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What are Probiotics?
    Beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum, are called probiotics. Probiotic bacteria favorably alter the intestinal microflora balance, inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, promote good digestion, boost immune function, and increase resistance to infection. People with flourishing intestinal colonies of beneficial bacteria are better equipped to fight the growth of disease-causing bacteria. Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria maintain a healthy balance of intestinal flora by producing organic compounds—such as lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and acetic acid—that increase the acidity of the intestine and inhibit the reproduction of many harmful bacteria.

    Probiotic bacteria also produce substances called bacteriocins, which act as natural antibiotics to kill undesirable microorganisms.

    Probiotics are important in recolonizing the intestine during and after antibiotic use. Probiotic supplements replenish the beneficial bacteria, preventing up to 50% of infections occurring after antibiotic use.

    Probiotics also promote healthy digestion. Enzymes secreted by probiotic bacteria aid digestion. Acidophilus is a source of lactase, the enzyme needed to digest milk sugar, which is lacking in lactose-intolerant people.

 

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