maximize your microbiota Improve your digestion, ward oﬀ infections, and more with probiotics.
our gut is home to more than 100 trillion bacteria that perform a range of important functions— known collectively as the microbiome. These beneﬁcial bugs support digestion as well as vaginal and urinary tract health. Probiotics also promote the body’s overall immunity, support healthy liver function, and increase the absorption of nutrients. But their best-known role is the protection they oﬀer against harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Probiotics produce organic compounds that increase the acidity in
your intestines. This helps to prevent the “bad” bugs from reproducing. Probiotics also produce bacteriocin— natural antibiotics that kill harmful microorganisms. The two most prevalent strains of beneﬁcial bacteria are Lactobacillus, which is found in the small intestine, and Biﬁdobacterium , which lives in the colon. Not only do these two types of bacteria favorably alter the microﬂora balance in the intestines, they also promote good digestion and may help ease the symptoms of chronic digestive disorders. Low
levels of these beneﬁcial bugs, on the other hand, have been linked to a number of common digestive disorders, including diarrhea, constipation, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics have also been shown to prevent, and even reverse, the adverse eﬀects of pathogens on intestinal barrier function. This friendly ﬂora produces organic compounds including lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and acetic acid that increase the acidity of the intestines, making it a very unwelcome environment for harmful pathogens.
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