How do probiotics aid in health maintenance?

Probiotics can help to maintain health in a variety of ways. The first is by maintaining a healthy microorganism community. Second, by assisting the body's community microorganisms in returning to a healthy state after being disturbed.

Other than bacteria, the body contains fungi, parasites, and viruses. All of these "bugs" coexist peacefully and naturally in a healthy person, with the greatest number found in the intestines. Scientists refer to all these coexisting "bugs" in our bodies as the microbiome. 


The microbiome plays a key role in promoting the smooth daily operation of the human body. It consists of both helpful and potentially harmful microbes. The disturbance in the balance between the helpful and harmful microbes may arise due to infectious illnesses, certain diets, prolonged use of antibiotics or other bacteria-destroying medications, which can lead to the body becoming more susceptible to diseases. 

Scientists believe that probiotics are most effective at both ends of the age spectrum, that is, children and the elderly, during stress, after antibiotic consumption, and so on. Probiotics influence the bacteria colonization process, which can lead to a faster restoration of a healthy microbiome and a lower risk of illness. 

 

Probiotics also help to maintain health by influencing the body's immune response. Microbiota aid in the stimulation of the immune system in the body; for example, a healthy microbiota will protect the body from pathogenic organisms that enter the body, such as through the consumption of contaminated food and beverages.

A variety of bacteria families are found in the human gut, including Prevotella, Ruminoccoides, Bacteroides, Lactobacillus, Clostridium, and Firmicutes. These microbes in the gut prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria by competing for nutrients and attachment sites on the mucous membrane of the gut, which in turn provides immune activity to the body. 

In a nutshell, while there are numerous additional benefits to consuming probiotics, such as improved skin health, scientists are still trying to figure out how probiotics can help with other health conditions. However, large-scale studies, such as the Human Genome Project, show promising results on the health benefits of probiotics.

References

1.    Harvard T.H. Chan. School of Public Health. The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/microbiome/

2.    Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Bugs in the system. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/magazine/magazine_article/bugs-in-the-system/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=Chan-Facebook-General