We have probably all heard that there are “good” and “bad” bacteria when we are talking about the gut. The word probiotic is simply another name for the "good" bacteria.   In the healthy gut, the "good" bacteria provide an important barrier for the lining of the gut to keep the "bad" bacteria under control. The balance between “good” and “bad” bacteria is essential for a strong immune system and thus for human health.   

“Good” bacteria have an important role in digestion of fibre and in helping your bowel move processed food out of the body. Lack of “good” bacteria often results a bloating, diarrhoea or constipation in people with IBS and IBD.

Probiotics are important components of fermented foods such as good quality yoghurts, cheese, milk and many other products. Probiotics are also available to buy (without prescription) in freeze-dried form in capsules, powders or tablets. Medical use of probiotics in the UK is quite limited; currently only two types have received positive results in clinical trials - VSL#3 and more recently LP299V.

© Jonathan Wade 2014