Probiotics and Prebiotics
The word probiotic actually means ‘for life’ adopted by Metchnikoff in 1908, stating that “ingested lactobacilli can displace toxin-producing bacteria” promoting health and prolonging life (Elmer, 2001).
The gastrointestinal tract is sterile at birth and normal gut flora develops gradually over time. Once established it surprisingly stays constant throughout life. Therefore, it is difficult to change the composition after this time making successful colonisation with probiotics more that often transient as the digestive tract has many defences that inhibit this process (Vanderhoof & Young, 2002)
- The human digestive system contains over 400 different species of micro-organisms.
- On average, an adult human carries approximately 1 to 2 kilograms of bacterial gut flora!
- Everyone’s gut flora is as individual as a finger print – no two people are alike.
- Some probiotics are transient and do not “colonise” the digestive tract.
- 70% of our immunity also lives in digestive tract which is largely due to balanced digestive flora.
(If you are waiting a lifetime on a good bowel movement – maybe you need probiotics?)