are live bacteria that are introduced to the body to cause a positive
health effect. Within the body is a wide ranging and complex balance of
bacteria that is vital to maintain good health, particularly in the
digestive system. This bacterial ecosystem is important for proper immune
function in preventing infection and warding off disease.
the bacterial ecosystem develops over the first 18 months – 2 years until
fully colonised, with a balance between bad bacteria, that causes illness,
and good bacteria that prevents illness. However, when the bacterial
ecosystem becomes unbalanced in favour of the bad bacteria, infections can
take hold and diseases can develop. This can happen either by an increase
in bad bacteria, due to an invading pathogen, or by a reduction in good
bacteria, such as if on antibiotics or during infancy. Probiotics aim to
restore the balance of the bacterial ecosystem in the body and cause a
positive health effect as a result.
caesarean section, premature birth or antibiotic use can all reduce the
development of the normal bacterial ecosystem in the body, and probiotics
can help increase the development. In healthy adults, the bacterial
ecosystem is fully developed, and the main benefit of probiotics seems to
be in enhancing the natural immune response to an invading body, and
therefore help prevent infection. Probiotics may also be used in adults
where the bacterial ecosystem has become imbalanced, such as with
extensive antibiotic use or in old age.
many billions of different types of bacteria, and it has been shown that
bacteria that are even of the same genus and species, but different
strain, have very different effects. An effective probiotic product must
therefore meet the following:
Must be live.
Produce a beneficial health effect.
State the specific strain of the type of probiotic used.
Use the same dosage levels in the product that were used in the
supporting research that show the beneficial health effect that is
In the sections on
the right you will find an extensive review of the current research and thinking
on probiotics and their potential benefits. In the 'Probiotic Products' section
you will find a review of the most common probiotic products around with world,
with information on the strains used and current supporting research on their
Bsc Physical Education, Sports
Science and Physics, Loughborough University
© TrainingandFitnessBlog.com 2010
What is a Probiotic?
Bacteria & the
Role of Bacteria in the Body
Bacteria & the Life Cycle
A Balanced Bacterial Ecosystem
Probiotics in the Body
How Do Probiotics Work?
Probiotics and Infants
Probiotics in Adults
Probiotics & Older Adults
What Sort of Probiotic?
What is the Best Strain?
Choosing a Bacteria Strain
When to Take Probiotics
Choosing a Product