespan and he advocated the use of lactobacillus in the 1940s for all manner of infections. Whilst there are many causes of dysbiosis, we generally bring it on ourselves. Constant high levels of stress, exposure to manufactured chemicals, poor food choices, oral contraceptives, surgery and use of antibiotics and painkillers all change the healthy balance of the digestive tract.