Written by Alison Bell
Probiotics are a critical piece to supporting your overall health, vitality and many of the issues we face today such as autoimmunity and gut dysbiosis. Probiotics are one of the best ways to strengthen the gut when combined with a healthy diet.
So what exactly are probiotics? They are bacteria! Living micro-organisms that are used in the prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases and allergies. They are the good guys living in our gastrointestinal tract fighting the bad bacteria. Over time, antibiotics, medication, poor diet and the western lifestyle will compromise the gut health. One of the benefits of a probiotic is to help restore the good bacteria to the gut microbiome and help with the immune responses of the gut’s mucosal system.
So here are the reasons to take probiotics!
1. They enhance immunity
There have been several studies to try and understand the effects probiotics have on our immune system. One of note being a boule blind test  which proved patients receiving live probiotics showed greater immunity to multiple organ dysfunction.
2. Cold & Flu Prevention
Taking probiotics along with some supplements over a period of 3 months was proven to rescue the length, incidents and severity of cold and flu infections. Could overcoming the general cold be that simple? The probiotic stimulates the gut immune system to respond to the infection or invading bad bacteria.
3. Food digestion
Probiotics help with food digestion. When bad bacteria rule the gastro-intestinal tract, several symptoms such as bloating, gas and pain may be experienced. If nothing is done to rectify this, then it can lead to IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Without good bacteria the body cannot process certain carbohydrates and sugars. But topping up on the good guys will help the digestive system convert these into important energy and nutrients. 
4. Preventing Allergies
Mothers taking probiotics while pregnant and then supplementing their babies with good bacteria and/or baby biotics are at lower risk of developing allergies. Allergies arise from hypersensitive immune systems. The use of probiotics to supplement the healthy bacteria will aid supporting a healthier immune system.
5. Curing Autism
Dr Natasha Campbell Mc-Bride, creator of the GAPS diet, aided her son’s autism by restoring his probiotic levels though diet.  This further proves the connection between gut health, the good bacteria and mental issues.
Although more research is required into specific bacteria strains and types of probiotics to be “prescribed” for various conditions, it’s hard to ignore the existing evidence. With all this pointing towards how much a probiotic and assist our healthy bacteria, thus enhancing our gut immune response, why wouldn’t you take them?
 Probiotics and immune health. Yan F1, Polk DB. Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
 Effects of probiotic therapy in critically ill patients: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial1,2,3Cathy Alberda1, Leah Gramlich1, Jon Meddings1, Catherine Field1,Linda McCargar1, Demetrios Kutsogiannis1, Richard Fedorak1, and Karen Madsen1
Author Affiliations: From the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Edmonton, Canada (CA, LG, and DK); the Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology (LG, JM, RF, and KM), and the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Nutritional Science (LM), University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
 Kekkonen RA, Lummela N, Karjalainen H, Latvala S, Tynkkynen S, Järvenpää S, Kautiainen H, Julkunen I, Vapaatalo H, Korpela R.
Probiotic intervention has strain-specific anti-inflammatory effects in healthy adults.
World J Gastroenterol 2008; 14(13): 2029-2036http://www.wjgnet.com/1007-9327/14/2029.asp
 World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Apr 7;14(13):2029-36. Probiotic intervention has strain-specific anti-inflammatory effects in healthy adults.
Kekkonen RA1, Lummela N, Karjalainen H, Latvala S, Tynkkynen S, Jarvenpaa S, Kautiainen H, Julkunen I, Vapaatalo H, Korpela R.
 Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2005 Jul;43(7):318-26. Effect of a dietary supplement containing probiotic bacteria plus vitamins and minerals on common cold infections and cellular immune parameters. Winkler P1, de Vrese M, Laue Ch, Schrezenmeir J.
 Probiotic Administration in Early Life, Atopy, and Asthma: A Meta-analysis of Clinical Trials Nancy Elazab, Angelico Mendy, Janvier Gasana, Edgar R. Vieira, Annabelle Quizon, Erick Forno