What is a Probiotic?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the word “probiotic” means the following:
“Probiotics are living microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”
Pro means “For”
Biotic means “Life”
Probiotic means “Pro-Life”
So, what are probiotics? Probiotics are “good bacteria.” Your native intestinal microflora is your indigenous probiotics, while probiotic supplements are sourced from foods and fermentation.
The concept of probiotics was born in the early 20th century when Russian scientist Elie Metchnikoff hypothesized about the use of fermented milk and using them to elicit health benefits for people that consumed the yogurt-like fermented milk. He concluded that the fermented milk product helped to “seed” the intestines with friendly beneficial bacteria. By seeding the intestines with these friendly probiotic bacteria he found that it may help suppress the growth of bad bacteria, or at the very least keep things in balance. These fermented milks are the best examples of early probiotics.
Modern probiotics have become a great deal more convenient and, in many cases, possibly more powerful and even more focused.
Common Sources of Probiotics
Probiotics come from two main sources: food and fermentation. Both fermentation-based organisms and food-based probiotics can be great sources of healthy bacteria. To help better understand the question – what is a probiotic? – here are a few common sources of probiotics that you may be familiar with:
Various foods being probiotic means you can feed healthy bacteria to your gut by adding new foods to your diet. But in order to really diversify and reinforce the healthy bacteria in your body, you may want to consider a probiotic supplement in addition to your diet.
What Does a Probiotic Do?
Beyond food, what is a probiotic supplement and what does it do?
Probiotic supplements provide beneficial living bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobactia, that help to support digestive balance and digestive health.
What Are Probiotics Good For?
Probiotics may help your microbiome achieve much needed balance. Many factors may contribute to an imbalance of your native gut flora such as diet, stress, poor diet, certain medications, aging and much more. Such an imbalance may contribute to digestive upset and may lead to other issues.
It’s often difficult to answer what is a probiotic for, since the potential benefits are so widespread and varied. It’s not just about digestion.
Do You Really Need Probiotics
What is a Prebiotic?
A prebiotic is food for probiotics. These prebiotics actually help the probiotics grow and flourish. They are extremely important in supporting the survival of probiotics.
Important properties in prebiotics include:
- Healthy bacteria – building potential
- They are actually fiber
- They are indigestible by bad bacteria
- They are food for the probiotics
Prebiotics & Probiotics: How They Work Better Together
Prebiotics and probiotics work together. When combined, they may provide more benefits than when taken alone. Probiotics will cultivate and multiply much more efficiently if they have prebiotic fiber to feed off.
The three most common prebiotics are Inulin (used in all Probulin® products), oligofructose, and polydextrose. It is key when choosing a probiotic supplement that you look for prebiotic fiber like Inulin.