Probiotics are the opposite of antibiotics. They are the natural, beneficial, live microbial (Bacteria) supplements known to maintain intestinal balance of the gut micro-flora (micro-organisms resident in the gastrointestinal tract). The Joint FAO/WHO Working Group Report on Drafting Guidelines for the Evaluation of Probiotics in Food, 2001, defines Probiotics as “Live Micro-organisms, which when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”.
They serve to:
PROTECT the body against pathogens.
MAINTAIN vital chemical and micro-flora balance in the GI tract.
PRODUCE essential vitamins and hormones.
HELP stimulate immune response.
The average adult colon contains roughly 4 pounds of bacteria, comprising 400 species of microorganisms. The GI tract should ideally contain 85% friendly bacteria and 15% unfriendly bacteria. In many people this ideal balance is not maintained due to the effects of poor nutrition, stress, prescription drugs (e.g. antibiotics), pollutants and environmental changes.
The digestive system is the gateway to good health. Poor functioning of the gut can lead to poor health in other areas of the body. Slow intestinal transport can lead to constipation, a decrease in acidic balance can lead to increases in pathogens (e.g. Clostridium difficile for diarrhea), while increased acidity can lead to GERD (Gastro-intestinal reflux disease). An immune response can be produced from the passage of incompletely digested food molecules passing through the intestinal wall, possibly leading to autoimmune disorders.
Specific strains of Probiotics, like Symbion™ can help maintain a healthy balance of essential, friendly bacteria in the digestive tract, where about 70% of the immune system is located.