Probiotics can help people combat gastrointestinal distress. Some probiotics can help prevent diarrhea that occurs as a side effect from antibiotics, and they may also be beneficial to those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and conditions that affect the gastrointestinal tract.
Probiotics are living microorganisms found in certain foods, most notably yogurt and kefir. They also may be found in products that are not taken orally, such as skin creams. Probiotics may be concentrated in dietary supplements well. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, probiotics are healthy bacteria that help bodies to function properly by aiding in the digestion of food. Probiotics also destroy disease-causing microorganisms.
Researchers have studied probiotics to determine their potential role in people’s personal health. Preliminary data suggests that probiotics can be useful in helping with stomach upset from infections and taking antibiotics. Probiotics are also being examined to determine if they can be used to combat allergic disorders, such as hay fever or eczema. Probiotics also may be useful in the fight against oral health problems that stem from bacteria, like periodontal disease. Researchers also are looking into whether probiotics can be useful in treating the common cold or reducing the severity of the flu.
The Mayo Clinic says side effects to probiotics are rare, and many healthy adults can safely add probiotic-heavy foods or probiotic supplements to their diets. But before including probiotics in your diet, speak with your doctor to make sure there will be no drug interactions or other adverse side effects. More research is needed into the health benefits of probiotics, but there’s encouraging evidence that these live microorganisms can do much to improve personal health.