What is probiotic?
Probiotics or good bacteria is not a new concept, they can be found naturally in regular food such as yoghurt to naturally fermented pickles and for centuries they have been thought to be health promoting. Recent scientific investigations support these traditional views suggesting that probiotics are a valuable part of a healthy diet. However pasteurization has eliminated much of these good bacteria found in modern food.
According to the currently adopted definition by the World Health Organization, probiotics are: "Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host." Probiotics are “friendly bacteria” or sometimes known as “good bacteria” that lives in our gut.
Our digestive system harbors a rich flora of more than 400 different bacterial species. On average, an adult can carry between two to four kilograms of bacterial gut flora, which is an enormous amount of bacteria. These friendly bacteria are vital to our body as they perform important health functions which include:
- Help to maintain a healthy immune system
- Protect the host from invading bacteria and viruses.
- Help with the digestion and absorption of food and nutrients.
The more established probiotics are generally the lactic acid bacteria, most commonly Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.