Yoghurt

Q & A Glossary

About probiotics

What are probiotics?
Probiotics are good bacteria which, when consumed in sufficient quantities, have beneficial health effects over and above inherent general nutrition. They help achieve a balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. They are most commonly a strain of bifidobacteria or lactobacilli.

When were the benefits of ‘good’ bacteria discovered?
In the early 1900s, Nobel Prize-winning microbiologist Elie Metchnikoff observed that Bulgarian peasants seemed to live longer, healthier lives than peasants in neighbouring countries. He made a connection between this and the large amount of fermented milk products in the Bulgarian peasant diet.

Glossary

Antibiotic
A substance produced by or derived from a micro organism that can be used to kill another micro organism.

Antioxidant
Any vitamins or minerals that help protect the body from forming ‘free radicals’. Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that can damage cells and harm the immune system.

Bacterium (plural is Bacteria)
Any of a group of single-celled micro organisms that live in soil, water, organic matter, or the bodies of plants and animals.

Bifidobacterium
A type of ‘good’ bacteria which lives in our large intestine and helps fight infection (see Immune system).

Bifido-Defensis™
The unique strain of Bifidobacteriumn, which is a probiotic, contained in Activate.

Immune system
Your body’s natural defence system against foreign substances that have penetrated the outer defences of the body. Its function is to identify harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites and develop defences against them. Your body also has defences which help prevent pathogens entering the body – such as the colonies of good bacteria in the intestine.

Microflora
The colonies of bacteria found in the large intestine. They are important for proper digestion and getting rid of waste products.

Micro organism
An organism, such as a bacterium, that is too small to be seen without a microscope.

Pathogen
A germ – a bacterium or virus – that causes disease.

Prebiotic
Good bacteria require nutrients to grow and colonise the intestine once they are inside the intestine. Many good bacteria use carbohydrate nutrients such as lactose and “oligosaccharides” as fuel for this purpose. Nutrients which help to support the growth and colonisation of probiotic bacteria are called “prebiotics”.

Probiotic
Bacteria which, when consumed in sufficient quantities, have beneficial health effects over and above inherent general nutrition. They are most commonly a strain of bifidobacteria or lactobacilli.

Toxin
A poison produced by certain animals, plants or bacteria.