What are probiotics? How can probiotics help you? Probiotics are microorganisms with potential health benefits or "good bacteria". They may be used to prevent and treat antibiotic-associated diarrhea and acute infectious diarrhea. They may also be effective in relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, and in treating atopic dermatitis (eczema) in children. Probiotics colonize our gastrointestinal tract. To maintain colonization, probiotics must be taken regularly for optimal health benefits.
Species commonly used include Lactobacillus sp., Bifidobacterium sp., Streptococcus thermophilus, and Saccharomyces boulardii. Typical dosages vary based on the product, but common dosages range from 5 to 10 billion colony-forming units (CFU) per day for children, and from 10 to 20 billion colony-forming units per day for adults. Significant adverse effects are rare, and there are no known interactions with medications.
If you are on antibiotics, taking probiotics can be helpful. For optimal health benefits, take probiotics regularly every day. Eat yogurt that contains live bacterial cultures daily, and take probiotic over the counter oral supplements or probiotics liquid preparations two to three times daily. They can be found at organic grocery stores, and most pharmacies.