Probiotics are a type of “good” bacteria found in some foods and supplements. While we usually think of bacteria as something that can cause diseases or other problems, probiotics can help maintain a healthy gut.
Probiotics can help to lower the number of “bad” bacteria that may be present in your gut – especially the ones that cause illness or inflammation, they can also replace those problem germs with good or helpful bacteria.
Research has shown when and how probiotics might be helpful for certain health conditions such as:
- Diarrhoea: Especially when used with certain antibiotics. Probiotics may also help with infectious diarrhoea – particularly with children.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease: This includes Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Some probiotics might help keep Ulcerative Colitis in remission (A state of little to no disease activity), while preventing Crohn’s disease from relapsing or getting worse.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Probiotics can sometimes help ease symptoms, including stomach pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
While there are good bacteria already in the body and they are considered safe for most people, there are always things to consider. There is the possibility that taking additional probiotics can trigger an allergic reaction – causing mild stomach problems, especially in the first few days as your body adjusts to the increase in good bacteria. You could experience stomach upset, gas, diarrhoea or bloating – these symptoms will usually clear as your body gets used to them.
If you have immune system problems or another serious health condition, you may have a greater chance of issues or side effects while taking probiotics. Be sure to check with your doctor or Pharmacist before taking any probiotics to ensure that you are getting the correct one for yourself.
Always check with a GP or pediatrician when giving probiotic supplements to a child. If you are pregnant or nursing, you should talk to your before trying any supplements.