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What is a probiotic?

"Pro" meaning "for" or "in favor of" and "bio" meaning life. These are supplements considered Generally Recommended As Safe for animal consumption. They are viable or live microorganisms that encourage a healthy environment in the digestive tract of the host. As we have all heard, the key to a healthy animal is a healthy gut. There can be any number or even a single microorganism that makes up a probiotic. Some have shown that when several of these "good" bacteria are in combination then a synergistic effect brings about a better environment for the host.

How do probiotics work?

The environment that we live in is competitive by nature. We all compete for space. Since all bacteria are not bad bacteria then there can be competition within the host's gut for the perpetuation of the different strains of bacteria. In fact, we need bacteria to aid in some of our daily body functions. However, when there is an unbalance of certain bacteria within the body then the host can become ill or die. Realistically our gut cannot rid itself of all bad bacteria. One way to control an over abundance of bad bacteria is with the use of antibiotics. But by introducing positive microorganisms, or probiotics, they can help maintain the proper balance in the gut.

Is the use of antibiotics bad?

Most of us are alive today because of the use of antibiotics. There is a time when our animals need to be treated with a good dose of antibiotics to defend them against certain bacteria. However, many broad-spectrum antibiotics are indiscriminate in their efficacy. In other words, they kill off both good and bad bacteria. That is one reason why it is imperative to supplement a good probiotic into your reptile's diet.

If there are already good bacteria in the environment then why supplement?

Many reptilian diets contain nutrients needed for sustaining them. It is common practice to supplement with vitamins or minerals while still feeding a complete diet to your reptile-that is good husbandry providing there is not too much of the micronutrients being consumed. Since some bacteria attach themselves to the wall or villi of the gut there can become a competition for space from introduced or reproducing bacteria. By providing (supplementing) the right combination of probiotics one can provide the numbers needed to help rid the gut of negative-effecting bacteria and establish the right environment. The good thing about providing viable probiotics is that too many is not harmful. On the contrary, too many pathogenic bacteria are harmful. Besides helping free the gut of unwanted bacteria, a healthy gut aids in digestion and absorption rates of essential nutrients.

How is the best way to give probiotics?

NutriBACdf is in powder form which makes it easy to dust feed items. Crickets can be easily dusted by simple letting them walk around in a container prior to feeding them to reptiles or frogs. Frozen mice are simply rolled in the powder. The slight moisture from the thawing makes the powder adhere well. Even live prey can be easily dusted. No animal has refused prey that has been dusted with NutriBACdf. It must be noted however, that since it is in powder form that if too much dust gets wet and is not consumed quickly then it can "cake-up." But that is easily removed from the cages.

What are the side-effects of using probiotics, such as NutriBACdf?

There are no known side-effects to using NutriBACdf .

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