Probiotics or Direct-fed Microbials
Microorganisms have been with us all our lives. We all know the benefits of microorganisms in nature. They help in decaying dead organisms, either of plant or animal origin, and they can aid in digestion and preventing an imbalance within the gut. In the simplest of terms, bacteria can be divided into two groups: good and bad. Sometimes what we may consider as "bad" bacteria may actually be beneficial at times in nature. However, when too many "bad" bacteria are in the wrong place then they can become pathogenic, thus causing health-related problems within the host.
Sometimes food products are marketed to people for their naturally-occurring health benefits. For example, yogurt is often advertised for containing beneficial bacteria known as L. acidophilus. And, that is a good thing. We all need beneficial bacteria to aid in digestion and that is one that can help. On the other hand, we all have benefited from antibiotics. Many of us are healthy or alive today by using them because of surgeries or sickness. However, the downside to antibiotics is that many are broad-spectrum without respect to specific bacteria in the gut that may not be causing the problem. In other words, some antibiotics indiscriminately attack any or all bacteria within the gut. This is not necessarily bad when we are fighting a chronic or systemic bacterial-related health issue. But, when that happens it is critical to replace or replenish "good" bacteria immediately. Replenishing the "good" bacteria before the "bad" can colonize is one way to support or aid in the health of any species-be it human or frog.
Any animal, including humans, can benefit from the proper amount of probiotics. Critics like to say that it is not natural to supplement with probiotics. They claim the animal gets what it needs naturally. In partiality that may be a little correct. However, many of us also supplement with vitamins and trace minerals because we want to maintain the animals system as healthy as possible. The main difference in supplementing with probiotics is that there are no known side-effects to probiotics. Probiotics properly grown and harvested are in their natural state. There are beneficial organisms in our environment just like there are vitamins and minerals in the feed.
One term that is sometimes used is competitive exclusion. This simply means that a microorganism can compete for space within the gut, thus preventing a different species from inhabiting that area within the villi. It only makes sense that one would want "good" bacteria taking up residency in the gut to prevent the "bad" from settling in the villi. And with the proper environment-pH-certain bacteria will not strive, furthering the health of the species.
Probiotics only help an animal. They are not a cure-all. Sound animal husbandry practices must be maintained and probiotics are one tool, like supplemental vitamins and trace minerals and artificial lighting and heat.