What are probiotics?
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!
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! These bacteria are called commensal bacteria and they all work together to keep you healthy. Commensal bacteria can:
Bacteria 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
The best know probiotic bacteria are the lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus) and the Bifidobacteria, like GI Jake. Lactic acid bacteria have been used in the food industry because they are used in the fermentation process. This is the bacteria used to turn milk into yoghurt and cheeses, sour cream and crème fraîche. Sometimes people will eat yoghurts that have probiotics in them if they have been sick. When you are sick, your commensals, 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.
Probiotics have been shown to have benefits to your gut, but there are other things that scientists think they might do. Scientists think some lactic acid bacteria (probiotics) may lower cholesterol or blood pressure and keep you heart healthy. Other scientists think that they can prevent infections by using probiotics to control your immune system. Probiotics could be used to make sure your body gets the most nutrients from the food you eat and APC scientists have shown that probiotics may actually prevent food poisoning!
Find out more below
Irish scientists report that a combination of five probiotic strains may reduce food poisoning by salmonella, if results of their pig study can be translated to humans.
Dr. Casey told NutraIngredients.com that the research is ongoing, with "the current emphasis being on methods of preserving and administering the cultures - freeze drying etc."
Applied & Environmental Microbiology; Vol. 73, (6), Pages 1858-1863 - P.G. Casey et al
"A five-strain probiotic combination reduces pathogen shedding and alleviates disease signs in pigs challenged with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium."
To read the full scientific article press here
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