Probiotics are made of good bacteria that naturally live in your body. You constantly have both good and bad bacteria in your body. When you get an infection, there’s more bad bacteria, knocking your system out of balance. Good bacteria helps eliminate extra bad bacteria, returning the balance. Probiotic-supplements are a way to add good bacteria to your body. Probiotics are a combination of live beneficial bacteria and/or yeasts that naturally live in your body. Bacteria is usually viewed in a negative light as something that makes you sick. However, you have two kinds of bacteria constantly in and on your body — good bacteria and bad bacteria. Probiotics are made up of good bacteria that helps keep your body healthy and working well. This good bacteria helps you in many ways, including fighting off bad bacteria when you have too much of it.

Probiotics are part of a larger picture concerning bacteria and your body — your microbiome. Think of a microbiome as a diverse community of organisms, such as a forest, that work together to keep your body healthy. This community is made up of things called microbes. You have trillions of microbes which are a combination of bacteria, fungi (including yeasts), viruses and protozoa. Everyone’s microbiome is unique. No two people have the same microbial cells — even twins are different. For a microbe to be called a probiotic, it must have several characteristics. These include being able to:

Be isolated from a human.
Survive in your intestine after ingestion (being eaten).
Have a proven benefit to you.
Be safely consumed.

The most common place linked to beneficial microbes is your gut (mostly large intestines), but you have several locations in your body that host good microbes. These locations are in contact with the outside world and include the gut, mouth, vagina, urinary tract, skin and lungs.

The main job of probiotics, or good bacteria, is to maintain a healthy balance in your body. When you are sick, bad bacteria enters your body and increases in number. This knocks your body out of balance. Good bacteria works to fight off the bad bacteria and restore the balance within your body. Good bacteria keeps you healthy by supporting your immune function and controlling inflammation. Certain types of good bacteria can also help your body digest food, keep bad bacteria from making you sick, create vitamins and breakdown medications.

Good bacteria is a natural part of your body. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in fiber every day helps to keep the number of good bacteria at proper levels. There are many types of bacteria that can be considered probiotics but two specific types are common probiotics found in stores. These include Lactobacillus and BifidobacteriumProbiotics are also made up of good yeast. The most common type of yeast found in probiotics is Saccharomyces boulardii. You may already have certain foods in your diet that contain probiotics. Fermented foods lick yogurt or pickles are home to a host of good bacteria that benefit your body. There are also fermented drinks like kombucha (fermented tea) or kefir (fermented dairy drink) that introduce extra probiotics into your diet. It's important to create a balanced and healthy meal when you sit down to eat. Adding probiotic-rich foods into your diet is beneficial but proper balance in your diet is indispensible.