What Are Probiotics?
According to the FAO/WHO, probiotics are defined as “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”
Microorganisms are considered “probiotics” for humans when they have been demonstrated, through various scientific studies and clinical trials, to confer health benefits in humans.
What is the Gut Microbiome?
Living within and upon us is a vast community of microorganisms. They are part of an essential human organ: our microbiome. Composed of non-human cells, the gut and skin contain trillions of these microorganisms. Most are bacteria, but yeasts and protozoa are also present.
Like any other vital organ, the gut microbiome plays a critical role in the overall health of the body. When the gastrointestinal microbiome becomes unbalanced, it can have undesired effects on the entire body, not just on our digestion and gut health. Probiotics help support our microbiome’s equilibrium and our overall well-being.
The Body's Ecosystem
It’s helpful to think of the human body as a forest ecosystem. It is the collective strength of the forest and the interaction and communication of the diverse species living within its various ecological niches — such as between the mycelia of fungi and trees — that provide protection for the forest.
Forests may appear static to the unobservant, but, in fact, these ecosystems are extremely dynamic even beyond the periodic change of seasons. New dangers arise and existing species are threatened through constant changes.
The same is true of our intestinal microbiome. Just as trees are rooted in soil, connected with waterways and beyond, the microbiome is rooted to body surfaces such as the intestinal tract, which is connected to the immune, circulatory, and nervous systems, linking the rest of the body.
The human gastrointestinal tract functions optimally when there’s balance between its diverse inhabitants. When bacteria and other microorganisms that reside in our gastrointestinal tract fall out of balance, the health of the entire body can be adversely affected.
Prebiotics: Feeding the Growth of Probiotic Flora
Prebiotics are substrates that are selectively utilized by host microorganisms to confer a health benefit. Some prebiotics can act as food for various probiotics, such as non-digestible fibers and sugars, that support their growth and activity. Below is a list of prebiotic fibers used in our probiotic formulations that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.