Q. Are probiotics safe?
There is debate over the precise definition of probiotics. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization call probiotics "live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host."
Microorganisms or microbes are living organisms that can be seen only under a microscope. Microbes are everywhere; the human body contains billions of them.
Some microbes cause disease. Others are essential for health. Most microbes belong to one of four major groups: bacteria, viruses, fungi or protozoans.
Less than one percent of bacteria cause diseases in humans. Harmless bacteria live in human intestines, where they help to digest food.
Viruses, which consist of one or more molecules, contain the virus's genes surrounded by a protein coat. Most viruses cause disease.
There are millions of types of fungi, which are primitive vegetables. Some live in the human body, usually without causing illness. Protozoans are single-cell animals. In humans, protozoans usually cause disease.
Probiotics is a term that refers to foods or supplements that contain beneficial bacteria that can help with digestion and defend against dangerous bacteria. The bacteria in probiotics are similar to those normally found in your body.
Probiotics are in foods such as yogurt and other dairy products, miso (soybean paste), tempeh (soybean cake), and some