Probiotics refer to the live microorganisms in your body that help improve gut health. What most people misconstrue these organisms for is disease-causing, while the reality actually differs - not all germs are bad! Probiotics are also known as ‘good’ or ‘helpful’ bacteria. They are found in foods and are often suggested by nutritionists, dieticians, and general physicians to be added to your diet for relief from digestive problems. Let’s take a detailed look at probiotics in this article.
What are Probiotics?
There are two kinds of bacteria, one good and the other bad. Probiotics are a group of ‘good’ or beneficial live bacteria or yeast that live inside your body. They ensure you remain healthy and that your body runs smoothly, by fighting off bad bacteria when you have an excess.
Probiotics form a large part of your body, called the microbiome. Your body’s microbiome can be compared to a large forest, home to a lot of different microorganisms, each playing a different role. These tiny organisms are what we call microbes and you have trillions of them inside you as you go about your daily life. To give you an idea, here is a list of the different kind of microbes inside your body:
- Bacteria, and
No two people can ever have the same microbiome structure, not even twins. A microbe is only considered a probiotic when:
- They can be isolated from a person
- They can survive in your gut after being eaten or ingested
- They help promote good health
- They can be safely consumed
The Probiotic Process
A question that scientists are trying to answer is how probiotics work? There is research that suggests:
- Probiotics can be helpful to replace the bad bacteria in your body after you take antibiotics
- Probiotics maintain a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in your body
- They support your immune system during sickness.
- They control inflammation in the body
- They help you digest food faster and more efficiently
- They support the cell lining of your gut and prevent bad bacteria from entering your blood
- They help create healthy vitamins
- They help in the breakdown and absorption of medicines
They are also known to treat various diseases like IBS, IBD, infectious diarrhea, and skin conditions like eczema and allergies. Probiotics may also help with urinary, vaginal, and oral health.