A Brief History of Probiotics
Probiotics – Thousands of Years of Helping Humans
Humans have been using probiotics for thousands of years but only recently has science begun to untangle the complexities of our microbiome. The microbiome is the sum of the billions of bacteria that live throughout our bodies, most of which are in our digestive tract. Slowly science is revealing the importance of this gut flora to our overall health.
The first probiotics were fermented milk products.
Fermented dairy products were used by the ancient Egyptians as early as 3500 BCE. It is likely that this fermented milk product (that we know as yogurt) was spontaneously discovered while transporting milk in the animal skin bags used for the storage of milk. Add the low humidity and high temperatures of the middle east and the result is an environment perfect for the growth of beneficial bacteria. Historians and scientists believe humans have used organisms for fermenting for up to 10,000 years.
Probiotics are microorganisms that confer health benefits to their hosts.
The concept of probiotics as health promoting originated from the research of Nobel Prize winning scientist Elie Metchkinoff. In 1908 he proposed that Bulgarian peasants had long healthful lives due to their use of fermented milk products. Metchkinoff was known to drink sour milk himself as a health promoting food; the first known use of probiotics as we know them today. The first clinical trials using probiotics to imbue health were in the 1930’s in a study on constipation. Since then research on probiotics and their health benefits has steadily increased.
Probiotic is derived from the Greek ‘for life.’
The term probiotic as we understand it was first used by R.B. Parker in 1974. In 2001 the World Health Organization defined probiotics as “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer health benefits to the host.”
Probiotics are ‘functional foods’ that confer a health benefit beyond basic nutrition. Probiotics can be administered in a number of ways including eating fermented foods or taking supplements containing measurable ‘Colony Forming Units’ or CFU’s. Increasingly these functional foods are available in the U.S. after having been widely available in Europe and Asia for decades.
Probiotics have a wide variety of health benefits that we are only beginning to understand.
Documented health effects include improvements in patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), anxiety, diarrhea, lactose intolerance and allergies. Furthermore, general health improvements like possible cancer prevention and improved immune response has been shown. The research is gaining in breadth and significance each year as the importance of a healthy microbiome becomes clearer.
10,000 years of human history can’t be wrong.
T ry H2PRO™ and Love Your Guts.
Daily doses of probiotics like those found in H2PRO™ are an essential part of healthy living. Research has shown the probiotic strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in H2PRO™ are beneficial and our blend contains 7 billion CFU’s, an adequate daily dose of probiotics to convey health benefits.