Fight fire with fire. What does this mean? Some of you may think this is a song by Metallica (others may think it is a song by Kansas). While that is true, I am not referencing Metallica when I use it in the title for this blog post. Instead, I am referencing the definition which suggests you treat something with its likeness, or respond to something with more of that same thing. You treat aggressiveness with more aggression. In ecological terms, it might be viewed as a controlled burn – using fire to burn out areas in a controlled manner ahead of a forest fire to halt its progression.
The use of probiotics is a bit akin to this. The definition of probiotics is “living organisms that have a beneficial effect in the prevention and treatment of disease.” The purpose of probiotics is to replenish (or maintain) the natural flora of the human body, especially the gastrointestinal tract. Research has demonstrated that a significant portion of illness comes from bacteria in the intestinal tract – more than just Clostridium dificile infections, although they clearly result in disease in the intestinal tract. Bacterial translocation across the GI tract and into the bloodstream has been implicated in numerous conditions, especially in critical illness.