The concept of probiotics first appeared in the beginning of the 20th century in ‘The Prolongation of Life’ - a book by the Russian scientist and Nobel laureate Élie Metchnikoff. In it, he proposes the idea that people must consume fermented dairy products containing Lactobacillus bulgaricus in order to live longer. The reason for the acceleration of the aging process is autointoxication caused by toxins from the gastric microflora. It was Metchnikoff’s belief that the consumption of fermented lacto bacteria will help in the fight against this process.
The word ‘probiotic’ comes from Greek and means ‘for life’.
To put it simply, the bacteria in our bodies can be qualified as ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Probiotics are the ‘good’ bacteria which help to improve our health in many different aspects. Naturally, we can obtain such bacteria from our food, but only if it is consumed regularly and in sufficient quantities. This makes the intake of probiotic supplements incredibly helpful for the balance of our digestive system today. It is generally considered that the more bacteria strains and the bigger number of bacteria, as a whole, there are, the better the probiotic is.
Even though probiotics and prebiotics have almost identical names, the similarities between them end here. Prebiotics, unlike probiotics, are not living organisms - they are dietary fibers.
There is a constant battle between the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ bacteria in our colon. By taking prebiotics, we feed the ‘good’ bacteria and help them to win.
In other words, the probiotic’s effect is greater when it has been combined with a prebiotic.
One of the most researched prebiotics is inulin. Combining inulin with a probiotic provides invaluable help in maintaining the balance of our digestive system.