The gut, or gastrointestinal system, is responsible for many of the body’s vital functions. Of course, it digests food and breaks it down into nutrients, but the gut also contains most of the body’s immune function and many hormones and neurotransmitters. The presence of bacteria called gut flora enables these operations.
The health of the gut flora can deteriorate, like any body part. The decline in health may occur for many reasons, but commonly because of a poor diet or lack of exercise.
Poor gut health could lead to minor digestive issues such as constipation or diarrhea. Continued negligence may lead to severe or life-threatening complications like colorectal cancer or type 2 diabetes.
Probiotics are food or supplements that contain bacteria to repopulate the gut flora. Foods like yogurt or kimchi are high in probiotics. However, the probiotics contained in a supplement are more diverse and in higher concentrations than in food. Probiotics aren’t the only way to repopulate the gut flora. Immunobiotics are identical to probiotics, except that immunobiotics are heat-treated. The heat kills the bacteria. The dead bacteria doest colonize the gut like probiotics but stimulate the growth of the already existing bacteria.
Learn more about the effects of probiotics and how they improve your health in the infographic below: