Probiotics are live microbial organisms that are naturally present in the digestive tract and contribute to the health and balance of the intestinal tract. Probiotics are considered beneficial and are sometimes referred to as “friendly” bacteria, which when ingested act to maintain a healthy intestinal tract. Some of the ways they are thought to promote health include suppressing the growth of potentially unwanted bacteria, improving immune function and enhancing the protective barrier of the digestive tract.
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. Eating habits, chlorinated drinking water, environmental toxins, inadequate dietary fiber, stress and the use of antibiotics in food production as well as in medical treatments can cause stress in the gastrointestinal tract by destroying good bacteria and allowing undesirable bacteria to multiply. When the ratio of good bacteria to bad is lowered, problems begin to arise such as excessive gas, bloating, constipation, and poor absorption of nutrients. By supplementing your diet with probiotics, healthy intestinal flora is restored.