Blame modern hygiene, an industrialized food supply, an excess of antibiotics, or all of the above. Collectively, we are driving more and more of the good little microbial guys in our guts to extinction. And yet, we very much need these good fellows to keep the baddies from wreaking havoc on our health.
Expectant parents frequently get in touch with me when they test positive for Group Beta Strep (GBS), a strep bacteria found in the vaginal or rectal tracks of 20 to 30% of women. They are worried about the effects of the I.V. antibiotics that their provider is recommending on their baby’s developing microbiome, but they are also concerned about a GBS infection. It’s a complicated issue and I could say a lot, but here’s a question: is it possible to reverse a GBS colonization? The answer is yes – and nature can do it itself. But research shows it may help to give the good guys a boost in their efforts to nudge out the bad guys.
Two probiotic strains have been identified as helpful in reducing vaginal and rectal colonization of GBS in pregnant women. These good guys are Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14. Women in this study took these commercially available probiotics each day before bedtime from 37 weeks until they delivered. 43% of the women who took the probiotics no longer tested positive for GBS, compared with 18% in the control group.
If you are at the end of your pregnancy and looking to reverse a GBS colonization, it is worth a try. If you are early in your pregnancy or even thinking about having a baby, how about enjoying some fermented food every day (yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, kim chi) and considering a probiotic supplement containing these Lactobacillus strands? Crowd those bad guys OUT!