Saturday, April 05, 2008

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are live microbial organisms that are naturally present in the digestive tract and vagina.

Probiotics are considered beneficial and are sometimes referred to as "friendly" bacteria. Some of the ways they are thought to promote health include suppressing the growth of potentially harmful bacteria, improving immune function, enhancing the protective barrier of the digestive tract, and helping to produce vitamin K.

There are over 400 species of microorganisms in the human digestive tract, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

A number of medical, diet, and lifestyle factors are believed to disturb the balance in the colon. This imbalance is called dysbiosis. Factors include:
  • Inadequate dietary fiber

  • Oral antibiotic therapy

  • Infant formula feeding
Ingestion of environmental toxins
No longer kept in check, less healthy bacteria and yeast may flourish, which is thought to increase the likelihood of conditions such as infectious diarrhea and vaginal yeast infections.


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