What are probiotics?

  • The word "Probiotic" is used to describe a variety of beneficial bacteria that are eaten to promote intestinal health. It is derived from the Greek, and means "for life".
  • Probiotics were discovered by Eli Metchnikoff about 100 years ago, when conducting research on the long-life span of Bulgarians. His research pointed to their diets, which included fresh yogurt full of active bacteria.
  • Probiotics promote health by increasing the populations of beneficial bacteria that already live within our digestive systems.
  • Food products containing probiotics are generally labeled as having "live and active cultures".
  • On average, the human gut contains 3-4 pounds of bacteria (bacteria that is both good and bad for us).

What can probiotics do for you?

  • Probiotics synthesize B-vitamins in the body, which are important for carbohydrate metabolism, appetite stabilization, growth, proper nervous system, heart and muscle function, healthy skin and hair, and the formation of antibodies that fight off disease.
  • Probiotics produce acids that increase absorption of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and manganese.
  • Probiotics kill disease-causing bacteria by giving off acids and hydrogen peroxide.
  • Probiotics lessen the side effects of antibiotic therapy by reintroducing the good bacteria that are killed by the antibiotics.
  • Probiotics produce lactase, which can help to alleviate symptoms of lactose intolerance.

When is it a good idea to take probiotics?

  • Any time is a good time to add probiotics to your diet.