Beneficial bacteria and probiotics explained
When good bacteria are taken to improve health, it is considered “probiotics.” Probiotics are officially defined as beneficial bacteria or “live microorganisms that may confer a health benefit on the host”. The idea of ingesting these tiny microorganisms may be strange, but most of us eat different many types of probiotics every day in the form of yogurt, sauerkraut and cheese.
A more useful description is that probiotics is: microbials such as good bacterial and yeast that promotes good health and wellbeing. Living in a society that encourages the use of anti-bacterial cleaners and antibiotics, this may seem confusing. How can it be that something that can get people sick, can also keep people and animals healthy?
It is important to recognize that our environment is anything but sterile. It’s swarming with bacteria and this is also true for the body of people and animals. Research has found that both the outsides and insides of our bodies are fertile breeding grounds for bacteria and other microorganisms like yeast. This does make sense as we are warm and are continually providing sustenance in the form of dead skin and consumed foods. The gut is the most bacteria rich area in the body, is known to harbor trillions of bacteria.
So how does beneficial bacteria function in the body?
- Probiotics can make it more difficult for pathogenic (bad) bacteria to survive in the body.
- Probiotics can interact with the cells of the body and make them increase their defenses against invading microorganisms.
- Probiotics can boost the function of the positive immune response system.
There are several illnesses where beneficial bacteria/probiotics can be successfully utilized. They are helpful in antibiotic-induced diarrhea when antibiotics kill off the intestinal flora and leave it out of balance. There is also evidence that suggests that they are effective for constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), eczema, yeast infections and help protect against the common cold.