Probiotic comes from the Greek term which means life. For us to sustain life we have to be able to absorb vitamins, minerals as well as other nutrients. Doing this keeps our immune systems working properly and prevents harmful bacteria and other micro organisms from creating havoc in our bodies.
Scientists have discovered that 80% of our immune system comes from the intestinal tract. So in order to keep our immune system functioning properly we have to keep the intestinal tract in good working condition.
The intestinal tract is where the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are absorbed, which our bodies rely on to stay healthy. This is where probiotics come in. Probiotics are the living beneficial bacteria that keep the intestinal tract in good working order. Without them our intestinal tract would harbor nothing but harmful bacteria and other bad micro organisms.
This would make sustaining life impossible, so probiotics have a very important function in maintaining our health. There are billions of bacteria and micro organisms good and bad in our bodies. One of the probiotics jobs is to keep the bad bacteria and micro organisms from growing out of control.
There are hundreds of species of good bacteria that live in the intestinal tract. Two of the largest beneficial bacteria types are lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. The lactobacilli live in the upper intestine and the bifidobacteria lives in the colon.
One of their jobs is to prevent harmful bacteria like E.coli, salmonella, and the Helicobacter (H.pylori) from over colonizing. They also help prevent Candida from growing out of control which causes yeast infections.
They help with the production of vitamins and absorption of minerals and help with lactose intolerance as well as skin conditions like acne, and eczema in children. Scientists have been studying probiotics for many years and have concluded the many benefits they offer.
What is the best way to get the benefits of probiotics? Well, typically you should be able to get all of these beneficial bacteria you need thru food. That is if the food we eat is not processed in any way.
The food that we buy has been processed to kill harmful bacteria and to make it keep longer. Unfortunately, it also kills the good, friendly bacteria as well.
With the pasteurization and sterilization of dairy products you acquire very little of the friendly bacteria, certainly not as much as we need. Eating fermented food such as pickled fruits and vegetables, one example is sauerkraut; contain healthy bacteria our bodies can use.
Most people can only eat so much of these fermented foods though. Another way we can acquire these beneficial bacteria is thru supplemental form called probiotics. This may be a more pleasing way to get these good bacteria for some people.
Probiotic supplements contain billions of these live friendly bacteria. One of the most popular probiotic supplements contain lactobacillus acidophilus and many times are labeled as acidophilus. One fact that is true is we all need to have a large population of these good bacteria in our intestinal tract to keep our immune system working properly.