What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are dietary supplements and live micro organisms containing potentially beneficial bacteria. According to the currently adopted definition by FAO/WHO, probiotic's are: ‘Live micro organisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host’.[1]

They are Gastrointestinal Micro organisms/bacteria, meaning they live in your gastrointestinal system which is your stomach and intestines. These micro organisms/bacteria can be simply placed into to groups "Good" and "Bad".

The good bacteria work with your body to help digest and absorb food and protect against any disease. On the other hand any bad bacteria in your system can cause intestinal distress and negatively affect digestion. These bad bacteria become more prominent in times of stress or sickness or even the use of certain medication and can lead to the decrease in the amount of good bacteria.

When the population of the good bacteria starts to dwindle they are no longer able to control the growth of the bad bacteria which enter every time you eat. As these organisms grow in number they may cause bloating, gas, cramps, and diarrhoea, which may in turn affect your ability to absorb nutrients thus increasing your risk of illness. Luckily for us there are products on the market today that contain various types of the "good bacteria", or probiotics. Taking these supplements may help you maintain a healthy balance of intestinal micro organisms that promote digestion and prevent the discomfort of intestinal distress.

The video below is a Quick animation on how it works

1.^FAO/WHO (2001) Health and Nutritional Properties of Probiotic's in Food including Powder Milk with Live Lactic Acid Bacteria.

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