Do Probiotics Work & What Are the Effects of Probiotics?

How do Probiotics work?

Probiotic literally means “for life”. Ever since the word “probiotic” was first used in mid-20th century, generations of scientists have been studying what probiotics do and how they work.

The definition of probiotics has evolved in the past century. Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognises probiotics as any live microorganism which, when administered in adequate amounts, bestows a health benefit on the host. In simpler terms, they are good bacteria. These little friendly helpers can bring benefits [1] to human body when consumed in adequate amount.

Finding probiotics

That’s easy: in yogurt with probiotics. All yogurts contain live yogurt cultures – namely Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus, but here’s the inside scoop – not all yogurts contain sufficient quantities to be classified as probiotics. They must present in quantities of 108CFU/g or above and provide health benefits to qualify as probiotics. Activia, for instance, is full of probiotics. Billions of probiotics thrive alongside other live cultures such as Bifidobacterium and Lactococcus lactis, in each pot of deliciously creamy Activia.

Thriving probiotics – the fermentation process of yogurt

To become yogurt, milk needs to go through a lacto-fermentation process. Besides transforming milk into yogurt, the process offers benefits such as naturally reducing the amount of lactose in milk and creating a happy environment for probiotics to thrive. How does this happen? In the creation of yogurt, lactic bacteria feed on lactose, making lactic acid. This generates the ideal environment for good bacteria to thrive, as well as creating the typical, somewhat acidic flavour of yogurt. The fermentation process is slightly different in the case of Activia - the unique mix of five strains is slowly fermented at a gentle 37°C (not the typical 43-46°C) for hours - the perfect home for billions of live cultures to thrive.

What do probiotics do?

If you’ve wondered about the effects of probiotics, gut health experts have found that probiotics can contribute to our well-being by assisting lactose digestion in people who have difficulty digesting lactose naturally.

In the human intestine, lactose must be broken down by the enzyme lactase to be digested. Live yogurt cultures produce this enzyme.

So, how do probiotics work? During fermentation, and mostly in the gut, the lactase from the probiotic cultures breaks down the lactose into easily digestible compounds such as glucose and galactose. Thanks to the probiotics that help with lactose digestion, the lactose in yogurt is digested more efficiently than in unfermented milk (for instance) by people who have difficulty digesting lactose.

Why consume yogurts?

Yogurts already have wide-spread fame as a source of calcium and protein. But on top of that, when they contain probiotics, they support lactose digestion, and that’s what makes it a fantastic addition to your balanced diet. Why not start with Activia? We’ve got a whole range of yogurts lined up from you in a variety of flavours that your tastebuds would love!

[1] Live cultures in yogurt or fermented milk improve lactose digestion of the product in individuals who have difficulty digesting lactose.

2021 Danone Ltd. All Rights Reserved. *Activia contains calcium which contributes to the normal function of digestive enzymes. Enjoy as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

†Contains naturally occurring sugars.