Table of Contents
- What are probiotics?
- What are probiotics? (Continued)
- What are prebiotics and synbiotics?
- What are microbes and their role in our health?
- What are the health benefits of probiotics?
- What are the health benefits of probiotics? (Continued)
- What are the different types of probiotics?
- What are the different types of probiotics? (Part 2)
- What are the different types of probiotics? (Part 3)
- What foods contain probiotics?
- What foods contain probiotics? (Part 2)
- What foods contain probiotics? (Part 3)
- What are the side effects and risks of probiotics?
- How should people take probiotics?
What are microbes and their role in our health?
Microbes are tiny organisms (bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi) -- so tiny that millions can fit into the eye of a needle -- that are so powerful that an imbalance in the body is related to numerous diseases. These microorganisms can be found in almost every part of the human body, living on the skin, in the nose, and in the gut. There are trillions of these microorganisms in our bodies. They outnumber human cells by 10 to one, but due to their small size, they only make up 1%-3% of a body's total mass.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) is sponsoring the Human Microbiome Project (HMP), which is developing research resources to enable the study of the microbial communities that live in and on our bodies and the roles they play in human health and disease. The NIH has funded many more medical studies using HMP data and techniques, including the role of the gut microbiome in Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and esophageal cancer; skin microbiome in psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and immunodeficiency; urogenital microbiome in reproductive and sexual history and circumcision; and a number of childhood disorders, including pediatric abdominal pain, intestinal inflammation, and necrotizing enterocolitis, a severe condition in premature infants in which the intestine tissue dies due to lack of oxygen. Continue Reading