Probiotics stem from the Greek word “pro”, meaning to promote, and “biotic”, meaning life. As for the medical definition of this word, scientists describe probiotics as microorganisms that improve the health of the host (you and I) when given in adequate dosage.
Because of this definition, people often find it difficult to believe that consuming live bacteria can improve their health. It is after all the opposite reason you take antibiotics, which are made to treat you.
Moreover, we try to keep a high level of hygiene to clear up all the microorganisms that cause disease. Therefore, why would you willingly consume these microbes?
The answer to this question is complex and involves a deep understanding of the gut microbiota. However, let’s take a different approach to answer this question; we’ll discuss the major benefits of probiotics to comprehend why it’s a good idea to supplement your body with these microorganisms.
The health benefits of probiotics
- When you take dietary probiotics, you’ll restore the balance between the good and bad bacteria inside your gut. This process leads to the following benefits:
- Improved gastrointestinal motility
- Enhanced digestion
- Detoxification of the intestines from chemicals and toxins
- Decreased risk of digestive infections caused by E.coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter
- Decreased risk of digestive diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease
The effect of a healthy microbiota is believed to influence all organ systems of the body, which has a direct impact on the host’s health status. While the mechanism is not fully understood, scientists theorize it’s the cause of boosting the immune system while keeping it at check.
After all, you don’t want to boost the immune system too much since it may be counterintuitive and cause autoimmune diseases (e.g. lupus erythematosus disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis).
Like I said earlier, finding the right balance will have tremendous beneficial effects on your health, which is exactly what probiotics provide
Conclusion on probiotics
Probiotics are a great tool to improve your overall health; moreover, we are seeing new exciting data that supports the benefits of a healthy gastrointestinal flora on the entire body.