Probiotics And Mitochondria: Bacteria Are Not “Other”

17th February 2012

By Sayer Ji – Wake Up World

The close symbiotic relationship between our bodies and intestinal bacteria is so profound that some scientists have suggested we be viewed as “metaorganisms.”

Indeed, without these friendly bacteria we could not perform critical life-sustaining functions, such as:

Probiotics also perform at least 30 essential biological functions, with 13 viewable below:

Beyond these remarkable properties probiotics have been shown in the scientific literature to prevent and/or ameliorate well over 150 diseases, indicating that they are indispensable to our health in ways we are only beginning to understand.

A fundamental symbiosis with bacteria is built into the very infrastructure of our bodies, as exemplified by the evolutionary origin of mitochondria, which are the little “power houses” of our cells.   Mitochondria, in fact, have their own DNA and it is only passed down through other mitochondria through the maternal germ cell. The mitochondrial DNA is circular like bacterial DNA, and the mitochondrial ribosomes and transfer RNA are also similar to those of bacteria, as well as other components of its membrane. The genetic sequences of mitochondria also clearly indicate an origin from a group of bacteria called the alpha-Proteobacteria.

These facts have lead researchers to the “endosymbiotic theory,” which proposes that mitochondria were once bacteria living outside of us and which gave up their independence by becoming organelles within an ancient proto-cell that evolved into the eukaryotic cells that presently make up our bodies; were it not for this ancient symbiotic marriage we would not be here today.

Ultimately, our bodies tell a very different story of our origins and need for cooperation with other cellular communities (i.e. probiotics) than the human ego, and its various anthropocentric explanations of who we are and where we came from. Because probiotics come from other living organisms (i.e. they cover and permeate the fruits, vegetables, animals we eat), and their health (and the health of their environment, e.g. soil, water, air) is indispensable in ensuring healthy probiotic communities flourish within these “foods,” it is no longer possible to separate out our health and destiny from that of the environment, and the planet as a whole.

We also need to understand that antibiotics (literally: “against life”) — both in prescription drug form and in the form of thousands of manmade chemicals that kill microbial life — have devastating consequences to probiotics (literally: “for life”) and our health when used indiscriminately or unconsciously (fluoridination and chlorination of water). The root of our health is dependent on the fragile, necessary, and timeless relationship between vast populations of these microscopic ‘beings’ without which we ourselves can not be whole, healthy and holy (implanted, with a sense of sacredness, in our bodies and souls).

About the Author

Sayer Ji is the founder of, the world’s largest, evidence-based, open-source, natural medicine database. Follow him on  Facebook or  Twitter


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