Importance of Probiotics for Good Health

Renée Naturally Qualified Naturopath, Nutritionist & Western Medical Herbalist

When you think about germs, what comes to mind? Disgust? Anxiety? You’re not alone. Germs have been cast as the bad guys in the drama of modern existence, and in this role, they’re forced to take the blame for many health problems. Some people seem to be on a mission to eradicate them completely. Rampant germ-phobia has led to the development of a wide range of antibacterial weapons and advertisements that emphasize the need to destroy bacteria at all costs. But this may be a mistake; not all germs are bad. Step in probiotics.


The idea of consuming live bacteria or yeast may seem strange at first. After all, it’s common to take antibiotics and use antibacterial substances to fight bacteria. It, therefore, might surprise you to know that less than one percent of the bacterial species on earth are the bacteria that cause illnesses. The others are mostly neutral natural companions, invisibly and harmlessly present in the soil, water, and air around us. And many can actually be your friends. It’s the hidden world of bacteria within you that could have the greatest influence on your wellbeing.


Probiotics are live microorganisms that offer a health benefit, by helping to enhance or restore health to our gut microbiome. A healthy gut is lined with a layer of these friendly germs. This forms a barrier to deter undesirable bacteria and yeast species and protect against infections. Antibiotics can kill good bacteria along with the bad, leading to conditions where undesirable species can overgrow without competition. Gastrointestinal infections or overdoing colonic irrigation can also interfere with the normal balance of gut bacteria, as can alcohol and stress. Irregular bowel functioning, wind, bloating, and discomfort can sometimes be caused purely by a shortage of good germs in the bowel.


Probiotic foods and supplements allow you to boost the numbers of the beneficial bacteria in your gut, reducing undesirable bacteria and improving your wellbeing in a variety of ways.


Probiotic supplementation may help;

  • Promote the growth of beneficial bacteria
  • Increase immune function
  • Aid in excretion of wastes
  • Encourage digestion and assimilation of nutrients
  • Improve vitamin syntheses (Vitamin K, niacin, biotin)
  • Promote absorption of minerals (eg. calcium)


The idea of consuming live bacteria or yeast may seem strange at first. After all, it’s common to take antibiotics and use antibacterial substances to fight bacteria. The term “Probiotics” literally translates to “For Life”, meaning that when you take probiotics, you are actually adding living microorganisms that are beneficial to your health. This is the opposite of antibiotics, which literally translates to “Against Life” because they are designed to destroy bacteria that are in your body. The problem is, antibiotics don’t just get rid of bad bacteria – they are non-discriminatory and they eliminate harmless and beneficial bacteria along with the bad.

Other factors that can cause an increase in the proliferation of detrimental bacteria and a reduction in beneficial bacteria include;

  • A diet high in processed foods
  • Other medications (oral contraceptive pill, HRT, cholesterol lowering drugs)
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Lack of dietary fibre
  • Overuse of colonic irrigations


An overgrowth of bad bacteria results in digestive dysfunction and may lead to damage of the cells lining the gastrointestinal tract, overproduction of toxins, maldigestion, and malabsorption.


These problems can manifest as;

  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Food allergies or intolerances
  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Cognitive difficulties


Along with probiotic supplementation, healthy eating can also help to restore balance. Gut bacteria thrive on fibre and undigested starch, which they ferment in the colon to make butyrate, a nutrient used directly by the colon cells to stay healthy. Eating a diet high in fibre and drinking plenty of water can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria species. Some cultured, or fermented foods also contain various types and amounts of beneficial bacteria. These foods include cheese, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, tempeh, umeboshi vinegar and yoghurt.


Keeping the gut healthy is the foundation to good health. Adding a probiotic supplement to your daily routine can help with, and prevent, a multitude of health problems. Set the stage for good bacteria to carry out their roles optimally by ensuring healthy gut foundations and adequate supplementation. Probiotics get the applause from health experts worldwide![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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