Home » Environment » Your Unique Microbiome – Your Very Own Ecosystem of Health
Catherine Mulvale

Catherine Mulvale

Director of Development for the Alliance for Education on Probiotics (AEProbio)

While some bacteria cause illness, most of the bacteria that live in and on our bodies actually help keep us healthy. Collectively known as our microbiome, this community of trillions of microorganisms supports our immune system, helps us digest food, and process medicines.

Our microbiome is vast and diverse and, generally, balanced. When the balance is disturbed, however, we can become unwell. Imbalances can be caused by infections, antibiotics, deficiencies in the immune system, inflammation in the gut, diet, and even physical and emotional stress.  

Probiotics can help protect, enhance and restore health

Mounting scientific evidence clearly asserts that specific probiotics can support good health. However, not all probiotics are appropriate for all health issues. It is essential that consumers understand that, like medicines, each probiotic is unique and must be taken as prescribed. For example, just as you wouldn’t take pain medication to prevent pregnancy, you would not substitute a probiotic for weight management with one used to relieve colic in children.

Not all probiotics are created equal and, because they are still largely unregulated, companies make claims without the scientific evidence to back up their safety and efficacy. Consumers need to purchase the proper probiotic for the symptoms they are trying to resolve. Otherwise, they are likely to find that they’ve wasted money and time on a probiotic that leaves them still suffering from symptoms they hoped to relieve.

There is a trusted resource produced by the Alliance for Education on Probiotic Products (AEProbio) that clinicians and consumers can use when recommending and selecting probiotics. It is the Clinical Guide to Probiotic Products. The Guide only lists brands that are backed by scientific evidence. It is conveniently organized by symptom, names the probiotic, and outlines the recommended dosage.

Next article