The Role of Probiotics

WHAT are probiotics and how can they help you? The definition of probiotics has been deliberated by experts from around the world.

A generally used classification, as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (UN), is that probiotics are "live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host."

Do not equate probiotics to prebiotics - food ingredients that are non-digestible, and selectively stimulate the growth or action of beneficial microorganisms already in people's colons. When probiotics and prebiotics are mixed together, they form a symbiotic.

Probiotics are now readily available in various foods and dietary supplements such as capsules, tablets and in powder form.

Some common foods containing probiotics are yogurt, milk, miso, and certain soya beverages. In probiotic foods and supplements, the bacteria may have been present originally or added during preparation.

A majority of probiotics consists of friendly bacteria that are similar to those naturally found in our intestines.