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GI Jake - a good guy!

GI Jake a type of good bacteria that lives in your gut – he is a bifido-bacterium.  The word bifido just means ‘split into two’ – you can see from the picture that GI Jake is shaped like a ‘Y’ and has two ears called ‘lobes’ – and bacterium just means a single bacteria!

If you look closely at the labels of dairy products of yoghurts, you will see that some of them have had probiotics added.  This means that good bacteria are added that, if you eat enough of them, they will be good for your health.  In fact, the word ‘probiotic’ means ‘for life’.

GI Jake - a bifidobacterium!

GI Jake is a probiotic – he helps to keep you gut healthy and fight off invaders!  He is also called a functional food - that just means that he gives you more goodness than normal vitamins and minerals.

Our friend GI Jake is one of about 700 different types of bacteria that live in your gut!  Altogether an adult has about 2 kilograms of bacteria in their gut – that’s like 2 full bags of sugar!  GI Jake works very hard with the other good bacteria in your gut to keep you healthy.  These bacteria can:

  • destroy bad bacteria
  • break down harmful toxins from bacteria
  • slow down cells that are growing out of control
  • make vitamins like vitamin B12 and vitamin K 
  • stimulate your immune system
  • help you to digest your food 
  • help to protect you from getting allergies


Bacteria in your gut help you to take the nutrients from the food you eat and make waste with the leftovers that aren’t any use to you!

Scientists at the APC have found lots of different types of probiotics that live in humans and animals.  The APC scientists want to make probiotics work hard for mankind!  They are trying to use probiotics as medicines to treat gut problems like Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcerative colitis (UC).  To find out more, visit:  http://apc.ucc.ie     

You may have gotten your first Bifidobacteria, like GI Jake, from your mum when you are a very young baby.  Now you are older, you can find them in foods like yoghurts.  Bacteria like GI Jake make up a lot of the bacteria that live in your gut.  Sometimes people will eat yoghurts that have probiotics in them if they have been sick.  When you are sick, the good probiotic bacteria that normally live in your gut may get damaged or killed in the fight to make you better.  Eating foods with lots of probiotics helps your body to get its full protection back. 

To follow the adventures of GI Jake as he and his friends battle the evil Pat O’Gen in your gut press here.


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