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What are Probiotics?

The term probiotic is a combination of the Greek words pro (for) and bio (life). First introduced in 1965, the term probiotic was used to describe the microorganisms that promote the growth of other microorganisms, in contrast to antibiotics.

Today, probiotic supplements are gaining increasing recognition for their effects on human health and as therapeutic interventions to target particular diseases.

Probiotics are live microorganisms. Lactic acid bacteria and other probiotic microorganisms occur naturally in nature (i.e. in the soil and on plants), and in the human body (i.e., in the oral cavity, the intestinal system, urinary system, etc.)

The most common human probiotic microorganisms are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Lactococcus, Streptococcus, Enterococcus.

Probiotic microorganisms can be subcultured through fermentation. In fact, earlier definitions of probiotics extended to include fermented food, but this is no longer the case. However, probiotic supplements can be incorporated into foods (dairy products, juice, bars, etc.) and are readily available in powder, liquid, capsule and oil form.

Why probiotics?

Gut health is now recognised as one of the key pillars of optimum health. It is widely recognised that probiotics help to support the immune, gastrointestinal, and reproductive systems.

Reduced body fat, improved insulin sensitivity, reduced blood glucose, improved blood lipid profiles and hypertension, reductions in inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, reduced eczema, reduced anxiety in chronic fatigue patients, and reductions in depression and anxiety overall are among the many ailments that benefit from probiotic supplementation.

Limited evidence suggests that probiotic therapy might also help reduce the effects of traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Interestingly synbiotic therapies (combinations of pro-, pre-, and post-biotics, like those found in Vita Biosa) are thought to be the most effective treatment (when compared to pre- or probiotics alone) for reducing postoperative complications. And while probiotics are likely to be effective for inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis) synbiotics combining pre and probiotics, are more likely to be effective in Crohn’s disease.

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