What are Probiotics
Probiotics are the good bacteria and yeasts that live in your body and keep your digestive system healthy. Probiotics also help your body’s defense system (immunesystem) and protect your body against the growth of harmful bacteria.
Probiotic refers to live microbial food supplements that beneficially affect the host by improving intestinal microbial balance and fulfill the following criteria:
- • When ingested, they survive and colonize the gut, but rapidly disappear when discontinued.
- • They are of human origin.
- • They do not produce plasmids.
Your health care provider may recommend taking a probiotic if you are taking antibiotics or have certain medical conditions, such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome.
- Lung infections.
- Yeast infections.
- Acne, eczema, and other skin conditions.
- Frequent urinary tract infections.
What affects the balance of bacteria in my body?
The balance of good bacteria in your body can be affected by:
- Antibiotic medicines. These medicines treat infections caused by bacteria. Unfortunately, they may kill the good bacteria in your body as well as the bad bacteria.
- Certain medical conditions. Conditions related to an imbalance
of bacteria include:
- Stomach and intestine (gastrointestinal) infections.
- Lung infections.
- Skin infections.
- Vaginal infections.
- Inflammatory bowel diseases.
- Stomach ulcers (gastric ulcers).
- Tooth decay and gum disease (periodontal disease).
- Poor diet.
What type of probiotic is right for me?
Probiotics contain different types of bacteria (strains). Strains commonly found in probiotics include:
Specific strains have been shown to be more effective for certain health conditions. Ask your health care provider which strain or strains you should use and how often.
Probiotics come in many different forms, strain combinations, and strengths. Some may need to be refrigerated. Always read the label for storage and usage instructions.
Certain foods, such as yogurt, contain probiotics. Probiotics can also be bought as a supplement at a pharmacy, health food store, or grocery store. Talk to your health care provider before starting any supplement.
What are the side effects of probiotics?
Some people have side effects when taking probiotics. Side effects are usually temporary and may include:
Serious side effects are rare.
Follow these instructions at home:
- If you are taking probiotics with antibiotics:
- Wait at least 2 hours between taking your medicine and the probiotic.
- Eat foods high in fiber, such as whole grains, beans, and vegetables. These foods can help good bacteria grow.
- Avoid certain foods as told by your health care provider.
- Probiotics are the good bacteria and yeasts that live in your body and keep you and your digestive system healthy.
- Certain foods, such as yogurt, contain probiotics.
- Probiotics can be taken as supplements. They can be bought at a pharmacy, health food store, or grocery store. They come in many different forms, strain combinations, and strengths.
- Be sure to talk with your health care provider before taking a probiotic supplement.