First, what is a probiotic?
According to the WHO/FAO 2001 and 2002 definition and an updated definition from ISAPP in 2014, probiotics are “live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. These friendly bacteria are present in numerous foods, including dairy fermented foods such as yogurt and some kefirs.
Why are probiotics beneficial to your health?
The word “probiotic” means “for life” and is a combination of the Greek words pro, meaning “in favor of”, and biōtikos, which means “pertaining to life”. Probiotics can help support the bacteria that live in the gut, especially when your gut microbiota is challenged by medication, an unbalanced diet, stress and poor-quality sleep.
Probiotics are commonly believed to help maintain both a healthy gut microbiota and a healthy gut. The role they play in the immune system is well documented and specifically relates to the associated strain of probiotics.
Other metabolism-related benefits have also been shown.
And you are probably asking if all probiotics are the same…
The answer is NO. A probiotic is characterized by belonging to a genus and a species and, finally, by a specific strain (for example, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG). That way, probiotics are given specific properties and benefits, although each one has its own unique characteristics and health benefits.
Most Lactobacillus help maintain the health of the gastrointestinal tract, and some Lactobacilli strains—Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus—in association with Streptococcus thermophilus help with lactose digestion.
And what about bifidobacteria? Most bifidobacteria help prevent and reduce diarrhea associated with antibiotic treatment or viral infections. Furthermore, specific strains have been shown to strengthen the gut barrier or improve digestive symptoms.
ISAPP’s videos are subtitled in multiple languages!