Common Questions & Answers
What Do Probiotics Do Exactly?
There’s still a lot that scientists don’t understand about probiotics, but studies so far have identified a few functions of probiotics, including:
- Promoting the health and maintenance of our digestive tract’s cell lining
- Supporting immunity
- Managing inflammation
Potential Health Benefits of Probiotics
Improved Digestive Health
Don’t confuse IBS with a more serious digestive-tract disease called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is an autoimmune disease categorized by chronic inflammation.
Reduced Cancer Risk
Prevention of Allergies and Digestive Disorders
Lower Risk of COVID-19
Better Oral Health
Reduced Risk of Food Allergies
Improved Weight Loss Success
Another growing area of research on probiotics is weight loss.
Also, a systematic review and meta-analysis found that using a probiotic supplement was associated with decreases in body mass index (BMI), weight, and fat mass with a probiotic dose of at least 30 billion for greater than 12 weeks.
What Are the Best Food Sources of Probiotics?
- Fermented cheeses, such as buttermilk cheese and cottage cheese
- Raw sauerkraut
- Lacto-fermented vegetables, such as pickles
Should I Take a Probiotic Supplement?
In general, the body benefits most from probiotics it receives via food, which often also contains beneficial nutrients. That said, probiotic supplements may be helpful for certain people, including the aforementioned groups.
- Penicillins, such as amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium (Augmentin), piperacillin and tazobactam (Zosyn), and amoxicillin (Amoxil)
- Cephalosporins, such as?cephalexin (Keflex), cefazolin (Ancef)
Probiotic Supplement Side Effects
How to Choose a Probiotic Supplement
Here are some other things to consider when choosing a probiotic supplement that is right for you.
Read the label. Make sure any probiotic you choose is free of any ingredients you do not want, such as food allergens. Your healthcare team can help you translate any terms you don’t understand.
Practice caution. Understand that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they’re marketed. Therefore, consider following the FDA’s tips for dietary supplement users. Again, consult your healthcare team before adding a probiotic supplement to your diet — especially if you have an underlying condition.
When to Take a Probiotic Supplement
Researchers are still determining the best time to take probiotics, and there are no universal guidelines on this matter.
Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics: There’s a Difference
As mentioned, probiotics are supplements or foods containing live microorganisms in significant enough numbers to produce health benefits to the host beyond basic nutrition.
How to Store Probiotic Supplements
The probiotics that are part of our natural microbiome play an essential part in our health, and may play a role in fending off certain health conditions as well as food allergies. While eating foods high in probiotics is the best way to reap these benefits, you may be curious about a probiotic supplement. Probiotic supplements are considered safe for most people, but may be risky for those with severe illnesses and individuals with compromised immune systems. Chat with your healthcare team before adding one to your wellness regimen.
Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking
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