We’ve been taught from a young age to wash our hands well, to prevent the spread of germs and disease. And in an office situation where we are around various co-workers, there are many opportunities for germs to spread. Computers, phones, office equipment, light switches, and other devices make up an environment where the spread of germs can easily be transferred from one person to another. But what if all germs weren’t bad for us? Here’s what you can learn about germs and how you and your office co-workers can learn that some germs can actually be good for you.

Brief Overview: History of Germs
Since ancient times, humanity has constantly faced a bombardment of epidemics and pandemics caused by harmful microbes. These series of unfortunate events made most people’s view of germs as something that is dangerous and deleterious. During microbiology’s golden era, scientist who explored the world of microorganisms found out that only a fraction of all the germs in existence could actually cause harm to the human body. Not only that, scientist have also discovered that some germs are actually beneficial for the survival of plants, animals, and even humans.

When you eat your meal, you are actually exposing yourself to the different microorganisms found in the food that you eat. Ingesting infected food will automatically signal your body to counteract it. In a desperate response, your body will signal your automatic nervous system to vomit the spoiled food. If it passes through the small and large intestine, the body will eliminate it by loose bowel movement. During this process, the natural flora of your large intestine, which houses the good microorganisms that help in your daily metabolic processes, might be disturbed.

office-germs When you are faced with this kind of problem, ingesting probiotics or “live good germs” might work best for you. The word probiotics comes from the latin words “pro” which means “for” and “bios” for “life”. The term probiotics was coined in 1953 by microbiologist Kollath. But it was only in 1989 that people really understood what probiotics was when Roy Fuller gave his definition, quoted “A live microbial feed supplement which beneficially affects the host animal by improving its intestinal microbial balance"

Probiotics first came into the limelight when Russian Nobel price winner Eli Metchnikoff shared his studies about microorganisms and probiotics. He proposed that the gut’s harmful flora can be changed with useful microbes to manage certain medical conditions. With the advancement of his studies, scientists have developed probiotics that are found in store shelves today such as the lactobacillus and the bifidobacterium.

Although probiotics therapies are widely used today for the management of gastro intestinal complications, its medical effectiveness and use is still undergoing extensive research. To date, probiotics are said to be effective in helping you improve your immune system’s defense, increase your chances against colon cancers, and aid you in recovering from inflammatory bowel syndrome.

Unfortunately, probiotic therapy is not for everyone especially if you are critically ill or if your immune system is dysfunctional. In one study conducted in Netherlands, patients who had acute pancreatitis who took in probiotics resulted to serious medical problems and some even passed away. In Australia, there is a study reported that children who were on probiotic therapy increased their sensitivity to allergens.

To sum it up, it is hasty to call or label germs as robbers of health. From a microbiologist’s point of view, microbes can be used to help you recover from certain medical complications. Probiotics are live microbial supplements that work primarily by changing your intestine’s flora to a more favorable one. Probiotics are still undergoing extensive research to support its therapeutic claims. Although most people already use this therapy for certain conditions, it is sad to say that not everyone can tolerate its effects.