What are Probiotics?
Digestive health relies upon a complex community of bacteria and other live microorganisms, archaea, viruses and fungi, also known as gut flora, or the microbiome. We often refer to the healthy bacteria as probiotics.
The World Health Organization (WHO) offers this definition:
Probiotics are live microorganisms that when conferred in adequate quantities provide a health benefit.
This means that to be technically considered a probiotic, a particular
strain of an organism must be tested and shown to be effective for a specific purpose.
Benefits of Healthy Bacteria
Maintaining balance in our digestive systems with healthy bacteria is important for:
- Proper digestion
- Controlling levels of harmful bacteria
- Supporting the lining of the digestive tract
- Supporting the immune system barriers present in the gut
How Do Probiotics Work
Probiotics are shown to have many important functions within the digestive tract. Several theories about the roles they play are described here. Probiotics: