Why many of us could benefit from taking a probiotic

Despite the remarkable complexity of the gut, there is a growing awareness and understanding that the health of our gut is central to our overall health. Irrespective of this, many of us have poor gut health and digestive disorders account for more than 10% of the work of GPs.1 Furthermore, according to research conducted by YouGov, there are many people in the UK that don’t think about their digestive system when it comes to overall health and are more likely to think about their weight, teeth, sleep, and heart.2 As will be discussed further on, the gut is intrinsically linked to all aspects of health and so should become an important focus when addressing our well-being.

There are approximately 100 trillion microbes in the gut, which are often referred to as the gut flora, gut microflora, or the gut microbiome. The gut is a complex ecosystem where our gut flora, nutrients, and own cells should interact as a symbiotic partnership, where we provide food for the microbes that inhabit our gut and, in return, they help us maintain the health of our gut. In many of us, however, this partnership has broken down and can become detrimental to our health. Gut flora can be categorised in to different groups – beneficial or commensal; pathogenic; or benign. The microbiome is now best thought of as a virtual organ of the body.