Probiotic Bacteria and Microbiome
Not all bacteria in the gut are "probiotic." Only the ones that generate a positive health effect. These good, beneficial, probiotic bacteria need prebiotic fibers to flourish. And flourish they do.
100 Trillion, And Dividing
Some estimates put the bacteria count in our guts at 100 trillion. That's 100,000,000,000,000. Basically, bacterial cells outnumber human cells 10 to 1. Put another way, by cell count we're 90% bacteria, 10% human. DNA-wise, it's even more impressive. Our parents gave us about 25,000 DNA genes. Not bad. But the DNA of the bacteria in our guts totals around 3.3 million genes. So the math works out that our DNA count is about 99% bacteria, 1% us. All this, leads some to speculate that our gut bacteria have more influence over us than we've thought.
Co-Existing For Life
Science seems pretty sure that this relationship between us and our resident bacteria, is so complex that we'll be learning about it for a long time. We do know that we simply can't live without the bacteria that make up our microbiome. We feed them, give them a nice, dark, warm place to hang out and multiply, and they keep us healthy in return.
The probiotic bacteria in us may help improve our mood, our energy levels, our resistance to colds, flu and serious life-threatening disease. They've been linked to weight loss, avoidance of heart and cardiovascular disease, beating colitis and resistant pathogens, fighting infections, releasing vitamins, breaking down toxins and reducing inflammatory disease responses. While probiotics aren't responsible for control of all your health maintenance, they do play a key role in a wide range of functions designed to fight illness and support your good health.