Our expert says:
The definition of a probiotic is a live microbial supplement that when given in certain amounts offers health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Our gut contains a balance of millions of bacteria, some of which can cause disease (pathogens or "bad" bacteria), whilst others ("good bacteria") are absolutely necessary for a healthy gastro-intestinal tract. Certain strains of bacteria have been scientifically validated to provide beneficial health effects and can be used as probiotics. Perhaps the most important of these health effects include stimulation of the immune tissue in the lining of the gut. It is important to recognise that the gut lining is the barrier zone and 1st line of defence between everything that enters our mouth daily and the metabolic events that sustain life. So it makes sense to keep this "zone" functioning optimally.
Many people today are concerned about the quality of nutrients we receive from processed foods and the necessity to increase volumes to meet demands. A few examples include vegetables grown in nutrient poor soils, irradiation of vegetables to decrease the amout of bacteria on them to stop spoilage on the shelf.
Many of the "good" bacteria we ingested came from vegetables and meat that had no preservatives or were not refridgerated. Many of the Lactoballi (a family of bacteria from which many of todays probiotics are derived), were used as food preservatives before refridgeration was available. Over time we have lost certain beneficial bacteria that were part of normal diets. Today, probiotic supplementation provides you with these beneficial bacteria.
If you feel that you need Vitamins to supplement your nutritional requirements, then you can also argue that you need probiotics to supplement your beneficial bacteria in your gut.
You can read a lot more about probiotics on www.biogaia.se
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