6 Benefits of Probiotics

  • yogurt-and-fruit-with-spoon
    Probiotics may alleviate your stomach woes and other symptoms.
    Probiotics are organisms found in foods, such as yogurt, miso, and soft cheeses, as well as dietary supplements. They contain "friendly" or "good" bacteria that may help rebalance microorganisms in the large intestine. Although there is evidence that probiotics may help treat or prevent many disorders, most experts agree that longer, better studies are needed for widespread use. That said, most people can safely add foods that contain probiotics to their diets, but check with your doctor if you’re considering taking supplements. Keep these potential probiotic benefits in mind for your digestive and overall health.

  • Woman is having stomach ache
    Use probiotics to treat diarrhea.
    The most common benefit cited for probiotic use is reducing diarrhea, especially with the use of antibiotics. A 2010 review found that probiotics shorten episodes of acute infectious diarrhea. And a 2011 Health Canada study found that products containing certain probiotics help manage acute infectious diarrhea and antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
     

  • Healthy eating
    Try probiotics to help aid your digestion.
    Several studies suggest probiotic therapy may help people with Crohn's disease and help relieve bloating and gas associated with irritable bowel syndrome. A 2010 review of five controlled studies, published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, found that certain probiotic strains improved stool consistency and frequency of bowel movements in people with constipation.
     

  • Woman massaging lower back
    Probiotics are used to treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections.
    Probiotic treatment has also been cited as helpful for common female conditions, such as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, and urinary tract infection. Many women eat yogurt or even insert it into the vagina to help treat recurring yeast infections. Be sure to discuss this with a medical professional.
     

  • man with a tissue
    Boost your immune system with probiotics.
    Bacteria in your colon is closely tied to your immune system, and several studies link probiotics to enhanced immune responses (such as to flu vaccines). But the health benefits are strain specific, so check with your doctor, or a practitioner familiar with probiotics, to discuss options for treating infections.
     

  • Smiling Black man
    Probiotics are used to prevent periodontal disease.
    Yes, bacteria can be found in your mouth, as well. And probiotic lozenges and gums are being sold to help reduce periodontal disease, throat infections, and bad breath. Check with your doctor to see if these may be helpful for you. And always keep up your brushing and flossing!
     

  • little girl smelling flowers
    Probiotics may help children with allergies.
    Some studies also report that certain probiotics can play a role in reducing the development of allergy in children. While many parents add yogurt, kefir, and other probiotic-rich foods to their child's diet, talk to your doctor or allergist about the possible benefits and treatment options for your child.
     

6 Benefits of Probiotics

About The Author

Susan Fishman is a veteran freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience in consumer and patient education. Her work has been featured in The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, and on numerous other national health, wellness and parenting sites. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in clinical rehabilitation counseling at Georgia State University.
  1. USProbiotics Home. California Dairy Research Foundation. http://cdrf.org/home/checkoff-investments/usprobiotics/
  2. Probiotics Pros and Cons. Berkeley Wellness. http://www.berkeleywellness.com/supplements/other-supplements/article/probiotics-pros-and-cons
  3. Health Benefits of Taking Probiotics. Harvard Health Publications. http://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics
  4. Do I need to include probiotics and prebiotics in my diet? Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/probiotics/faq-20058065
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Last Review Date: 2019 Jun 20
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