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What Are Probiotics Good For?

Posted by Manuela Boyle on 13 February 2023
What Are Probiotics Good For?

The human gut contains both good and bad bacteria. In healthy people, there is a balance between these two types of gut microbes. When you get an infection, most of the time, the number of harmful bacteria increases, knocking the gut microbiota out of balance.

Probiotics are dietary supplements that contain beneficial bacteria. Taking probiotic supplements is a good way to add beneficial microbes to your gut and optimise your digestive health. 

What are probiotics good for?
As mentioned, probiotic supplements contain good bacteria that help to maintain a healthy balance in the intestinal flora. These probiotic strains of bacteria fight off bad bacteria that enter your body when you have an infection. In this way, probiotic dietary supplements restore the balance in your body and help you feel better when you are sick. Probiotics also help to restore the balance of good versus bad bacteria in the gut following standard antibiotic treatment.

What bacteria are found in probiotic supplements?
The two most common probiotic bacteria are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. In addition to probiotic strains of live bacteria, some dietary supplements also contain probiotic yeast like Saccharomyces boulardii.

What are the health benefits of probiotics?
Probiotics supplementation can provide health benefits such as:

  • Support the immune system
  • Fight inflammation
  • Help you digest food
  • Make vitamins
  • Keep the cells that line the digestive tract healthy and prevent bad gut bacteria from entering the bloodstream
  • Help your gut break down and absorb medicines

Can probiotics help with any health conditions?
Evidence suggests that some health conditions may benefit from taking a probiotic dietary supplement or eating probiotic-rich foods. Keep in mind that, at present, there is insufficient evidence to support some of these health claims. Further research is needed on probiotic benefits. Here are some health problems that may benefit from taking probiotics:

  1. Infectious diarrhoea caused by bacteria like Clostridioides difficile (C. diff)
  2. Antibiotic-associated diarrhoea
  3. Constipation
  4. Lactose intolerance
  5. Conditions of the digestive system, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  6. Urinary tract infections
  7. Yeast infections
  8. Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
  9. Gum disease
  10. Common cold, sinusitis, upper respiratory infections, ear infections
  11. High cholesterol, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and heart disease
  12. Sepsis in infants (this is a life-threatening infection due to an abnormal immune response) 
  13. Some diseases of the nervous system have even been associated with the composition of the intestinal bacterial flora.

Note: You should not rely on over-the-counter probiotic treatment to manage these serious health problems. It is important to be reviewed by us before consuming probiotics, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions. Always take probiotics under the guidance of a health-care professional. 

Is it good to take probiotics every day?
It is safe and recommended to take probiotic supplementation every day to maintain good digestive health and overall health. You can take it in the form of probiotic supplements or probiotic foods. Fermented foods like yoghurt, some cheeses, and traditional buttermilk are probiotic rich foods. Other fermented foods like pickles, kefir (fermented dairy drink), kombucha, kimchi, tempeh, miso, and sauerkraut also contain probiotic bacteria.

It is worth noting that you don’t have to take probiotic supplements. The body naturally balances good and bad bacteria when you are healthy. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fresh foods and fibre can help to naturally maintain the number of good bacteria in your gut. 

What happens when you start taking probiotics?
When you start taking probiotic supplements, you may experience gas, bloating, or diarrhoea due to changes in the gut microbiome. This is because some probiotic bacteria can produce more gas and cause bloating. These side effects of probiotic strains usually go away within a few days to weeks of starting probiotics.



Author:Manuela Boyle
Tags:NewsPrevention & RecoveryCancerBlogs


  • The Institute for Functional Medicine
  • Society for Integrative Oncology
  • Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia
  • Australian Traditional-Medicine Society
  • British Naturopathic Association