All animals have colonies of bacteria residing in our intestines, which is of mutual benefit to both the bacteria and the host animal, as they help the host's digestive system work efficiently, by feeding off waste products in the bowel. Probiotics are live strains of these 'good' bacteria, e.g. bifidus and acidopilus. The bacteria are cultured in live yoghurts, powders or specially formulated probiotic drinks which contain one or more of the strains of these 'good' bacteria.
With food processing, pollution and antibiotic therapy, numbers of 'good' bacteria occurring naturally in our gut are reduced, so studies have shown, by actively consuming the bacteria in their live form, the size of the colonies in the gut can be increased, which improves digestion. Moreover, the numerous studies have also shown that with optimal numbers of 'good' bacteria, the immune system is significantly improved, increasing our ability to fight disease. Probiotics may also have a role in reducing the severity of allergies and food intolerances.
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