There are more bacteria in your colon than there are humans in this planet! And just as on this planet, there’s competition for space to live. Just as local conditions affect peoples’ choice of where to live, the local conditions in the large intestine determine the types of bacteria that will grow. Like people, bacteria directly affect their environment, while some bacteria have minimal effect, “harmful” bacteria may damage their environment and increase the risk of gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, where as “good” bacteria help to keep the environment healthy and often improve digestion and produce certain vitamins. The key is to get a balance between the “good” and “bad” bacteria in the intestines.

The “good” bacteria can be consumed in foods called “probiotics” – the friendly bacteria; these are generally in the form of fermented milk drinks and yoghurts. A good quality probiotic is proven to survive the hostile stomach acids, so they reach the gut in sufficient numbers and able to set up home for a while in your gut flora. Probiotics taken on a daily basis can help to “top-up” levels of the beneficial bacteria in the intestines. They are not a quick fix and need to be seen as a long term investment, as the effects may not be very obvious or immediate.

So have you had your probiotic today?