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 considered “good bacteria.” Your native intestinal microflora are your indigenous probiotics, while probiotic supplements are sourced from food and soil.  


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 beneficial 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 soil. Both soil-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:


  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Natto


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?


Whether you’re following doctor’s orders or heeding advice of a good friend, you may be asking yourself, what is a probiotic for, exactly?


It has been suggested that everything from energy to skin health to immune function are linked to our gut health. Probiotics help your microbiome maintain much needed balance. Many factors may contribute to an imbalance of your native gut flora such as diet, stress, illness, age, and certain medications. 


The truth is that the many potential benefits of probiotics are incredibly widespread, varied and personal. It’s not just about digestion. 


Do You Really Need Probiotics


Usually, the next question we get after – what is a probiotic? – is do I really need one?


If you’re looking to support optimal digestion and whole body health, you may benefit from taking a daily probiotic. When choosing a probiotic supplement, remember that everyone’s different, and may need unique support. That’s why Probulin has a variety of different formulas, including probiotics for women, with targeted ingredients to support overall wellness.


What is a Prebiotic?


A prebiotic is food for probiotics. These tiny fibers actually help the probiotics grow and flourish, supporting them on their journey to your microbiome. They are extremely important to 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 create work together quite synergistically, which is to say that when they are combined, they provide greater 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.


Ready to choose the best probiotic for you? Learn how to choose the correct probiotic supplement.

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