What Are Microorganisms?
GOOD / BAD BACTERIA
Microorganisms or microbes are extremely tiny and microscopic in nature. They include bacteria, fungi, archaea and protozoa. Bacteria has sure got a reputation for spreading several diseases. We diligently wipe down the bad ones with disinfectants and sanitisers to kill the germs and to protect ourselves from various diseases.
But wait, how can bacteria be good for us? When it comes to micro-organisms, there are two types of bacteria - good bacteria and bad bacteria.
Good bacteria help us in absorbing nutrients, destroying disease-causing cells and building our immunity to maintain a healthy life. Our bodies are home to an estimated number of 100 trillion good bacteria that reside in our gut. These helpful bacteria act as protectors and are extremely beneficial to our bodies.
What Is A Probiotic?
Probiotics definition by World Health Organization (WHO) - 'as live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host'. These good bacteria can be naturally found in fermented foods, yogurt, Pickles, Buttermilk, Kemchi, Kefir etc . Probiotics confer numerous health benefits to our body.
Aids in easy food digestion & boosts metabolism
Supports the breakdown of food and medications
Creates vitamins that are beneficial to the body
Fights bad bacteria present in the body
Types Of Probiotics
They are classified into 3 categories - Spore Formers, Lactic-acid bacteria & yeasts. They are further identified by their genus, species, and strains.
Benefits Of Probiotics
STRAIN, GENUS & SPECIES?
Probiotics are identified with their specific strain, which includes genus, species and strain designation. A strain is a member of a species and the species is a member of a genus. Various species of bacteria can also belong to the same genus.
For example, how animals have different breeds and variations, some species of bacteria also have different strains.
Strains from the same species will be more alike than strains from the different species and they are all known to have different health benefits. Various tests and research studies have been conducted to observe which strains benefit our health the most.
What Is Microbiome?
EUBIOSIS / DYSBIOSIS
The microbiome is a term used to describe a specific collection of microorganisms or microbes. It is also known as microbiota. The term is commonly used to refer to microorganisms living in the human gut. The microbes present here are both helpful and harmful in nature. They coexist with each other without any problems. They play a vital role in the development of the innate immune system and regulate microbe symbiosis.
Eubiosis is a Greek term referring to the overall balance of microflora in the gastrointestinal tract of humans. Dysbiosis is a condition that is caused by the imbalance of the bacterial community in the gut. It disrupts the natural ecosystem of the gut, which results in symptoms like - constipation, diarrhoea, cramping, indigestion and bloating.
What Is GUT-BRAIN-AXIS?
The concept is self-explanatory: it refers to the bidirectional biochemical communication between the gastrointestinal tract (often referred to as the "gut") and the central nervous system, which includes the brain. The gut is often referred to as the "second brain" due to the presence of neurotransmitters similar to those found in the central nervous system.
Enhancing the gut-brain connection can be achieved by consuming a diet rich in whole grains, lean proteins, as well as fruits and vegetables. This dietary approach supports the nourishment of beneficial gut bacteria.
Are Probiotics Safe To Consume?
Probiotics are considered safe and don't cause any harm to healthy people. They help our gut in various ways and develop our immune system. The researchers have conducted numerous experiments to determine the effective usage of probiotics.
Always talk to a doctor before starting any medication or supplement. One must consult a doctor or health care provider if they are already suffering from a medical condition.
What Is Antimicrobial Resistance?
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over a period of time and no longer respond to medicines. It makes infections harder to treat and increases the risk of disease spread, severe illness and even death in a few cases.
One Health Approach
One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary concept operating at the local, regional, national, and global levels, with an aim of achieving optimal health, recognizing the interconnection between people, plants, animals and their shared surroundings.
One Health issue also focuses on zoonotic diseases, food safety, antimicrobial resistance and food security, environmental contamination, vector-borne diseases and other major health threats shared by people, animals and the environment.