Probiotics are a type of live bacteria and yeasts. While these microorganisms are thought to be germs that cause diseases, there is actually a healthy flora of good bacteria in our bodies. These bacteria are good for the digestive system by helping to keep our guts healthy.
Probiotics can be found not just as supplements, but also in some foods like yogurt. It is often recommended by doctors to add yogurt into your diet to help with digestive problems such as diarrhoea.
How do Probiotics work?
While the exact mechanism of their action is unknown, the most popular theory is that probiotics, which are ‘’good’’ bacteria, can help maintain the balance between the ‘’good’’ and ‘’bad’’ bacteria in the body. Taking probiotics can also help replenish the good bacteria in the body after therapeutic treatments like antibiotics, which kills both the good and bad bacteria in the body.
Lactobacillus is the most common type of probiotics, and it is found in many foods like yogurt and fermented goods. Different strains of Lactobacillus can relieve diarrhoea and may help lactose-intolerant individuals to take dairy.
Probiotics may help in the following conditions:
- Digestive problems
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Infectious diarrhoea (bacterial, viral or parasitical)
- Antibiotic-associated diarrhoea
- Other conditions
- Skin conditions e.g. eczema
- Urinary and vaginal health
- Preventing allergies and colds
- Oral health
Taking probiotics safely
Probiotics are not considered as therapeutic agents, but food supplement. Generally, probiotics are safe for most people, with the rare exception of individuals with immunity defects or other serious health conditions.
There may be mild side effects in the first few days after initiating probiotics, including an upset stomach, diarrhoea, gas and bloating. Some people may also have allergic reactions to it. Should these symptoms persist or if you have an allergic reaction to the product, consult a doctor immediately.